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

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Old March 7 2010, 04:04 PM   #16
Forbin
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

Another vote for powered orbits. There were some stories where there there's really no other explanation.
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Old March 7 2010, 07:57 PM   #17
Myasishchev
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

T'Girl wrote: View Post
I've come to believe that in Kirk's time the Enterprise wasn't always orbiting the planet, but was instead hovering on it's impulse engines above a fixed point on the planet's surface. For example Assignment: Earth, the Enterprise was stationary two hundred miles directly above the New York City. At that altitude she would have been orbiting at five miles a second, but at a hover she is moving forward at only at a third of a mile per second, matching the city below her. Impulse engines that could propel the ship at hundreds of gees through space can easily provide one continuous gee to hover.
Nothing is more subtle than two thermonuclear engines spitting out enough hot reaction mass to keep a million ton vessel stationary over a major metropolitan area during the Cold War.
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Old March 7 2010, 09:30 PM   #18
Marten
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

I have always assume they use their engines to stay where they want, but when you mention it, it could be quite dangerous.
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Old March 7 2010, 09:48 PM   #19
Ronald Held
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

I aways assumed a powered orbit, given certain references to short orbital periods and the ability ot "hang" over a given ground site for long periods of time.
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Old March 7 2010, 10:22 PM   #20
Wingsley
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

Here's a different approach:

Is there anything in canon to support or refute the notion that a space vessel's "orbit" of a given planet could be "powered" for one instance and "natural" for the next? In other words, could the Enterprise and other vessels in TOS/TNG/etc be employing different "orbit" techniques depending on the mission and the skipper's discretion?
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Old March 8 2010, 12:11 AM   #21
timelord1010
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
I've come to believe that in Kirk's time the Enterprise wasn't always orbiting the planet, but was instead hovering on it's impulse engines above a fixed point on the planet's surface. For example Assignment: Earth, the Enterprise was stationary two hundred miles directly above the New York City. At that altitude she would have been orbiting at five miles a second, but at a hover she is moving forward at only at a third of a mile per second, matching the city below her. Impulse engines that could propel the ship at hundreds of gees through space can easily provide one continuous gee to hover.
Nothing is more subtle than two thermonuclear engines spitting out enough hot reaction mass to keep a million ton vessel stationary over a major metropolitan area during the Cold War.
I always assumed that the impulse (Fusion) engines were only used for sublight travel. Maybe in a "powered" orbit the starship uses the warp field or some other energy field to negate gravity so the ship can "park" anywhere it wants in orbit. Anti-matter is only used to power the warp engines, not used for thrust to propel the ship so there would be no large radiation signature coming from the ship since the warp engines are fully contained. Just my 2 cents.
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Old March 8 2010, 12:16 AM   #22
Lieut. Arex
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

Wingsley wrote: View Post
Here's a different approach:

Is there anything in canon to support or refute the notion that a space vessel's "orbit" of a given planet could be "powered" for one instance and "natural" for the next? In other words, could the Enterprise and other vessels in TOS/TNG/etc be employing different "orbit" techniques depending on the mission and the skipper's discretion?
The orbit in "This Side of Paradise" must be a natural one as there's no mention of it decaying anytime soon. Kirk says he could stay aboard, but not pilot the Enterprise. Ditto Exeter's in "Omega Glory". She'd been there for at least six months. "Court Martial" seems to show a powered one, otherwise Finney's sabotage of the engines would be no immediate threat. The choice must be the captain's, dependent on the mission.
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Old March 8 2010, 01:47 AM   #23
Wingsley
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

According to this Memory Alpha article, the Enterprise orbited Excalbia at an altitude of almost 643.5 miles. If we assume that this orbit was a "powered" one, and that it would be typical of "powered" orbits, would it require huge amounts of energy to sustain? I could see this notion of "powered" orbits being used, but I would think it would have to be arranged to avoid excessive power consumption.
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Old March 8 2010, 03:35 AM   #24
Elvira
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

^^^ At 16,000 miles the pull of Earth would be 0.04 gees. At 190,000 tons of mass, the Enterprise's "weight" would only be 7,600 tons at that altitude.
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Last edited by Elvira; March 8 2010 at 03:56 AM.
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Old March 8 2010, 04:46 AM   #25
LCARS 24
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

Wingsley wrote: View Post
According to this Memory Alpha article, the Enterprise orbited Excalbia at an altitude of almost 643.5 miles. If we assume that this orbit was a "powered" one, and that it would be typical of "powered" orbits, would it require huge amounts of energy to sustain? I could see this notion of "powered" orbits being used, but I would think it would have to be arranged to avoid excessive power consumption.
Momentum does part of the work of keeping the ship from falling out of orbit. The higher the orbit, the less power is required. How much power must be applied depends on the planets's rotation you are matching. Faster rotation means less power needed. You could think of it as flying backward within your orbit in relation to the advance of the area you want to scan, since an unpowered orbit would take you around too fast in most cases. And you orbit above the planet's equator, maintaining the desired distance from the spot of interest, albeit at an angle. If you don't need to stay in sight of a certain spot, you can move to an orbit 600 miles above the surface and coast until the plot thickens.

The Space Shuttle orbiter flies forward within its initial orbit to catch up with the ISS but uses little power to do that and usually takes many hours (many trips around the world)
to match the orbit of the ISS.
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Old March 8 2010, 05:45 AM   #26
GodThingFormerly
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

Ronald Held wrote: View Post
I aways assumed a powered orbit, given certain references to short orbital periods and the ability ot "hang" over a given ground site for long periods of time.
The "hang" could be caused by apoapsis dwell if the Enterprise employs highly elliptical (i.e., Molniya-Class) satellite orbits in order to stay above the landing party's horizon for the maximum possible time during every orbital period in the event an emergency beam-out is required. Of course, this is highly dependent on the subject planet's diameter, gravitational potential and sidereal rotation rate, although one may propose that in a majority of cases the space vehicle's orbit is artificially precessed by firing the impulse engines briefly at periapsis in order to keep the apoapsis directly over the landing party's position during each pass. OTOH, an idling warp drive may be able to sufficiently amplify the Lense-Thirring (i.e., relativistic "gravito-magnetic" frame dragging) effect when the orbit's inclination is close to equatorial for the same purpose depending upon which propulsion system is more energy efficient for a particular planet/orbit combination.

SLR

Last edited by GodThingFormerly; March 8 2010 at 10:28 AM. Reason: "inclation" > "inclination"
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Old March 8 2010, 11:48 AM   #27
Timo
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

A couple of random notes:

1) "Orbit" today is valid parlance for the pattern an aircraft maintains, for example when aiming a radar at the ground below, or waiting for its turn to land, or waiting for a chance to provide fuel to other aircraft. Thus, if Kirk orders a stationary orbit above London, there's nothing semantically wrong with it, even though "stationary orbit" does have other usages in aeronautics jargon besides "staying put above said spot".

2) I think we can all agree that a starship would be able to maintain a steady one gee of acceleration (and thus hover over any given spot) for at least a couple of months if not years. That is, the ship isn't likely to run out of fuel or energy in that time, and the engines supposedly don't require all that much "must take 'em offline" maintenance. Perhaps impulse engines do require some sort of propellant that would run out if the ship wasn't allowed to take short breaks for replenishment, though? Difficult to tell, since their actual method of operation has been kept hidden in aired Trek.

3) The effects of impulse hovering on the spot beneath might not be all that severe when we consider that the shipwrights would do everything in their power to minimize the "impulse signature" anyway, for tactical reasons.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old March 8 2010, 04:33 PM   #28
Brown-Eyed Ghoul
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

Timo wrote: View Post
“Orbit” today is valid parlance for the pattern an aircraft maintains, for example when aiming a radar at the ground below, or waiting for its turn to land, or waiting for a chance to provide fuel to other aircraft.; anyway, for tactical reasons.
Oh? When did they start using that term? I always thought it was called a “holding pattern.”

An aircraft flying in a big circle while waiting to land isn't orbiting anything. It's just flying in a big circle.
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Old March 8 2010, 06:24 PM   #29
Forbin
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

Lieut. Arex wrote: View Post
Wingsley wrote: View Post
Here's a different approach:

Is there anything in canon to support or refute the notion that a space vessel's "orbit" of a given planet could be "powered" for one instance and "natural" for the next? In other words, could the Enterprise and other vessels in TOS/TNG/etc be employing different "orbit" techniques depending on the mission and the skipper's discretion?
The orbit in "This Side of Paradise" must be a natural one as there's no mention of it decaying anytime soon. Kirk says he could stay aboard, but not pilot the Enterprise. Ditto Exeter's in "Omega Glory". She'd been there for at least six months. "Court Martial" seems to show a powered one, otherwise Finney's sabotage of the engines would be no immediate threat. The choice must be the captain's, dependent on the mission.
"Mirror, Mirror" seems to acknowledge a normal low orbit, since they mention cities coming in and out of targeting range as they orbit.
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Old March 9 2010, 12:05 AM   #30
Elvira
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Re: Does The Enterprise Orbit

scotpens wrote: View Post
An aircraft flying in a big circle while waiting to land isn't orbiting anything. It's just flying in a big circle.
American pilots circle the airport. British pilots orbit the airport.
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