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

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Old February 14 2011, 05:36 PM   #16
Aahz
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Re: Drydocks

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Nobody believes me, but I firmly believe even now that the dry docks are relatively simple platforms equipped with high-capacity antigravs and tractor fields emitters. They're essentially free-floating cranes: the dock descends to ground level, picks up the mostly-finished starship, then carries it up to orbit altitude again where it uses thrusters to accelerate to orbital velocity for final shipfitting and testing.
Well, you can firmly believe that if you like, but as Arlo Guthrie once said, "you're wrong." The TMP drydock is a space-based structure that was never designed to operate in the atmosphere. A ship enters the structure at one end, gets serviced/refit, then exits the other end.

One clue to this is the navigational lights on the drydock itself. The "starboard" side of the dock has green lights and the "port" side has red lights. On the entry end, the green lights are on the right and the red are on the left. On the exit end, the green lights are on the left and the red are on the right, which if you tried to enter the exit end would appear wrong -- you always keep the green on the right. This wasn't very apparent in the movie, but take a look at the restored movie model:
http://www.modelermagic.com/wordpres...2/IMG_6758.JPG
The model artist who did the restoration, Ed Miarecki, is standing in the center of the exit end, and the colors of the nav lights are very plain in this photo. Here's one of the restored 1701-A model inside the drydock model:
http://www.modelermagic.com/wordpres...2/IMG_7221.JPG
Why is there the need for entry/exit orientation? Well, because the access gangway that attaches to the port side of the saucer is only on the port side of the drydock (the side with the red lights).

If the drydock picked the ship up from the surface, it would orient itself over the ship and there would be little need for the red/green nav lights. Only white or amber lights would be needed to show location of the structure, not orientation.

Also, here's a flash photo of the restored drydock model showing mucho detail:
http://www.modelermagic.com/wordpres...IMG_6716-1.JPG
One thing to take a look at here: Notice how the various light panels and umbilicals/aux lights/whatever are attached. They're connected to the latticework with these swivel adapters. Although only one configuration was seen in the movie, I've seen production stills with the light panels in a different configuration. Perhaps Timo is correct in that these are items that are attached to the framework at whatever location is needed for the job at hand, and can be added/moved/deleted as needed. These swivels are also used to retract the arms when the ship is ready to leave drydock.

Perhaps this is the reason for the latticework design of the structure -- the tube framework is for the attach points, the "wire-like" portions are for suspending the blue panels (away from the attach points to prevent damage to the panels), and the "Devo-hat" cylinders are for adjusting the size of the structure to bring the elements as close as possible to the ship being serviced. There -- we now have a reason for why the drydock looks like it does!
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Old February 14 2011, 05:58 PM   #17
Wingsley
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Re: Drydocks

Oh, wow!

Those photos are impressive, Aahz!

Your detailed discussion of the drydock model is equally impressive.
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Old February 14 2011, 06:14 PM   #18
Aahz
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Re: Drydocks

Thanks, Wingsley, but what's REALLY impressive is the restoration work Ed Miarecki had to do on the drydock. The original model had been severely modified to be the drydock from which the Enterprise-B launched in "Star Trek: Generations". When Ed got the model from the collector, it was in its post-Generations configuration (and in pretty ratty condition as well). Fortunately, the collector got all (well, most) of the removed parts along with the main model from the auction. Ed put the thing back to its original TMP configuration and condition.

By his own admission, this was Ed's most complex model to either build or to restore. But as you can see from the pix, he did an AWESOME job!!
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Old February 14 2011, 06:40 PM   #19
Wingsley
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Re: Drydocks

The more I see of the Ed Miarecki restoration images, the more it seems that the TMP drydock was meant to depict not just a cradle to house a starship during shipbuilding/refit operations, but as its own full-fledged space station, with habitable upper section, crew habitat, hangar facilities, boarding dock for the starship, and so on. Given this, it does seem a little odd that a drydock would not have its own transporter room(s), unless the drydock's workshop facilities would make transporter power loads problematic...
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Old February 14 2011, 07:07 PM   #20
Aahz
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Re: Drydocks

Yeah, that's what I had said in my first post. The upper section contains fabrication facilities, hangar space, and living areas -- all the support necessary to operate such a facility on orbit.

My suggestion that the drydock didn't have transporters was more of a justification of Kirk's beaming up to the office complex instead of the drydock and Scotty ferrying him over. The script called for the travel pod flyby for a dramatic introduction to the new Enterprise, but what would be the logical reason behind it? Perhaps Kirk did beam up to the office to meet with the person responsible for the refit (Scotty), but why wouldn't the person responsible for the refit already be over at the drydock? Because he (Scotty) took a travel pod to the office complex to pick up Kirk, since the drydock didn't have transporters.

BTW, wanna see something cool? CGI artist Tobias Richter created an insanely-detailed CG model of the TMP drydock, and with the guidance of Andrew Probert (got that? ANDREW PROBERT - the original designer) created a version of the drydock for Star Trek Phase II that shows not only the expansion capability of the drydock but also the flexing capability as well:
http://www.foundation3d.com/forums/a...9&d=1281544452
Note that this version is smaller than the TMP version -- it is five lights long and only two rows of latticework (the bottom curved row isn't present).
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Old February 14 2011, 07:48 PM   #21
AriesIV
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Re: Drydocks

Aahz wrote: View Post
---it is five lights long a---

THERE! ARE!! FOUR!!! LIGHTS!!!!
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Old February 14 2011, 08:47 PM   #22
Aahz
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Re: Drydocks

AriesIV wrote: View Post
Aahz wrote: View Post
---it is five lights long a---

THERE! ARE!! FOUR!!! LIGHTS!!!!
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Old February 15 2011, 05:11 AM   #23
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Drydocks

Aahz wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Nobody believes me, but I firmly believe even now that the dry docks are relatively simple platforms equipped with high-capacity antigravs and tractor fields emitters. They're essentially free-floating cranes: the dock descends to ground level, picks up the mostly-finished starship, then carries it up to orbit altitude again where it uses thrusters to accelerate to orbital velocity for final shipfitting and testing.
Well, you can firmly believe that if you like, but as Arlo Guthrie once said, "you're wrong." The TMP drydock is a space-based structure that was never designed to operate in the atmosphere. A ship enters the structure at one end, gets serviced/refit, then exits the other end.

One clue to this is the navigational lights on the drydock itself. The "starboard" side of the dock has green lights and the "port" side has red lights. On the entry end, the green lights are on the right and the red are on the left. On the exit end, the green lights are on the left and the red are on the right, which if you tried to enter the exit end would appear wrong -- you always keep the green on the right.
I missed the part where the aviation-style navigation lights has anything to do with the drydock operating in an atmosphere.
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Old February 15 2011, 01:51 PM   #24
Wingsley
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Re: Drydocks

^ No, you ignored it. It's there. Just go back and read.
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Old February 15 2011, 02:42 PM   #25
Timo
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Re: Drydocks

...That there are lights there for helping starship insertion, which make the system inapplicable for starship exertion? Doesn't sound too convincing. Besides, the pilot of the dockyard would probably also have use for reference points at the corners of his or her own vessel to match the running lights of the target ship, even if his or her task was to fly the dockyard against stationary target ships.

Wanna bet the lights can change color at the press of a (carefully marked) button?

That said, Trek atmospheric vehicles have generally had a more or less aerodynamic appearance, with the blocky TOS shuttles being a borderline case beyond which few vehicles venture. Given the state of Treknological art, there might be major problems with operating a piece of flimsy scaffolding in the atmosphere, or making it bear loads (say, those between the tractor beams that anchor the starship to be carried, and the lifting engines that supposedly move the dock box from surface to orbit).

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Old February 15 2011, 04:30 PM   #26
Aahz
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Re: Drydocks

Timo wrote: View Post
...That there are lights there for helping starship insertion, which make the system inapplicable for starship exertion? Doesn't sound too convincing. Besides, the pilot of the dockyard would probably also have use for reference points at the corners of his or her own vessel to match the running lights of the target ship, even if his or her task was to fly the dockyard against stationary target ships.

Wanna bet the lights can change color at the press of a (carefully marked) button?
Well, you know, that may possible, but that wasn't Andrew Probert's intention when he designed the drydock. His original design had the latticework completely surround the ship, and in fact had to open on one end to allow the ship to leave. It would not have been able to pick a ship up off the surface with a closed bottom. The open bottom came out of a common-sense issue -- the support bracket for the Enterprise model had to be able to reach up into the drydock model -- not from a design parameter. But more than that...

That said, Trek atmospheric vehicles have generally had a more or less aerodynamic appearance, with the blocky TOS shuttles being a borderline case beyond which few vehicles venture. Given the state of Treknological art, there might be major problems with operating a piece of flimsy scaffolding in the atmosphere, or making it bear loads (say, those between the tractor beams that anchor the starship to be carried, and the lifting engines that supposedly move the dock box from surface to orbit).
This is the key point. The whole idea of the latticework design of the drydock was from the beginning to show a structure that was built in space, operates in space, and stays in space. The fragile-looking (and actually fragile in the case of the model) structure is one that can exist only in the microgravity environment of Earth orbit, and not one to withstand atmospheric or surface-gravity loads. This was one of Andrew Probert's goals in designing the drydock in this way. Sure, he could have designed a beefy structure that could carry a starship up from the surface, but that's not what he wanted, and it probably wasn't what Gene Roddenberry wanted, either.
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Old February 15 2011, 04:58 PM   #27
Cicero
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Re: Drydocks

Aahz wrote: View Post
One clue to this is the navigational lights on the drydock itself. The "starboard" side of the dock has green lights and the "port" side has red lights. On the entry end, the green lights are on the right and the red are on the left. On the exit end, the green lights are on the left and the red are on the right, which if you tried to enter the exit end would appear wrong -- you always keep the green on the right.
In modern maritime navigation, green lights are kept to one's right when exiting a station or harbor, but red light are kept to one's right when entering one (because the same channels are used for entry and exit, and the lights aren't changed for each ship). This has given rise to the rule of thumb "Red Right Returning."

If the opposite end of the drydock has a lighting scheme that reverses that of the near end (red lights on the left side of the image, green lights on the right), both ends would be properly lit for either entry or exit. Perhaps the access gangway assembly is mobile? It doesn't seem to connect to any other noticeably habitable part of the structure.

Even if the lighting on the opposite end is not reversed (which it should be, if that end is meant for entry), and the docking arm is not mobile, the drydock might still be used primarily as a crane. Ships entering to be lowered to ground level would still need entry lights, and ships exiting after having been raised to space would need exit lights. Ultimately, I don't think that the lights provide much information.
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Old February 15 2011, 05:10 PM   #28
Aahz
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Re: Drydocks

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Aahz wrote: View Post
One clue to this is the navigational lights on the drydock itself. The "starboard" side of the dock has green lights and the "port" side has red lights. On the entry end, the green lights are on the right and the red are on the left. On the exit end, the green lights are on the left and the red are on the right, which if you tried to enter the exit end would appear wrong -- you always keep the green on the right.
I missed the part where the aviation-style navigation lights has anything to do with the drydock operating in an atmosphere.
"AVIATION-style"? Try "NAVIGATION-style." Lights are applied to ships and docks (and buoys and bridges and etc.) so that they can be identified when the lights are all that can be seen. According to present rules (which can be extrapolated to apply to spacecraft of the future), the configurations of lights are specific, so that whatever carries the lights can be identified solely by the configuration of the lights from any point of view. Docks cannot have the same configuration of lights as any ship so that they can't be confused with a ship. However, docks have to be lit in such a way so that a ship trying to dock with it can recognize it as a dock and approach it from the correct direction at the correct angle.

Reference the photos I linked to earlier. The drydock has columns of red lights on the port side and green lights on the starboard side, and white lights along the top, bottom, and sides. The correct entry orientation would be to have the column of red lights on your left (port), the column of green lights on your right (starboard), and a row of white lights only at the top and not across the bottom or in the center. If you see any other configuration, then you're approaching the dock from the wrong direction/angle.

If the dock were a moving vehicle (in other words, a ship), it would have to have a configuration of lights like a ship, not a dock. Ships do not have columns of red/green lights. But one thing ships have that docks don't is strobes. Notice that all the travel pods and work bees, and the Enterprise itself once it's under power, have strobes. The drydock doesn't. Drydock isn't meant to be a moving vehicle -- it is a (relatively) stationary structure.
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Old February 15 2011, 05:34 PM   #29
Wingsley
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Re: Drydocks

Aahz appears to be making the point that when TMP was produced, Probert, et al were making the drydock concept to match the notion of that time that starships would be built in the (naturally) zero-g and contaminent-free environment of space. While it is obviously entirely possible with TOS / TMP-era technology that you could probably argue that drydocks are capable of planetfall and payload-lifting into orbit, (Why not just beam the whole ship up from the surface into space?) it remains to be seen why a spacefaring culture would do this.

Think of all the possibilities of what you could build in space, where the is no gravity. If the drydock latticework houses low-power forcefield generators to protect the interior of the docking cradle from micrometeoroids and unwanted solar radiation, the notion of a free-floating dock in orbit offers even more appeal. A question left dangling for me is whether the NX drydock seen in ENT would have the capability as far back as the 22nd century.

Another question on my mind is how far a drydock structure could be collapsed. Remember the old Ptolemy-class transport-tug starships from Franz Joseph, and the cylindrical cargo containers he proposed mating to them? (Forbin came up with an excellent alternative in his Sultana.)I wonder if it would be possible for a drydock to be packed into one of those containers, tugged by a Ptolemy-like (or Sultana-like) starship to a remote location, and then unpacked for use. Say, maybe a derelict Federation starship (like Decker's Constellation or the Excalibur from the M-5 war games) is found in deep space, is determined to be salvageable, and this would be Starfleet's way of repairing the wrecked ship on-site. Would that seem plausible?
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Old February 15 2011, 05:54 PM   #30
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Drydocks

Wingsley wrote: View Post
Aahz appears to be making the point that when TMP was produced, Probert, et al were making the drydock concept to match the notion of that time that starships would be built in the (naturally) zero-g and contaminent-free environment of space. While it is obviously entirely possible with TOS / TMP-era technology that you could probably argue that drydocks are capable of planetfall and payload-lifting into orbit, (Why not just beam the whole ship up from the surface into space?) it remains to be seen why a spacefaring culture would do this.
Enterprise was built in the San Francisco fleet yards, according to its dedication plaque; it had to get from San Francisco to orbit SOMEHOW.

The New Enterprise was built in the Riverside Shipyards in Iowa; same issue. It either entered orbit under its own power or it was lifted into orbit by specialized equipment.
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Last edited by Crazy Eddie; February 15 2011 at 06:15 PM.
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