In “Old Friends, New Planets,” Locarno was seen recruiting a vast multicultural network of malcontent aliens to serve in a new “no Gods, no masters”-style demi-Federation, and there were many alien species and ships seen within Locarno’s enclosed deep space facility. One of those ships was the U.S.S. Passaro, call number NCC-52670. As an additional tribute, Winters pointed out that the call number was Passaro’s birthday: May 26, 1970. The Passaro was a new type of starship class called the Sabrerunner-class. These sorts of details are filed meticulously away in the brains of Trekkies.
Winters also pointed out that Passaro was kind and generous, and helped Winters include a “vertical” Romulan ship in the show (that is, the ship is twice as tall as it is wide, an aberration in “Star Trek”). It seems that Passaro didn’t merely render the designs of others, but inspired them to include wilder, more interesting designs. Passaro was in the unique position of studying the entire franchise’s shipyards, looking closely at many ships designed by many people, allowing him to get a broader sense of a “master aesthetic” of spacecraft. He would know exactly what Trek had and hadn’t done.
Passaro worked on “Lower Decks,” and was recommended to the position by Ben Robinson, the onetime head of Eaglemoss.
Passaro was also given a briefer tribute in the final episode of “Star Trek: Picard,” called “The Last Generation.” In one of the episode’s final scenes, the Titan-A, rechristened the Enterprise-G, heads out into space on an exploratory mission. A Gagarin-class ship called the Passaro can be seen, itty bitty, in the background.
“Lower Decks” puts Passaro’s name right up front. R.I.P., good sir.