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Old June 26 2010, 11:24 PM   #1
Captain Robert April
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Location: In selfless service to fandom, on the road to becoming a Star Trek trivia god...
How much does the Enterprise weigh?

Or, "Do These Nacelles Make Me Look Fat?"

Let's see if we can take another run at this subject.

Seeing as it has been pretty clearly established that the figure of 190,000 tons (not metric tons, just plain old tons) was settled on before Matt Jefferies was even hired, let alone before the Enterprise was even close to designed (hell, before it was even named "Enterprise"), just how much stock can we really put in this figure?

Is it an artifact that should be chucked on the side along with Spock being a Martian who got sustenance via a metal plate on his abdomen? Or is it a case of serendipity where the final design fell right into right size for that weight class?

Or was maybe Scotty not exaggerating as much as we'd always assumed?
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Old June 27 2010, 02:04 AM   #2
Warped9
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

I wouldn't know how to even begin calculating the E's deadweight , but Scotty's million gross tons mentioned in "Mudd's Women" doesn't sound at all right.

A contemporary U.S. carrier comes in around about 90-100,000 tons, right? But it's a more compact structure. How much bigger in terms of volume is a Constitution-class starship with it's mass distributed much differently than a naval carrier. Would about double the deadweight of a carrier be about right while also allowing for futuristic materials stronger yet lighter than what we have today?
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Old June 27 2010, 02:07 AM   #3
Shaw
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
Seeing as it has been pretty clearly established that the figure of 190,000 tons (not metric tons, just plain old tons) was settled on before Matt Jefferies was even hired, let alone before the Enterprise was even close to designed (hell, before it was even named "Enterprise"), just how much stock can we really put in this figure?
How do you define established?

If that fact is established, then you must also believe that the following are established as well...
  • The large model of the Enterprise is 14 feet long,
  • Both models of the Enterprise were built to reflect a real world length of 200 feet,
  • That the length of 200 feet was not changed until after the second pilot,
  • That early ideas of the ship had it at 200 feet long and 14 stories high,
  • That the figure of 203 people (a number that in the filming script was to reflect the loss of a number of crew members prior to The Cage) just happened to be the exact number Roddenberry used and yet early designs depicted spacecraft that would have had a hard time holding a crew of 50.
TMoST is an interesting book, but it is a poor resource for those who really want to know what really happened. Poe's version of the outline includes elements from later in Trek development, and his time line of events is often mixed up (of no real fault to him, he wasn't there for most of it, and the book itself was rushed into print).

The truth is out there, and anyone wishing to find it out for themselves need only extend the effort. Question everything, cross check everything (I even cross checked original filming dates with weather reports in L.A. back in November/December of 1964), and hard data is better than people's memory.

It seems that you guys need to do more of this on your own, so I'll be sharing less of what I've found. After all, my research was intended for only one person... me.

My last hint, TMoST is a poor reference if you care to know what actually happened.
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Old June 27 2010, 03:23 AM   #4
Captain Robert April
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

I'm not using TMoST as a source, I'm using Roddenberry's format pitch as the source.
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Old June 27 2010, 03:40 AM   #5
Shaw
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
I'm not using TMoST as a source, I'm using Roddenberry's format pitch as the source.
There are no independent copies, everyone uses the copy provided in TMoST.

-snip-

Those figures were implanted in that document from later data. There is a ton of compromised data out there, you have to be able to tell that stuff when you run across it.

Last edited by Shaw; June 27 2010 at 05:30 AM. Reason: wasted effort removed
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Old June 27 2010, 03:45 AM   #6
blssdwlf
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

Just an FYI on the use of deadweight - it only applies to the ship's cargo, personnel, fuel, etc but it excludes the machinery and hull. If one were to use 190,000 mt deadweight it does not contradict "nearly a million gross tons" as said in TV dialogue.

Franz Joseph's Tech Manual does use deadweight and I've seen one or two other blueprints use it in that context. TMOST and the Series Format use Gross Weight (total) although the Series Format shown in TMOST the actual length of the ship hadn't been established yet, apparently.

And for the record - I don't have a preference for any particular figure as they could all work, IMHO.
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Old June 27 2010, 04:44 AM   #7
Captain Robert April
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

From "Star Trek Is...", March 11, 1964, page 9:

Excerpted from orders to Captain Robert M. April:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. You are therefore posted, effective immediately, to command the following: the S.S. Yorktown.

Crusier Class -- Gross 190,000 tons
Crew Complement -- 203 persons
Drive -- space-warp. (maximum velocity .75 of one light year per hour)
Range -- 18 years at galaxy patrol speeds
Registry -- Earth, United Space Ship
Oh, and there have been independent copies of this pitch available for years. Lincoln Enterprises sold them along with scripts and other goodies. I know, I bought one.

Or, to put it another way, where do you think they got the info for TMoST? FROM THAT FORMAT PITCH.

Besides, where's the motivation, or logic, in changing the weight of the ship but leaving everything else, like April as the captain and the ship's name of Yorktown?

The figure predates Jefferies by months. The question is whether or not the figure still works in light of the final design.
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Old June 27 2010, 05:29 AM   #8
Shaw
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

Captain Robert April wrote: View Post
The figure predates Jefferies by months. The question is whether or not the figure still works in light of the final design.
Why use the weight at all in that pitch? It doesn't say anything about anything if you are no where near having a design (that would start out super small).

Having the crew compliment is more understandable, except that the evidence shows that they were thinking in the range of a few dozen people before the ship was designed... and that the size started growing in October 1964 to the point where the design might be able to finally have 203 people on board.

And Lincoln Enterprises was post series (and post TMoST).

To give you an idea of what I would consider a valid copy of that data from 1964... something like this. But even then, those dates are wrong (as I cross checked them against the dates on the clapboards of many of the scenes from The Cage).

The data doesn't fit with what they were working toward in the Summer of 1964, and even the 203 number doesn't really work with the previous version of the Enterprise prior to the final design.

-snip-

But here is an important question... are you trying to save your original stance or are you trying to find out what actually was. When data starts to contradict, do you stick with what you are familiar with or do you go with the stronger data?

It took me a long time to give up on preconceptions I had built up in the 70s, 80s and 90s, but when things stopped adding up, I started looking for more evidence of what happened.




Edit: I've removed a lot from this post. I forgot, you are still working on a straight forward bridge... so once you get an idea in your head, it is a waste of time trying to change it (as was most of what I put together). I recall reading all the information that MGagen gave you that you dismissed on a number of subjects, and don't wish to repeat that.

Feel free to ignore everything I posted.
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Old June 27 2010, 07:03 AM   #9
T'Girl
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?



I wonder if there is a possibility the Franz Joseph didn't completely understand
exactly what "Deadweight Tonnage" meant? It sounded good, so he used it.

He wasn't a maritime engineer/designer was he?
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Old June 27 2010, 03:49 PM   #10
CuttingEdge100
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

Robert April,

Seeing as it has been pretty clearly established that the figure of 190,000 tons (not metric tons, just plain old tons) was settled on before Matt Jefferies was even hired, let alone before the Enterprise was even close to designed (hell, before it was even named "Enterprise"), just how much stock can we really put in this figure?
I, myself, wouldn't put too much weight (no pun intended) into this figure.

Is it an artifact that should be chucked on the side along with Spock being a Martian who got sustenance via a metal plate on his abdomen?
I never heard that one before...


Warped 9,

A contemporary U.S. carrier comes in around about 90-100,000 tons, right?
Correct

But it's a more compact structure. How much bigger in terms of volume is a Constitution-class starship with it's mass distributed much differently than a naval carrier.
No idea, but I assume it would be a great deal lighter per unit of volume. Some things would be inevitably be about the same, but I assume much of the hull would be substantially lighter -- Probably half the weight per unit of volume, maybe 1/3 to 1/4.


Shaw,

If that fact is established, then you must also believe that the following are established as well...
  • The large model of the Enterprise is 14 feet long,
I thought the model was 11 feet?

  • Both models of the Enterprise were built to reflect a real world length of 200 feet,
Wait, I thought they were going for a length of around 540 feet, which was enlarged to somewhere between 947 and 1080 feet?

  • That the figure of 203 people (a number that in the filming script was to reflect the loss of a number of crew members prior to The Cage) just happened to be the exact number Roddenberry used and yet early designs depicted spacecraft that would have had a hard time holding a crew of 50.
Well, the 540 foot design probably would have done fine with a crew of 200 something.

As I understand it
  • The first drawings of the Enterprise/Yorktown originally looked like a flying saucer and was to have a crew of 100
  • From there, it would appear that they went to a ship with an annular warp-engine and a long-boom connecting to a crew module which does appear to be hard pressed to carry 100 people. This shape would later be the basis for the XCV-330A Enterprise that appeared in Star Trek: TMP.
  • This design ultimately evolved substantially with the ring being widened into a more oblong shape, and some grilles being added on the top-side, and the crew module adjusted in shape. Eventually this shape ended up being the initial basis for the Klingon D-7 Cruiser (The flattened ring was modified into wings, the grill remained up-top, the crew module was modified into the hammer-head we now recognize, pylons were added to the underside of the ship mounting a pair of warp-nacelles)
  • Next, they went to a more modular design with a cylindrical engineering hull, a spherical primary-hull, and a pair of cylindrical warp-nacelles. A tubular structure connected the two hulls together, and wing-shaped pylons connected the warp-nacelles to the ship. Matt Jeffries experimented with a number of combinations of these shapes, and ultimately arrived with a configuration which had the engineering hull on the bottom, the nacelles up top, and the primary hull slightly above the engineering hull. This design would later be re-used as the USS Daedalus
  • From this point the primary hull was changed into a flattened saucer shape, the cylindrical secondary hull was modified into a more curved shape. The cylindrical nacelles were made initially more tear-drop like and featured spires on the front of them. Various combinations were looked into which included the nacelles mounted on the saucer, and on the secondary hull, with the engineering hull mounted above or below the saucer and so on. Ultimately the final arrangement came into shape with the saucer up top, the secondary hull on the bottom, and the nacelles mounted above the engineering hull. The initial size for the vessel was set at 540 feet, with a crew in the 200 range, later selected at 203.
  • The ship's size was doubled
  • The streamlined radome covering the sensor/nav-deflector dish was removed in lieu of a bare antenna
  • It would appear that for one reason or another a final size of 947 feet was selected.

TMoST is an interesting book, but it is a poor resource for those who really want to know what really happened.
I assume this stands for "The Making of Star Trek"?

The truth is out there, and anyone wishing to find it out for themselves need only extend the effort. Question everything, cross check everything (I even cross checked original filming dates with weather reports in L.A. back in November/December of 1964), and hard data is better than people's memory.
Generally the case.


Robert April,

Excerpted from orders to Captain Robert M. April:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. You are therefore posted, effective immediately, to command the following: the S.S. Yorktown.

Crusier Class -- Gross 190,000 tons
Crew Complement -- 203 persons
Drive -- space-warp. (maximum velocity .75 of one light year per hour)
Range -- 18 years at galaxy patrol speeds
Registry -- Earth, United Space Ship
I thought they specified a speed of 0.73 Ly/Hr?


T'Girl,

He was an aerospace engineer. He worked for Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation mostly known as Convair.
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Old June 27 2010, 04:04 PM   #11
Vance
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Just an FYI on the use of deadweight - it only applies to the ship's cargo, personnel, fuel, etc but it excludes the machinery and hull. If one were to use 190,000 mt deadweight it does not contradict "nearly a million gross tons" as said in TV dialogue.
From Dictionary.com:
the weight of a railroad car, truck, etc., as distinct from its load or contents.
You've got it exactly backwards. The DW includes all the components of the ship itself (including machinery) but NOT its load or contents. It doesn't apply to cargo, personnel, fuel, and sundry.
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Old June 27 2010, 04:05 PM   #12
Vance
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

He wasn't a maritime engineer/designer was he?
He wasn't a maritime engineer, but he was indeed an engineer and designer. He knew damn well what deadweight meant. The production staff of Star Trek, however, did not.
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Old June 27 2010, 04:56 PM   #13
Warped9
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

Here's a thought that occurs to me: I suspect many people assume that the warp nacelles are (comparatively) heavy components, but is that actually the case? Granted we should be more concerned with mass rather than weight because we're dealing with a structure that operates in a primarily zero to relatively low gravity environment. As such the support pylons are more for holding the nacelles securely to the secondary hull rather than actually supporting their weight as they would in a heavy gravity environment (and something they can actually do as evidenced in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" when the ship finds inside deep within Earth's atmosphere). The pylons need to be designed more for stress and torque rather than simply supporting weight, right? I'm not an engineer by any stretch.

But what if the warp nacelles really aren't that (comparatively) heavy or massive? These are very advanced and exotic devices that don't operate at all on the principle of reaction thrust. They're simply generating a space warp field. Would heavy materials really be required for that considering we're speculating about very advanced science and technology?

Using a rough analogy a phaser pistol is arguably a lot lighter than an automatic handgun largely because of how the device operates. A handgun is dealing with explosive properties and using reaction force to eject a solid object at high speed--the thing has to be really solid to keep from blowing apart after repeated use. A phaser shouldn't be that much more elaborate than a flashlight since your projecting/emitting pure energy.
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Old June 27 2010, 05:21 PM   #14
blssdwlf
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadweight_tonnage

"Deadweight tonnage (also known as deadweight, abbreviated to DWT, D.W.T., d.w.t., or dwt) is a measure of how much weight a ship is carrying or can safely carry.[1][2][3] It is the sum of the weights of cargo, fuel, fresh water, ballast water, provisions, passengers, and crew."


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deadweight
"Main Entry: dead·weight
Pronunciation: \ˈded-ˈwāt\
Function: noun
Date: 1659
1 : the unrelieved weight of an inert mass
2 : dead load
3 : a ship's load including the total weight of cargo, fuel, stores, crew, and passengers"

Also from Dictionary.com...
http://dictionary.reference.com/brow...ight%20tonnage

deadweight tonnage


"–noun Nautical. the capacity in long tons of cargo, passengers, fuel, stores, etc. (deadweight tons), of a vessel: the difference between the loaded and light displacement tonnage of the vessel."





Vance wrote: View Post
blssdwlf wrote: View Post
Just an FYI on the use of deadweight - it only applies to the ship's cargo, personnel, fuel, etc but it excludes the machinery and hull. If one were to use 190,000 mt deadweight it does not contradict "nearly a million gross tons" as said in TV dialogue.
From Dictionary.com:
the weight of a railroad car, truck, etc., as distinct from its load or contents.
You've got it exactly backwards. The DW includes all the components of the ship itself (including machinery) but NOT its load or contents. It doesn't apply to cargo, personnel, fuel, and sundry.
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Old June 27 2010, 05:30 PM   #15
Warped9
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Re: How much does the Enterprise weigh?

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Here's a thought that occurs to me: I suspect many people assume that the warp nacelles are (comparatively) heavy components, but is that actually the case? Granted we should be more concerned with mass rather than weight because we're dealing with a structure that operates in a primarily zero to relatively low gravity environment. As such the support pylons are more for holding the nacelles securely to the secondary hull rather than actually supporting their weight as they would in a heavy gravity environment (and something they can actually do as evidenced in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" when the ship finds inside deep within Earth's atmosphere). The pylons need to be designed more for stress and torque rather than simply supporting weight, right? I'm not an engineer by any stretch.

But what if the warp nacelles really aren't that (comparatively) heavy or massive? These are very advanced and exotic devices that don't operate at all on the principle of reaction thrust. They're simply generating a space warp field. Would heavy materials really be required for that considering we're speculating about very advanced science and technology?

Using a rough analogy a phaser pistol is arguably a lot lighter than an automatic handgun largely because of how the device operates. A handgun is dealing with explosive properties and using reaction force to eject a solid object at high speed--the thing has to be really solid to keep from blowing apart after repeated use. A phaser shouldn't be that much more elaborate than a flashlight since your projecting/emitting pure energy.
Hmm... I suppose what I'm really thinking about is the density of materials used?
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