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Launched in 2368, the USS Rio Grande is a Danube-class runabout in service to Federation Starfleet. It was one of three runabouts assigned to Deep Space 9 at the start of Starfleet’s administration of the station in 2369. It is the only Starfleet vessel to remain intact throughout the entire Federation administration of Deep Space 9 from 2369 to 2375.

At 23.1 metres (76 ft) long, 13.7 metres (45 ft) wide and 5.4 metres (18 ft) high, the vessel is larger than all shuttlecraft classes operated by Starfleet. The Danube-class in general was designed for a two person flight crew with capacity for three additional crew members with optional configurations for up to 20 passengers and maintained a larger operational range, increased cargo capacities, more powerful weapons system and warp 5 capabilities.

The Rio Grande is perhaps the most recognized runabout in operation as it was the first vessel to discover the Bajoran wormhole in 2369.

As of 2387, the vessel remains in active operation at Deep Space Nine.