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Old February 27 2013, 02:29 PM   #14
Re: Earth ship Valiant

And then the Space Shuttle was superseded by a Russian multi-stage rocket, originally designed in the 1960's.
Not in Star Trek, apparently. Or at least we see a structure much like the original Freedom concept being serviced by a reusable, lifting body spacecraft in the ENT opening credits.

Perhaps multistage rockets and ballistic capsules made a comeback in the Trek universe as well. Perhaps not. Zephram Cochrane was able to gain access to a single-stage-to-high-orbit (or even Earth escape velocity, by the looks of it) rocket for his warp experiment, which might suggest that such technologies were quite obsolete already. Or then this might suggest that rather than obsolete, they were merely commonplace.

The Valiant would appear to have left Earth fairly soon after Cochrane's first flight.
Kirk calls it out in the episode: the ship has been missing for "over two centuries". Clearly, he knows exactly what he's talking about, or he'd not feel entitled to say anything like this on the subject. So if "Where No Man" takes place in 2266 (the very earliest to match the speculative idea that this was the start of the five-year mission with the hard fact that said mission ended in 2270), the ship must indeed have been launched almost immediately after Cochrane proved his warp invention.

I imagine it voyaging outward on a lifelong science and discovery mission.
...But note that the ship "disappeared" almost immediately after launch. This would seem to suggest that Earth had a way to keep in contact with the ship until the disappearance. And later Spock says the recorder marker was "apparently" launched "200 years ago", so the mission must also have ended up at the edge of the galaxy almost immediately - either right after the "disappearance", or then at least within a few decades of it, or else we'd have to assume Spock speculated incorrectly.

These set some limits on what happened, and perhaps on the nature of the Valiant as well. Spock must have based his speculation on the marker ejection date on something he found plausible. Either there was directly physical evidence there that the launch had indeed happened at the specified date, or then Spock (unlike Kirk) found nothing wrong with the idea that the ship would have reached this spot in just a few years and based his speculation on that. IMHO, the former is the likelier approach.

Timo Saloniemi
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