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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

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

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Old August 20 2008, 01:40 AM   #1
Messianni
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How did the Phoenix land?

I've been tempted to watch First Contact again as of late and a question that I've pondered for some time now came up again: how exactly did the Phoenix land after its inaugural warp flight? It did not seem to have any sort of landing gear and I somehow doubt the crew in Montana had any resources for a rescue at sea, so how exactly did they bring it back?
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Old August 20 2008, 01:48 AM   #2
syc
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

I always heard that the forward compartment detached and the capsule made a surface landing...? IDK about that theory by it sounds more plausible the the Phoenix landing in water or something like that.
It's quite possible that they ejected? Picard did say that he saw the Phoenix in the Smithsonian, so maybe after reentry the crew "jumped" for lack of a better word, and parachuted to the surface. While the Phoenix made a hard Earth Fall. Seems the most likely considering the technology of the post-war era.
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Old August 20 2008, 02:12 AM   #3
JuanBolio
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

I think the cockpit module detached and landed via parachute, while the bulk of the ship remained in orbit, to be retrieved later. I know I saw a step-by-step graphic of the process somewhere, but I can't find it at the moment.
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Old August 20 2008, 06:24 AM   #4
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

JuanBolio wrote: View Post
I think the cockpit module detached and landed via parachute, while the bulk of the ship remained in orbit, to be retrieved later. I know I saw a step-by-step graphic of the process somewhere, but I can't find it at the moment.
Very likely.

A possible "all-up" landing alternative would be if you consider what would otherwise be bussard collectors at the front of the nacelles being used to generate a re-entry plasma sheath around the otherwise un-aerodynamic rear section of the the Phoenix. Parasails or chutes would finish the job, probably with the help of some landing thrusters just before touchdown.
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Old August 20 2008, 08:28 AM   #5
Timo
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Then again, if we accept that the actual warp engine was left in orbit and only the front cabin returned to Earth via parachutes, then we can also argue that Cochrane later launched up another, larger cabin plus some other gear. This would turn the ST:FC test ship into the ship we saw in the Encyclopedia - the one with the big round protective shield between the cabin and the engine.

Cochrane would probably want to reuse the warp engine, and would thus be unwilling to risk a reentry.

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Old August 20 2008, 11:22 AM   #6
shipfisher
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

I'll agree that landing the full vehicle isn't in keeping with the apparently limited resources of Cochrane's team. Concept drawings I've seen of the Phoenix show what appear to be space shuttle style thermal tiles on the cockpit section only. It would have been a fun ride down for Laforge and Riker compared to 24th century shuttlecraft (and probably comforting to have a transporter bail option if needed).
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Old August 20 2008, 12:27 PM   #7
Cid Highwind
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Timo wrote: View Post
Then again, if we accept that the actual warp engine was left in orbit and only the front cabin returned to Earth via parachutes, then we can also argue that Cochrane later launched up another, larger cabin plus some other gear. This would turn the ST:FC test ship into the ship we saw in the Encyclopedia - the one with the big round protective shield between the cabin and the engine.

Cochrane would probably want to reuse the warp engine, and would thus be unwilling to risk a reentry.

Timo Saloniemi
That's a nice idea. The new crew module, in this case, might have been a detachable vessel (the Bonaventure?), and the combination of Phoenix warp engine and Bonaventure cabin/landing pod (shielded against the engine part)might have been used for early space exploration.
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Old August 20 2008, 12:28 PM   #8
Timo
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

...Indeed, Cochrane might well have decided to abandon the originally intended capsule landing and to rely on the nice magic of his new friends instead. Provided that the E-E had been brought back online by the time Cochrane reached orbit again, that is.

Timo Saloniemi

Edit: Whoops, reply aimed at the second-to-last post, of course.

As for the last one:

That's a nice idea. The new crew module, in this case, might have been a detachable vessel (the Bonaventure?), and the combination of Phoenix warp engine and Bonaventure cabin/landing pod (shielded against the engine part) might have been used for early space exploration.
I'd like to think that the re-podded warp engine was eventually used for the first flight to Alpha Centauri, thereby establishing the inventor forever as "Zephram Cochrane of Alpha Centauri" despite his Earth origins.

I'd still like to keep this Bonaventure and the TAS one separate: the latter could be an ENT era or immediate pre-TOS era namesake, the first to have a specific new type of warp engine rather than the first to have any kind of warp engine. I know it doesn't mesh exactly with Scotty's TAS words, but the good engineer would no doubt be in the habit of speaking jargon that leaves out some facts obvious to him but not to the audience. (Remember his "simple impulse" outburst...)

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Old August 20 2008, 12:41 PM   #9
Cid Highwind
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Yeah... apparently, there are two different ships with that name, anyway: Memory Alpha disambiguation page

The first one (C1-21) would in this case be the crew module suggested here - the yellow blob in front of the engine part even looks as if it's a separate/detachable vessel.

The second one (10281NCC) would be a later starship, the one Scotty referenced.
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Old August 20 2008, 12:56 PM   #10
Timo
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Probably a lot more than two ships, too. One wonders if there wouldn't be room there for the ship from Spaceflight Chronology as well... (The Memory Alpha objection to the SFC ships having warp 2 too early is IMHO not valid, as "First Flight" never claims humans didn't already travel at warp 2 or higher at the time of the NX Alpha test flights. All that is claimed is that the engines being developed for the NX project had not yet reached warp 2.)

It would erase a few "contradictions" if Cochrane's Phoenix and Cochrane's Bonaventure were essentially the same ship, only rebuilt for the later missions. But Earth probably built a lot of warpships out of scratch or modified them out of sublight vessels in the 2060s already. Perhaps Cochrane, enamored with the fact that the future saw him as a hero and philantrophe, decided to place the blueprints of his engine to public domain?

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Old August 20 2008, 05:20 PM   #11
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Timo wrote: View Post
...Indeed, Cochrane might well have decided to abandon the originally intended capsule landing and to rely on the nice magic of his new friends instead. Provided that the E-E had been brought back online by the time Cochrane reached orbit again, that is.
Indeed. It would have been easy for the E-E to slowly tractor the ship from orbit down to the surface which would have allowed it to both serve as a physical model for follow-on projects to study as well as allow it to be located in the Smithsonian.
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Old August 20 2008, 05:29 PM   #12
Messianni
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

Tigger wrote: View Post
Timo wrote: View Post
...Indeed, Cochrane might well have decided to abandon the originally intended capsule landing and to rely on the nice magic of his new friends instead. Provided that the E-E had been brought back online by the time Cochrane reached orbit again, that is.
Indeed. It would have been easy for the E-E to slowly tractor the ship from orbit down to the surface which would have allowed it to both serve as a physical model for follow-on projects to study as well as allow it to be located in the Smithsonian.
Problem with that is the Vulcans were right around the corner. Seeing a highly advanced starship tractoring in this little vessel to this primitive world may have aroused a lot of suspicion. They were trying to stay hidden from the survey team, remember.
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Old August 20 2008, 09:11 PM   #13
UssGlenn
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

This question comes up every once in a while. In fact my very first thread 5 years ago had the same title as this one. Personally, while separating the cockpit makes sense from a structural standpoint it doesn't fit well with Cochrane's desire to make a bunch of money off his invention and retire. Perhaps someone with more imagination than me can tell me how he makes money off his design is he has to abandon the revolutionary part in orbit. How does he prove it worked?
I figure he used steerable parasails to splash down the whole ship in a lake.
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Old August 20 2008, 11:57 PM   #14
Ronald Held
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

I would vote for the detachable crew capsule making a landing on the ground, assuming how fragmented governmental control of the sea and land were at that time. The warp stage would be left in orbit for refueling and reuse.
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Old August 21 2008, 01:42 AM   #15
SoM
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Re: How did the Phoenix land?

UssGlenn wrote: View Post
This question comes up every once in a while. In fact my very first thread 5 years ago had the same title as this one. Personally, while separating the cockpit makes sense from a structural standpoint it doesn't fit well with Cochrane's desire to make a bunch of money off his invention and retire. Perhaps someone with more imagination than me can tell me how he makes money off his design is he has to abandon the revolutionary part in orbit. How does he prove it worked?
That was a test for his benefit - only a fool would show off something untested to potential investors. He "parks" the engine in orbit, and takes a non-warp ship up later on with fuel, a new/rebuilt capsule, and the people with the dosh (or representatives thereof).
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