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

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Old October 30 2007, 06:27 PM   #16
aridas sofia
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

As a historian I am no more qualified than Diane Carey to define the fictional impulse drive of the Enterprise. Nevertheless, when I was in college and in the midst of my physics curriculum, I published blueprints and technical manuals based on Star Trek and TMP, and had a working understanding of how some of the functional parts of a starship might work. Here on this BBS I put together a cross section of the Enterprise based on Matt Jefferies' work and my own assumptions concerning function.

I coined the term "onset of critical momentum" to establish a "speed limit" for impulse. It was first tied to an understanding of the drive as wholly conventional, and was meant to establish a point of unacceptable time dilation. Later, when the TNG Tech Manual came out, I was intrigued by the notion of coupling the magical warp drive with the impulse to increase the latter's efficiency. So when I did the cross section, I used the fact that the 1701's impulse drive was always dark to explain the big, rectangular ports as part of an exotic antigravity drive. The small, round ports became the thrusters for an antimatter-initialized fusion drive, and the apparatus atop the impulse housing became a maneuvering thruster. The intent was to provide the ship with the kind of graduated propulsion systems we saw on Probert and Kimble's plan for the TMP Enterprise -- RCS, maneuvering thrusters, impulse and warp. My thinking was the antimatter-initialized fusion might be used, for example, for interplanetary travel in a star system, while the antigravity drive might be more of a tactical tool for the kinds of magical moves sometimes described when the ship was in combat. The thruster atop the impulse housing would then be for fine maneuvering, perhaps to make orbital corrections etc.

Something like this:



Here it is in cross section:



And here it is with the midline, trapezoidal chamber seen in main engineering peeled away to show one of the antimatter-initialized fusion rockets:



While I think it is indisputable that TMoST and the writers' guide defined impulse as a classical drive, I also think the dark ports and magical motion beg a broader explanation that still retains a classical component that involves fusion and antimatter.
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Old October 31 2007, 08:51 AM   #17
Timo
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Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

The salient difference being that both GR and JvP were, for better or worse, creatively involved with the production of ST:TMP.
I don't see how that would be "salient" when none of that process showed up in the final product. The nature of impulse drive was not clarified in the movie - unless one counts the acceleration away from Earth and, within hours, to the near-lightspeed velocities required for reaching Jupiter in said timeframe, and notices that this is either impossible or then at least wildly fictional (that is, "the wizard did it" would be a far more plausible explanation) for a Newtonian rocket.

Unless, of course, one decides that a wildly fictional drive can be called a "rocket" merely because the terminology then fits the Holy Writ.

Speaking of Holy Writ, a rocket drive was indeed built into Pike's ship as per dialogue, and was an alternative to the "hyper drive" of the vessel. But Probert and subsequent designers have outlined a three-tier propulsion system, one that aridas also has beautifully and eloquently retrofitted to the TOS ship: warp, impulse, Newtonian rockets. The division between the three might not be clear-cut, what with the various "augmented rocket" interpretations, but the onscreen emphasis is on the augmentation rather than the rocket.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old October 31 2007, 10:39 AM   #18
shipfisher
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Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

Whew! I think it safe to say from the above that impulse drive principles remain one of the most contentious topics in trekdom. If you leave aside all but observed on screen ship behaviour and dialogue references, which remain at the top of the canon food chain as I see it, then Timo pretty much carries the day here if your trying to balance sci with fi in our beloved though heinously inconsistent trekverse.

Impulse as a field drive with a newtonian secondary mode seems the best fit to the trek I've been watching (and with most of the reading). The non-newtonian mode would be the go for all calls from the big chair for "all back full impulse" type manouvers unless those RCS thrusters have some more serious cajones than seems likely.

I blithered on in a previous thread about my own Inertial Monopole PULSE idea, but I'll leave this thread to those great ideas already fielded above by others.

P.S. I came across a VFX test reel on YouTube back in July for the remastered version of TOS: Doomsday Machine which showed the beat-up ol' Constellation with very obvious plasma exhaust streaming out of its impulse vents (and a much more mechanical looking planet killer), unlike what made it to air.

Gorgeous pictures by the way aridas.
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Old October 31 2007, 11:15 AM   #19
GodThingFormerly
A Different Kind of Asshole
 
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Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

aridas sofia said:
I coined the term "onset of critical momentum" to establish a "speed limit" for impulse. It was first tied to an understanding of the drive as wholly conventional, and was meant to establish a point of unacceptable time dilation. Later, when the TNG Tech Manual came out, I was intrigued by the notion of coupling the magical warp drive with the impulse to increase the latter's efficiency. So when I did the cross section, I used the fact that the 1701's impulse drive was always dark to explain the big, rectangular ports as part of an exotic antigravity drive.
One may alternatively proclaim that the original NCC-1701's impulse engine ports are dark because - on the assumption that they are anti-matter energized Newtonian rockets - the resultant chain of reaction (pions > muons > electrons/positrons/neutrinos > gamma rays) would be completely invisible to the unaided human eye, although the producers of ENT apparently felt otherwise. The reason the impulse thrusters glow in ST:TMP, on the other hand, could be explained away by claiming that the Refit's new propulsion system was not yet tuned to optimum efficiency due to the rushed launch.

The small, round ports became the thrusters for an antimatter-initialized fusion drive, and the apparatus atop the impulse housing became a maneuvering thruster. The intent was to provide the ship with the kind of graduated propulsion systems we saw on Probert and Kimble's plan for the TMP Enterprise -- RCS, maneuvering thrusters, impulse and warp. My thinking was the antimatter-initialized fusion might be used, for example, for interplanetary travel in a star system, while the antigravity drive might be more of a tactical tool for the kinds of magical moves sometimes described when the ship was in combat. The thruster atop the impulse housing would then be for fine maneuvering, perhaps to make orbital corrections etc.
That is an extremely well considered and reasonable design solution with which I just so happen to vehemently disagree.

While I think it is indisputable that TMoST and the writers' guide defined impulse as a classical drive, I also think the dark ports and magical motion beg a broader explanation that still retains a classical component that involves fusion and antimatter.
Fair enough, but when it comes to engineering - speculative or otherwise - I value simplicity above all else.

shipfisher said:
The non-newtonian mode would be the go for all calls from the big chair for "all back full impulse" type manouvers unless those RCS thrusters have some more serious cajones than seems likely.
I would prefer a forcefield-based thrust reverser solution for those situations. Think of it as an astronautical variant of the Kitchen Rudder that Timo introduced me to several months ago.

TGT
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Old October 31 2007, 10:55 PM   #20
aridas sofia
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Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

The Gored Thing said:
While I think it is indisputable that TMoST and the writers' guide defined impulse as a classical drive, I also think the dark ports and magical motion beg a broader explanation that still retains a classical component that involves fusion and antimatter.
Fair enough, but when it comes to engineering - speculative or otherwise - I value simplicity above all else.

TGT
There is much to be said for your attachment to simplicity as a design preference. I'm not attached to any one solution to the contradictory bits and pieces of dialog and visuals from Star Trek. I just try to find the answer that smells least like the Danish cheese they call, "Old Man Ole's Grandfather's Underpants."

For instance, are the shuttlecraft equipped with "booster rockets" that just happen to look like nacelles? And yet, how can the shuttlecraft avoid being left in limbo once the Enterprise goes to warp in "The Menagerie" if those things aren't little warp nacelles? But, if that shuttlecraft is assumed to have warp drive, and these people can make wee little mini warp nacelles, then isn't it simply loony that the saucer wouldn't have -- not just antimatter-initialized fusion rockets, not antigravity drive, no... some kind of warp drive? Even if it's wee little warp drive. What kind of lifeboat is that saucer if the shuttlecraft can warp away but the rest of the crew is stuck out in the middle of nowhere?

But maybe the analogy of the aircraft carrier is informative here -- the carrier can sail a thousand times around the world without refueling, at a steady 35 knots. And yet it carries an air wing with planes that can fly at thirty times that speed, but only half way across an ocean.

Maybe creating a huge space warp for a huge starship would require huge nacelles, but the side benefit would be high warp factors. A small shuttlecraft might be able to use small nacelles but the penalty would be very-low warp factors and very-limited range.

If that's the case, then the idea that there are warp nacelles on the shuttlecraft wouldn't really have anything to do with how you'd outfit the saucer. And yet, you'd still be left with the quandary... if you have a level of technology that can warp space, wouldn't an antigravity drive be a much simpler undertaking? Warping space would involve some degree of antigravity to prevent the thing inside the spacetime distortion from being squeezed out of existence -- couldn't the same technology that afforded these people the ability to create space warps allow them to create a "simple" antigravity drive?

I don't know. I've obviously eaten too much Halloween candy and am obsessing over these angels dancing on this pinhead. If I were writing a story about a fictitious ship with spacewarp ability, I'd be hard pressed to explain why my ship then had to rely on just rockets to move through normal space. I can see a mix -- because it might not be advisable to bend space and use powerful antigravity drives in the confines of a star system. So you'd need a conventional drive for instances like that. But only such a drive? I can love simplicity, but I can't see the sense in that.

But that's just me, and in these instances I love sitting back and reading your illuminating corrections to my ham-fisted handling of questions that are way beyond my 15 physics credits' worth of reasoning. :thumbsup:
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Old November 1 2007, 08:58 PM   #21
aridas sofia
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

As a much needed addendum to my ramblings above I will briefly note that I do realize what the answer is.

The nacelles are the seat of warp power, and the shuttlecraft doesn't have warp, and that saucer isn't related to what makes warp in any way at all, so it has to rely on simple old rockets.

There. If you ever needed evidence for "self contained nacelles" that aren't linked to anything in the main hull, that's it. Because, once you hook the nacelles to that rest of the ship, all shit breaks loose and everything goes awry and before you know it, shuttlecraft can go at warp and saucers have antigravity drive and...

I'm really glad this Halloween candy is almost gone.
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Old November 3 2007, 11:50 PM   #22
shipfisher
Commander
 
Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

The God Thing said:
I would prefer a forcefield-based thrust reverser solution for those situations. Think of it as an astronautical variant of the Kitchen Rudder that Timo introduced me to several months ago.
I do like the idea of a force field based "kitchen rudder" to steer impulse plasma exhaust (I've nearly been thrown over the bow of a jet boat when it was slammed into reverse). It helps make a classical rocket impulse drive more workable, which I can live with as long as you retain inertial mass reduction tecniques to give it suitable performance. The main problem here of course is how you reduce the inertial mass of the ship (or station as done in DS9) but not the exhaust reaction mass. I could use some input in the treknobabble dept. here - maybe impulse grid/vents have "subspace field de-couplers" or some such?

aridas sofia said:
As a much needed addendum to my ramblings above I will briefly note that I do realize what the answer is.

The nacelles are the seat of warp power, and the shuttlecraft doesn't have warp, and that saucer isn't related to what makes warp in any way at all, so it has to rely on simple old rockets.

There. If you ever needed evidence for "self contained nacelles" that aren't linked to anything in the main hull, that's it. Because, once you hook the nacelles to that rest of the ship, all shit breaks loose and everything goes awry and before you know it, shuttlecraft can go at warp and saucers have antigravity drive and...

I'm really glad this Halloween candy is almost gone.
Is halloween candy carbon neutral? If I could tap my kids energy output on the stuff I could sell "green" power back to the national grid.

I think a case can be made for there being warp and non-warp versions of the TOS shuttlecraft, with the nacelles providing an inertial mass reduction field only in the non-warp variants, where this might also aid an "anti-grav" landing grid (one of which appears to be in use on the "type 5" shuttlecraft landing near the end of ST:V). The Mendez/Kirk chase shuttlecraft in "The Menagerie" seems to have warp as the Enterprise is previousy referenced as having "warped" out of orbit on its way to Talos IV, however the star motion effect used to infer warp in TOS isn't seen on either craft during the chase sequence (though I haven't seen the remastered version). You could always infer that the ever pragmatic Spock had the ship drop out of warp knowing that his tenacious captain would never abandon the pursuit, even at the risk of being left to drift helpless in space. Spock would "logically" stay within sensor range long enough to confirm fuel exhaustion on the shuttlecraft and then follow the greater moral imperative than his loyalty to Pike.

The above would obviate the need for any warp capable TOS shuttlecraft, with supplemental "warp sleds" in use by ST:TMP and fully warp capable small craft showing up closer to TNG.
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Old November 5 2007, 03:05 PM   #23
GodThingFormerly
A Different Kind of Asshole
 
Location: An "American" in Friedrichshafen, Deutschland
Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

shipfisher said:
I do like the idea of a force field based "kitchen rudder" to steer impulse plasma exhaust (I've nearly been thrown over the bow of a jet boat when it was slammed into reverse). It helps make a classical rocket impulse drive more workable, which I can live with as long as you retain inertial mass reduction tecniques to give it suitable performance. The main problem here of course is how you reduce the inertial mass of the ship (or station as done in DS9) but not the exhaust reaction mass. I could use some input in the treknobabble dept. here - maybe impulse grid/vents have "subspace field de-couplers" or some such?
Okay, howz'bout I make this concession regarding the NCC-1701 and Refit: The impulse engines are still "just" Newtonian rockets, but the warp nacelles diddle the local spacetime metric as required to drastically increase the starship's acceleration and maneuvering abilities at relativistic velocities. As for the Refit, her new propulsion reactor architecture operationally integrates the two fundamentally different drive systems for improved performance during sublight (and, under extreme circumstances, FTL) flight modes. Cosmic thoughts, yentlemen?

TGT
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Old November 5 2007, 03:42 PM   #24
aridas sofia
Rear Admiral
 
Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

I think that line of reasoning is much more consistent with Jefferies' original plan, and the rethought arrangement for TMP, while being cognizant of the direction the artists took things for TNG.

I just hate the thought of ripping apart that cross section of mine to reflect those rather major changes.

Maybe I'll change my user name to Sisyphus.
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Old November 5 2007, 04:28 PM   #25
GodThingFormerly
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Location: An "American" in Friedrichshafen, Deutschland
Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

^ aridas, you should have realized long ago that when it comes to my exegeses of TOS and TMP the level of fanatical orthodoxy I bring to the process makes even the most unhinged Salafi Muslim cleric look like a vacuous fashion model in comparison.

TGT
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Old November 6 2007, 03:05 AM   #26
USS Mariner
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Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

The God Thing said:
shipfisher said:
I do like the idea of a force field based "kitchen rudder" to steer impulse plasma exhaust (I've nearly been thrown over the bow of a jet boat when it was slammed into reverse). It helps make a classical rocket impulse drive more workable, which I can live with as long as you retain inertial mass reduction tecniques to give it suitable performance. The main problem here of course is how you reduce the inertial mass of the ship (or station as done in DS9) but not the exhaust reaction mass. I could use some input in the treknobabble dept. here - maybe impulse grid/vents have "subspace field de-couplers" or some such?
Okay, howz'bout I make this concession regarding the NCC-1701 and Refit: The impulse engines are still "just" Newtonian rockets, but the warp nacelles diddle the local spacetime metric as required to drastically increase the starship's acceleration and maneuvering abilities at relativistic velocities. As for the Refit, her new propulsion reactor architecture operationally integrates the two fundamentally different drive systems for improved performance during sublight (and, under extreme circumstances, FTL) flight modes. Cosmic thoughts, yentlemen?

TGT
That would explain why NCC-1701's engines always appear to be just as active at impulse as in warp or orbit.
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Old November 8 2007, 02:13 AM   #27
Tallguy
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Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

Hey, I finaly know what OCM means! That only took 20+ years!

I'm not buying that TOS shuttlecraft don't have warp drive though.
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Old November 8 2007, 02:45 AM   #28
aridas sofia
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Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

Me neither. But it would explain why Andrew designed the Vulcan shuttle the way he did.
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Old November 9 2007, 09:06 AM   #29
shipfisher
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Re: Pimping the warp 2 barrier

Just to clarify, I'm quite happy with warp-capable TOS shuttlecraft, though this capacity is more inferred than explicitly demonstrated in any episode. There's certainly no obvious technical problem with small warpcraft in the TOS period, what with the roughly 2 century old Phoenix and century old NX-Alpha being barely any larger.

I do think the absence of any apparent warpcore-type apparatus on TOS shuttles infers a fusion powered warp drive with perhaps small reactors in both nacelles and at the impulse vent that spans the upper aft compartment (multiple powerplants might help explain the "booster" reference in TOS: Galileo Seven), which would also help limit range relative to a more energy dense power source like antimatter.

For what it's worth, I've also come up with another impulse drive techno-drivel concept using the partial acronym Inertial Mass PULSE drive. Here I'm trying to make more sense of the reference to a pulse cycle in the drive's operation by supposing that the inertial mass reducing subspace field osscilates at the same frequency as the "pulsed" thrust output of the fusion or m:am rocket propulsion system. The trick here would be having the thrust peaks matching the field minima in some sort of high frequency dance, allowing the reaction mass to "surf" subspace waves out of the local field with a net gain in inertial grunt relative to the ship, which would experience a greater average reduction in inertial mass in it's fixed position relative to the field. I'm assuming also that the increased accelerative forces acheived would be transferred uniformly into the field (instead of jack-hammering the ship to bits) relative to an external reference frame, easing up the load on inertial dampers and such.

Another free lunch-type perpetual motion machine idea I suppose, but it sounded good at the time.


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