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Star Trek (television series) [United Federation of Planets]

Last modified: 2019-02-07 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
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United Federation of Planets

The banner and the flag obviously fulfill different purposes.
Željko Heimer, 2 February 2003

More Recent Flags

[U.F.P. flag]
image by Željko Heimer

[U.F.P. flag]
image by Željko Heimer

[U.F.P. flag]
image by Željko Heimer

The Star Trek Federation of Planets appears to use something closely based on the U.N. flag.
Stuart Notholt, 15 November 1995

The gif I got originally had black background, but I changed it to 'deep blue' (but I am ready to correct it if I am wrong). We were discussing once that black flags might be expected when mankind start to colonize outer space, as an analog to blue flags connected with maritime countries. I must say that this flag with black background looks to me much more apropriate than blue one.
Željko Heimer, May 1996

A recent episode of Deep Space Nine showed a flag in a courtroom situation which included the words "United Federation of Planets" along the bottom. One would think that being one of the three major powers in this quadrant of the galaxy would keep them from feeling compelled to write their name on the flag as well.

It's not a bad theory [black vs. blue], but given that Star Trek retains a lot of ties to naval concepts, I'm not so sure how much they'd change. Also, black flags seem to have an association with piracy or death — I don't know if this prejudice might have disappeared in a couple of centuries.

Dipesh Navsaria, 9 June 1996

The United Federation of Planets flag has appeared only a handful of times. It appears in two slight variants in the early films: In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, one is seen hanging in the Enterprise's Recreation Room. In Star Trek II, the exact same flag (or perhaps a slight variant) is placed over Spock's casket at the film. On both occasions, the flag is a royal blue with a propotionally small Fedeation seal centered and no words (it may contain the letters "UFP", however.) The Great Seal of the United Federation of Planets was modified somewhat for use in the more recent TV series (The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager). It would appear the DS9 guys decided to do a flag towards the end of that show's fifth season, inspired quite a bit more heavily by that of the U.N. The flag is slightly lighter and the newer seal is used, filling up about as much of the flag as the UN seal does. Running across most the bottom are the Words "UNITED FEDERATION of PLANETS" all in caps except "of." The font looks remarkably similar to Times New Roman, although since the Trek art dept. are ardent Mac users, this may not be the case. That flag was reused on that show numerous times since then, especially over caskets during the war with the Dominion that filled up the end of the show's run. The only time it has been shown flying was briefly in the episode "Take Me Out the Holosuite".
Tom Aylward-Nally 19 December 1999

[U.F.P. flag]
image by Randy Young 4 July 2014

I just recently watched the movie "Star Trek: Into Darkness" and noticed the new design to the flag of the United Federation of Planets. The flag is definitely in the same vein stylistically as the UFP flags from the previous movies and TV series. That is to say, it looks like a variation on the UN flag. In this case, however, there were two major differences that I noticed. The first, was the reversal of the colors, with a light blue UFP seal centered on a white field. The second was the change to the UFP seal itself, the "industrialization" of it, so to speak. Instead of the smooth, circular border to the seal, the border now appears as a Communist-like wheel cog. I have no idea the symbolism behind the changes to the flag, but I imagine it probably has something to do with the altered nature and persona of the UFP in the alternate universe/timeline that the movies are currently operating in.
Randy Young 4 July 2014

Grand Alliance

[Later UPF flag]
image by Santiago Dotor

Apparently, in a later date to SD7512.31, after the Grand Alliance with the Klingon Empire according to Chris, the UFP adopted a new flag — not a banner this time.
Santiago Dotor, 16 October 2000

Hanging Banners

as seen in the Original Series

[red field, swallowtails, white stars, yellow letters UFP]
image by Santiago Dotor and Marc Pasquin

The red banner features in TOS episode 59 "And the Children Shall Lead", Season 3, the stardate is given as 5029.5.
Željko Heimer, 2 February 2003

According to the Star Fleet Technical Manual TM:379260, Technical Order TO:00:02:00, the United Federation of Planets (UFP) has not a flag but a 'banner' — this must be a term of the future since the picture shows what I'd call an oriflamme. It is red, with 13 stars (5+2+2+2+2) and the letters "UFP" in silver. Official colours are Starfleet Uniform Colours red NºSF10UC and silver NºSF01UC.
Santiago Dotor, 16 October 2000

The flag illustrated in the Technical Manual, published 1 November 1975, was never shown on the air in any form. It is what the late William Crampton referred to as a suppositious flag. That is an error repeated so often it has become accepted as fact. The one actually used in the episode, air date 11 October 1968, had a red background, white stars and the stylized letters UFP in yellow. The one drawn in the TM specifies silver letters and stars. It is either Franz Joseph's error or his imagination. In any event it is his invention.
Jim Ferrigan, 8 December 2002

The banner is seen in the episode "And the children shall lead" during a short ceremony beside the graves in which are burried dead members of the UFP scientific team. The banner itself is made of a stiff red cloth (like homespun or something like that), approximately 30 cm along the top edge, so maybe 50 cm top to bottom, 13 white fivepointed stars are sewed (or glued) to it made of a similar rough material. The letters "UFP" are made of yellow ribbon about a centimeter wide attached to the field. The letters are distinctivly yellow and not white as the Technical Manual makes it. The banner is attached to some meter and a half hight thin metal staff, that apparently goes though the banner so that it is invisible on either side, both of the sides bearing the same design (readable proberly on both, of course). It seems that there is no special flag salute or other flag related ceremony connected with it. It seems that after a speech (possibly, the scene starts immediately after it) from Captain Kirk above the graves the banner is simply stuck into the ground. Not soon afterwards a child run into it and the banner falls to the ground, but that does not seem to bother anyone much (the way one should supposedly react if a real flag hit the ground), even if Kirk immediately puts it back up.
Željko Heimer, 24 January 2003

Regarding the incident with the child, it may have been either that a) the situation (kids at a funeral) didn't make a protocol-incident appropriate, or b) the UFP is not treated as a government, so its flag doesn't have such a high status, or c) such things don't matter in the future (horrors!), or d) it's not the actual flag, but a "banner".
Nathan Lamm, 24 January 2003

I guess it would be the last option, since the flag was very dark blue and white triband.
Željko Heimer, 24 January 2003

as seen in Deep Space Nine

[UFP banner]
image by Željko Heimer

United Space

The United Space flag
image by Željko Heimer

This design was used for the 1972 Equicon convention but is believed to be non-canonical in regard to its on-air appearance.
Marc Pasquin

The first double episode of the original series (TOS) is 11 and 12 being The Menangerie parts I and II. Much of the episode takes place during the court martial of Mr. Spock for treason. The court is adorned by two flags behind the three judges. Neither of the flags are clearly visible, since the are set on a vertical staff and falling around. The flag to the judges' right is red with some whte element near the hoist and rest being blue and white apparently striped. I would swore that it is the Cuban flag, though it is really hard to tell — it migh have been something similar to Stars and Stripes with red and blue inverted, but I think Cuban it is, deliberatly set so that nothing that would easily differentiate was visible.
Željko Heimer, 7 December 2002

On my behalf, Bjo Trimble interviewed set designer William W. Thiess and we discovered that the United Space flag was three unequal stripes of cloth, dark blue, white, dark blue stapled together. These were draped and placed on the pole so as to simulate a draped horizontal tri-band flag. Attached to the top of the staff were two (one each) trapezoidal "streamers", one red and one white. Long time watchers of the show will recall that United Space was an early term for the United Federation of Planets, perhaps even the fictional political entity which preceded the UFP. When that flags were reproduced for the 1972 Equicon (an Early Star Trek fan convention) in Los Angeles the white "stripe" was described as an "edge-on view of the Milky Way Galaxy.
Jim Ferrigan, 7 December 2002

It's not quite contemporary with the banner — a different season, I think. Can you name the episode it was from? The blue seems too dark compared to the pictures posted.
Nathan Lamm, 1 February 2003

Initially I made the blue as British Royal Navy blue (RGB 0-0-102 [very dark blue color patch]), that is itself a very dark shade but Jim suggested that it should be even darker, so this is it. When you think of it, it should represent the "deep blue space", and an extremly dark blue seems appropriate. The white stripe is said to represent symbolically the Galaxy full of stars. So the flag is kind of a side view of the Milky Way. For the two flags mentioned above, Jim quoted that the script refered to as «The United Space Flag» and the «Command Flag». The are seen in TOS episodes 11 and 12 The Menangerie parts I and II, stardates are given as 3012.4 and 3013.1. According to the Stardates essay by Andrew Main, in this period 4400 units of stardate equals rought to two and a half year, so the difference is about one year. I'd say that's rather contemporarily. These events goes on the in years 2260's, by Gregorian calendar. The banner goes on to be seen in ST Voyager (and I think also in The Next Generation (TNG) epsiodes?).
Željko Heimer, 2 February 2003

Note that there's no official meaning to stardates before the TNG era — all explanations given are made up, albeit sometimes convincingly, by fans. In any event, Season One (apart from the two pilots) is 2266-67, and Season Three is 2268-69 — in other words, exactly 300 years from when they were aired. The Animated Series fits in about 2269, if at all. While there were banners in the TNG era, they were not the red one. However, you are correct: Those banners were clearly decorative, as opposed to the official UFP/Starfleet flags.
Nathan Lamm, 1 February 2003

Either Jim's quote further above refers to something else, Bill Thiess was misremembering, there was some post-hoc rationalising going on or for some other reason entirely the image above is not the one seen in the courtroom. The flag seen in the episode is the Cuban flag, complete with gold fringe to match the other flag on the set as can be seen by this screen capture. This is just one shot — any ambiguity which may exist in this still is totally removed by the other views of this flag which appear at other times.
André Coutanche, 14 October 2006

Checking the archive, Jim' quote does refer to the blue-white-blue triband. The apparent conflict might actualy be due to 2 different things:

  1. the raw materical (flag) use by the set designer (the cuban flag)
  2. what the flag was modified and meant to look like (a triband)

Marc Pasquin, 14 October 2006

After checking the screenshot, I have to say it realy does look like a darkish version of the cuban flag. So as to what it is:

  1. a cuban flag, the set designer misrembered.
  2. a cuban flag, but the set designer doesn't want people to know.
  3. a cuban flag but the set designer (or Bjo trimble) did a bit of retconning to have something better to give people at the 1972 convention.
  4. a few bits of fabric which only looks like a cuban flag due to a freak combination of visual factors.

Pernaly I'd say either 2 or 3.
Marc Pasquin, 20 October 2006

What is important here is that what was reported to me by Bjo Trimble was that no actual flag was used. It was a stage prop made to look like a flag, but was not an actual flag. I have since corroborated this with other students of Star Trek whom I consider even more knowledgeable that myself. While it does bear a resemblance to the configuration of the Cuban flag, at best it was a vexillioid, or perhaps the more recently discussed flagoid, constructed to represent the as yet undefined United Space, as it was referred to in the shooting script. I no longer have access to a screen shot of this, but I stand by my research, which are based on a conversations of over thirty years ago. Mr. Thiess is unavailable, having passed away. I have e-mailed Ms. Bjo Trimble to see if she recalls our exchange, which was in reference to her book, the Star Trek Concordance. If further research come to light, or better photos I stand ready to accecpt it; but until then all interpertations of this scene remain opinion. With regard to the image, I am, however, in complete agreement that it may be out of place in this context as this was never shown on the air; but is rather a fan-based reconstruction displayed at a Star Trek Convention in 1972, and is therefore non-canon. It should be identified as such.
Jim Ferrigan, 21 October 2006

I would definitively rule out the "freak combination of visual factors" as further evidenced by this screen capture. That being said, Bjo's report is contradicted by the evidence of what appeared in the show.
André Coutanche, 27 October 2006

It appears to be unquestionably a Cuban flag, and given that Star Trek was shot at Desilu Studios, the item may well have been the personal property of Desi Arnaz and/or Lucille Ball.
William Wright, 28 March 2015


Starfleet's Flag

An episode of DS9 shows a yellow flag for Starfleet, which is the semi-military organization of the Federation charged with the duty of defence, exploration, and assistance. As far as I could tell is had the Starfleet insignia in the middle on a yellow field, with the words Starfleet along the bottom.
Dipesh Navsaria, 9 June 1996

Starfleet Command

[starfleet command flag]
image by Željko Heimer

[starfleet command flag]
image by Željko Heimer

During a hearing of a Dabo girl Leosa in Admiral Paris' quarters in the Starfleet Communications Research Center two flags are hoisted in the back of his desk. Unfortunately, both have the emblems partially covered, but it seems that both carry the same emblem inscribed STARFLEET COMMAND — (UNITED FEDERATION OF PLANETS). The left flag is gray with the emblem while the right one is yellow. Actually, it may well be that the yellow flag has somewhat different inscription, possibly refering to the Comm. Research Center, though it seems that the emblems are otherwise entirely equal — however that part of the emblem is not visible at any moment.
Željko Heimer, 4 November 2003

The yellow flag is the standard Starfleet one, often hung in offices next to the Federation's. I've always wondered about the grey one — especially so if it has a standard fleet emblem. Perhaps it's just a color match — in other words, neither is an official flag, but they look good side-by-side. I should also point out that the color grey increasingly appears in Starfleet uniforms in this period. Perhaps it's an admiral's, or Fleet Command, flag.
Nathan Lamm, 4 November 2003

There is a extradiction hearing for Worf after destroying a ship in a battle. As is already usual the flags in ST series in most usually seen in court rooms – here behind the Vulkan judge Admiral T'Lara of the Star Fleet. To her left the flag of the Star Fleet Command. It is yellow with SFC emblem (as I posted recently reporting from epsiode VOY 151), but here the emblem appears to be in multiple colours – unfortunately, the quality of copy I have do not allow me more detailed analysis.
Željko Heimer, 23 November 2003

In episode 126 of Deep Space Nine, "Behind the Lines", Captian Sisko is transfered on Star Base 375. In his office there is the yellow flag of the Star Fleet Command, similar as described in VOY 151, but here the emblem is multicoloured – background blue with white stars that seem irregular, the parabolic shape white the star voided (showing blue with stars), the check shape yellow bordered black, the two rings red, black between them, inscription white.
Željko Heimer, 30 November 2003

In VOY 166 "Friendship One", The two flags, the yellow and the gray one, just as in VOY 151, are seen behind Admiral Hendricks, talking to Janeway by interstelar video-link, giving orders to her. A better closeup showes that they are not as I posted previously – having slight differences in the colouring of the emblems (otherwise apparently the same emblems). The gray flag has the same gray emblem bakcground, the dark gray "parabolical shape" (for lack of better name) with gray star in it, double red ring with white inscription. The "check shape" is not visible. The yellow flag has the dark gray emblem, the gray parabolical shape with dark gray star, outer rigng is red, but inner one seems to be also gray, inscription white, the check shape is hardly seen, might be yellow or gray, hard to tell.
Željko Heimer, 30 November 2003

I've found some pictures of the Admiral Paris, the office and the flags at Star Trek Voyager Net, but the details are indeed problematic. [Images at this Omega Sector page.] The same pages give the following interpretation when describing the office of Admiral Paris:

Behind his desk (which seems to be made of wood) are the flags of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets.
About half of the grey was shown elsewhere on the site, where a burial casing is visible with the flag draped over it. [Images at this Trek Core page and the next page.] The interpretation there was
The Federation flag is draped over it.

Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 20 September 2007

Starfleet Academy

[starfleet academy flag]
image by Željko Heimer, using a logo found at

In the ST:TNG episode 119 titled "The First Duty" (Season Five) the flag of the Starfleet Academy is seen. The Starfleet Academy is located in the (24th century) San Francisco on Earth, and it is the school that makes the officers of the famous explorers — the Starfleet. The flag follows the apparently traditional pattern of the unit emblem set in the middle of the unicoloured sheet. In this case the filed is white. The logo is triangular, bordered red with white inscription in that border "STARFLEET ACADEMY / EX ASTRIS, SCIENTIA / SAN FRANCISCO . MMCLXI", the interior shows the black shape of the Golden Gate Bridge and a radiating rising sun from right against gray sky; atop the bridge is the Starfleet logo in yellow and red (yellow elipse and red parabol). The Starfleet Academy was established, if we believe the logo, in AD 2161.
Željko Heimer, 27 August 2003

Starfleet was established much earlier-it exists by the time of the latest series, in 2151. The United Federation of Planets was established in 2161, and the Academy in the same year. Fleet officers seem to have trained at other locales (much like the US' ROTC) in the meantime, and the Fleet was an Earth organization, only later folding into the UFP. That logo is no longer used by the early 2370's — the badge itself has a trapezoidal background, and there's no background at all on many Fleet emblems. It is the Golden Gate Bridge in the logo, by the way- logically enough. Starfleet Headquarters in north of San Francisco, in modern-day Marin County, across that bridge from the city, along with the Federation Council (the President's offices are in Paris). It's usually called «San Francisco», probably out of convenience — many other Fleet and UFP offices are in the city itself. The Academy is nearby — it's filmed on an actual estate.
Nathan Lamm, 27 August 2003

Starship Enterprise

[Enterprise flag]
image by Željko Heimer

Light blue with the ship's emblem in the middle, emblem consisting of a black bordered parabolic shield containing a black five-pointed star with much elongated top ray.
Željko Heimer, 7 December 2002

The star is only the symbol of one of the three divisions aboard (granted, it's Command). Are you certain it was there?
Nathan Lamm, 1 February 2003

No, I'm not. I was discussing this with Jim Ferrigan, and he suggested me to enlarge the emblem to 2/3 of hoist height (since I initially made it half the hoist). I asked him similarly, but I can't find his answer. Here is part of my thoughts from that correspondence:

The central emblem in the Enterprise insignia (the star) stands for the "command branch" (if that is the name for it). It is worn on the insignia of the officers of the command, helm, navigation and like. Other officers on the ship use other central emblem: "hexagonal spiral" (for the lack of better name) for ingeneering, communication and security crew; two circles by science and medical and good old red cross by nurses. If the central "branch insignia" (to call that emblem so) is part of the ship insignia, does it mean that ships are also classified into "branches". If so, does it mean that e.g. a captain of a "science ship" does not wear the patch that equals the ship's patch but the one with different "branch insignia"?

Željko Heimer, 2 February 2003

The Engineering/Services symbol is a stylized spiral galaxy (like ours); the Sciences symbol is a stylized ringed planet. Does a command officer of a science ship wear sciences insignia? Well, there was an alternate future story in The Next Generation finale in which Dr. Crusher, the Enterprise's Chief Medical Officer, is in command of a medical vessel, but wears Command colors. On the other hand, Mr. Spock is both First/Executive Officer and Chief Science Officer, yet wears Sciences Colors — except in the movies, when, upon his promotion to captain rank (he's still XO), he wears Command Colors. So the rule seems to be those at captain rank (and above) wear Command colors and insignia, no matter their department; those below wear department colors, whatever their other positions.
Nathan Lamm, 3 February 2003

According to Bjo Trimble who interviewed set designer William W. Thiess, the flag was a light blue rectangle in the center of which was the Command Insignia of the USS Enterprise.
Jim Ferrigan, 7 December 2003

One of the flag in the episode "The Menagerie" (a screen capture can be seen here) looks as though it could be the Enterprise flag though it is impossible to be sure with the flag draped as it is.
André Coutanche, 14 October 2006

"The Niners" (Deep Space Nine baseball team)

The crew of DS9 plays a game of baseball against (Starfleet) Vulcan ship's crew. During the game, there is a pennant set above the Niners (it is the name of the DS9 team) bench, apparently from a stif material and not of textile. It is triangular, light blue with the Niners logo at hoist and inscription to the fly "NINERS" and below it in smaller font "DEEP SPACE NINE". The logo conists of a white baseball with red stiches like this ")(" where the fly stich is covered over with the pilons of the red silhuete of the DS9 station to the fly of the ball. The fonts used for inscriptions are that of the DS9 series title typeface.
Željko Heimer, 23 December 2003