Earth Spacedock was designed by David Carson and Nilo Rodis and first seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The model was built at Industrial Light and Magic.
The interior of Spacedock was represented by a large set. The original from The Search for Spock was destroyed after the end of filming. The production crew for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home had to rebuild the entire set from scratch.
Footage of Spacedock from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock was reused for several Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, notably in “11001001.” The Enterprise-D was simply superimposed over the motion picture Enterprise for scenes in that episode.
In a 2005 interview with Trekplace‘s Greg Taylor, Andrew Probert, senior illustrator for The Next Generation‘s first season, remarked about the Enterprise‘s entry into Spacedock:
Going into the Spacedock was ludicrous and I was fighting tooth and nail to get them to not do that. The producers simply shrugged their shoulders and said, “Well, we’ll say it’s a bigger Spacedock” but that logic really didn’t work for me. The system that I proposed was that the Enterprise to be serviced and docked on the existing space station exterior, because it has an umbrella-like rim — a mushroom head, if you will — under which the Enterprise could have been docked by connecting the dorsal replenishment systems, but… There’s a lot of things that sort of fell by the wayside and it is what it is.