The SSV Normandy SR-1 (Systems Alliance Space Vehicle Normandy Stealth Reconnaissance-1) was a Systems Alliance starship. She is a prototype "deep scout" frigate, first of the eponymous Normandy class, co-developed by the Alliance and the Turian Hierarchy with the sponsorship of the Citadel Council. She is optimized for solo reconnaissance missions deep within unstable regions, using state-of-the-art stealth technology powered by an experimental drive core.
Commissioned in 2183, the Normandy was initially commanded by an Alliance officer named Elli Zander. After Zander came into conflict with turian chief engineer Octavio Tatum over the limits of the ship's drive core, Zander was removed and David Anderson placed in command. Shortly thereafter, the Normandy was handed over to Commander Shepard when the Commander became the first human Spectre, and served as Shepard's main source of transportation and base of operations.
The Normandy is built on three main decks:
This contains the bridge in the bow (where Shepard can talk with Joker), the airlock, the CIC containing the galaxy map (overseen by Navigator Pressly), and the comm room towards the stern. The comm room also serves as a conference room for debriefing after missions, and allows Shepard to privately consult with the Citadel Council.
The Combat Information Center (CIC) of the Normandy is unusual. Alliance ships usually place commanding officers in the middle of the room, to facilitate communication with subordinates, but the CO's station in the Normandy's CIC is at the back. This is because the Normandy has a turian design and their commanders prefer to look over their subordinates rather than be in the midst of them; the engineers wanted to observe how well it functioned within the human command structure. When necessary, the Normandy's officers can utilize unique suit radios to communicate with the ship's operators. The cockpit area is equipped with an internal kinetic barrier, designed to protect the pilot from exposure to vacuum if air pressure is lost in the CIC.
The second deck, composed primarily of living quarters, may be reached by descending one of the two stairwells located on either side of the CIC.
This is the location of Normandy's habitation deck containing the mess, crew sleeper pods, the captain's private cabin and office, escape pod hatches, and the medical room where Doctor Chakwas can be found. Liara T'Soni spends her time in the lab and storage room at the back. The medical room also contains a medi-gel dispenser.
Shepard's Locker is stocked with free gear when:
- Shepard first boards the Normandy toward the end of Citadel: Expose Saren. Locker contents are not dependent on Shepard's level if their level increases later.
- When the Normandy first lands on one of the Mission worlds (Noveria, Feros, Therum).
- Merely going to the system will not stock the locker. Shepard must land on the planet. In the case of Therum, where Shepard cannot leave until the mission is complete, the locker will therefore be accessible only after the mission.
- These locker contents are dependent on Shepard's current level. Therefore, if Shepard picks up the gear later at a higher level, it will be higher-graded gear.
Although the same locker is apparently stocked (the other three are non-interactive), there is a separate locker stocked for the Citadel and each of the mission worlds. Therefore, Shepard can return to a mission world later to pick up gear when the Commander is of a higher level. For example, if Shepard lands on Noveria but leaves immediately without performing any missions, the "Noveria locker" is available, but the gear need not be taken. Shepard can then go to Feros, and a "Feros locker" is made available although it is the same interactive locker in the Quarters. Shepard can take the gear while at Feros, then go back to again to Noveria and pick up gear from their locker again.
Shepard can only take gear from each locker once. For example, once gear is picked up from the "Noveria locker", going to Noveria again later will not restock the locker.
Engineering and Storage
An elevator located in the quarters can be used to descend to the engineering and storage sections of the Normandy. The M35 Mako is stored on this level, Ashley Williams is cleaning rifles next to the squad lockers, Garrus Vakarian is attending to the Mako, and Urdnot Wrex is idly observing opposite the Mako. Across from Wrex is the Normandy Requisitions Officer, who can sell Shepard new equipment.
Opposite the garage, a door leads to the engineering section proper containing the Normandy's drive core. Here Shepard can find Engineer Adams and Tali'Zorah nar Rayya observing and maintaining the core's functional integrity.
The Normandy's IES (internal emission sink) stealth system is her most notable feature. For centuries, it was assumed that starship stealth was impossible. The heat generated by routine shipboard operations is easily detectable against the near absolute zero background temperature of space. The Normandy, however, is able to temporarily "store" this heat in lithium heat sinks deep within the hull.
The IES stealth system has a few limitations: The system doesn't work during FTL flight because this blue-shifts the Normandy's emissions beyond the sinks' ability to store, and even while out of FTL, any visual scan (i.e. looking out of a window) will reveal her. However, this is rare since most ships rely on scanners rather than visual contact and spotting another ship in space is difficult. The Normandy can go to 'silent running' for around 2-3 hours, or drift passively through a system for days before having to vent and give away her position. The stored heat must eventually be radiated, or it will build up to levels capable of cooking the crew alive.
The stealth system is powered by an experimental piece of equipment called the Tantalus Drive Core which is, proportionally, about twice the size of any other ship's core - Tali'Zorah nar Rayya is fascinated with how the Alliance managed to fit it into such a compact vessel. Joker mentions the oversized drive core affects the Normandy's balance, but it's nothing he can't handle. The Tantalus drive generates mass concentrations that the Normandy "falls into", allowing her to move without the use of heat-emitting thrusters. The core not only makes the Normandy quiet and fast, but means she can run at FTL speeds for much longer before having to discharge the drive.
Should the Normandy’s design prove useful in field tests, it is expected that a follow-up class incorporating "lessons learned" will be produced.
Like all frigates, the Normandy is equipped with GARDIAN point defense lasers, kinetic barriers, and a spinal mass accelerator cannon. It may also be equipped with advanced Javelin dual disruptor torpedoes.
- Commander Shepard - Former Executive Officer (XO); Current Commanding Officer (CO)
- Flight Lieutenant Jeff "Joker" Moreau - Chief Helmsman
- Charles Pressly - Chief Navigator; Current Executive Officer
- Dr. Karin Chakwas - Chief Medical Officer (CMO)
- Lieutenant Greg Adams - Chief Engineer (CHENG)
- Staff Lieutenant Kaidan Alenko - Marine Detail Commander
- Gunnery Chief Ashley Williams - Marine
- Private Fredricks - Marine
- 2 Bridge crew
- 5 CIC Officers
- 8 Command Deck Technicians
- 4 Marines
- 3 Engineers
- 1 Requisitions Officer
- Abishek Pakti
- Addison Chase
- Alexei Dubyansky
- Amina Waaberi
- Carlton Tucks
- Caroline Grenado
- Germeen Barret
- Harvey J. Gladstone
- Hector Emerson
- Helen M. Lowe
- Jamin Bakari
- Mandira Rahman
- Marcus Greico
- Monica Negulesco
- Orden Laflamme
- Raymond Tanaka
- Robert Felawa
- Rosamund Draven
- Silas Crosby
- Talitha Draven
Former crew members
During her shakedown run, the Normandy launched from Arcturus and headed to Eden Prime to covertly recover the Prothean Beacon that had been unearthed on the planet. Unfortunately, a surprise geth attack complicated the mission and the beacon was destroyed. The Normandy then travelled to the Citadel, where Captain Anderson resigned as commanding officer, allowing Shepard to assume command in his place.
Though Shepard works for the Citadel, the Normandy is still considered to be under Alliance jurisdiction, and her unique design means Shepard is often asked to complete missions for Steven Hackett, especially those requiring discretion. The Normandy is also the subject of an inspection by Rear Admiral Mikhailovich, who is annoyed that she was given to Shepard rather than being assigned to his flotilla as was intended. He refers to the Normandy as being 'over-designed', too expensive (costing as much as a heavy cruiser), and having no practical use. In response, Shepard can correct him and defend the Normandy's innovations. Joker's handling of the Normandy saves Shepard on several occasions: providing an extraction from Therum; dropping the Mako "under the radar" of the AA guns on Virmire, avoiding the following nuclear explosion; and performing a supposedly impossible Mako insertion on Ilos, among others.
The Normandy's stealth systems made her the only ship that could get Shepard into the Terminus Systems undetected, to pursue Saren Arterius to Ilos, but the Council refused to take such a risk, and Ambassador Donnel Udina locked out the ship's systems remotely. With Captain Anderson's help, Shepard stole the Normandy and took her to Ilos, where Joker dropped the team safely in the Mako before rendezvousing with the Fifth Fleet in the Andura sector.
During the Battle of the Citadel, the Normandy led the assault against Sovereign and distinguished herself with her impressive speed and maneuverability, which, once Shepard had disabled the Reaper's shields, allowed her to destroy Sovereign. After the battle, Shepard took the Normandy out into space to find a way to stop the Reapers.
Mass Effect 2
The Normandy is shown patrolling the Omega Nebula for geth, near the planet Alchera. An unidentifiable starship suddenly appears and moves to intercept the Normandy, despite the frigate's stealth systems being active. Realizing that the ship is hostile, Joker initiates evasive maneuvers. The pursuing ship unleashes a barrage of beam weaponry that easily penetrates the Normandy's defenses. The Normandy's kinetic barriers and weapon systems are knocked out with a single hit. Within seconds, the Normandy is crippled as more hits breach the upper deck of the ship and destroy one of the starboard engine nacelles.
The sudden attack claims the lives of over twenty crew members, Navigator Pressly among them. The order is given to abandon ship and the surviving crew evacuate the ship via escape pods. Commander Shepard stays behind to save Joker, who is still desperately trying to pilot the disintegrating ship. Shepard manages to place Joker in the last escape pod as their attacker makes a final pass on the Normandy, completely destroying the ship. While Joker's pod is successfully ejected, Shepard is knocked into space by the final explosion and drifts into the orbit of Alchera along with debris from the Normandy.
Within the next two years, Commander Shepard's body is recovered and revived through the Lazarus Project by the pro-human black ops organization Cerberus. They give Shepard command of a new ship similar in design to the Normandy SR-1 but larger and bearing the insignia of Cerberus. Shepard and Joker decide to designate this new ship the Normandy SR-2 in honor of the original Normandy.
The new Normandy is nearly twice the size of the original, comprising five decks, compared to the SR-1's three decks. If Shepard asks the ship's artificial intelligence how Cerberus managed to obtain the confidential schematics for the Normandy SR-1 to build the SR-2, it is revealed that Cerberus used their substantial influence to jump-start the Alliance's decision to build the original SR-1 in the first place, and subsequently obtain the secrets of advanced turian technology that the project required for themselves.
Throughout the rest of 2185, Commander Shepard uses the new Normandy to scour the galaxy looking for the best biotics, scientists and warriors in an effort to build a team capable of taking on the Collectors and putting an end to their galaxy-wide campaign of mass human abductions.
- The Normandy's virtual intelligence (heard only during the "profile reconstruction" sequence of character creation, when entering or exiting the airlock, and in Bring Down the Sky) is voiced by Belinda Cornish.
- According to Ashley's sister, Sarah, the Alliance broadcast a news video about the Normandy on the extranet which featured some of her crew members.
- The Normandy is not the only ship of her class that the Alliance has constructed. A Citadel NewsNet broadcast in Mass Effect 2 mentions that a "Normandy-class" stealth frigate, the SSV Ain Jalut, was used by the Alliance to launch a raid upon a batarian colony world.
- STG agents, on orders from Sur'Kesh, procured schematics of the SSV Normandy's stealth systems to develop dreadnoughts with stealth capabilities that serve with the Salarian First Fleet.
- In-game, the Normandy is substantially larger on the inside than on the outside.
- According to The Art of the Mass Effect Universe, the SSV Normandy was based on delta wing fighter planes and the Concorde.