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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old August 21 2008, 01:55 AM   #16
Lindley
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

It *would* be useful to leave part of it in orbit. Easier to get back up there if you don't have to carry so much mass. But how easy would it be to reattach the warp drive on an EVA?

Perhaps he just left it at the ISS or its successor. Assuming a post-nuclear world would have the resources to maintain a space station of any kind....
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Old August 21 2008, 06:29 AM   #17
shipfisher
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

I did think that a possible concern with leaving the warp engine section in orbit was it perhaps being a bit of a prize in what would probably be a politically unstable post-WWIII period, assuming several nations or corporate entities still had access to LEO. The TNG pilot did suggest things were still pretty rough, at least in some places, even by 2079.
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Old August 21 2008, 06:48 AM   #18
Timo
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Yup, I'd wager LEO was safer in those days than the surface was...

...to be located in the Smithsonian.
Which could be in orbit for all we know. I mean, if they are going to keep on accumulating important aerospace hardware, they're soon going to need an extension for starships anyway.

Perhaps he just left it at the ISS or its successor. Assuming a post-nuclear world would have the resources to maintain a space station of any kind...
One would think all such installations would have been prime targets in the war, and probably destroyed. The question would then become, were they rebuilt after the war? And if Cochrane can launch to space with a shoestring budget, one would think plenty of other folks would be getting back up there as well. Somehow us Earthlings did manage to cobble together the Valiant, for example - and I very much doubt she was a unique case.

Certainly the immediate prewar space capabilities of Earth's nations were much more impressive than anything we'll have in the 2050s. Hell, their 1980s capabilities already surpassed our 2050s projections by a fantastic margin - that ISS-lookalike space station from ENT opening credits might be from the late seventies for all we know. Which presents a slight problem for Cochrane, as his secret hardware won't be 100% secure even in LEO. Then again, it makes things easier for him because his business associates can go get a look all the more easily.

Speaking of said associates, one'd think they were intended to be on board for the test flight already, else why install the two passenger seats? Or at least one passenger seat, plus one for a person capable of giving a few readings (of Hail Mary at least)...

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Old August 21 2008, 03:35 PM   #19
Tigger
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Messianni wrote: View Post
Problem with that is the Vulcans were right around the corner. Seeing a highly advanced starship tractoring in this little vessel to this primitive world may have aroused a lot of suspicion. They were trying to stay hidden from the survey team, remember.
However, they did come back during the day, as I recall, and the Vulcans arrived at night, so there was a period of at least a few hours between the time the Phoenix returned from her run and the Vulcans arrived. Should be plenty of time to get the ship down, especially with shield extensions or some such.


shipfisher wrote: View Post
I did think that a possible concern with leaving the warp engine section in orbit was it perhaps being a bit of a prize in what would probably be a politically unstable post-WWIII period, assuming several nations or corporate entities still had access to LEO. The TNG pilot did suggest things were still pretty rough, at least in some places, even by 2079.
Agreed. I am not sure Cochrane would want to leave it up there, especially since he himself likely didn't have access to another launch vehicle that would get him to LEO to recover it, but would be at the mercy of some other party.

Now, having invented it, he'd still be very important since anyone who could get up and recover it would not know how it worked and would likely not want to take the risk of permanently damaging it while trying to reverse-engineer it. So he certainly had some cards to play that could influence him to just bring back the nose capsule...


Lindley wrote: View Post
It *would* be useful to leave part of it in orbit. Easier to get back up there if you don't have to carry so much mass. But how easy would it be to reattach the warp drive on an EVA?

Perhaps he just left it at the ISS or its successor. Assuming a post-nuclear world would have the resources to maintain a space station of any kind....
It appears that at least North America and Western Europe (along with Japan) weathered World War III very well, considering how many of their major population centers appear in the 24th century much as they did in the 21st. San Francisco, for the most part, is unchanged. Same with Paris. And Washington D.C. evidently made it through okay if the Smithsonian is still around, even if the Phoenix is actually in an orbital annex and not over at Udvar-Hazy in IAD.

And within just a year or so of First Contact, the Valiant was heading out to the Galactic Rim, so there must still be extensive and robust aerospace manufacturing facilities around.
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Old August 21 2008, 06:53 PM   #20
Timo
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Agreed. I am not sure Cochrane would want to leave it up there, especially since he himself likely didn't have access to another launch vehicle that would get him to LEO to recover it, but would be at the mercy of some other party.
Do we know that he didn't have another rocket available? He had a shoestring budget all right, but he was squatting in an abandoned missile base. While he might have had a shortage of titanium pressure vessels, there might not have been a comparable shortage of Titan lower stages.

Not to mention that there might have been relatively cheap surface-to-orbit, single-stage, semi-aerodynamic solutions available at the time. Not good enough for lifting something as big as the warp engine, but mundane and available for the odd pair or trio of people who want to get from London to Sydney in an hour or take a holiday in orbit. Such things could have weathered the war relatively well, requiring little more than a surviving kilometer of runway and a hydrogen plant.

Now, having invented it, he'd still be very important since anyone who could get up and recover it would not know how it worked and would likely not want to take the risk of permanently damaging it while trying to reverse-engineer it. So he certainly had some cards to play that could influence him to just bring back the nose capsule...
...Who knows, he might even have had a little red button in his pocket, connected to the scuttling charges of the warp rig. Or better still, a little keyboard on which he'd have to punch his secret codes every second day or so in order to keep the rig from scuttling itself. Earth as of 2063 strikes me as Paranoia City anyway.

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Old August 29 2008, 04:02 AM   #21
Rivas_Jakarta
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Hey what about a nose-first reentry like the DC-X Delta Clipper. The cockpit did have re-entry tiles, right? Now, to protect the back half of the Phoenix.

Cochrane could, MAYBE, deploy an inflatable ballute-type heat shield from behind the cockpit. This ballute should be inflated wide enough to dispell most of the heat away from the ship. Just think back to the Leonov's aerobraking scene in "2010" to see what I'm talking about.

Also the nacelles may or may not be retracted for re-entry. I like the earlier poster's idea about using the nacelles to generate a plasma shield. This could supplement the ballute.

Once braked to sufficient speed and altitude, Cochrane shuts off the plasma shield and deploys parachutes to get home. The ballutes could be used as airbags for final landing.

Well, that's my theory.
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Old August 29 2008, 07:29 AM   #22
Timo
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Actually, with a rocket engine as good as the one used for launching the ship, the Phoenix wouldn't need a reentry system as such. She could simply hover down, riding on her rocket flame.

That's an amazing rocket Cochrane has there, make no mistake. The teeny weeny lower stage of his missile delivers a payload that probably vastly outmasses the Apollo mission spacecraft (command, service and lunar modules together with their fuel) to an orbit that at least matches and probably outperforms what the entire Saturn V stack was needed for. And the upper stage engine apparently is capable of backtracking the warp ride at sublight speed - that's at least a couple of dozen lightseconds in a matter of a day at most, again outperforming Apollo by an order of magnitude if not two or even three. That is, I rather doubt Cochrane would have risked reusing the warp drive for the return trip.

Basically, an engine like that could do a nonballistic, nonaerodynamic return at an arbitrarily slow speed, simply by killing orbital velocity and then dropping butt first, firing the rockets to slow the descent. Essentially "Tintin: Destination Moon" style. And if desired, Cochrane could go buzz the offices of his financial backers to show off a bit, then fly over to Montana in time for his Vulcan meeting.

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Old September 20 2008, 03:00 AM   #23
startrekfiero
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Assuming as someone posted earlier that the Smithsonian wasn't in orbit at that point (which I would assume it was not), then they had to have had a way to land it since it is mentioned by Picard earlier in the film that he saw the phoenix in the museum.
I guess since that part was probably unimportant for the overall FC story they either didn't have to worry about figuring it out and/or explaining it or figured that with our space shuttles being able to land in our time period that we would just assume that Cochran had designed something in the Phoenix that allowed them to then take it back to Earth and safely land it.
Is there possibly a break down/cut away drawing that has been done on the Phoenix that may possibly show how it would have been brought back to Earth? Like showing that it had landing gear, parachutes, etc?
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Old September 20 2008, 03:33 AM   #24
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

I always assumed that the cockpit section could be used as an escape vehicle for reentry. As for the rest of it: Who knows. We know the SS Valiant was constructed and launched only two years later; perhaps by then, Earth authorities could retrieve the rest of the Phoenix.
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Old September 20 2008, 01:45 PM   #25
Ronald Held
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Aren't there other threads that addressed this?
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