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

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Old August 6 2013, 03:06 PM   #1
Roboturner913
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Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

Only Federation ships have them. Most do, anyway. Miranda, Constellation excepted, maybe a couple of others.

But nobody else's ships have them. We've seen Romulan, Klingon, Vulcan, Cardassian, Breen, Dominion, Kazon, etc. with no sign of this particular feature.

Yet Federation ship designers are so intent to include them that they squeeze them in on almost every ship they come up with, even when the placement seems awkward or ineffective (Sabre, Steamrunner classes being the worst offenders).

If I understand correctly the device is used to deflect meteoroids, space debris, etc. away from the ship. But the fact that nobody else in the galaxy uses them makes it seem like a not-so-essential piece of technology

Other than deux ex machina resolutions to end an episode, I mean.
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Old August 6 2013, 03:47 PM   #2
C.E. Evans
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

I think it's just a difference of design philosophy. Federation (and pre-Federation Earth) starships tend to combine long-range sensors with a centrally located deflector emitter while other civilizations may just use a navigational forcefield or may have smaller navigational deflector emitters located in different locations, but do the exact same thing as a large deflector dish.
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Old August 6 2013, 03:56 PM   #3
Robert Comsol
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

Roboturner913 wrote: View Post
Only Federation ships have them. Most do, anyway. Miranda, Constellation excepted, maybe a couple of others.
But don't these exceptions suggest that navigational deflectors could also be shielded from our view (same goes for alien vessels) and don't necessarily have to look exposed like they usually do on the Enterprises?

In some of the original TOS pre-production sketches of Matt Jefferies the main sensor-deflector of the Enterprise was covered by a dome, suggesting that a cover doesn't necessarily inhibit the performance.

Alternately, assuming the Miranda and Constellation Class vessels have automatic anti-collision programs the sensors could detect objects on a collision course far ahead and correspondingly alter course.

Alternately, this distinct bow feature on all Enterprises could be a unique device, enabling these ships to emit a strong deflector beam others cannot.

We have seen this "unique" (?) feature been in use in "The Paradise Syndrome" (TOS Enterprise attempting to deflect asteroid to alter its course) and, of course, in "Best of Both Worlds II" as a weapon in an attempt to destroy the Borg cube.

Of course, those two examples involving the use of the navigational deflector just illustrated how useless the deflector beam was in those particular cases.

And maybe that's another reason why we didn't see more Constitution Class starships in TNG. Why continue to keep an outdated starship design with the extra burden of an engineering hull just to have a place onto which to stick a huge but useless navigational deflector...

Bob
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Old August 6 2013, 05:14 PM   #4
Roboturner913
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post

But don't these exceptions suggest that navigational deflectors could also be shielded from our view (same goes for alien vessels) and don't necessarily have to look exposed like they usually do on the Enterprises?
Sure.

I can buy the reason they look exposed on certain ships. Especially the big prestigious ones.

But if they don't have to be obvious and constructed into big housings (as would have to be the case with the Miranda, at least) then why tack on a extra awkward-looking piece of hull just to house a glowy showy deflector on the ass-end of a small fighting ship (see aforementioned Steamrunner/Sabre classes).
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Old August 7 2013, 01:04 AM   #5
blssdwlf
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

In "The Paradise Syndrome", the TOS Enterprise's deflector beam source wasn't shown in the original FX version. In TOS-R, the deflector beam doesn't come from the dish but from a point left of it. The dish could just be a long-range sensor dish.

On TNG ships, they apparently added navigational deflector as part of the functionality to these "dishes".
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Old August 7 2013, 08:54 AM   #6
C.E. Evans
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
The dish could just be a long-range sensor dish.
I remember in the old model kits of the Enterprise--long before TMP--that's exactly what it was called in the instruction manual. I didn't hear it referred to as a deflector dish until years later.
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Old August 7 2013, 10:26 AM   #7
Robert Comsol
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

The Making of Star Trek, written during the second season of TOS, clearly identifies the parabolic dish of the ship as "main sensor-deflector" (not in the Jefferies drawing but in the text description).

And in the third season ("The Paradise Syndrome") they featured the (unconventional?) use of the main deflector to deflect the asteroid to alter its course (before Spock applies the "diamond-cutting" Plan B to destroy the asteroid by phasers).

Therefore I have little doubt that the phaser beam in TOS (in contrast to TOS-R) emanated from the parabolic dish.

Bob
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Old August 7 2013, 12:27 PM   #8
The Librarian
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

The Romulan warbird and Cardassian Galor both have deflectors at their bows, although apparently instead of adding sensors with it like the Federation they stick in guns. The Vorcha has a forward glowy bit right under the main disruptor. I think the D-7's forward port was also originally a dish.
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Old August 7 2013, 12:58 PM   #9
Robert Comsol
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

The Librarian wrote: View Post
I think the D-7's forward port was also originally a dish.
I think so, too...before they transformed it into an oversized projectile launcher for TAS and TMP...

Bob
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Old August 7 2013, 02:08 PM   #10
blssdwlf
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
And in the third season ("The Paradise Syndrome") they featured the (unconventional?) use of the main deflector to deflect the asteroid to alter its course (before Spock applies the "diamond-cutting" Plan B to destroy the asteroid by phasers).
In the original FX of the episode, it was not shown where the deflection beam came from and the dialogue specified multiple deflectors and not a single main deflector.
SPOCK: Prepare to activate deflectors.
...
SPOCK: Activate deflectors.
In the TOS-R FX, the deflector beam is shown coming from a point next to the dish and not from the dish itself.
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Old August 7 2013, 04:50 PM   #11
Robert Comsol
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
In the original FX of the episode, it was not shown where the deflection beam came from and the dialogue specified multiple deflectors and not a single main deflector. SPOCK: ... activate deflectors.
Maybe they channeled the deflector power of the deflector shield generators into the main deflector to get the concentrated beam we saw?
Obviously it emanated from one central point of the ship.

blssdwlf wrote: View Post
In the TOS-R FX, the deflector beam is shown coming from a point next to the dish and not from the dish itself.
Then where does this beam come from in your opinion? I think it's rather a bad TOS-R effect that they didn't devote proper attention to.

The thing I find more confusing in this episode is that the fire up to four different phasers but all show parallel phaser beams which would suggest up to 8 phaser emitters in closest proximity...

Bob
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Old August 8 2013, 03:11 AM   #12
blssdwlf
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

@Bob - I meant that Spock mentioned multiple deflectors were used but he doesn't call out a "Main Deflector". I'm okay with multiple deflectors combining power into a single deflector emission like the combination of multiple phaser banks to power 2 phaser emitters as seen in TOS.

As to the TOS-R beam location - it could be either from the outer ring of the engineering hull or the port rectangular block. I discount the dish because it's not coming from the center of the dish (you can see from the wireframe). It's hard to say they made a mistake (which they could have I suppose) since they've got the scene in 3D...

(Click image to enlarge.)

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Old August 8 2013, 06:14 AM   #13
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

For TOS and movie era ships, since nothing in dialog has EVER positively identified that big dish as a "deflector" anything, I happily conclude that the dish on the Enterprise is actually a ramscoop. It generates a huge cone-shaped forcefield in front of the ship that scoops up interstellar hydrogen which is then reacted with antimatter to power the warp drive. Enterprise specifically has big feature because it's designed to travel farther and faster than any other vessel.

Klingon ships have this too, built into the "wings" of their engineering hulls, and the Reliant has those vents on the underside of its hull. The smaller size on both ships indicates they probably can't refuel off interstellar hydrogen and have to "skim" from the atmospheres of suitable gas giants along the way. Both of those designs would be at a severe disadvantage traveling in uncharted space where you can never be sure that a suitable gas giant is available, but in charted regions where you know (more or less) where you can go to refuel, they'd be perfectly adequate.

I don't really extrapolate this into TNG+ because I frankly believe treknology decays rapidly into gibberish shortly after "The Arsenal of Freedom."
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Old August 8 2013, 11:40 AM   #14
Robert Comsol
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
For TOS and movie era ships, since nothing in dialog has EVER positively identified that big dish as a "deflector" anything, I happily conclude that the dish on the Enterprise is actually a ramscoop.
Fine if this works for you, but I feel that just because a visual component of a ship has not been explicitly mentioned and illustrated in the footage, is no justification that its identification is up for grabs.

The creator of the Enterprise (Matt Jefferies) clearly identified the parabolic dish as the main sensor of the ship in his side view schematic illustrated in The Making of Star Trek. To me the parabolic dish looks like a scanning device, so I don't see any need to re-interpret its function or to "re-invent the wheel".

The Making of Star Trek (in text) also refers to this bow section of the ship as "main sensor-deflector".

I admit that blssdwlf just literally opened my eyes (not the first time) that we might be looking at two components, i.e. the parabolic sensor dish in front of the main deflector assembly which possibly consists of several deflectors / rings.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Klingon ships have this too, built into the "wings" of their engineering hulls, and the Reliant has those vents on the underside of its hull.
Could you be more specific? Yes, the Klingon Battlecruisers appear to have intakes (at the front of their wings, very much resembling ramjet intakes of early jet fighters) and according to the official TMP Blueprints and the answers I got from Andrew Probert those gridded structures and panels have intake or venting functions (apparently for space hydrogen and/or space / "dark" energy).

Interestingly, these gridded structures are like a red thread in the design of Federation ships. The Oberth Class has these (and rather large, I should add), Kirk's Television Enterprise has these (on the three rectangular blocks close to the main sensor-deflector component) and the TMP Enterprise features these structures, too (grey or blue color).

I'd say the intakes are all there, but apparently I believe these to be at a different location (nice though, that apparently neither of us assumes these to be at the very front of the warp nacelles ).

Bob
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Old August 8 2013, 02:16 PM   #15
blssdwlf
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Re: Navigational deflectors ... what's up with this?

I like the idea of the rings being part of a magical space energy intake/scoop system myself and the blocks being part of the deflector system. The dish would be part of the sensor network.
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