captain kirk in the command seat
If main engineering is the heart of a ship, the bridge is its brain. From here the captain and duty officers can can oversee all major ships's functions, ensuring that missions are carried out with maximum efficiency
As with all Constitution Class starships, the bridge of the Enterprise is located on deck, at the top of the saucer section. From his centre seat on the bridge, the captain can supervise all ship's operations easily and efficiently.
In the 2250's, the bridge of Captain Christopher Pike's Enterprise is equipped with gooseneck viewers at helm and navigation. By the time Captian James T Kirk takes command in 2263, these have been replaced with more streamlined modern display panels which do not extend above the consoles, and the previously round edged main viewscreen has been replaced by a wider, more rectangular modle. Other minor engineering and design changes take plaace between the missions and the two captains, and continue throughout Kirk's tenure as newer, more advanced equipment becomes avaliable. When the Enterprise undergoes a major refit in 2271, the bridge is replaced with an entirely new module.
In general however the basic bridge layout of central command chairs encircled by other duty stations will remain the same way well into the next century on almost all Starfleet vessels.
Kirk's bridge during the 2260's is circular and is constructed on two levels. A red handrail seperates the upper from the lower level, and traffic between the two is facilitated by three short staircase. To the right of the red doors to the torbolift, which brings personel onto the upper level of the bridge, is a schematic of the bridge.
The captain's station is a single chair on a slightly raised platform in the center of the bridge. From this location he can issue commands, receive reports, watch the main viewscreen, speak to the crew and personally control and override command functions. Controls are in easy reach on the arms of the chair.
Just below the captain and forward from his position is a single command module normally manned by two crew members. On the left as seen from the captain's position is the helm console, and on the right is the navigation console. In addition to their primary functions, the helmsman and navigator are also responsible for aiming and firing the ship's weapons. An astrogator is positioned between the seats of these two officers.
The main viewscreen can display output from sensors, visual communications or information from tactical and library computers. Function lights move from left to right across the bottom of the screen.
Around the edge of the upper or outer level of the bridge are stations that control major ship's functions, provide necessary data and in some cases duplicate functions that are normally handled in other parts of the ship
Starting at the main viewscreen and moving clockwise, the stations are; defense subspace monitor, defense and weapons station, navigation station, science station, communications station. then comes the turbolift door, then the engineering station, environmental station, and engineering subspace monitor.