Chaffee was a science/research vessel, utlizing the same modular sensor pod design as the smaller Oberth class, but with the additional laboratory space afforded by a full sized Constitution-class-type primary hull. A flight deck is located on the B/C deck superstructure, with two shuttlecraft hangared below.
Dying stars always afford a wealth of research opportunities. In this image Chaffee takes up station near an inner planet of such a star. A bubble of shed stellar atmosphere expands outward. The planet has already turned molten in the increased heat. Chaffee, with shields at maximum, took exobytes of data before retreating several AUs to a safer observation distance.
A study in white.
Orbiting a frozen moon over the snow-covered tundra of its uninhabited mother world, Chaffee examines an icy planetary ring, fed by ice geysers erupting from cracks in the moon's surface.
The Federation's treaty with the Skreel stipulates that a Skreel warship escort any expedition near their home system. It was always an uncertain and... interesting... moment when a Skreel Hunter appeared, blasting out of its transdimensional hyperspace bubble.
Chaffee's pod was normally unmanned, with all sensor system running on automatic. There was, however, a maintenance and control room in the pod's upper dome. This was usually only manned in between deployments, in spacedock, and reached by transporter.
When USS Raan encountered a mysterious debris field consisting of ancient ship parts that seemed to be embedded in asteroids, her captain called on the Chaffee, and left the better-equipped science vessel to investigate while Raan resumed her patrol.
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