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Old July 11 2013, 06:06 PM   #21
137th Gebirg
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Re: Phase II Enterprise Study Model

^^^ I think the idea behind that was to have the saucer be its own aero-brake if it had to separate from the neck and make a forced landing on a planet with an atmosphere. Don't know if it would actually work, though. I somehow remember someone doing a simulator on the saucer design to see how it would react in an uncontrolled descent, and I think it started tumbling as the resistance that was supposed to build up under the saucer wound up getting trapped in small, uneven, convection currents, pushing subsequent air out of the way, making it fall almost as fast as if it didn't have the inner curve. That was a looooong time ago, though, and I'm probably mis-remembering some of it.
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