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Old August 23 2013, 05:53 AM   #76
Workbee
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Makes sense. We know the D had at least 3 shuttlebays, and the C may also have had multiple bays. No reason the Excelsior couldn't have two. Each bay may be more specialized for different types of craft -- the upper bay for the crew shuttles, with the lower bay for more industrial transport crafts. I envision workbees towing cargo containers, like here and here.
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Old August 23 2013, 06:07 AM   #77
Workbee
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Timo wrote: View Post
The one good upskirt look comes from "Tears of the Prophets", and features some detailing in there, surrounded with blue glow. (Also note the CGI Mirandas with additional impulse engines in the pod!)

http://ds9.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...ophets_474.jpg

Here's another look with detailing, even though the model itself is relatively crude overall. (This time note the yellow glow on saucer impulse engines on that Galaxy; also, two standards of Miranda there...)

http://ds9.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...ophets_479.jpg

Finally, there's the detailed death scene of the Valley Forge. Despite the lights being out (for obvious reasons!) there appears to be some sort of detail in there nevertheless. Also note the aft torpedo tubes, protruding more clearly than in the physical model(s).

http://ds9.trekcore.com/gallery/albu...ophets_513.jpg

Timo Saloniemi
This is OT, but I never noticed before that those excelsiors in DS9 had the "correct" coloring of the blue highlights. Even though that's how the model was always painted, in ever movie appearance I can think of, they shot it in such a way that those blue highlights looked grey onscreen. Was always curious why that was. Since they kept that paint scheme on the model even in its various configurations though the years, I have to imagine it was a very deliberate and conscious choice. But it seemed like there was an equally deliberate effort to conceal this effect onscreen. Is this another thing like the gold uniforms that were actually green-ish? Or the R2D2 with black paneling? Anyone have any insights on this? So many mysteries surrounding this ship.
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Old August 23 2013, 10:04 AM   #78
Robert Comsol
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Possible behind-the-scenes (ILM) design approach

I think it’s fair to say that ILM is almost automatically associated with Star Wars and therefore it must have been quite a delicate matter (not without controversy back then) that the same guys who designed the spaceships for SW (e.g. Steve Gawley) were given the opportunity to design new spaceships for Star Trek.

At first glance the Earth Spacedock looks like a Star Trek version of the Death Star and the chasm of Excelsior like the hangar bay of an imperial Star Destroyer.

But the romantic in me says that this is just a deceiving appearance while instead the ILM designers and model makers possibly approached their Star Trek III creations rather with the intention to feature these as “counterparts” to their “cousins” in the SW Universe.

I.e. while the Death Star obliterated planets with antimatter, the Earth Spacedock was designed to protect Earth from antimatter-loading accidents and lethal fallout (I wrote a yet unpublished treatise on the “orbital mushroom” last August), and while the hangar bay of Lord Vader’s Devastator had a facility to “vaporize” Princess Leia’s ship (deleted piece of dialogue), one design purpose of the Excelsior’s hangar bay could have been to enable the “repair” of smaller vessels since it appears to have essential characteristics of a miniature onboard spacedock to substitute the lack of such facilities at the outermost borders of Federation space (“Star Destroyer” vs. “Star Explorer”).

In-unverse rationalization approach

According to the context of ST III the Excelsior was still “the great experiment” “ready for trial runs” and hadn’t been tested under normal space flight conditions, yet (“Looking forward to breaking some of Enterprise's speed records tomorrow.”), and shrouded in classified mystery (“She’s supposed to have transwarp drive”).

(This is how I imagine an early session of the Starfleet admiralty board under its chairman and veteran Robert Comsol, conjectural but inspirational, I hope)

“Mr. Thorndike, while you know that Starfleet and the Federation Council approved your orignal new starship class design, you’ve fallen far behind schedule because of this overambitious desire to reinvent the wheel [transwarp drive]. You’ve stated, I quote from your latest progress report, whose number escapes me because there have been way too many, that it is impossible to evaluate the performance and potential of transwarp based on computer simulations.
You’ve further stated that it is therefore inevitable to test transwarp drive under real space flight conditions but cannot assure that the outcome will meet the expectations.
Looking at your construction design plans, correct me if I’m wrong, you intend to integrate the transwarp drive components irrevocably into the ship.
But should transwarp turn out to be failures, Starfleet will, in essence, end up with a new starship carrying redundant dead weight.
This is unacceptable.
It is the opinion of this board that the transwarp components should be implemented in a modular fashion in the engineering hull of the 20th starship design. Should the transwarp experiment fail, the space allocated to such components can and will be put to other uses.”

I’m definitely not suggesting that transwarp was a failure (just because Scotty had sabotaged the T-drive before it even got a chance to be tested ) – and in the early TNG phase Andrew Probert considered the Enterprise-D to use transwarp drive where merely the “trans” had been dropped – but the modular nature of the components inside the chasm, from ST VI on, is rather evident, IMHO.

These modules look like they might perfectly fit into other Federation vessels, but stick out like a sore thumb inside the chasms of the Excelsior Class: A module designed exclusively for the Excelsior Class would fill the entire available chasm space, but what we see leaves plenty of unused (and wasted) space port and starboard of these modules which begs for explanation.

Bob

P.S. In ST VI the Excelsior had been studying "gaseous anomalies" and I wonder if these studies required physical contact. I won't exclude the possibility that the Excelsior literally "vacuum sucked" gaseous materials (here we go again, not too dissimilar what the chasm of Bespin's Cloud City in SW had been designed for...) for in-depth analysis into the chasm. The blue light visible in the chasm could be a part f it (though probably not a Cerenkov glowing effect).

Another hypothetical question would be how to resupply Constitution Class starships like NCC-1701-A operating in deep space with antimatter pod assemblies as illustrated in the Kimble cross-section drawing. Looks like the chasm has the right proportions to transport such antimatter pod assemblies for other starships (and in case of confinement failure could just "spit" these out in a manner of speaking).

In general I feel that the cargo transport capabilities of other starships next to the Enterprise (i.e. Miranda and Excelsior Class) still merit further evaluation.
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Last edited by Robert Comsol; August 23 2013 at 11:49 AM.
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Old August 23 2013, 12:58 PM   #79
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

...and one more thing (scale debate related):

Where was Excelsior assembled? Given the apparent shortness of time between ST II and III obviously not in the orbital San Francisco dockyard because this one had been occupied by the Enterprise at the beginning of ST II (and seems to small to accomodate Excelsior).

If it had been constructed at Utopia Planitia would it not have at least required an impulse drive "trial run" to travel to Earth?

Can we exclude the possibility it was assembled inside Earth Spacedock? Our protagonists seem rather surprised to see her there at the beginning of ST III, as if they had been totally kept in the dark that Excelsior was soon to be ready (plot hole?). Or was that the "public restricted" section, accessible only to Excelsior personnel (e.g. Janice Rand) which exclusively witnessed the return of the battle-damaged Enterprise from the Mutara sector (another delicate topic).

Of course this may explain a few things. They assembled the ship inside Earth Spacedock but totally forgot that it wouldn't fit through the spacedoors.

Bob
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Old August 23 2013, 03:44 PM   #80
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Look like I'm a little late to the party, but I wanted to get a better look in the chasm of the Valley Forge so o messed with the levels a bit. Here you go, in case you wanted to see too.



Also, as to R2-D2 having black panels, it's the same reason as why the Imperial officers sometimes have black rank insignia instead of blue: the blue color gets chemically stripped from the film stock when they used blue screen to optically composite images. In fact, that's why blue is the color for bluescreen; blue was the top layer of film color, so most easily removed, also, there is very little blue in a human face, so it's the easiest color to work around. But little blue panels like on R2 and those rank pips, become transparent on that film layer and the black space background shows through. If you read George Lucas's novel of Star Wars you may notice that Luke's X-Wing was originally supposed to be Blue 5 rather than Red 5. But the compositing process using bluescreen would have not worked with blue striping on the model, so they changed it to Red.

I imagine this is why the Excelsior was photographed to appear as gray as possible also, for fear of the blue parts turning transparent (and therefore black) in the final print.

--Alex
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Old August 23 2013, 04:52 PM   #81
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Workbee wrote: View Post
Each bay may be more specialized for different types of craft -- the upper bay for the crew shuttles, with the lower bay for more industrial transport crafts. I envision workbees towing cargo containers, like here and here.
I'm leaning toward this, at the moment.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
At first glance the Earth Spacedock looks like a Star Trek version of the Death Star and the chasm of Excelsior like the hangar bay of an imperial Star Destroyer.

But the romantic in me says that this is just a deceiving appearance while instead the ILM designers and model makers possibly approached their Star Trek III creations rather with the intention to feature these as “counterparts” to their “cousins” in the SW Universe.

...one design purpose of the Excelsior’s hangar bay could have been to enable the “repair” of smaller vessels since it appears to have essential characteristics of a miniature onboard spacedock to substitute the lack of such facilities at the outermost borders of Federation space (“Star Destroyer” vs. “Star Explorer”).
Interesting notions there. This could help explain why the "southern" bay was so different indeed. Not just a support bay for herself, but for other small ships too. I kinda like it.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I’m definitely not suggesting that transwarp was a failure (just because Scotty had sabotaged the T-drive before it even got a chance to be tested ) – and in the early TNG phase Andrew Probert considered the Enterprise-D to use transwarp drive where merely the “trans” had been dropped – but the modular nature of the components inside the chasm, from ST VI on, is rather evident, IMHO.
Interesting. I didn't know Mr. Probert regarded it that way. I always tried to mitigate the notion that it "failed" by saying that the result was a conventional system that was still light-years better (no pun intended) than conventional warp drive. I'm in the minority, but I've always interpreted transwarp to be along the lines of a jump drive. Styles' lines in TSFS might seem to agree with this. Then again, the line "All speeds available through transwarp drive..." is a tantalizing one.

(And, I concluded transwarp to be a failure by the fact that they didn't call it transwarp on TNG, and later by the fact that other races had something called transwarp.)

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
These modules look like they might perfectly fit into other Federation vessels, but stick out like a sore thumb inside the chasms of the Excelsior Class: A module designed exclusively for the Excelsior Class would fill the entire available chasm space, but what we see leaves plenty of unused (and wasted) space port and starboard of these modules which begs for explanation.
So in other words, you're contending that the module is the transwarp drive system, which was in fact successful and later revised for other ships into something less... modular? But for the Excelsior class, they had to remain with this odd semi-vestigial modular weirdness?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
In general I feel that the cargo transport capabilities of other starships next to the Enterprise (i.e. Miranda and Excelsior Class) still merit further evaluation.
Agreed.

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Where was Excelsior assembled? Given the apparent shortness of time between ST II and III obviously not in the orbital San Francisco dockyard because this one had been occupied by the Enterprise at the beginning of ST II (and seems to small to accomodate Excelsior).
Why can't there be other drydocks? (This is something I've always assumed to be the case.) In Generations, we see an apparently larger one inside of which the Enterprise-B was built. Perhaps it's the same one in which the Excelsior was built?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Can we exclude the possibility it was assembled inside Earth Spacedock? Our protagonists seem rather surprised to see her there at the beginning of ST III, as if they had been totally kept in the dark that Excelsior was soon to be ready (plot hole?). Or was that the "public restricted" section, accessible only to Excelsior personnel (e.g. Janice Rand) which exclusively witnessed the return of the battle-damaged Enterprise from the Mutara sector (another delicate topic).

Of course this may explain a few things. They assembled the ship inside Earth Spacedock but totally forgot that it wouldn't fit through the spacedoors.
I don't think we can rule that out... but somehow Spacedock has always seemed unlikely as a starship construction facility to me, given what we saw inside. Still, I don't think it can be ruled out. And, I've never considered the possibility that Rand was on Excelsior, especially given we see her in San Francisco in the next film. I always assumed she was assigned to Earth. Then again, in TSFS she appears to be a Commander, so she might have a twin sister.

Albertese wrote: View Post
Look like I'm a little late to the party, but I wanted to get a better look in the chasm of the Valley Forge so o messed with the levels a bit. Here you go, in case you wanted to see too.

Thank you for providing that sir. I might have to take some very rapid screen caps and alter the levels similarly to see if any more light can be shed. It appears to me as if there is more of a reinforcement around the pod in this version - which should come as no surprise since I believe this model was made from the Jein version, which did have a slightly different structure inside there. I'll dig up pics later.

Albertese wrote: View Post
Also, as to R2-D2 having black panels, it's the same reason as why the Imperial officers sometimes have black rank insignia instead of blue: the blue color gets chemically stripped from the film stock when they used blue screen to optically composite images. In fact, that's why blue is the color for bluescreen; blue was the top layer of film color, so most easily removed, also, there is very little blue in a human face, so it's the easiest color to work around. But little blue panels like on R2 and those rank pips, become transparent on that film layer and the black space background shows through. If you read George Lucas's novel of Star Wars you may notice that Luke's X-Wing was originally supposed to be Blue 5 rather than Red 5. But the compositing process using bluescreen would have not worked with blue striping on the model, so they changed it to Red.

I imagine this is why the Excelsior was photographed to appear as gray as possible also, for fear of the blue parts turning transparent (and therefore black) in the final print.

--Alex
Fascinating explanation... thanks for that, too.
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Old August 23 2013, 05:33 PM   #82
Timo
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Bob, you are definitely onto something as regards cargo/supplies stowage and transfer (although the actual designers of these photographic models probably didn't spare any thought to such things). With the increased reach of a successful transwarp drive, there would have to be a logistics revolution in Starfleet - and the Excelsior, no matter how experimental, was certainly built with success in mind, featuring all the familiar elements of a deep space exploration and combat starship as defined in TOS and redefined in TMP. Plus more...

The "more" could certainly be logistics-related. Or then it could be a side effect of the ship shunting all of its truly experimental and untrustworthy bits into the lower keel area, and keeping a path clear for dumping them to space at the earliest sign of trouble!

(And, I concluded transwarp to be a failure by the fact that they didn't call it transwarp on TNG, and later by the fact that other races had something called transwarp.)
But taken literally, transwarp is "beyond warp", "the next thing after warp". Once adopted to use, it ceases to be transwarp, and the sights are set for the next "the next".

Which is why all sorts of completely unrelated FTL drives can be "transwarp" at the same time, or at various points of history.

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Old August 23 2013, 05:46 PM   #83
Robert Comsol
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Praetor wrote: View Post
So in other words, you're contending that the module is the transwarp drive system, which was in fact successful and later revised for other ships into something less... modular? But for the Excelsior class, they had to remain with this odd semi-vestigial modular weirdness?
I believe the transwarp drive was only a large module aboard NX-2000. If the 23rd Century transwarp failed, the module was discarded, if transwarp worked, they came up with smaller components and integrated those into the Excelsior Class. Either way, the chasm became available for other applications.

Praetor wrote: View Post
Why can't there be other drydocks? (This is something I've always assumed to be the case.) In Generations, we see an apparently larger one inside of which the Enterprise-B was built. Perhaps it's the same one in which the Excelsior was built?
Frankly, it's the weird astonishment of the bridge crew at the start of ST III that made me wonder. Have they not seen the ship in drydock before, don't they know she has an experimental transwarp drive?

Why even bring her from the drydock inside the spacedock? Kirk's Enterprise departed twice from drydock, Harriman's Enterprise-B departed from drydock, only Excelsior didn't.

Of course, Earth Spacedock is shielded from curious eyes and that quarter section with the Excelsior may have been a restricted area, hence the bridge crew's surprise.

Maybe it was a deliberate decision to have the Enterprise anchor there and thus withdraw her from public attention and scatter the crew USS Liberty (the real ship) style.

If you seriously come to think of it, Kirk's career was heading for a dive. Somebody had to answer for what happened in ST II and considering all the lives lost under Kirk's watch because of his negligence, not to mention his naive and personal vouching for Dr. Marcus' Genesis Project, I can't help but feel that Captain Styles' threat was as empty as you could possibly imagine. Shall I continue...?

Praetor wrote: View Post
And, I've never considered the possibility that Rand was on Excelsior, especially given we see her in San Francisco in the next film. I always assumed she was assigned to Earth. Then again, in TSFS she appears to be a Commander, so she might have a twin sister.
She was a bridge officer aboard Excelsior in ST VI and I think she had been on that ship from day one with that lounge in ST III having been reserved exclusively for Excelsior personnel.

Bob
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Old August 23 2013, 05:49 PM   #84
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Alex:

That makes sense now about why the blue was toned down. Would that be a huge oversight on ILM's part, seeing as they were heavily involved in the design? After all their experience with the Star Wars trilogy, and the troubles they had with bluescreening the enterprise in TWOK with its reflective paint, I would think Steve Gawley and Bill George would have been PAINFULLY aware of the problems with bluespill and would have taken careful steps to avoid it. Painting blue highlights on the model just seems like they were asking for trouble. Then again, for all I know maybe they did take it into account, knew how to compensate for it. But why not just paint it grey?

Anyways, back on topic.... I like the idea of it being the gap being a sort of miniature spacedock. One thing that the movies introduced that we never got to see in TOS due to budget and effect limitations were all the smaller ships: the workbees, the tugs, travel pods, warp sleds, etc. It makes sense that facilities are needed to maintain these vessels. Perhaps this area housed some of the TSFS/TVH style tugs we see around spacedock (which the only thing we may have seen towing was that Kirk & Crew's travelpod in TVH).

As far as the space originally being dedicated to Transwarp, in my personal continuity Transwarp was successful and became the "standard" warp in TNG -- explaining why all ships classes from Excelsior through the "D" have the "layered" nacelle style with the grey / blue glowing "with mint frosting" layer sandwiched between upper and lower housings. Which is just my opinion -- the Transwarp as a partial or complete failure are equally valid interpretations.

But if Excelsiors were the next generation of ships after Constitutions, I think it is safe to assume that many will be sent out on exploration / frontier peacekeeping missions, TOS style. So having robust resources would be important and be factored into the design.

It always struck me odd how in the movies, they depicted most of the lower hull being occupied by engineering and the shuttle bay. In TOS Engineering and Shuttle Bays were each confined to singular rooms (and yes, one can argue there were multiple engineering rooms reflecting the different configurations of the set, but we don't conclusively which ones or if any of them were in the secondary hull). I liked to imagine that the lower hull was filled with "science stuff" -- sensors, equipment, labs, etc. The revelation in TMP that such a large volume of that part of the ship was dedicated to the engines struck a dissonant chord for me. Any explanation that moves away from gargantuan drive system thingy, in favor of exploration specific purposes is more appealing to me. Star Trek, for me at least, was never about "breaking speed records" -- especially Warp Speed was basically as fast or as slow as the plot needed it to be from episode to episode. I want the ship filled with labratories, teams of scientists, botanists, astronomers, cartographers and the like analyzing stuff... WITH SCIENCE!! To me, the Excelsior was to (and by TUC did) herald a shift away from the Bennett/Meyer/Nimoy militaristic Starfleet back toward the peaceful scientific Starfleet of TOS. Design emphasizes this -- torpedo launchers are again recessed instead of sticking right out there on the refit-E. As much as I enjoyed the refit-E's aesthetic, that was something I had issue with.
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Old August 23 2013, 06:43 PM   #85
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Why even bring her from the drydock inside the spacedock?
I'd argue that Spacedock Earth is exclusively for embarkation and disembarkation - the equivalent of a commercial airport, only in orbit. Perhaps it's even a civilian installation for the most part, with Starfleet just holding a pier or two (at least during the militant 2280s). That the Excelsior is there is a sign that all work on her has been brought to completion and she's ready to embark on test flights.

As for "surprise", I don't see much of that in the eyes of the heroes. Awe, perhaps - but the Excelsior isn't a surprise, merely the shiny new thing, now presented to their eyes for the first time.

As much as I enjoyed the refit-E's aesthetic, that was something I had issue with.
OTOH, a "refit" usually is an ugly thing, built of compromise atop compromise...

We could similarly dismiss the comparable Constellation ugliness as old technology taken to ridiculous extremes before new tech steps in. But the Miranda and the Sydney are ugly the very same way, with protruding this-and-that, and they supposedly aren't refits or extreme experiments.

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Old August 23 2013, 07:03 PM   #86
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

^^^ when you said "old technology taken to ridiculous extremes", my mind immediately went to some of the ships in the DS9 frankenfleet.
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Old August 23 2013, 07:06 PM   #87
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

...Assuming those were contemporary, rather than just plain old. After all, the highest registries witnessed were in the mid-60000 range, while the lowest Galaxy registries are in the 70000s and supposedly indicate the onset of the 2360s.

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Old August 23 2013, 07:41 PM   #88
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Timo wrote: View Post
I'd argue that Spacedock Earth is exclusively for embarkation and disembarkation - the equivalent of a commercial airport, only in orbit. ... . That the Excelsior is there is a sign that all work on her has been brought to completion and she's ready to embark on test flights.
Thanks, that was the argument I missed: Since when are test flights conducted from commercial airports?
  • refit Enterprise - dockyard is departure point for maiden voyage and test flight
  • Enterprise-B - dockyard is departure point for maiden voyage and test flight
Excelsior however sits in Earth Spacedock to prepare for her maiden voyage and test flight. Odd!


@ Workbee

I'd say that "Day of the Dove" answers some of your questions. According to the alien entity's exit point in TOS one engine room was at the center of the engineering hull near the bow.

It's also interesting to note that neither Kirk or Spock found it odd, that 400 crew members went to the lower decks and got trapped below this engine room. Looks like there should be plenty of labs and workplaces down below which I hope to be able to illustrate in one of the next stages of my TOS Enterprise deck plan project.

Bob

Addendum: I should state that the Excelsior's designer name I mentioned in my little conjectural speech ("Thorndike") is not entirely conjectural.

I thought his name was mentioned by Uhura in ST III when she sees the Excelsior.
As it turns out the name is an invention of the movie's German dubbing (instead of "will you look at that" the German Uhura said "Thorndike's idea").

Ain't that cool, now we also know the name of the Excelsior's designer!
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Old August 23 2013, 08:54 PM   #89
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Timo wrote: View Post
I'd argue that Spacedock Earth is exclusively for embarkation and disembarkation - the equivalent of a commercial airport, only in orbit. Perhaps it's even a civilian installation for the most part, with Starfleet just holding a pier or two (at least during the militant 2280s).
Yeah, I like that a lot. It's "Spacedock" rather than "Starbase 1", it has a cantina full of civvies and pirates, and it's got some truly abysmal policemen. Having it as the main space hub for Earth makes a bit more sense of the scale of the thing - they'd have to set aside a good deal of space for cargo and things like passport control and quarantine.
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Old August 23 2013, 09:59 PM   #90
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Re: Scaling the Excelsior Filming Model

Tomalak wrote: View Post
It's "Spacedock" rather than "Starbase 1", it has a cantina full of civvies and pirates, and it's got some truly abysmal policemen.
Are you implying that Kirk and the others went to his apartment in San Francisco and had abandoned the good doctor on the spacedock?!?

They think he's home, but McCoy apparently visits a bar in San Francisco, is picked up by a Fed and policemen, is put in a holding cell, freed by Kirk and beamed up to the Enterprise by Uhura at the Old City Station, "the worst duty station in town".

Bob
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