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Old April 28 2009, 10:56 PM   #212
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Location: The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

kitsune wrote: View Post
Why not Excelsior Class Technical Familiarization Resource?
My thinking here was that there would be certain quirks of the Excelsior - such as the original bridge module and transwarp engine stuff - that would not ring true for the other ships, while almost everything else theoretically would. I also wanted to allow anyone a happy degree of latitude in deciding that their Excelsior class ship was somewhat different.

However, the more I've thought about it, the more I agree with you. So edited.

kitsune wrote: View Post
Praetor wrote: View Post
Each unit was constructed separately as an independent module at San Francisco Fleet Yards on Earth and then gamma-welded together with the others in drydock in synchronus Earth orbit.
I think it would be difficult to lift the primary and secondary hulls into orbit if not under their own power.
Yeah, I've decided to reword to leave this vague enough that hopefully anyone can imagine this was done however they like. My original intent was that it should be vague, but clearly it was not vague enough.

kitsune wrote: View Post
How about galleys and mess halls instead of food preparation systems? How about the ship's library, gymnasium, and recreational facilities, like the the bowling alley?
Honestly, when I was writing this I was purposefully trying to imitate some of the language used in 'The Making of Star Trek' to describe the interior layout of the original 1701 - hence the food preparation systems and laundry references.

kitsune wrote: View Post
the secondary hull houses Shuttlebay One, the Main Cargo Storage Facility, Shuttlebay Two (at the fantail on the dorsal plane), and three torpedo tubes (two fore, one aft).
There! Are! FOUR! TUBES!

kitsune wrote: View Post
Do you mean the physical shape is streamlined, or the inner workings are optimized?
The former.

kitsune wrote: View Post
I like to think the Star Trek III bridge was an ejectable test bridge with its own propulsion system, like the one mentioned in the TNG-TM. Although it would be unfair for the bridge to eject in the event of a transwarp test failure, while those stuck in Engineering had nowhere to go...
Hopefully the rewording should help with this.

kitsune wrote: View Post
Since when has Starfleet ever used seat restraints? Besides that one epsiode of TNG where the shuttle did a complete roll?

Well, maybe in Enterprise on a few occasions...
I think you'll find a new line here pleasing in that regard.

kitsune wrote: View Post
Praetor wrote: View Post
A small table has been provided in front of the Captain’s chair for his convenience.
The only Starfleet ship bridge with a flat surface to set beverages down!
Ever higher, and all.

sojourner wrote: View Post
So, was the second bridge installed in 2289 as the first paragraph in that section states, or at the same time as the 2287 refit? This seems confusing the way you flip-flop on the date. Or are you saying that after only 3 years in operation she had a 2 year of refit?
Okay, so after re-reading I've figured out that the reason for the flip-flop was that it was my original intent that the refit began in mid to late 2287 and was complete by 2289. Most of this was meant to encompass refits to the new warp drive. However, you are right referring to bridge installation from two dates was confusing, so I'll henceforth refer to this refit as the '2287 refit.'

Tomalak wrote: View Post
Speaking of the removable bridge module, it was interesting to read on Doug Drexler's blog that the NX-01 was designed so the entire warp core and engineering section could be slid out and replaced with an improved model. Maybe something like this could have happened with the Excelsior?

There are those plates on the top of the engineering hull which look like they could be removed to get at the innards, and the Enterprise refit had something similar around the torpedo bay - there were also what looked like hatches on the pylons, presumably for access to the conduits. An easily replaceable warp core could only increase the life of the ship.
It's funny, but Doug's thinking actually has coincided and inspired my own, but not quite in the same way. Most of the panels that you refer to on the saucer top I've actually interpreted as covers for extensive sensor systems - but I do believe that the original transwarp core was extracted through the top (where the deflection crystal(s) are) and the PTC extracted through the flat back of the secondary hull in a similar fashion.

Actually, Doug's idea has provided a pretty good solution to the Shuttlebay One quandry I've been having. Since it's been rather difficult to tell how many times that section on the original model was changed and exactly how, I've decided that the hollow volume (while still a concession to lower the ship's mass) was also designed to allow a variety of multi-mission modules, from the Shuttlebay One which is a standard configuration, to other setups that might more closely resemble the versions of the innards on the Jein Excelsior model and also the CGI models that were used.

So that's that, I think.

Okay, let's try this bit again. And for reference, here's a link to the cutaway diagram again so you can hopefully follow where I'm going. I keep kicking myself in the butt to start scanning and redrawing my deck pencil drawings, since this is little good without pictures.

The following was written in 2290 following the Excelsior's operational refit after the failure of the Transwarp Development Project to familiarize new crew and Starfleet brass alike with the new ship. It describes the ship in its original condition as of launch in that year, and compares the ship's initial fittings in 2284 to the equipment later installed for her service career. Appendices follow outlining the evolution of the design in the subsequent years, 'cousins' developed from the class, and a list of noteworthy ships. In her exhibition as part of the Fleet Museum's collection, Excelsior has been cosmetically restored to her 2290 status. This summary is one of several historic documents prepared for display at the Excelsior Exhibit.

Excelsior Class Technical Familiarization Resource

Structural Overview

The Excelsior’s design drew upon the now traditional primary-secondary hull configuration first introduced in the Daedalus class of the late twenty-second century. The Excelsior’s space-frame consisted of five integrated main assemblies: the primary hull (saucer section), interconnecting dorsal “neck,” secondary hull, warp nacelle pylon assembly, and twin warp nacelles (together comprising the engineering section). Each unit was constructed separately and then assembled in drydock in synchronus Earth orbit. Overall vessel dimensions are as follows: Length, 467.05 meters; Beam, 177.21 meters; Height, 74.93 meters.

The primary hull, or more commonly known as the “saucer section,” houses the main command facilities, including the main and auxiliary bridges and the main computer core, as well as crew accommodations and support facilities including food preparation and laundry systems. It also contains the main dorsal and ventral sensor platforms, and the ten primary phaser banks. A bar-like section extending aft along the longitudinal axis of the saucer section also houses the impulse reaction system and upper intermix chamber, which extends downward towards the deflector alcove in the secondary hull. Overall saucer dimensions are as follows: Length, 198.51 meters; Beam, 177.21 meters; Height, 30.71 meters.

The interconnecting dorsal is one of the components of the “engineering section.” Originally fitted with transwarp field monitoring and refinement equipment (its very horseshoe-shaped horizontal cross-sections defined by warp field dynamics), it is now primary void space, save the intermix chamber which spans it vertically and related equipment. Auxiliary crew quarters and freight space can be found here, along with inertial damper systems.

The secondary hull itself is the main component of the engineering section. It is roughly cigar-shaped in design, with a flattened dorsal and semi-circular ventral. It houses main engineering and the primary warp power systems, including the antimatter storage systems, as well as the main deflector dish. Primarily a hollow structure, the secondary hull houses the Main Cargo Storage Facility, the modular Shuttlebay One, Shuttlebay Two (at the aft fantail of the dorsal plane), and the four torpedo tubes (two fore, two aft.) Overall secondary hull dimensions are as follows: Length, 271.79 meters; Beam, 58.76 meters; Height, 43.93 meters.

The warp nacelle pylon assembly is composed of an elliptical dome from which the twin nacelles struts extend. The dome houses the main plasma manifold and EPS system, as well as various engineering support systems. Its shape is streamlined for greater warp performance, and the entire unit may be separated from the remainder of the ship in an emergency. The massive twin warp nacelles are mounted securely atop the twin support pylons. They are roughly shaped like truncated squares in cross-section, and taper to their aft ends. Overall warp nacelle unit dimensions are as follows: Length, 247.08 meters, Beam, 17.70 meters; Height, 20.33 meters.

Deck One (A-Deck)

Deck one is a fairly large space extending across the very top of the primary hull spar aft towards the impulse engines. However, the only habitable volume of the deck consists of the main bridge/briefing room area at the front, which is sunken nearly two meters into a protective ring structure. The bridge unit is an interchangeable module designed for swapout at regular refit intervals to facilitate easier control system upgrades. In keeping with Starfleet tradition, the bridge is a circular room lined with various instrument stations necessary for the operation of a modern starship.

The uninhabitable space of Deck One contains numerous systems. The protective ring around the bridge module contains auxiliary battery power and life support systems for emergency use. A bar extending aft from this unit contains the primary high-gain subspace antenna, and is flanked on either side by the uppermost portions of the dorsal sensor platform within raised hull flats. Excelsior is equipped with an extensive suite of all modern sensor modules.

Aft of this at the deck’s rear are the upper housing for the twin deflection crystals that top the intermix chamber and the upper impulse systems, including the radiative cooling unit baffles and fins. When she was originally launched, Excelsior mounted a single, large deflection crystal atop her intermix chamber. The deflection crystal allows warp power to be directly channeled to supplement the impulse system. However, flight tests proved that the large crystal tended to easily overload, so the ship’s 2287 refit and intermix chamber replacement saw the installation of a pair of smaller, more conventional deflection crystals capable of the same workload. These units have proven far more reliable and stable than the previous configuration, although some future Excelsior class ships are expected to retain the single-unit design if current research makes it more workable as is theorized.

Main Bridge

Almost all modern Starfleet ships are equipped with ejectable bridge modules, designed to be easily swappable to extend the operational lifetime of a starship, and doubling as a last-ditch lifeboat for the command crew in the event of a shipwide catastrophic systems failure. According to Starfleet regulations, the bridge module is to only be ejected once all hands have been already ordered to lifeboats. Starfleet does not favor the antiquated notion of 'the captain going down with the ship.' The Excelsior is no exception.

The bridge module originally equipped to the Excelsior at her commissioning in 2284 was quite different from the one installed during the 2287 refit for her operational career, but the two still retain similar Starfleet characteristics. The 2284 bridge module was designed around the operation of the transwarp drive. It did not contain an observation lounge as on the new module, but was still an efficient control space. The room was a perfect circle, with a single turbolift directly aft and a large viewscreen forward, comprising nearly one-third of the room’s wall space, with small secondary exit doors to either side (leading to a surrounding corridor). The remaining wall space was dedicated to control consoles. A “pedestal” in the center of the room mounted (for the first time) separate helm and navigation consoles, with Helm at starboard and navigation at port. The Captain’s chair was directly aft of these consoles.

The Captain’s chair, and indeed all the bridge chairs, was quite unusual and characteristic of Excelsior’s early career. They all mounted large inertial restraint arms that some crew nicknamed “bear arms,” so described because in transwarp flight these massive arms were programmed to automatically grab and securely hold the seat’s occupant. Also for the first time, Starfleet adopted the use of touch-screen “Okudagram” control surfaces, so named after their inventor, Dr. Michael Okuda. These controls were far more sophisticated and versatile than their push-button predecessors, and could be reconfigured for specific needs far more easily. Okudagram interfaces evolved in sophistication quickly and soon became the fleet-wide standard. “Bear arm” chairs, however, heralded the end of physical seating restraints in favor of interwoven gravity cushions and better intertial damper systems. (Indeed, the practical usefulness of seat restraints aboard starships is now felt to be dubious at best.)

The Excelsior’s 2287 refit and transwarp drive removal prompted the replacement of the 2284 bridge module, and Starfleet took the opportunity to equip her with something even more modern and cutting-edge. The new module retained the circular dome-shape for the bridge with Okudagram touch-screens, but is distinctly different from its predecessor. Two turbolift stations serve this bridge, one each at port and starboard. The viewscreen remains virtually unchanged, but is slightly smaller, and gone are the forward corridor access doors.

Stations lining the bridge walls include: engineering support, propulsion, communications, and tactical monitoring at port; three dedicated science statsions and a small master control monitoring station at starboard. The upgraded Captain’s chair and helm and nav consoles retained nearly the same locations on a platform level with the circumferential stations. A small table has been provided in front of the Captain’s chair for his convenience. An alcove at the aft of the bridge houses the new master situation display, a graphic of the ship that allows the Captain to view the ship’s status at a glance over his shoulder. Doors flank the MSD, which allow access to the new briefing room/observation lounge, and an adjacent head for the bridge crew’s use.

Briefing Room/Observation Lounge

The new observation lounge provides an unparalleled view of the aft portion of the ship and the warp nacelles, and was designed to allow the senior staff a more convenient location for mission briefings. It features a long, slightly curved table fitted with computer access systems and chairs for each member of the senior staff. Each end wall is fitted with a fairly sizable viewscreen and data interface for briefing sessions. The inner wall is decorated with art and other personal decorations provided by the Captain. The Captain may also use the room as a ready room if so desired to relax when key situations require his proximity to the bridge.
"If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid." - Q
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