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

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Old March 9 2014, 11:38 AM   #1
Mage
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Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

I've always wondered why, according to dialogue from Voyager, the Nova class had such a low warp speed?

Assuming the class was launched in the late 2360's/early 2370's, it's a very new class of ships, so the engines should be pretty new. And with the main missions of these class involving long term planetary surveys, you'd think Starfleet would want these ships to get to a newly discovered planet on the outskirts of Federation space pretty darned quick.

So why would Starfleet design a ship with low warpspeeds on purpose?
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Old March 9 2014, 12:20 PM   #2
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

It would depend on the size of the warp core, the fuel stores available and purpose of the ship. The Nova-Class is a surveyor, she can take her time to go from assignment to assignment and isn't intended for combat or pursuit, so less power would be needed for propulsion and more for sensors, computers and research equipment.

Also with a crew of only around 80, most of which would be researchers and labtechs, there would be a smaller engineering staff than usual, so keeping the core as simple and easy-to-maintain design as possible would be best.

The designers could have focused more on longevity than top performance. She has a top speed of warp 8 but could be able to maintain that for weeks instead of hours.

That's how I see it anyways.
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Old March 9 2014, 02:47 PM   #3
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

It makes little sense, since the Nova is basically a miniature Sovereign-class, and Voyager launched with shuttles that could do warp 9+. The plot of "Equinox" needed it to be noticeably slower than Voyager for the 'upgrades' to have meaning, so it was. Perhaps Starfleet fitted new ships with outdated Oberth-class warp cores?
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Old March 9 2014, 06:35 PM   #4
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

What need does a "planetary surveyor" have for fast speed? Of course, we don't know that ALL Novas ("Novae"?) are limited to Warp 8; perhaps the destroyer-like variants such as Rhode Island are in fact fitted with combat powertrains.
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Old March 9 2014, 10:21 PM   #5
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
It makes little sense, since the Nova is basically a miniature Sovereign-class, and Voyager launched with shuttles that could do warp 9+. The plot of "Equinox" needed it to be noticeably slower than Voyager for the 'upgrades' to have meaning, so it was. Perhaps Starfleet fitted new ships with outdated Oberth-class warp cores?
Aside from a saucer, stardrive hull and two nacelles I see very little similarities between the Nova- and Sovereign-Classes. The Sovereign is a capital ship, designed to be out on the fringes, fighting battles, making contact, and expanding Federation interests. The Nova goes in and studies what ships such as the Sovereign-Class discover.

As for the warp 9 shuttles, that was only achievable after they found a new source of dilithium which was more stable at higher warp factors, which was how they got to warp 10. It was never established that it was the norm for type-9 shuttles (DITL lists their top speed at warp 4), or even if the warp core survived the field tests.
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Old March 10 2014, 11:09 AM   #6
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

Human comfort is the key. It's been established that the higher you get in the warp scale, the speed itself grows exponentially, I believe that's the right term.
Meaning, that the the difference between warp 7 and 8 is less then the difference between warp 8 and 9.

Now, I don't think a lot of people would like to be assigned to a ship that has to muddle along at warp 6 to get all across the Federation, while warp 9 would do it faster.

And as for size of the warpcore... The Defiant class is smaller then the Nova, and can hit warp 9 easy-peasy.
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Old March 10 2014, 11:26 AM   #7
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

Mage wrote: View Post
Now, I don't think a lot of people would like to be assigned to a ship that has to muddle along at warp 6 to get all across the Federation, while warp 9 would do it faster.
Until the development of the Intrepid-Class, all Starfleet ships were restricted to warp five after the degredation warp fields caused to subspace.

Mage wrote: View Post
And as for size of the warpcore... The Defiant class is smaller then the Nova, and can hit warp 9 easy-peasy.
The Defiant-Class was stated as being over-powered and over-gunned for a ship of its size. But as a warship it needed to be able to intercept Borg ships and whoop ass, so it needs all the power it can generate, whilst the Nova-Class doesn't have that need.
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Old March 10 2014, 11:31 AM   #8
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

it was a rubbish, cheap ship.
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Old March 10 2014, 03:39 PM   #9
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

Well we know the basic geometry can be used to produce a super high-speed courier, so it's likely a ship like Equinox was equipped with lower output cores for fuel efficiency purposes and for the simple fact they didn't need anything faster.
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Old March 10 2014, 03:45 PM   #10
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

I think it's clear the speed problem is in the warp core, because once they added the dead alien fuel the ship sped up with no issue. I think it's likely that they took a ship originally designed for higher speeds - say, one possible Defiant prototype - and stuck in a simpler, more fuel efficient, and easier to maintain core when the design was chosen as a science ship that doesn't need to move around too speedily. That way they could dedicate more crew to doing science and less to keeping the warp core functioning, important on such a small ship. I wouldn't be surprised if these ships are often fairly specialized. You might send several of them assigned to a single planet, each investigating different features, and moving around the sector as needed but never traveling as far as the Enterprise or other large ships did routinely. They left the original warp nacelles in place so they could easily change that decision if Starfleet needed fast scouts or couriers or whatnot.
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Old March 10 2014, 04:13 PM   #11
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
Aside from a saucer, stardrive hull and two nacelles I see very little similarities between the Nova- and Sovereign-Classes. The Sovereign is a capital ship, designed to be out on the fringes, fighting battles, making contact, and expanding Federation interests. The Nova goes in and studies what ships such as the Sovereign-Class discover.
They have very similar shapes, and what is the point of the rather silly shape of Starfleet vessels if not to be efficient at warp speeds?
As for the warp 9 shuttles, that was only achievable after they found a new source of dilithium which was more stable at higher warp factors, which was how they got to warp 10. It was never established that it was the norm for type-9 shuttles (DITL lists their top speed at warp 4), or even if the warp core survived the field tests.
I don't even know what DITL is, but I recall in "Threshold" that they didn't activate their new transwarp drive until the shuttle had already reached warp 9.
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Old March 10 2014, 04:20 PM   #12
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

Infern0 wrote: View Post
it was a rubbish, cheap ship.
Personal opinion but I think the Nova is one of the best looking non hero ships from the TNG-VOY Trek, for me its up there with the Akira (personal favourite) and the Steamrunner which I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with.

Nob Akimoto wrote: View Post
Well we know the basic geometry can be used to produce a super high-speed courier, so it's likely a ship like Equinox was equipped with lower output cores for fuel efficiency purposes and for the simple fact they didn't need anything faster.
The Librarian wrote: View Post
I think it's clear the speed problem is in the warp core, because once they added the dead alien fuel the ship sped up with no issue. I think it's likely that they took a ship originally designed for higher speeds - say, one possible Defiant prototype - and stuck in a simpler, more fuel efficient, and easier to maintain core when the design was chosen as a science ship that doesn't need to move around too speedily. That way they could dedicate more crew to doing science and less to keeping the warp core functioning, important on such a small ship. I wouldn't be surprised if these ships are often fairly specialized. You might send several of them assigned to a single planet, each investigating different features, and moving around the sector as needed but never traveling as far as the Enterprise or other large ships did routinely. They left the original warp nacelles in place so they could easily change that decision if Starfleet needed fast scouts or couriers or whatnot.
I think you chaps have hit the nail on the head, if you think about cars instead of Starships you could have 2 of the same car but give one a more powerful engine and your going to have completely different performance.

The Warp Core was obviously less advanced than Voyagers (either by design or budget limitations) which was a sleek and advanced looking unit, nor did it have the 'powerful' aesthetic they gave the Defiant core.
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Old March 10 2014, 04:59 PM   #13
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

Agreed. I really doubt an Oberth-class ship could reach warp 8, and THOSE little guys are still around as late as First Contact. Comparing apples to apples, a Nova science vessel is certainly an upgrade in every way.

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Old March 10 2014, 07:34 PM   #14
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

The Equinox should probably have been a much older ship...either that or make it clear that it was traveling slower for a reason (i.e. one nacelle had been destroyed or something).
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Old March 10 2014, 08:01 PM   #15
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Re: Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

I totally love the Nova-class. It'd be a ship I'd want to serve on or even command if I was a Starfleet officer.

I always imagined the Nova-class as a science vessel, and not a high-speed cruiser. As such, I think the majority of its missions involve long-term planetary and stellar research where it could spend weeks or even months in orbit of a world or parked within a single star system. IMO, it doesn't need to have a Warp Nine Engine, when a Warp Eight Engine would likely be more than sufficient to conduct scientific studies.

I also tend to think the Nova-class has the same normal cruising speed (Warp 6) as other vessels anyway.
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