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Old September 21 2009, 04:22 PM   #40
Psion
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Re: Cleopatra's Needle - Design Proposals

Christopher wrote: View Post

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Which suggests, come to think of it, that maybe this is a customized version of a standard high-speed explorer or courier design.
Sounds good! My super-yacht concept was just a guess. So I'll ditch the planned gold filigree and piano-finish.

Christopher wrote: View Post
I like having it [smudge locker] as a separate piece from the impulse engines. It gives it a distinctive look.
Agreed!

Christopher wrote: View Post
We're going for compactness and minimalism. Definitely not luxury.

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Yes, narrower, not flatter. Basically, I'd like it if the whole rear half of the ship were tapered inward a bit more. I would be okay with leaving the impulse engines at their current width, though -- just taper the lower part more, so the rear view is more like an inverted trapezoid. Similar to the rear view of version 1, but not as narrow. Does that make sense?
Perfect sense!

Christopher wrote: View Post
That's substantially bigger than what I was estimating. This is a cramped, bare-bones 12-person ship, so I was thinking something maybe 2-3 times the size of a runabout. There's no need for a third deck.

Think of something along the lines of Serenity in the Firefly universe, but without the big cargo space and the big engines on the back and sides. Needle only contains a small bridge (barely more than a cockpit), a half-dozen compact double-bunk quarters, a lounge/mess, a fair-sized lab, a small medical bay, a tiny engineering space -- much like Serenity's interiors if you replaced the cargo bay with a lab. Serenity is 63 meters long, 40 wide, 18 high. We're talking about something of a similar length but flatter and narrower.

I hope that wouldn't require changing the proportions of Version 3 to give it more height, but then, the novel does describe the Needle's ceilings as relatively low -- enough to give clearance for a typical human, but requiring the taller Caldonian crew member to hunch over.
Size isn't a huge issue yet. By rescaling the airlock doors, the vessel shrinks and it's now 73 meters long, 14 meters wide, and 9.5 meters high. Including nacelles. The fuselage itself is about 64 meters long and 11 meters across at the widest point. Assuming 3 meters per deck (and that's 2-2.5 meters of open space plus structure), there's one deck almost the full length of the fuselage and one ten meter long deck above that that may shorten to a crawl space under the ship's spine. Towards the back, with the narrowed hull, engineering has at most about five to six meters before it pokes out the sides. Given structural requirements like framing and the like, this thing is starting to get cramped. If necessary, we can widen it easily, but that will come at the cost of an even less obelisk-like appearance.

If we assume this thing doesn't have big landing gear, but instead sits on belly skids, then I think we can squeeze everything we need into the available volume. No wonder Picard wanted to get out of the ship when they got to Tanebor. Children or no, I'd want out too.

Christopher wrote: View Post
I agree, but definitely the functional things need to be there -- maneuvering thrusters, maintenance hardpoints, that sort of thing.

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This is a practical research craft, born and bred. It's more a submarine than a yacht. Windows should be compact. Maybe a bridge window, small portholes for six crew quarters, larger windows for the lounge, but not huge, because every space on this ship is compact.

(Small windows would also fit the '50s-rocketship aesthetic.)

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I still like the idea of a jettisonable antimatter pod at the very back, though. That would be the safest place for it, since the ship is designed with straight-ahead motion in mind; since any expected impacts would be of meteoroids or debris coming from the front rather than attacks from the side, the far aft section would be the most protected. It's also the farthest part from the crew, which is the best place to keep the dangerous stuff.
All of this sounds quite logical and I think we're now on the same page. How's this look? Note that I've added a metallic reflection to the skin in this shot, so it comes out looking darker than before (reflecting the inky black void).

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