Like most of the bridge set; the Helm and Navigation console was originally built for the pilot episode “The Cage” in late 1964. Although the design stayed basically the same throughout the series; the production crew continued to modify the console adding and changing parts of it the entire production run of the show. The console itself was split and had two stations; one for the helmsman and one for the navigator and was separated by the astrogator section. For the pilot episode the helm station consisted of a control panel and also one of the familiar computer consoles similar to those seen around the perimeter of the bridge. The navigator station originally consisted of a control panel and a plot board graphic. This original configuration provided plenty of arm room for both actors but that would later change once the series got underway as additional switches, lights and other features were added to console.
The original color scheme of the entire console was grey and black but was repainted for the second pilot “Where No Man Has Gone Before” to the familiar red/black scheme (although additional black painted areas around the perimeter corners of the console were later added for the series). In both of the pilot episodes the buttons of the control panels on the helm and navigation as well as all other control panels on the bridge were made up of surplus aircraft indicator/warning lights and plastic hemispheres. Most of the indicator/warning lights throughout the bridge were replaced but the original configurations were retained and the indicator/warning lights were simply replaced with resin buttons in the same configuration as the original (more on this later).
The familiar control panel location and orientation as seen during the series was actually originally reversed between stations and rotated 180 degrees (upside down) in both pilot episodes. Other than the repaint of the console and reversal of the center indicators (next to the red alert beacon) for “Where No Man Has Gone Before” the only other difference between the two pilot episodes was that the gooseneck viewers from “The Cage” were removed. Also of note is that in both pilot episodes the helm and navigation console served double duty as the transporter console.