"Safety during launch as the Enterprise can continue to maneuver while the launch rails prevents the shuttle from accidentally floating into a wall on departure.
This does make great sense, considering how wobbly the TOS-R landings and takeoffs tend to be - and how wobbly the one takeoff we witnessed in TOS, that on the planet in "The Galileo Seven", was. So, a RAST system for a space helicopter, then, rather than a catapult for a space aeroplane?"
Good thing we can hopefully all agree on that. Just have one of these typical bumpy situations aboard the TOS Enterprise
and imagine a simultaneous shuttle launch in progress...besides, the unobstructed opening to space is the widest at the bottom of the flight deck.
There is one recurring idea I have to disagree - That of both the flight deck and the hangar deck lead to a vast open space like in TMP.
First, there is the official production drawing which indicates a bulkhead where the shuttlebay VFX miniature ends: http://www.cygnus-x1.net/links/lcars...er-sheet-3.jpg
Second, the Enterprise
is supposed to be 40 years old (same for the shuttlecraft design?) by the time of TOS. There are no pressure containment screens like in Star Wars or - obviously - TMP. The entire shuttlebay area needs to be pressurized and depressurized as shown in TOS.
Third, we have seen in TOS a noticable amount of corridors and rooms that are on the same level as and lead to the hangar deck. All those are gone in TMP; whatever decks and corridors used to be there have been torn out and made way - for an empty space whose purpose evades the
imagination (well, at least mine).
Recently at an airshow I talked to the pilots of a C-17 Globemaster whether they did use the remaining empty space above the freight pallets. Well, they don't but that's 21st Century technology we were talking about.
It almost seems in TMP a starship of exploration has become a starship of (cargo) transportation. If you were to reassemble the essential elements now remaining in the engineering hull, the Reliant
would be a possible design outcome.
P.S. Just found this original Matt Jefferies design for the "TMP" Enterprise, please note the dimensions of the shuttlebay area: http://www.cloudster.com/Sets&Vehicl...rd_Profile.jpg