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Try as you might, your ships will never be as cool as John Berkey's.

"The only thing between you and the vacuum of space is six feet of solid style."
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The cool ship can be a spaceship that other characters consider a piece of junk. In fact, you get extra points for junky. If you can't call it a rustbucket, though, it has to be the one and only latest, just-about-a-prototype, bleeding-edge techno-miracle.

An ancient living Precursor-craft, retrofitted with the latest techno-miracle gadgetry disguised as a rustbucket, that can think for itself... Okay, dude, quit hogging the cool.

A form of Cool Ship. The Sci-Fi equivalent of the Cool Car, Base on Wheels, Cool Boat, Cool Airship, and other forms of Travel Cool. In fact, because Space Is an Ocean, it is often heavily inspired by the Cool Boat; many spaceship types are named after equivalent water ship types. See the Standard Sci-Fi Fleet for various types.

Cool ships can even be single-seaters or maybe doubleseaters with no room to get up and walk around but capable of zipping across the cosmos in no time. The lack of facilities is a non-issue, Hand Waved for the Rule of Cool.

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To be even cooler, the cool starship may also be a Faceship or come with escape pods, lasers, faster than light drivenote , and transporters. If enemies try to board it, you may need to activate the Self-Destruct Mechanism.

If the cool starship has enough surreal qualities, it may be an Eldritch Starship as well.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Many anime series are named after the Cool Ship:
  • UFO Robo Grendizer: The title Humongous Mecha is both a giant robot and a starship. Grendizer can combine with a flying device to form a Cool Starship allowing Faster-Than-Light Travel between planets. Vegans' spaceships also count.
  • The Bebop from Cowboy Bebop.
    • Also, the personal fighter ships used by Spike (Swordfish), Faye (Redtail), and Jet (Hammerhead).
    • The shuttle Columbia. Even if it does almost burn up on re-entry, the fact that an ancient space shuttle still sort-of-kind-of works is pretty freaking awesome.
  • The Blue Typhoon from Sonic X. It even has a Thunderbird 2 style launch pad for the smaller vessels!
  • The Gekko-Go aircraft from Eureka Seven.
  • The Swordbreaker from Lost Universe.
  • The Soyokaze from Irresponsible Captain Tylor The junky rust bucket trope is somewhat subverted here, as the ship is recognized as junk by everybody and their mother's dog.
    • The played straight component of it includes the fact that it has a bar, spa, fighter hanger, and marine detachment.
  • The Arcus Prima flying Simoun carrier from Simoun (and the Messis as an example of a junky rust bucket).
    • Technically just airships - no space-travel exists in Simoun universe.
  • The Silvana airship from Last Exile, and the Exile itself when the Mysteria awaken it and it sheds its defensive cocoon.
  • Space Battleship Ryo-Ohki from Tenchi Muyo!, who also doubled as a Weasel Mascot.
    • Not to mention Kagato's ship, the Soja, from the OVA. It had as many dimensions as it did floors. Including a Pocket Dimension where its actual creator, Washu, was kept prisoner, sealed inside a Crystal Prison.
    • Jurian ships in general look like nature preserves.
    • The Galaxy Police are no slouches at building cool starships either.
  • The Arcadia from Captain Harlock and all related series.
  • The Galaxy Express 999. Steam trains IN SPACE!.
  • The Nirvana in Vandread.
    • And the bigger enemy ships too.
  • Gundam gives us the White Base, the Albion, the Argama, the Ra Cailum, the Reinforce Jr., the Ptolemaios, and the Archangel, among others (Check this fan-arranged pic for size comparisons.)
    • The Diva from Gundam AGE gets upgraded into a transforming White Base with a Wave Motion Gun.
    • Size-wise however, all of them pale in comparison to the behemoths from Gundam Wing:
      • The interstellar vesel Peacemillion, a fan-shaped starship which is almost the same size as a space colony.
      • ... which was then out-trumped by the White Fang battleship Libra, a four-diamond, colony-sized vessel with a Wave Motion Gun in the center.
    • Then there's the asteroid-like deep-space ship Celestial Being from Gundam 00. Houses a quantum supercomputer? Check. Fully operational mobile suit factory? Check. Thousands of laser emplacements all over the surface? Check. Wave Motion Gun? Check. This was a ship designed to travel interstellar distances and safeguard thousands of human beings on board from alien threats. It can also turn completely invisible. It clocks in as the largest mobile spaceship in the franchise at 15 kilometers... not counting the ELS planetoid as a ship, which was roughly the size of the Moon.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren was the Moon for awhile (not a typo).
    • The fact that it turns into a Planet-sized Mecha with sunglasses on both torso and head only makes it more awesome.
    • The Anti-Spirals have the Ashtangas which look like a HUGE (as in, several times the size of a planet) stone with several dozen faces and arms - scary as hell.
    • The original Dai-Gurren and the Tengen Toppa Dai-Gurren (a billions times bigger version that looks more demonic). The fact that the latter can shoot inter-dimensional anchors or fire missile barrages that affects probability, as in missiles that make it more improbable that the enemy will evade future attacks. And that's considered weak.
  • The Arthra from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's.
    • It gets decooled in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers when the ship is in the process of decommissioning, but rides one last time to serve as a base. In return, the third season gives us The Saint's Cradle, a wickedly cool looking and extremely powerful warship. And by the way, Chrono has also a new spaceship, the Claudia.
    • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force gives the Esquad Hückebein (which is so cool, it violates the laws of magi-physics) to the villains, and the Wolfram (a Spiritual Successor to Arthra) to the heroes.
  • The Bay Tower Base, and later the Orbit Base from Yuusha-Oh GaoGaiGar are multiple Cool Ships connected to a hub, which can deploy and serve various purposes. Three of them transform into the handle of a giant hammer in the OVA.
    • Also the J-Ark, a Cool Starship whose bridge detaches from the ship and turns into a Cool Robot that can then recombine with the rest of the Ark to form the even Cooler Robot King J-Der. It's also piloted by Soldato-J, one of the biggest badasses in the series, for even more cool points.
  • The Shangri-La from Toward the Terra contains wide open fields, gardens, flowing rivers, palisades, a massive shrine for its leader, and a "bridge" in the form of a platform suspended above the aforementioned fields. Further, the ship uses psychic energy to attack, defend, and conceal itself, is capable of both space and atmospheric flight, and can even warp from the surface of a planet.
  • Believe it or not, the manga version of Chrono Crusade actually contains a (spoileriffic) example. Pandaemonium, the demon's world, is actually a gigantic spaceship that crashed into Earth and sank to the bottom of the ocean. It's huge, containing a huge city inside of it, including a large field of grass and trees. And yes, this means the demons are actually aliens.
  • The Amaterasu from Starship Operators. Being the newest ship made with cutting edge technology probably has something to do with it.
  • Getter Robo has the Emperor Machines, three planet-sized starships made from Mars And The Dinosaurs.
  • La Muse and various other ships from Kiddy Grade.
  • All of the ships from Gankutsuou are unbelievably cool.
  • Imperial admirals' ships in Legend of Galactic Heroes, primarily Reinhard's Brunhilde and Muller's Percivale.
  • Frieza and Cooler of Dragon Ball Z each have at least one.
  • The Bell from Magic User's Club.
  • Planetes has Debris Section's Toybox, which is the epitome of Used Future and is still working fine despite being older than some of the crew and gets a spectacular sendoff. The Wernher von Braun fits into the "techno-miracle" category.
  • Many of the ships in Bodacious Space Pirates such as the Bentenmaru, the Barbaroosa, the Odette II, the Parabellum and the Grand Cross.
  • Transformers Headmasters has Rodimus Prime's successor, Fortress Maximus - a Headmaster whose massive (non-living) Transtector body becomes the Battleship Maximus. Like his Western counterpart, Fortress Maximus is roughly city-sized.
    • Transformers Masterforce introduced Fortress's brother Grand Maximus, whose battleship mode is... New Battleship Maximus. Really. Unlike his big brother's Transtector, though, Grand's is only a bit larger than God Ginrai, comparable in size to the Marvel Comics version of Fortress Maximus; both of them are just large enough in battleship mode to allow God Ginrai or Powermaster Optimus Prime to stand on. As a result, full-size Transformers can't hitch a ride inside Grand's ship, but it can accomodate humans (or human-sized Transformers).

    Comic Books 
  • The Ship of Starlord, simply called "Ship", a sleek, highly maneuverable starship— which is actually a sentient shapeshifting Energy Being who is in love with her pilot.
  • The giant Celestial-built Ship (also simply called Ship) of X-Factor. Eventually blows up, but the A.I. survives and becomes an ally of Cable.
  • Friday, the "Smartship" of Power Pack.
  • The Starjammer, of the Space Pirate group of that name who are friends of the X-Men.
  • The Carrier, interdimensional base of The Authority.
  • The shiftship from Planetary
  • Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy had two cool ships and a mobile, time-travelling space station. And currently live in the severed head of a robot alien.
  • The Silver Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl had a Thanagarian starship with a retro look.
  • The Fantastic Four used to have an orbital rocket that launched from the middle of Manhattan. It was phased out in favor of a captured Skrull starship.
  • Comet Man's alien mentor Max has a Fortiquian Comet Ship, which disguises itself as, guess what, a comet in order to make observation easier.
  • In Bill Mantlo's Micronauts, the team's Robot Buddy Biotron gets destroyed, only to be rebuilt as a Living Ship-slash-Humongous Mecha named Bioship. Bioship later gets destroyed, and he is rebuilt again in his original human-sized "Biotron" form.
  • Spaceman Spiff's little red rocketship from Calvin and Hobbes. Come on, you know you love it.
    • Regular Calvin's little red wagon deserves a mention for somehow managing to get to Mars and back.
    • Calvin's cardboard box has to be one of the coolest devices ever: it's anything the plot requires it to be, including a time machine, but still looks like an ordinary cardboard box to most people.
  • A new Star Trek: Deep Space Nine comic features the Luck Of The Draw, an awesome little ship with a badass rotating warp drive thing on the back.
  • Superman:
    • Brainiac has a ship that, in many incarnations, is a giant version of his head with tentacles on it.
    • In War World Mongul's green spaceship is the size of a small city.
  • As seen in Supergirl story Red Daughter of Krypton, the Red Lanterns have the Kaalvar, their flagship. It's a large, sleek, silver-grey starship armed with a Wave Motion Gun.
  • Any and all space vessels designed by Jack Kirby.
  • In DC's Star Raiders graphic novel, the titular ship is a fast, nimble one-man attack craft with a galaxy-skipping warp drive and disproportionately heavy armament and defenses. It's so cool that simply discovering it inspires Jed and Tommy to start La Résistance against the Zylons and use it as their flagship.
  • In BIONICLE, the entire universe of the first 8 years of the story is contained within a 16 million feet tall sentient robot which travels between planets.
  • The Ark of The Transformers. Unlike its cartoon counterpart which never flew again, Grimlock got the Autobots to get the ship spaceworthy in a manner of months, and later even smacks Unicron in the face with it! It was then stolen by Shockwave and Starscream, only for Ratchet to crash it into the Earth again to stop them (as well as Megatron and Galvatron who were also on board). What happened to it next depends on the subsequent continuity:
    • In Generation 2, Megatron was able to get the Ark up and running again, apparently on his own, but it was destroyed early on in the series by Fortress Maximus.
    • In Regeneration One, Megatron used it as his control center to nuke the Earth and control his zombie Decepticon army. After Megatron was stopped, Galvatron took over, and got it into space before Optimus Prime could arrive to destroy it; only Galvatron brought Starscream along, and Starscream dumped Galvatron off at the first opportunity. The Ark survived in the possession of Starscream and the newly-restored Shockwave through the final battle..
    • Speaking of Fortress Maximus, he had the Steelhaven, which ferried his faction from Cybertron to Nebulos to Earth, and then went back to Nebulos to get a new body for Optimus Prime. It disappears after a while, though, possibly suggesting it was cannibalized to make further repairs to the Ark.
    • Blast-Off and Sky Lynx each served as a Cool Starship for the Spakehikers, a bunch of human kids who were inadvertently caught up in Blaster's self-imposed exile from Commander Grimlock's Autobots. Being a Combaticon, Blast-Off only cooperated because of the mode lock device intended for Blaster being used on him instead.
  • The IDW continuity of The Transformers featured a series of numbered ships named after the original Ark, which was lost in the Dead Universe. The Wreckers also have their own Cool Starship, the Xantium, which looks like the mutant offspring of Fortress Maximus and the Argama.
  • Dark Empire: The Eclipse Dreadnought, the big brother of the Executor Super Star Destroyer of The Empire Strikes Back fame. How awesome is it? It's twice as big mass-wise (albeit a little shorter), jet black, and has a mini-superlaser on its nose that can render a planet uninhabitable in a single shot. It's meant to take on entire fleets and come out victorious.
  • Impulse's spaceship from Young Justice is a really nice and well made ship in addition to being completely random and unexpected. It's the favor he asked from Ali Ben Styn back when the grateful ruler offered boons to the first three members of the team since Imp has no concept of just what a huge deal building such a thing would be and showed no restraint in his request.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: The HMS Asuka Langley Sohryu and the HMS Shinji Ikari, two moon-sized war starships named after the main characters.
  • Calvin's cardboard box actually acts as a plane in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, and it flies in space a lot more often.
    • A more traditional starship is plucked straight from the future in "RIP Calvin":
    It was sort of roundish ship with red and blue wires running all across it. It had circular windows all around the front, and it had one of those escalators that futuristic ships have.
  • In the upcoming XSGCOM: Multiverse The United Galaxies Ship Arthur Pendragon, the one of its kind X-306 class Dreadnought. 1.75 Kilometres from stern to bow, 65 million tonnes of mass, the ship features an Arcturus Reactornote , four Zero Point Modules, 12 Neutrino Ion Generators and 24 Mark IV Naquadah Reactors for power generation, a Lantean Wormhole Drive, an Asgard Intergalactic Hyperdrive, a Graviton Pulse Drivenote , a Time Jumper Drive and an Alternate Reality Drive. The ship is built around a Lantean Particle Cannonnote  and has two Ori Energy Beam Weapons, four "Ripper" Heavy Staff Gatling Cannons, four Tollan Heavy Ion Cannons, eight Asgard Plasma Beam Weapons, 16 Ori Pulse Weapons, 36 Railguns, 48 X-COM Laser Cannons, 48 X-COM Phaser Cannons, four Ancient Drone Launchersnote , four VLS missile batteriesnote , 16 Horizon Missilesnote , eight Tollan "Chicxulub" Class Phasing Bombsnote , four Tollan "Serita" Class Phasing Bombsnote  and two Tainted ZPM Warheadsnote  for further armaments. It also sports improved Asgard Shields as well as a Lantean City Ship class shield and has a hull made of laminate of Kull-Warrior Armour weave, Trinium/Cydonium alloy, Aqua-Plastics and mono-molecular fibre mesh. Additional systems include a Lantean Cloaking Device, Tollan Phase-Shifting Device as well as Asgard Transporter Beams.
  • The Golden Age series has the Singularity, which doubles as a Shiny-Looking Spaceship. In fact, most of the United Galaxies ships qualify, especially compared to the junkier, less-advanced ships of the Alternian Empire.
  • Cycles Upon Cycles: The Normandy. It's a souped-up Battlecruiser with a stealth cloak and a rapid-fire Yamato Cannon, and carries everything from Marines to a detachment of Protoss, in addition to mechanized and aerial forces.

    Film 
  • For All Mankind is a documentary about the original Cool Starships, all the cooler because they were real—the starships of NASA's Apollo program.
  • The titular starship from the live action adaptation of Space Battleship Yamato. Built from the wreck of a World War II battleship giving it even more reason to be awesome, comes complete with a starfighter squadron, massive beam cannons, rows upon rows of beam gatling guns, and of course, THE Wave Motion Gun. Not to mention this one ship fought off an entire alien race and is the only reason the Earth was saved.
    • Technically, since it carries a squadron of starfighters, can destroy fleets with its Wave Motion Gun and has all the firepower of an actual battleship that attacks with laser beams instead of bullets, the more accurate title would have been Space Battlestar Yamato.
  • District 9, where a ship that looked freaking AMAZING hovering over Johannesburg turned out to be a (mostly) inoperable piece of junk. Case in point.
  • From the Star Wars movies:
    • Han Solo's Millennium Falcon is the "junky" kind: a set of engines, a bunch of plating and a couple of guns held together with bubblegum, duct tape, and the will of The Force. However, although the ship's systems can be unreliable, the ship is faster than anything and has enough armaments (guns, missiles) to be considered a powerful warship for its size. The most techno-miraculous thing about it is that it flies at all, let alone so well. Not to mention that it's over 100 years old, per the ''Legacy of the Force'' series. Never mind that it's falling apart at the seams, the Falcon is, quite simply, an ostensible light freighter that can outshoot, outrun, and outmaneuver starfighters. A heavily modified light bulk freighter (in fact, customization's the raison d'etre of some of the manufacturer's starship lines including the Falcon's) piloted by a top of his class naval academy graduate. The Falcon is even cool enough to jump franchises and fight the Borg in a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in Star Trek: First Contact.
  • Darth Vader's dagger-shaped flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Executor. If you weren't in awe when you first saw it dwarf a freaking Star Destroyer in The Empire Strikes Back, then you were watching it wrong.
  • The standard-issue T-65 X-Wing— of which the one we see the most of is Luke's— cuts an impressive and distinctive silhouette. It's not the fastest or the toughest or the best-armed, but it may well be the most versatile, and in the hands of a skilled pilot can take on darn near any mission. It got upgraded for The Force Awakens, with the T-70, which is an upgraded version with better shields, improved manoeuvrability, and a small antipersonnel turret.
  • The Nebulon-B and Acclaimator class frigates look pretty damn cool, and the Nebulon-B is quite formidable for its size.
  • The standard-issue Imperial Star Destroyer. The way it looms into the scene after the title crawl in A New Hope is just awe-inspiring. And damn if it doesn't look intimidating.
  • The Death Star, so large that it's easily mistaken for a moon, so powerful that it's the rough equivalent of the rest of the Imperial fleet put together, with a laser that blows up planets.
  • Vader's personal TIE Advanced x1. It manages to take a TIE Fighter, essentially the Star Wars version of Zerglings, and actually make it a decent combatant. Shields and a hyperdrive go a long way to making it the Imperial version of an X-wing or Y-wing. The only drawback is that it moves slightly more slowly than average TIE Fighter, although the fact that the only one we see in the films is flown by the greatest pilot in history tends to make up for this.
  • On that note, the TIE Interceptor. While still just as fragile as a typical TIE Fighter, it's wicked-fast and has a dagger-like profile that absolutely screams "Evil" with a capital E. Then there's the Defender, an upgraded, more durable Interceptor with three wings, all fitted with guns, plus shielding and a hyperdrive. When New Republic pilots run into them in the novels, they conclude that if the Empire had managed to mass-produce those, the war would have gone very differently.
  • The Delta-7 Aethersprite. For the curious, that's the wedge-shaped one Obi-Wan flew in Attack of the Clones. That thing is tiny, yet Obi-Wan is still able to take on another cool ship, the Slave I, which is owned and maintained by a Mandalorian Bounty Hunter.
  • Carracks are pretty cool too. They're smaller frigate-sized warships, but they're fast and bring to bear a lot of heavy turbolaser batteries, meaning that small squadrons of them can bring down capital ships many times their size. Their weapon mounts are also modular, meaning they can easily and inexpensively swap out turbolasers for quick-firing laser cannons when used as anti-starfighter escorts, or ion cannons when used in a police role against smugglers and pirates.
  • The giant saucers from Independence Day. Mainly because of their sheer size, presence (Gravitas. Balls.) and destructive force, rather than anything uniquely "cool" about the design of the ships themselves. The mother ship was "only" 500 kilometers across, yet 1/4 the mass of the Moon. That made it 20 times the density of solid lead, on average. Tell me that ain't cool!
    • The sequel gives us an even larger and more advanced mothership that can actually land on a planet (taking up much of the Atlantic Ocean), drill to its core with a giant laser, and suck out the core. Oh, and its sheer gravity sucks up all the buildings in the area.
  • The Gotengo of Atragon and Godzilla: Final Wars has a massive beam shooting drill on its bow and can function in the air, under the sea and dig through the ground.
  • The Cygnus from Disney's The Black Hole. It's made of thin struts of metal supporting acres of glass. It looks like an enormous spaceship-shaped greenhouse, lit by millions of twinkly lights. The only reason such an amazingly beautiful but fragile thing can survive spaceflight is the Rule of Cool.
  • The RLS Legacy from Treasure Planet should count as well. It's a classical sailing ship traveling through space (or the Etherium) and in one scene it even escapes from a black hole!. If that isn't cool, nothing is.
  • Star Trek universe:
    • Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
    • Enterprise-D...the future refit from "All Good Things". Best Star Trek ship EVER. A third warp engine sitting between the original two, and a freaking huge phaser cannon running pretty much the whole length of the ship.
    • The refit Enterprise from the TOS movies was pretty freakin cool also, especially in the first two moves. Admit it... love or hate Star Trek: The Motion Picture, you enjoyed that first Scenery Porn reveal of the ship in all her glory...
      • The original Lady E (see Live-Action TV below), despite being converted to a training ship and getting her shit wrecked, the Enterprise simply doesn't go down, and comes back to mop floors with the Reliant. She returns in the sequel where, despite still being damaged from the previous film, critically undermanned, running under heavy automation, and lacking the actual capacity to raise her shields, still gives as good as she gets from a Klingon bird-of-prey.
    • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
      • The Miranda-class light cruiser USS Reliant, the first new class of Federation ship to be introduced onscreen in the franchise, just looks plain badass.
    • Played with in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The USS Excelsior was intended to be an uncool starship, an obnoxiously modernist contrast to the good old Enterprise we know and love. We love her anyways. Particularly once Sulu got ahold of her.
    • Also from that movie was the USS Grissom. Small, sleek, and completely unlike anything ever seen in Star Trek up to that point thanks to its unique split-level design.
    • The Enterprise-B that appeared in Star Trek: Generations was also an Excelsior-class starship, and proved to be as underprepared and bug-ridden as its class-type predecessor. Of course, it was so brand new most of its best toys were to be installed Tuesday.
    • Then there's the one that started it all, Zefram Cochrane's warp vessel, the Phoenix. At first it just looks like this rickety, cobbled-together thing that's barely a step up from a 60's space capsule... Then the side panels come off, and the warp nacelles unfold and lock into position. And that is when the discerning Trekkie knows epic-ness is about to ensue.
    • The Enterprise -E. Sovereign class, the most heavily armed and advanced starship in Starfleet in the regular Star Trek verse. In earlier (real life chronology) Star Trek they were hesitant to make the ships out to be more than exploration vessels with a reasonable armament needed for defense. After the introduction of the Defiant in Deep Space Nine, they felt more comfortable with a genuine battlecruiser, which the Enterprise-E happily fulfilled. Her Big Damn Heroes entry into the Borg battle in First Contact exemplifies this ship's power. Later uses of the ship, sadly, gave it more of a Butt-Monkey status. And aesthetically, the Enterprise-E pretty much combines the coolest aspects of the Enterprise-A, Excelsior, and Enterprise-D.
    • The aliens of the Trek movies? Valdore, Ru'afo's ship and the freakin' Scimitar.
    • The re-imagined USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) from the 2009 Star Trek (2009) movie. This highly underrated ship demonstrated how a Beam Spam is meant to be done. According to the crew, it was explicitly designed to be the Enterprise from The Original Series with the sleekness of a Hot Rod.
    • The USS Vengeance from Star Trek: Into Darkness is this and more. As if the namenote  doesn't indicate some level of badass, then the ship's classification will: she's meant to be the starship version of the old HMS Dreadnought and the line of ships she inspired, all in anticipation of a full out war with the Klingons. It's actually capable of catching up with ships in warp in just a few seconds, destructive as hell and can be operated with minimal crew members, sometimes even a single guy. And that's not even touching the subject of who designed her... Khan frickin Noonien Singh.
    • Star Trek Beyond gives us the USS Franklin, a pre-NX-1 ship with a much more utilitarian look. Justified because her primary purse was to transport MAKO troops.
  • USS Discovery of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. A spaceship controlled by a genius computer in which the only real way to travel is in a cryo-chamber. Admittedly not FTL, but ranks highly on the Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness in that respect. However, as humanity's first long distance spaceship, its a pretty good effort, delivering the astronauts to Jupiter (Saturn in the book). Also the inspiration for the Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot, accompanied by the "Adagio" from ''Gayane'' by Khachaturian.
  • The brief external shot of the Venture Star in Avatar was pure scenery porn. The spacecraft design was incredibly realistic, perhaps more so than any other movie starship to date, being based on Charles Pellegrino and Jim Powell's Valkyrie antimatter starship, with an additional Laser Sail for "ground power" acceleration while outbound from Earth.
  • The possible patron saint of this trope is the bubble spaceship from The Fountain. It's a freaking bubble, and it houses some land, the Tree Of Life, and Hugh Jackman. How can you beat that?
  • The NSEA Protector from Galaxy Quest. Lovingly and accurately modeled by the Thermians after the ship from the (cancelled) TV show, it can do everything a TV starship can do. It's also the last holdout of Thermian civilization against Sarris's forces.
  • The Last Starfighter:
  • The Messiah from Deep Impact. An ambitious Orion Drive-powered spacecraft, theoretically capable of interstellar travel (but put to emergency use as a comet-buster). Oddly, the coolest thing about it — how the Orion drive actually works (it throws nuclear bombs out the back of the space ship and rides the blast waves) — was never mentioned in the film.
  • Spaceball-1 from Spaceballs is a parody of cool starships. Its introduction is an Overly Long Gag about how huge the actual thing is (to the point that even the BGM grows impatient for it to end)note , it transforms into a humongous Robot Maid, and it includes a mall, a three-ring circus, and a zoo. Lon Starr's space ship Eagle-5 is, likewise, a parody of the Millennium Falcon. It's a Winnebago with wings. It still seems decently cool because it has a secret FTL drive...which then gets subverted because using it quickly burns up the gas.
  • The ZARYa from the Soviet sci-fi classic Moscow — Cassiopeia. As you can see, most of the ship is taken up by its giant Antimatter-powered nuclear engines, which serve to accelerate it to near-light speeds.
  • The "Tet" space station, and the "Odyssey" (for how little time it appears on-screen, anyway) in Oblivion (2013) .
  • Benny's SPACESHIP! SPACESHIP! SPACESHIP! in The LEGO Movie.
  • In the Ender's Game film, the fleet that humans bring to battle the Formics has a number of dedicated Attack Drone carriers, dreadnoughts capable of shredding Formic capital ships with a single volley, and a unique ship armed with the MD-500 (AKA the "Little Doctor"), capable of obliterating an entire fleet or causing an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. The Formics, for their part, appear to only use carriers that launch swarms of fighters, typical of their bug-like mentality.
  • Jupiter Ascending has both the functional and cool looking Aegis ship and the over-the-top elaborate personal ships of the Abrasax family.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Frank N Furter's gothic castle, complete with a ballroom and swimming pool turns out to be a spaceship.
  • Man of Steel: Firstly we have the film's version of the Fortress Of Solitude, an ancient Kryptonian scout ship Clark freed from the ice, and then we have General Zod's ship, a black monster of a ship equipped with a powerful Wave Motion Gun and complete with Black Zero, a terraforming device.

    Music 
  • The Iron Savior, an ancient Atlantean warship capable of razing Earth to the ground, as it did in Unification.

    Podcasts 
  • Naturally present in Jemjammer, since it's set in the Spelljammer setting of Dungeons & Dragons. The main ship used is the Kestrel, which resembles a normal sailing ship but can still ascend beyond the spheres and into the void of wildspace.

    Radio 
  • The Challenger, from James Follett's two Earthsearch series for BBC Radio, is ten miles long and capable of reaching relativistic speeds. Its mission is to search for habitable planets, and it's equipped with sophisticated Terraforming eqipment and two of the most advanced computers ever built. Unfortunately the computers have gone nuts and killed most of the crew, leaving only four kids whom they hope to use as pawns in their evil plan...

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Battlefleet Gothic. Ten-thousand-year-old mile-long cathedrals to war and destruction with broadside guns that can screw continents. In space.
    • Just to clarify: Escorts (the lightest ships) are supposed half a mile to a mile long, Cruisers generally range from 4 to 8 miles long, and Battleships are larger than Super Star Destroyers.
    • The Blackstone Fortresses. Enormous and fantastically ancient mobile starbases built to slay Eldritch Abominations and armed with cannons that shoot Negative Space Wedgies!
    • Anything the Necrons build as well. It's pretty uncommon for anything to slip by Cadia and Ultramar but a bunch of necron frigates snuck through half the Imperium controlled galaxy unnoticed and managed to land on Mars, one of the most heavily defended planets in the setting that has about half the imperial navy in orbit at all times with a considerable nextdoor on Terra as well.
    • Special mention needs to go to the World Engine, a mobile tomb world that went on a planet busting rampage while holding 15 entire Space Marine chapters and a significant portion of the Imperial Navy at bay at the same time.
    • The Cairn-class Tombship deserves special mention here. Not only is it the size of the Imperium's biggest battleships, it's much, much tougher, and it can carry a Sepulchre. No one's sure what exactly is in the Sepulchre, but given that it can Mind Rape entire crew of an aforementioned miles-long flying cathedral from hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, it's doubtful anyone wants to know.
    • Tau ships count, too. As if the fact that within half the Imperium's lifetime the Tau went from "pointed sticks" to "tank-killing railguns, limited FTL, and drone workers", but the Tau avoid the "overdone Gothic" of Imperial space cathedrals in favour of sleek, curved surfaces.
    • The Manta is probably the toughest thing on the table in a standard scale game.
    • How can we have one of these without mentioning Phalanx? Not only is it the size of a small moon, it houses the entire Imperial Fists chapter.
    • And Eternal Crusader, the pimped-out battle barge of the Black Templars.
    • And Bucephalas, the Emperor's battle-barge.
    • And Hunter's Premonition and Covenant of Blood from the Night Lords books.
    • And the Eldar Craftworlds. So big they have in fact been mistaken for planetary bodies, and are able to carry an entire Eldar FLEET (up to and including a couple of their battlecruiser equivalents) in their docking bay... come to think of it most of the Eldar ships are pretty cool too.
    • The Flame of Asuryan deserves special mention here for being undeniably badass.
    • The Planet Killer, basically a Black Stone Fortress that Abbadon The Despoiler got a hold of, whilst there are many ways to blow up a planet in the 41st Millennium, this is considered one of the most efficient. Also unlike other examples of super-ships built around a single Wave Motion Gun with insufficient defence to protect against fighters, the Planet Killer has 50% of its fire power in ranks of heavy lance batteries, its actually capable of solo deployments as its support weapons are capable of matching the damage output of its superweapon. While undeniably cool if you like that sort of thing, it turned out to be hilariously useless without any escort ships in the Gothic Wars; luckily for Chaos they were able to build another one.
      • Just to up the ante, Imperial observers have noted that neither version of the Planet Killer (and newer Chaos ships in general) should be physically impossible - as in it should not be able to exist in the universe, let alone fight. Unfortunately for everyone else, it was constructed on a planet in the Eye Of Terror, a rip in space where the Immaterium intermingles with the physical world - in other words a place where the laws of physics are what you want them to be.
    • Imperial Ironclads - turned into giant rams.
    • Can't mention 40k without an obligatory Ork reference, in this case several. Roks, taking the biggest asteroid you can find and filling it up with More Dakka and engines, Kroozers, which are basically 50% ship splitting ram, 40% Dakka, 10% anything else, and the Space Hulk, biggest ship in the game, made from random space junk slamming into each other until it hits the mass of an average moon, or bigger. Also like the Kroozers, the Space Hulk will attempt to ram targets or rather obliterate them into sub-atomic particles and like all Ork things, including the other ships, has more guns on it than any other faction, to the point of the space hulk being close, close to 1% of the way to Enough Dakka. Remember this is a race that has its equipment held together by some primeaval ancestor of Duct tape.
    • There's also The Rock, the base of the Dark Angels chapter of space marines. It's the largest surviving remnant of Caliban, their home planet, that survived the orbital bombardment when half the legion went rogue. It's one of (if not) the biggest and most heavily armed things in Imperial space, being much larger than battleships or battlebarges, and it's surmounted by the Tower of Angels, the main fortress of the Dark Angels from before the destruction of Caliban.
    • The Ultramarines' awesome trio of Battle Barges: Severian, Octavian, and Caesar. They also have a cool strike cruiser that uses experimental plasma weaponry floating around: the appropriately named Vae Victis.
    • The Nicor, relic-flagship of the Charcharodons Astra, widely regarded as one of the most, if not the most, ruthless and brutal Imperial space marine chapternote  It features relic plasma weaponry and an entire deck of teleporters.
    • The ne plus ultra of Cool Starships in the 41st Millennium are the massive Gloriana-class battleships that form the flagship of each Legion fleet. Each one boasts the most powerful armament and huge fighter wings. By legion:
      • Invincible Reason of the Dark Angels: Flagship of Lion El'Jonson, Primarch of the I Legion. Destroyed the Nightfall during the Battle of the Aegis Sub-Sector.
      • Pride of the Emperor of the Emperor's Children: Flagship of Fulgrim, Primarch of the III Legion. Took part in the Siege of Terra.
      • Iron Blood of the Iron Warriors: Flagship of Perturabo, Primarch of the IV Legion. Survived a boarding assault by 50 Imperial Fist terminators and destroyed a large part of their chapter fleet at the Battle of Phall.
      • Swordstorm of the White Scars: Flagship of Jaghatai Khan, Primarch of the V Legion. Took part in the Siege of Terra.
      • Hrafnkel of the Space Wolves: Flagship of Leman Russ, Primarch of the VI Legion. Led the Burning of Prospero and was taken with Russ and his picked warriors on their final mission into the Eye of Terror.
      • Oath of Stone of the Imperial Fists. Never used as a command ship as they already had Phalanx. Destroyed by Iron Warriors during the Battle of Phall. Noted to have been "old when the Crusade was young."
      • Nightfall of the Night Lords: Flagship of Konrad Curze, Primarch of the VIII Legion. Destroyed during the Battle of the Aegis Sub-Sector by the Invincble Reason under the command of Lion El'Jonson after a failed boarding action led by Konrad Curze and 1st Captain Sevatar.
      • Red Tear of the Blood Angels: Flagship of Sanguinius, Primarch of the IX Legion. Noted to be exceptionally beautiful to look upon. Crash-landed on the surface of Signus Prime to serve as a strongpoint and Legion flag transferred to the Covenant of Baal, it was eventually returned to service as the Blood Angels evacuated the planet.
      • Fist of Iron of the Iron Hands: Flagship of Ferrus Mannus, Primarch of the X Legion. Boarded by Fulgrim and his Phoenix Guard prior to the Istvaan V Drop Site Massacre, its final fate is unknown.
      • Conqueror of the World Eaters: Flagship of Angron, Primarch of the XII Legion. Took part in the Shadow Crusade against Ultramar and the Battles of Armatura and Nuceria. Destroyed many Ultramarines capital ships. Equipped with giant harpoon type weapons called Ursus Claws and commanded by a Badass Normal human captain named Lotara Sarrin. Though heavily damaged, it managed to escape when Roboute Guilliman's fleet caught up with the Shadow Crusade at Nuceria.
      • Macragge's Honor of the Ultramarines: Flagship of Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the XIII Legion. Led the defense of Ultramar from the Shadow Crusade, aiding in the repulse of the surprise attack of the Word Bearer's at Calth, remaining a lynchpin of the void war. Led Roboute Guilliman's fleet in their efforts to bring the Shadow Crusade to battle as it withdrew from Ultramar. Trapped and destroyed Lorgar's personal flagship Fidelitas Lex at the Battle of Nuceria.
      • Endurance of the Death Guard: Flagship of Mortarion, Primarch of the XIV Legion. Took part in the major battles of the Heresy, corrupted by the Plague God during its warp-transit to Terra, becoming a living ship.
      • Photep of the Thousand Sons: Flagship of Magnus the Red, Primarch of the XV Legion. Contained vast libraries of forbidden knowledge. Was ordered away from the Burning of Prospero so could not stop the sack of the Thousand Sons' homeworld. Possibly destroyed during the Heresy.
      • Vengeful Spirit of the Sons of Horus: Flagship of Horus Lupercal, Primarch of the XVI Legion. Effectively the flagship of the entire Great Crusade, it was on the bridge of the Spirit that the Emperor and Horus fought their fateful duel to the death. Fled into the warp following the defeat of the traitor armies at the Siege of Terra under the command of First Captain Ezekyle Abaddon, it still led the fleet of the reconstituted Black Legion 10,000 years later. Possibly destroyed over Crythe by the Blood Angels, as Abaddon transferred his flag to the Planet Killer (see above) after.
      • Fidelitas Lex of the Word Bearers: Flagship of Lorgar Aurelian, Primarch of the XVI Legion. Took part in the Shadow Crusade, eventually destroyed over Nuceria by the Macragge's Honor.
      • Flamewrought of the Salamanders: Flagship of Vulkan, Primarch of the XVIII Legion. Fate unknown.
      • Shadow of the Emperor of the Raven Guard: Flagship of Corvus Corax, Primarch of the XIX Legion. Destroyed in a treacherous surprise attack by the Terminus Est in the Istvaan system.
      • Alpha of the Alpha Legion: Flagship of Alpharius Omegon, Primarch of the XX Legion. May have been a battle barge, there is a canon conflict. Had a sister ship, the Beta. Or, perhaps, no such legion exists.
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus gets in on this, naturally. Their Ark Mechanicus ship Speranza had a machine spirit so advanced it was able to cripple an Eldar cruiser in a single shot in the middle of a gravitation storm. What makes it so remarkable was the ship was guided by a farseer, allowing it to dodge the shot, only for the Speranza to teleport it back in time with chrono-weaponry to make the shot connect anyway.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Weatherlight, although it was designed by what was essentially a god to be part of a weapon that was powerful enough to kill an actual god So Yeah.
  • Traveller has lots of these, as well as detailed rules for building them. The Terran Confederation Navy had the Indomitable class battleships, which practically destroyed the Vilani navy on their own.
    • The Lightning class frontier merchant, half warship, half merchant. These were able to cruise in Vilani space at will, changing to privateers or scouts when needed.
    • A fairly normal feature is a computerized surface that can be used to customize any imagery the captain desires. Similar features are available on several of the bulkheads. Thus even fairly ordinary Starships can look cool.
    • The other Lightning Class, a battlestar built around a spinal-mounted meson accelerator. One specific example, the Emissary, which was 'accidentally' sold to a Merchant Prince still armed, and protected his ships from Vargr.
  • One of the possible settings in Maid RPG is space. Given the nature of the game, at least one of these will be involved in any game taking place in that setting.
  • In Exalted the very Sun itself is a battlestation known as Dirigible Engine Daystar designed to fight back armies of billions of Raksha and rogue Primordials. The Daystar is detailed in five parts on the Ink Monkeys' Blog (I, II-1, II-2, II-3, III, Final).
    • In Shards of the Exalted Dreams, a lot of cool spaceship are also discussed, especially in Heaven's Reach (the science fiction version of Exalted, quite appropriately) and Gunstar Autochtonia. The Son of Heaven III, one of the largest warships ever built in the Heaven's Reach universe, certainly deserves a place on this list, being described as a fortress-city flying through space, with skyscrapers-modules decorated with immense frescoes, capable of housing a whole fleet of smaller ship, or of serving as a conference hall for negociations with the Son of Heaven. However, it is dwarfed (both in size and in cool factor) by the titular Gunstar Autochtonia, a world-sized starship crafted out of the body of a living god, modified for millennia by mad geniuses to become the greatest weapon in the galaxy, capable of winning the war against the creators of the universe. The Gunstar is home to billions of humans, dragon-kings, Exalted and rogue gods, and has never been completely explored or maped (it helps that Elsewhere technology allows it to be bigger on the inside), and is defended not only by all the weaponry that the Exalted are able to build, but also by the Gunstar Defense Line Voidfighters, spacefighters who can transform into (what else?) mecha suits.
  • The Starfire hex-map-based wargame is all about combat between fleets of starships. The units varied in size from tiny one-man fighters all the way up to Monitors four times as large as a space battleship, armed with quasi-inertialess ion engines, nuclear missiles, antimatter missiles, Frickin' Laser Beams, Tractor Beams, Deflector Shields, and a host of other deadly hardware.
  • BattleTech subverts this, in the Star League era the SLDF had plenty of cool starships, but the the first two succession wars saw the destruction to most of them. Fortunately the Clans brought many of them in their exodus, and possess some of the most advanced warships in the Inner Sphere. Comstar still possess some of those older ships, and IS Houses are still trying to make new ones.
  • The titular rockets of Rocket Age, which come in all manner of sizes and designs. Europan Saucers also count.

    Webcomics 
  • This ship from Dresden Codak.
  • In the long-running comedy Mil-SF Schlock Mercenary the mercenary company "Tagon's Toughs" advances through a series of starships of various sizes, the latter three with AI shipminds that are full characters. They start with the Kitesfear (small and patched, but with excellent fire coverage), to a used Tausennigan Ob'enn Thunderhead-class superfortress (ridiculously oversized) which dubs itself the Post-Dated Check Loan, then to one of its troop boats (the Serial Peacemaker,), and most recently acquired the ship of a larger merc company, renaming it the Touch and Go.
    • This says nothing compared to some of the UNS Fleet. For example, the UNS Battleplate Morokweng, a ship design originally intended to block asteroid impacts the hard way, and this particular example is implied to be even bigger than previously seen battleplates. Gets into a pissing match with both the Touch and Go and the Athens II at the same time, and is carrying enough pee to outpiss both of them and nearly feed the crushed remains into its annie plants.
    • The Cloak of Untrammeled Dignity, here.
  • In Ronin Galaxy, Cecil and Giancarlo amaze Taylor with their extravagant ship, while declining to answer her question about how a couple of scruffy mercs were able to afford it...
  • In the comedy SF webcomic Starslip, the Fuseli is a star-traveling art museum, a repurposed "luxury battleship" originally named the Crimson Fall. It still carries its diamond-lined mahogany laser cannon.
  • This ship from A Miracle of Science. The martians are not allowed to have battleships, so they call it a police cruiser.
  • The White Knight from Terinu, personal fighter of Rufus Brushtail. Not only does it look cool, it's got the requisite "recovered from a junkyard" background.
  • In Sluggy Freelance Torg, Riff, and Zoe are very excited to get one of these. Though Riff is a bit disappointed it doesn't come with space lasers.
  • Freefall gives us the Savage Chicken, distinctly on the junky end of the scale. In the earliest strips, it's a non-flyer, without running water. Even as of July 2011, it is currently only repaired enough to serve as an orbital-only shuttle, pending funds for further work.
  • Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger has two thus far—- Quinn's own ship, the Thunderbird, and the recently introduced Sapphire Star, a luxury cruise ship with a diameter measured in kilometers.
  • In Girls in Space the girls' spaceship is a VW Bus.
  • The Chainless from Mushroom Go sails on land and is powered by a star.
  • Drive has the Machito after it's upgraded, and La Invencible.
  • Homestuck has the Battleship Condescension, the troll Empress's personal starship and the flagship of the Alternian Empire. It could go near the speed of light on manual power alone, but in case it needs to travel across the Empire quickly, it has an FTL drive in the form of the Ψiioniic, one of the most notorious rebels against the empire, who is serving his eternal punishment as the living battery of the Battleship Condescension. The entire warship is propelled through space through his sheer agony alone.
  • Westward: The Westward itself is humanity's first starship, a giant colony-ship that can leap across the galaxy in a second under the guidance of a big-brained Martian scientist. And it packs enough power to shift the orbits of planets or create a mini super-nova if you aren't careful with the controls...
  • In Commander Kitty we have the Velvet Knight, the starship of Ace and his crew. The main viewport even looks like a pair of sunglasses.
  • Quite a few in Among the Chosen, but the Sabrosa stands out the most.
  • The Galaxion used to be a yacht of an insanely wealthy eccentric. She may not be the most efficient, but she's definitely got it where it counts. Especially when you want style.
  • The Widowpunisher in Captain Ufo is a "jewel of Gronkian technology"; It's hinted that there may be something else about it, but it hasn't been revealed in the comic, yet.

    Web Original 
  • Nemesis in The Last Angel is the first Dreadnaught built by Humanity and its first true warship. Six and a quarter kilometers long, both her primary reactor and main gun harness this universe's form of FTL to, respectively, provide more power than anyone else in the 'verse can come close to matching and One-Hit Kill any known warship in existence. Perhaps most importantly, by the time of the main story she has been active for two thousand years and has been run solely by her AI, Red One, for almost all of them.
    • Triarch's Chariots, the flagships of the Compact of Species, and Nemesis intended prey, also count. While they lack both AIs and much of Nemesis advanced weaponry, they make up for it be being much larger and more massive, allowing them to pack even more guns and missiles. Also, there are several hundred of them, compared to one Nemesis.
  • Orion's Arm is chock-full of Cool Starships. Even though none of them are faster-than-light, it doesn't matter since everyone is immortal anyway. Most of said starships are also sapient, and often transapient, and have extremely propulsion technology - monopole-based "conversion" drive, which can render antimatter engines obsolete, is a commonplace standard-issue drive system, and the greater AI powers use various forms of Reactionless Drive. The pinnacle of all are the Voidships, created and used only by the greatest archailects, which leave normal space altogether and exist within Alcubierre-esque void bubbles, and can only be detected as very fast moving gravitometric distortions.
  • Star Trek: Phoenix has the new Ascension class USS Phoenix
  • Tech Infantry has several. The EFS Stornoway is a fleet destroyer with an experimental graviton cannon. The freighter Resolve is a rusty bucket of junk with as much personality as the Millennium Falcon. And then there are the Star Control Ships, massive warships several miles long, and the Vin Shriak Worldships, hollowed-out asteroids refitted as warships several hundred miles long. The Bugs create starships partly by gluing together the dead bodies of their own workers and soldiers with saliva.
  • AH.com: The Series has several, most notably of course the eponymous MES AH.com, which subscribes to the "vast rickety old warship with skeleton crew" setting similar to Red Dwarf.
  • The Concept Ships Blog. Your one-stop-shop for obscenely awesome transportation methodologies.
  • The Dominion And Duchy universe has had several in fourteen 'sections' of the story so far. The main government has a Senate Tower that converts into a starship, what might be a major religious group has the Cathedrum Valencia, which is a flying tower with alabaster wings and holographic clouds swirling around it. There are also the three Earth ships that while not described are the first Earth ships to travel faster-then-light. The majority of the examples on this page are trumped by the Bellacroix. While it is the 'Capital City Ship of the Monolith Group', it is massive. It is described as being the size of the Soviet Union!
  • The Unconstant Lover in The Endless Night is frequently described as a piece of junk but is also one of the most maneuverable cargo freighters in the galaxy due to the bizarre and dangerous modifications it has undergone, making it the perfect pirate spaceship.
  • The setting of The Countryship Yoors qualifies for this. As the same suggests, it's a ship. The size of a country. Of course, which country is never specified...
  • The Idealist, which is the first AI controlled ship created by the Tau Empire.
  • Nexus Gate: you yourself can own one!
  • In Pay Me, Bug!, the protagonist owns one. And he just got a windfall to use in upgrading it, too!
  • Comicron 1 from Atop the Fourth Wall.
  • The USS Exit Strategy from To Boldly Flee. Not only can it reach Jupiter in just a few daysnote , but it's converted from The Nostalgia Critic's house. Indeed, General Zodd was so impressed, he ordered Turrell to convert their ship into a house.
  • The Freelancer Project's Mother of Invention from Red vs. Blue is an incredibly cool starship, controlled by an equally cool AI. A Charon class light frigate, the Mother of Invention has extensive facilities so as to serve as a mobile base for the Freelancer Project, including a presumably aftermarket giant reconfigurable training room.
    • The ship that Sister arrives in Blood Gulch/Coagulation in ... may have a warp/relativistic/Timey-Wimey Ball drive note , is much larger on the inside, can be commandeered by an AI such as Sheila, was stolen by Tex, and is based on Halo's Cool Spaceship the Pelican dropship.
  • Whateley Universe: Tennyo's ship in "Tennyo's Easter", which is fast even for an FTL craft, has an AI which may be smarter than Tennyo, and may be older than our solar system.
  • On Cerberus Daily News a thread in the OOC section is all about making even more ships up to us in RPs.
  • In the SCP Foundation, SCP-2722, SCPS Solidarity, is a universe-hopping 23 kilometer long starship constructed through the collaboration of multiple universes. It's explicit purpose it to aid in the defense of worlds with organizations devoted to "Maintaining Normalcy" during their Darkest Hour, and represents the absolute best of countless other species on (mostly) parallel Earths.
  • How To Hero discusses these frequently. In their entry on alien invasions there's an entire paragraph discussing how to work the invasion to your advantage so you can secure one of these. The entry on space battles also talks about them and introduces Dirty Denny's Starship Dealership.

    Western Animation 
  • Mator and Captain Roger from the Cars Toons "UFM: Unidentified Flying Mater" and "Moon Mater", respectively.
  • Jumba's spaceship from Lilo & Stitch, and the massive spaceship Gantu captains early in the movie. Oh, and also The Red One that Stitch steals, of course.
  • Most ships from the French cartoon Once Upon a Time...Space. The coolest ones were the warships used by the republic of Cassiopeia.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • In the movie, Anakin and Ahsoka acquire a junky freighter called the Twilight, which was used regularly throughout the first season of the show.
    • The Separatist precursor to the Executor, the Malevolence. Almost as huge as the Executor, armed with an EMP main gun that can disable entire fleets, and captained by General Grievous.
  • Star Wars Rebels has the Ghost. It's a Corellian freighter with a unique design that has a signal masker allowing it to evade the sensors of Imperial Star Destroyers. It also has a smaller ship attached called the Phantom, which became cooler after getting its own hyperdrive in season 2. After the Phantom's destruction in "Steps Into Shadow", it was eventually replaced with an old Separatist shuttle dubbed the Phantom II.
  • Transformers:
    • Transformers Animated the Autobots had a junky old decommissioned warship serving as their mode of transportation. While not that cool, what made it cool was in the last episodes of season 2...where it turns out the big but creaky old ship is in fact a single Transformer, Omega Supreme. There's also Lockdown's ship that has the ability to become invisible.
    • The original series:
      • The Autobots' Ark, although it crashes in the very first episode and spends the entire rest of the series being used as a building rather than a spaceship.
      • The Decepticons' flagship, the battlecruiser Nemesis, which returned in Beast Wars and really showed off her massive destructive ability before crashing in South America, to be rediscovered later by Megatron, who took out its power core to give himself a super-boost of power. Yes, he was empowered by the engine of his personal warship.
    • Fortress Maximus, like his anime counterpart, had a space battleship mode in the G1 finale "The Rebirth". Scorponok could also fly in space, in city mode... somehow.
    • Transformers Cybertron gives us the Atlantis, Ogygia, Lemuria, and Hyperborea, four ancient Cybertronian starships equipped with loads of guns and self repair systems that keep them in good condition even through millennia of abandonment. The Atlantis was at the bottom of Earth's ocean, the Ogygia and Hyperborea were buried (the Hyperborea did have its temple-styled observation deck exposed, though), and the Lemuria sat for ages with its ventral decks in a lake. They can be merged into a colossal warship called the Ark. There's also Vector Prime, who turns into one.
    • The Transformers that turn into spaceships: Cosmos, Sky Lynx, Omega Supreme, Blast Off, Astrotrain, Cyclonus, Scourge...
    • Among the most unique ships is the Quintesson Cruiser, which is a spinning screw shaped ship. Mostly used by the Quintessons, and the Autobots used one and impaled Unicrons eye with it.
    • Transformers Armada got its name for a very good reason. Both the Autobots and Deceptions field fleets of massive starships. One of the most notable are the Axalon and the Hydra Cannon.

    Real Life 
  • There is so far nothing in existence that can be called a true "spaceship", i.e, a space-equivalent of an oceangoing vessel, which could be loosely defined as a reusable space vehicle note  capable of practically traversing interplanetary or at least cislunar distances note , and not necessarily aerodynamic in any sense or designed to land anywherenote . And a true starship - a spaceship which can practically traverse the huge distances between stars - is much farther off. The International Space Station was built and space and stays in space, but it doesn't go anywhere, and even the Apollo command modules were one-shot non-reusable deals. So technically, this trope is not yet Truth in Television. That doesn't stop the following quasi-examples - unmanned probes, surface-to-orbit launch craft, and realistic proposed spaceships which could be (but have not yet been) built - from being cool.
  • The Space Shuttles, in spite of their flaws, qualify as "cool", if for no other reason than that they are among the relative few spacecraft recently in use (by July 2011, the fleet was retired).
  • How about the shuttle and its accompanying tank/booster combo that the Soviets built?
  • The Soyuz is an example of Boring, but Practical, but that hasn't stopped it becoming a reliable spacecraft that has ferried cosmonauts and astronauts to various space stations for the last 30 years, and at a fraction of the cost per launch of the Space Shuttle orbiter.
  • The massive Saturn V rocket, with the Apollo capsule and lunar lander were awesome.
  • The Proton rocket. Most launchers launch satellites. This thing launches space stations, or at least modules thereof.
  • The Scaled Composites SpaceShipOne was an awesome little white epoxy rocketplane with a unique movable tail/wings combo and blue star decals. The still-being-constructed SpaceShipTwo ups the ante by being silver and black. SpaceShipTwo has now been revealed and, yes, it is still freaking cool.
  • Deep Space 1 was only an unmanned space probe, but it was propelled by an ion engine, several times more efficient than a normal (chemical) rocket. Dawn and Hayabusa are also propelled by ion engines - the latter being the first spacecraft to collect samples form an asteroid and bring them back to Earth, and the former being the first double-orbiter probe - orbited the asteroid Vesta from 2011 to late 2012, then left under power once it was done collecting data and flew to the dwarf planet Ceres that began to orbit in 2015 -. Ion engines accelerate much much more slowly than rocketsnote  so they can't be used as launch engines, but once in space, their ability to fire for a very, very long time means that they eventually hit velocities far greater than what a rocket with the same amount of propellant could manage.
  • Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 — so far, among humanity's only starships, together with Pioneers 10 and 11, as they've recently left the Solar System. Bonus coolness points for the fact that, unlike the two Pioneers, they're still working after forty years in space, plus Voyager 2 being the unique probe that has explored the four outer planets.
  • The Galileo probe to Jupiter deserves to be listed here because of its Troubled Production. The ship was designed to be launched from the Space Shuttle, but the Challenger explosion delayed until 1989 that. Once en route to Jupiter, its main, umbrella-like, antenna did not fully deploy despite the efforts of mission' engineers to do thatnote , thus transmitting data to Earth at a lower rate than expected. Once in Jupiter there were troubles with the on-board data recordernote  and, of course, Jupiter's strong radiation belts played havoc with the spacecraft's systems. Despite that the mission was a great success, Galileo launching an atmospheric probe to study the Jovian atmosphere, being sturdier than what their engineers thought, and making a lot of discoveries on Jupiter and its moons before being sent to burn on Jupiter's atmosphere in 2003 (and, why not, she was one of the coolest space probes ever launched by NASA.)
  • The Cassini mission to Saturn, that was also one of the heaviestnote  and most complex spacecrafts ever launched -extra coolness points because she carried a lander (Huygens) that landed on Saturn's moon Titan in January 2005-. Like Galileo above it had a Troubled Production but mostly on Earth being victim of budgetary cutsnote , being about to be cancelled a number of times due to cost overruns and other problemsnote , and when it was about to be launched in 1997 protests of anti-nuclear groups due to the plutonium carried by her RTGs almost derail that. However the mission is considered to have been succesful beyond expectation, Cassini having orbited the ringed planet making a lot of discoveries on it, its rings, and its moons from 2004 to 2017 when it was also deorbited into Saturn's atmosphere.
  • The Falcon 9 qualifies. As of 2017, while the second stage is still discarded, the first stage can be landed intact on Earth and flown again. And instead of splashing down in the ocean with parachutes or gliding to a runway like the different reusable parts of the space shuttle, the Falcon turns around, either fires its engines to slow itself down before reentry or turns around and flies back to the launch site, then lands vertically using engine thrust and a set of folding landing legs, like the RetroRockets of vintage sci-fi. It's precise enough to land on either a barge or a concrete landing pad smaller than a football pitch after a flight of hundreds of kilometers, and does it all automatically with no input from a human pilot.
  • Heck, pretty much any real-life spacecraft qualifies as cool, even if only because they're going to be the great-granddaddies of everything you see above. Also, because while everything else listed above might be only plastic/CGI models in real life, these things actually go into space. Can't beat that.
  • And apart from the above craft, which exist, there are plans for spaceships we could build in the near future if we had a reason to - they'd be awfully expensive, probably built in orbit like the $157 billion International Space Station, but unlike the station, they would need to have engines, large amounts of propellant, much stronger shielding and cooling, and a greater stock of supplies for manned missions, if the journey is years long and two-way with no resupply from Earth. And would thus be proportionally more expensive. Notably, chemical rockets of the sort used for launching into orbit would be woefully inadequate for taking manned missions or heavy robotic payloads to other planets, given their terrible fuel efficiency. Any true spaceship would need a far more powerful propulsion system. A few such designs existing today include:
    • Project Orion/Nuclear Pulse Propulsion - a spaceship powered by frickin' nuclear bombs, which works by dropping a nuke behind it, detonating it and riding the explosion using a massive inertial plate at the back of the ship. With thousands of thermonuclear shaped charges, such a ship could conceivably reach a small fraction of the speed of light, making it useful for trips to Mars or the outer solar system, or very slow interstellar travel. Such a ship could feasibly launch from Earth directly, but with... unfortunate and rather obvious side effects. Orion, despite its inelegance, is the most powerful propulsion system presently in existence, and the closest thing we have, at the moment, to a fusion drive. BUT... it can't be built due to international treaties banning the use of nuclear weapons in space, not to mention the fear that terrorists might get their hands on some of the bombs or the technology used to manufacture them. Fictional implementations often switch it from nuclear bombs to pellets of fusion fuel mix with the detonation arising from laser-based inertial-confinement fusion.
    • NERVA / Nuclear Thermal Propulsion - a spaceship powered by nuclear thermal engines, which use a fission reactor to heat up and energize a propellant before spitting it out the back at high velocity. There are several versions of the design using solid, liquid and gaseous reactor cores and various different choices of propellant. The reactor would also generate power for the ship when not being used to fire the engines.
    • VASIMR / Electric Propulsion - a spaceship driven by VAriable Specific-Impulse Magnetoplasma Rockets, a type of electromagnetic plasma engine which heats propellant and ionizes it before accelerating it out through magnetic fields to generate thrust. This of course requires a source of electric power, which can be solar for inner system missions, but would probably require nuclear reactors for outer system or manned missions. An alternative to the VASIMR would be the Magnetoplasmadynamic Thruster (MPDT), which uses different methods - combined electric and magnetic fields - to achieve similar effects. A prototype VASIMR module is slated to be installed on the International Space Station soon, used for station keeping (maintaining orbital altitude) and for testing the properties of plasma propulsion in an actual space environment.
    • The plasma exhaust ports also look very Star Wars-esque.
  • One overall proposal for a true deep space ship is the NAUTILUS-X - a large reusable vessel for human exploration of the Moon, near-Earth asteroids, and interplanetary space. Designed around modular units, with an integrated centrifuge for creating artificial gravity, to be assembled in Earth orbit like a space station. The proposal is designed to use solar power, and be driven by some manner of ion or plasma propulsion. The Long-Duration variant of the design can theoretically support a crew of six for a two year mission. (The obvious destination for such a mission? Mars.)
  • The SpaceX BFR may be the closest we'll get to a true spaceship within the next decade. Reusable space vehicle? Check; it can be resupplied, refueled on Earth or Mars, and make the same trip several times, and travel to different destinations. Capable of practically traversing interplanetary distances? Check; it can go to the Moon or other planets with up to 100 people and significant payload. Not designed to land anywhere? No; it is designed to land anywhere with a solid surface. Alternatively, the BFR could be used to build a true spaceship practically; with a payload capacity of 150 tonnes to Low Earth Orbit, reusability, and a turnaround of less than a day, it could bring the required materials up quickly, cheaply, and in large pieces.


Alternative Title(s): Cool Spaceship, Cool Starships

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