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According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (2nd ed., p. 473), the Magellan was a Constellation-class star cruiser, with a registry of NCC-3069. According to USS Enterprise Owners' Workshop Manual, the Magellan was a Galaxy-class sister ship of the USS Enterprise-D.
Dialogue and footage in "Sacrifice of Angels" also suggests the Magellan was in fact a Galaxy-class starship:
- Sisko: "Ensign, have Galaxy Wings 91 and 93 engage those destroyers. All other ships, head for that opening. Anyone who makes it through doesn't stop until they reach Deep Space 9."
- Elim Garak: "Congratulations, Captain. You wanted them angry. They're angry."
- Sisko: "The Magellan and the Venture are supposed to be protecting our starboard flank. They're in too tight... tell fighter squadrons 6, 7 and 8 to..."
The subsequent shot was of two Galaxy-class ships attacking a Cardassian destroyer. It suggests that the Magellan was a Galaxy-class as the Venture has been previously established as one.
It was however also possible that the Magellan was either an Excelsior- or Miranda-class starship as prior to Garak's statement ships from these two classes were holding to the starboard side of the Defiant, with a Miranda-class ship holding close off the Defiant's starboard aft quarter.
The USS Magellan may have been named for Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.