The USS Bolden, Rushmore Class research vessel is a refit, which utilizes, among other things, the components of the Hunter Class assault ships. Its initial mission was to explore deep space, bordering the Delta/Beta Quadrant. it would not be outfitted with much more than standard Rushmore class armaments, however a mandate came down from Starfleet to upgrade. In addition to more powerful nacelles, additional decks and living compartments were added, raising its crew capacity space from 50-100 to 300 maximum.
The Bolden's Captain, Dr. Charis Markley was informed that in addition to their survey mission, they would be searching for the lost Vulcan ship Kear'tall. The additional living space would accommodate any survivors. The Kear'tall was 6 months away at maximum warp, and the survivors were meant to be absorbed into the Bolden's crew.