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

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Old February 12 2011, 11:23 PM   #1
Wingsley
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Drydocks

A few questions about the purpose of structures seen in STAR TREK-style dry docks:

Whether it is the laticework structure of the first dock seen in TMP, or subsequent space stations or other dock-like structures, or even fan-made designs, why do these docks feature arms and laticework that either partially or completely envelops the sides of the ship in dock? What purpose do these "cage" like structures serve?

Does the arm / cage serve as a tangible boundary for zero-g maneuvers of spacesuited personnel and free-floating equipment and materiel? Do these structures serve as a platform for containment forcefields to keep authorized personnel, equipment and materiel "in" and unauthorized things (like micrometeoroids or intruders) "out"?

Has anyone ever tried to figure out how the docks themselves are structured? Do these docks maintain crew quarters or other habitats for dockyard personnel to live/operate from? Has anyone ever drawn a blueprint of a drydock?
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Last edited by Wingsley; February 12 2011 at 11:25 PM. Reason: typo correction
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Old February 12 2011, 11:45 PM   #2
AriesIV
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Re: Drydocks

I like how you've started this. I would say it is partly to serve as a boundary. Keeps things contained.

You would be able to install tractor fixtures here and there along with work-lights.

Thermal control would be big as well. Going from dayside to nightside would result in thermal expansion and contraction. This would throw off your structural alignments.

And yes it would keep the debris out of your workzone. Nothing like a 340 year old shard of urine dumped overboard by a primitive Space Shuttle to ruin your newly welded hull!

And in times of Security you could put up sheets of Obscurium or Hideitall to block sensor-scans of what you are working on in there.
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Old February 13 2011, 04:06 AM   #3
T'Girl
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Re: Drydocks

The structure could also shield against mundane everyday things like solar flares too.
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Old February 13 2011, 06:47 PM   #4
C.E. Evans
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Re: Drydocks

The drydocks could also contain moorings that keep the ship from drifting as well as umbilicals that provide the vessel with external power.
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Old February 13 2011, 06:53 PM   #5
SchwEnt
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Re: Drydocks

Yeah that sounds good.
The cage-like arms and frames comprising the drydock hold emitters, deflectors and tractors.

This surrounds the vessel and immediate work area.
Makes it a controlled environment, keeps things in place, keeps things in or out of the work area, protects the area during construction and repair.

Sounds good to me.
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Old February 13 2011, 10:26 PM   #6
Wingsley
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Re: Drydocks

Do any of you get the impression that the upper part of TMP's drydock houses either dock-crew quarters or some kind of office complex / workshops for use when a starship is berthed there / being built there?

And what about the paneling along the sides? Could those be massive photo-voltaic panels to absorb solar enregy to keep the dock powered?
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Old February 14 2011, 12:12 AM   #7
DEWLine
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Re: Drydocks

On your first point, I strongly suspect "all of the above" being the case. The quarters are probably "industrial-barracks"-type affairs, like you'd find on oil rigs in the here and now.
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Old February 14 2011, 12:52 AM   #8
AriesIV
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Re: Drydocks

Why have barracks at all when you can beam home at the end of your day?
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Old February 14 2011, 01:22 AM   #9
Wingsley
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Re: Drydocks

If you can imagine thousands, perhaps millions, of shipbuilder-workers committed to projects in orbit at any given time, it's not hard to imagine at least some of them living in space like platform workers on a deep-sea oil rig. I would imagine that personnel transporters have limitations due to their level of power consumption. So maybe people don't just "beam down" to Earth any time they feel like it.

OTOH, it's possible that the top levels of the drydock are merely a staging area, with offices, work bee hangars, workshops, storage and the like. We don't really know, do we?
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Old February 14 2011, 06:01 AM   #10
Aahz
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Re: Drydocks

The top portion of the TMP drydock (as envisioned by Andrew Probert) contained storage and fabrication facilities for the components needed for construction/repair of starships, hangar and stowage space for the various vehicles (cargo bees, work bees, travel pods, shuttles, etc) and other equipment, and office and living facilities for the various personnel involved with the operation of the drydock complex. I doubt that any offices there were for VIPs (except perhaps Chief Engineers), since the orbital office complex orbits nearby the drydock.

It may be that the drydock doesn't have transporters. In TMP, Kirk said he couldn't beam up to the Enterprise because the transporters were out, but he beamed up to the office complex (a long way from the Enterprise) instead of the drydock (which was right there). Maybe the fabrication facilities use up too much energy to allow transporters to be present as well.

I recall seeing a closeup of one of the hangar bays on the model that included a shuttle and a couple of bees, but here's one showing a travel pod:
http://www.foundation3d.com/forums/a...4&d=1278398859

The design and shape of the thing is, as with most things, a compromise. Probert's original vision was of a form-fitting latticework that allowed the ship to be seen from the outside, but would need to open up to allow the ship to exit (big dramatic scene which was actually part of the TMP script). See here:
http://drexfiles.wordpress.com/2009/...ion/#more-7601

However, budget and common sense necessitated changes. The opening-up feature was nixed as an unnecessary expense, so the drydock was redesigned to be open on both ends. The common-sense part was that such a facility would not be designed for one particular class/shape of ship, so it wouldn't be very form-fitting. It would, however, be resizable. The rows of little "Devo-hat"-looking shapes between the larger sections were cylinders that would allow the drydock to be resized horizontally and vertically to accomodate different-sized ships. Probert bemoaned the fact that the model was always shown in its fully-expanded configuration, never revealing this feature.

There are four tractor-beam units at the base of the structure for holding the ship at station-keeping. There are a number of umbilicals, although some of them don't appear to actually contact the ship, so perhaps they're some type of specialized equipment or maybe just localized lighting (those hexagonal panels can't fit into tight spaces). There is one major umbilical or concourse that connects to the port side of the saucer which is a walkway allowing construction personnel to enter/exit the ship. It connects to a little docking port hub on the outside of the structure.

Since there are already those large hexagonal lighting panels as well as the smaller lighting units, the blue panels built into the latticework may be to supply heating more than additional ambient light to provide a constant-temperature work environment, for the reasons AriesIV suggested.

As for some of the other speculations, it would make sense that such a facility would have various protection capabilities to prevent micrometeoroids or space debris from damaging a ship under construction or the complex itself.

Don't know about solar panels -- I don't think the drydock had solar panels for two reasons. First, 23rd-century Treknology had better power sources for such a large facility. Solar power isn't that efficient, and solar panels for a drydock this size would have been enormous by comparison. Second, there is nothing that looks remotely like solar panels on the drydock. We have seen Trek ships/stations with solar panels (Relay Station 47 comes to mind), so we know what 23rd-century solar panels look like, and drydock doesn't have them.

OK, that's enough from me for now. Time to let somebody else have a say...
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Old February 14 2011, 06:31 AM   #11
Wingsley
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Re: Drydocks

^ Great analysis and speculation.

That impressive screencap from TMP drives home that the built-in "complex" on the drydock's topside might offer as much, if not more, habitable internal volume than any starship of that day. If the refit-Enterprise's crew was involved with the dockyard crews in final assembly and getting the ship up and running, it might be that they all bunked in drydock quarters until the starship's quarters were ready.
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Old February 14 2011, 11:51 AM   #12
The Inquisitor
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Re: Drydocks

Would full refits be completed in drydock or would such a proceedure require a ship to be moored up in a spacedock? Also, would the dry-docks have industrial replicators available? By the looks of things (comparing saucer section thickness) there appear to be at least 5-8 decks worth of drydock at the top of the structure.
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Old February 14 2011, 12:15 PM   #13
Timo
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Re: Drydocks

The structure could also shield against mundane everyday things like solar flares too.
I don't buy the shielding argument; too many holes there, literally!

That is, if a sieve-like structure is sufficient for protecting the sides and top of the ship, then the protective function fails because the bottom and the front and back ends are open. If in turn even less structure is needed for protection, then the side and top structures are excessive.

There may be protective functions to the structure, such as pressor beams and shield generators installed here and there. But those obviously don't dictate the shape of the structure; the rationale for that must be found elsewhere.

It may be that the drydock doesn't have transporters. In TMP, Kirk said he couldn't beam up to the Enterprise because the transporters were out, but he beamed up to the office complex (a long way from the Enterprise) instead of the drydock (which was right there).
Yet we know that transporting to a destination does not require transporter facilities there! So a better explanation for Kirk's choice would be that, since he found out that his ship lacked transporters, he transported to the person responsible for this shortcoming, to ask for an explanation and to get things back on track. Said person wasn't on the ship, so Kirk transported to the orbital office instead.

The structure doesn't appear to have much in the way of conventional rails for conventional, mechanical cranes. Tractor beams probably play a major role in the moving of heavy components in there, then. But the framework could well accommodate "spot" workstations, clamped just at the required location for accessing the spot that needs working on. In both ST:TMP and ST2, the ship would be past the most intensive periods of mechanical work on exterior features, so the workstations (possibly including mechanical cranes, probably featuring a variety of more refined tools at the ends of stabilizing arms) would have been removed and clamped onto other dockyards elsewhere. All that would remain would be basic moorings for easier attaching of refueling, other restocking or ventilation hoses... That, plus the always useful lighting fixtures.

That is, refueling and otherwise restocking a starship might more resemble the refueling of a nuclear submarine than the corresponding work on an oil-powered warship. There would be a major call for dockyard facilities for this as such mundane yet seldom-performed procedure. If there was no need to refuel, the ship would simply "transrep", beaming up supplies, or get stuff from lighters that would fly into the shuttlebay or float next to the appropriate umbilicial connections. The big mushroom Spacedock could do that with more style (hardwired transporter connections, easy gangwalk access, more powerful pumps for emptying the bilge tanks and pumping in the basic protein goo for the food fabricators) and might be required for replenishing the less self-sufficient civilian vessels.

The box docks (which are certainly "dry" in the absolute sense, but seem to better match the classic "wet dock" or floating dock concept in the relative sense) would probably be reserved for scheduled overhauls and refills, and would seldom be free for a randomly visiting ship, much as we see in the TOS-R version of "The Menagerie"...

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Old February 14 2011, 05:28 PM   #14
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Drydocks

Wingsley wrote: View Post
A few questions about the purpose of structures seen in STAR TREK-style dry docks:

Whether it is the laticework structure of the first dock seen in TMP, or subsequent space stations or other dock-like structures, or even fan-made designs, why do these docks feature arms and laticework that either partially or completely envelops the sides of the ship in dock? What purpose do these "cage" like structures serve?
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.
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Old February 14 2011, 05:45 PM   #15
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Re: Drydocks

^ That makes pretty much perfect sense to me. So they would be used to ferry warp core carrying starships safely through the atmosphere rather than for any meaningful refit. Seems reasonable.
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