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

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Old August 31 2013, 04:33 AM   #286
Lego Thrawn
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

Nob Akimoto wrote: View Post
Well we know from TNG that there's a dedicated "replicator kiosk" on the E-D that supposedly has replicators that function differently from the ones in personal quarters, so perhaps there's different kinds depending on function. I would also suggest that shuttlebays and perhaps cargo bays also have some sort of replicator function (perhaps combined with cargo transporters?) that can be used to craft new replacement parts for auxiliary vessels and for the ship itself, as Federation starships seem almost as self-sufficient in repair capability as wooden warships. Having a sort of mini-industrial replicator on board would also I think solve the "infinite shuttles" problem on Voyager, as well as the fact that each and every starship seems to have a custom shuttle that looks like the mother ship.
IIRC, we have never seen a replicator inside someone's quarters create anything but food or drink. Even in the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone", we never saw WHERE Data replicated the guitar for Sonny. My thinking is that the ship's stores have the non-foods replicators, and that the ones in crew cabins can only produce foodstuffs.



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Old September 4 2013, 08:42 PM   #287
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

I am slowly slogging my way through this zombie thread. Awesome work, Predator! I love reading this stuff!

I am on page 15, poised to read the first technical essay and looking forward to it. But on the previous page was a discussion about the number of Excelcior ships. I understand it is probably bad form to bring up an old dead arguement but I can't help but adding a thought.

Using Geoffrey Mandel's Star Charts as a reference, I counted the total square sectors on the maps that were claimed to be Federation: about 53, 23 in alpha quad and 30 in Beta. I then estimated the depth of each sector by assuming it and its neighbors horizontally were representative of them vertically and got an average of 2.4 sectors tall. Rounding down to 50 and 2, respectively, that's about 100 sectors of Federation space. (A very rough estimate.) Assuming you want to have enough ships to patrol that volume of space such that any point may be accessed by just one ship by one days travel at warp 9, you would need about 8600 ships to patrol that volume. Reducing your speed to warp 8 requires 27,000.

And that's just to patrol the volume. Not to mention the places you're exploring or that a day away seems irresponsible in some sectors.

As someone else said, the scope of the Federation at TNG era is hard to fathom.
..........
How I calculated: total volume devided by volume travelable.

total volume is the number of sectors times the cubic volume in light days of a sector: 100*(20*365)^3 cubic light days.

volume travelable is volume of a sphere with radius of one day at the given warp speed: ~(4/3)*(wf^(10/3))^3) cubic light days
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Old September 4 2013, 10:43 PM   #288
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

Thanks, zDarby.

That math is quite helpful... and slightly painful.

I'm still leaning towards keeping that number on the low side, to keep those "We're the only ship in the <insert unit of measure here>" far more plausible. But, perhaps upping my estimates by, say, 50% are in order.

For those interested, I have also begun some revisions to this historic section of the writeup which I may post soon. The technical section is of course highly contingent on what the "real" size of the ship finally ends up being over in the other thread.
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Old September 5 2013, 12:59 AM   #289
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

found an error in my equations: I didn't include pi in the volume of a sphere. So my estimates are pi times too large.

100 sectors and one day at 9wf would be 2,660 ships.
8wf, 8,650
7wf, 32,900
6wf, 154,000

later, I'll estimate the density from 40 ships scrambling to wolf 359 in so many days.
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Old September 5 2013, 01:02 AM   #290
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

Oh, hooray for mathematical errors!

That actually works much better.

(And I'd love to see those Wolf 359 calculations.)
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Old September 5 2013, 05:19 AM   #291
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

Without more accurate data about how long it took to rally the Wolf 359 fleet, my calculations yield a useless range of outputs.

If you assume it took a day and all the vessels came at warp 9, that gives a ship density of about 0.133 ships per cubic light year. Extrapolating outward over 100 sectors, that's over 100,000 ships.

But if it took 6 days at warp 9, then the density is 0.000616 ships per light year, yielding 500 ships in 100 sectors. (Starfleet reinforcements were 6 days away when Ent-D met up with the Borg just prior to the battle at Wolf 359, according to Memory Alpha, giving an upper.)

This range of answers is completely useless, as I am sure you can tell. Can anyone find closer set of (connonical) time limits?
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Old September 13 2013, 12:14 AM   #292
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

I finally came across the website that I got "Dr. Tokogawa" from... mostly I included it as a nod for my appreciation to the site's efforts. I disagree with a chunk of what they assert.

In another thread, Crazy Eddie brought up the notion that the "humpback pod" that the nacelle struts attach to iswhat actually houses the warp core. I must admit, I've considered this notion before, but was convinced primarily by the location of the deflection crystals that the ship probably had a more conventional core arrangement. I'm eager to hear others' thoughts on this.

In addition, what do others make of the fact that the warp cores of the two ships appear to be represented by the TNG set? We more or less know from Mr. Probert that the TMP intermix chamber was essentially a power transfer conduit, with the reaction taking place elsewhere, and TOS also seems to be a different animal.

On the one hand, we may wish to assume that the A and Excelsior cores aren't "really" identical, but on the other, we may wish to infer from this that the Excelsior tech introduced the "modern" warp core arrangement, and this played a part in the class's longevity. I'm eager to hear others' thoughts on this, too.
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Old September 13 2013, 02:12 PM   #293
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

I've always personally felt that the intermix chamber of the Excelsior roughly matches the layout of the Enterprise refit. Although I do agree that there had been some major revisions with the dual crystal configuration. There were similar discussions about the Constellation class (also with dual crystals - and dual everything else), where the doubling up all main systems was an attempt at boosting performance without necessarily coming up with any innovations. I figure the dual crystals gave the Excelsiors the kind of boost that allowed them to keep up with newer designs later on into the 24th century - possibly implying that they may have had dual intermix chambers/cores.

I'm thinking that the big "hump" where the engines go into the secondary hull was a more structurally sound alternative to the "strong back" configuration of the Connies, taking the pressure of torquing forces off the entire spine and on to a more localized area specifically architected to handle it.
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Old September 14 2013, 04:37 AM   #294
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

You know, initially I'd dismissed the TMP-style warp core as being inadequate for the Great Experiment, and wanting to rectify the appearance of the TNG-style cores in TUC, but you make some great points... particularly about the possibility of dual cores, which I hadn't before considered.

Anyone who's not following the scaling thread, please go check out this post concerning some options I'm facing with the placement of the core.
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Old September 21 2013, 01:38 AM   #295
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

Ok, time to start revising this beauty. The original version of this chapter can be found in the first post.

I've chosen to omit the mention of Federation battleships because in the interim I've become less convinced that they "really" existed and felt no need to render a verdict either way for the purposes of this writeup. I've also tried to make it sound less like Starfleet was caught with its pants down designing a replacement for the Constitution class, while trying to maintain the notion that the 23rd century was a time of great change.

Please let me know what you think.

Chapter One - Background

On the morning of 17 April, 2270, at 1105 hours Earth time, the Sol System was alive with activity. Every ship in the sector had gathered for a very special event. Starfleet scouts flew honor formation as the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701, returned home from her latest and most historic five-year mission, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. Brass and civilians alike applauded as Enterprise came in under shutug power to dock in Berth Two of the old, now-decommissioned Spacedock. “Lucky Little Enterprise” (as the Federation press had dubbed her because of her penchant for beating the odds) had become the most famous member of the Constitution class and she and her crew had risen to the status of living legend. After her arrival, a special commemorative ceremony was held in Enterprise’s main recreation room. The senior staff was decorated, and numerous promotions were handed out.

Behind the celebration, tucked neatly somewhere between the antimatter fireworks and the Vulcan children’s choir, Starfleet was desperately at work to adapt with the changing times. Starfleet had relied on the Constitution class family as its backbone and workhorse since the ships were first commissioned in 2245, before the latest generation of officer to serve on them had even been born. The twenty-third century was a time of unprecedented change in the Alpha Quadrant and growth and evolution for the United Federation of Planets and its Starfleet. Even as the Federation celebrated its Centennial in 2261, it would experience increased threats from its neighbors, ranging from the increasingly antagonistic Tholians to an uneasy but nonetheless threatening alliance between the Klingons and re-emerged Romulans, all of whom, by all intelligence indications, were developing technologically at an astounding rate.

Missions such as that of the Enterprise, while monumental successes, also highlighted the flaws in Starlfeet’s aging designs. The design made historic innovations such as the doctrinal shift toward the split primary/secondary hull configuration first introduced in the late twenty-second century and the introduction of standardized components including bridge modules and warp nacelles. These had rendered the Constitution class an efficient, well-balanced design but were beginning to show their limits. Further, the class’s once-impressive defenses seemed inadequate to meet the increasingly powerful fleets maintained by the Klingons and Romulans. Even after the introduction of state-of-the-art ship-mounted phaser weapons and photon torpedoes to the Constitution class, it was obvious that the ships’ defenses were somewhat below par compared to the warships being produced by the Federation's enemies.

For numerous reasons, the Starfleet General Staff did not abandon the Constitution class. The Constitution was a proven design, as all but two of the original 2240s production line were still in service, and during their careers had increased the volume of known space by millions of cubic light years, adding detailed maps of hundreds of sectors to Federation star charts. At the ceremony held aboard the Enterprise at her return, Fleet Admiral Heihachiro Nogura, Starfleet’s Chief in Command, announced the implementation of a massive fleet-wide modernization program, beginning with the two and a half year upgrade of Enterprise herself. However, Nogura and his colleagues at the General Staff knew that this would only extend the design life of the Constitutions by three to four decades at most. Starfleet had already begun designing a replacement for the Constitution that could satisfactorily explore and defend the ever-growing Federation. While the very concept of a true multi-mission explorer-type starship, such as the Ambassador and Galaxy classes, was still nearly eighty years away, the seeds that would ultimately lead to its genesis were about to be sown.

In 2266, the Federation had granted permission for the ASDB to begin preliminary work on a Constitution replacement, even as the first members of the Federation class and the final group of Constitutions left the docks. The general design brief issued (labeled SV-20) called for a ship capable of fulfilling the duties of the Constitution class:
  • Provide a mobile platform for Starfleet exploration projects, border patrol, and defense
  • Perform starbase resupply and defense of regional interests,
  • Supervise and fully execute Federation policy in outlying frontier territories.
The design team was convened under the supervision of Doctor Josef Thorndyke of the ASDB, an accomplished engineer and assistant on both the original Constitution class project and the new modernization project. The team convened by Thorndyke included an impressive range of the best of the old and young that the ASDB had to offer, fully confident of their ability to meet Starfleet’s challenge. In 2271, another design requirement would be added: incorporate advances of the new prototypical propulsion form called transwarp drive.
Second chapter on transwarp to come soon.
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Old September 21 2013, 12:40 PM   #296
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

Unless the name of Dr. Tokugawa shows up in the ST III novelization or other expanded universe materials or is mentioned in another dubbed version of the movie, "Thorndike" or "Thorndyke" is canon according to the German dubbed version.

I'm not saying that you have not experienced Star Trek unless you have listened to the German dubbed version (for TOS this Klingon proverb might however apply ), but every German fan of Star Trek "knows" that the Excelsior was designed by a person with the aforementioned name.

Bob
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Old September 21 2013, 04:47 PM   #297
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

Ah, you're right Bob. I did forget to change that, and I wasn't crazy about Tokugawa anyway. Changed.

And with that, here's what's sure to be the most controversial chapter, on transwarp.

Chapter Two - Transwarp

By 2271, the ASDB had been conducting preliminary design work on SV-20 for five years when the secretive Excelsior Group presented its plan for building a transwarp drive to the Federation Council and Starfleet Command. Transwarp drive had been a highly classified research project for nearly a decade by that time. For years, Starfleet scientists had been researching not only developing more powerful warp engines, but also faster alternatives to conventional warp drive. The story of transwarp itself has become something of a legend to modern warp engineers and physicists.

In early 2261, Doctor Eugene Wesley was working in the ASDB's Theoretical Propulsion Group researching warp theory. Wesley made a revolutionary discovery about warp velocity; he discovered nine progressively higher threshold leaps in warp field power requirements that did not correspond with the previously utilized cubed warp scale. Following this math, he uncovered what appeared to be a tenth and final warp jump. This in itself was a revolutionary finding; previously, after debunking the existence of the Time Barrier in the 2240s, engineers had come to believe that the only real limit in warp power was structural integrity. Still, most scientists had no idea exactly how high the warp scale could go. Dr. Wesley now had an answer to that question, but also a slew of new questions. Between the newly discovered ninth and tenth jumps, increases in speed required an expotentially increasing demand for power.

Dr. Wesley eventually concluded that the tenth warp velocity jump would result in an apparent state of infinite velocity which would allow a starship to mathematically exist in all points in the universe at once. Therefore, precise control of entry and exit from "infinite velocity" would allow a ship to instantly travel from one point in the universe (the "Initial Point") to another (the "Destination Point".) Dr. Wesley rationalized that this was mathematically possible because a starship would never actually be at warp ten, akin to how conventional warp drive allowed a ship to traverse interstellar distances apparently at faster than light without technically ever travelling at lightspeed. Dr. Wesley envisioned an advanced drive capable of thus propelling a starship, which he termed “transwarp.” He named the mathematical barrier preceding infinite velocity the "Transwarp Barrier."

In February 2262, Dr. Wesley presented his classified data to the Federation Council and Starfleet. Although controversial among his colleagues, Dr. Wesley’s work intrigued them, and was allowed to continue with a dedicated research team. The team took the name the “Excelsior Group,” excelsior being from the Latin for “ever higher.” Transwarp was envisioned as the Holy Grail of interstellar travel, but the team was unable to make breakthroughs into generating high-level subspace fields necessary for the project. Dr. Wesley and his team were initially given five years to produce concrete results, and had managed to beg for another five, but he and his team were getting more worried and more desperate. Their efforts were also hampered by funding cuts by the increasingly skeptical Federation Council.

The Excelsior Group's fortunes changed in late 2267. On Stardate 5693, the Starship Enterprise discovered the missing U.S.S. Defiant, NCC-1764, near Tholian space. Defiant was trapped in a subspace rift, its crew having murdered one another due to madness caused by prolonged subspace exposure. The phenomenon was termed “spatial interphase” by Enterprise science officer Spock. Spatial interphase was described as a temporary overlap of two dimensions, specifically space and subspace, which resulted in a type of trans-dimensional rift. The interphase produced a level of subspace distortion heretofore unencountered by Federation science. While the Defiant herself was hopelessly lost, apparently trapped in limbo between dimensions, sensor readings accumulated by Enterprise proved invaluable to the Group’s work. These logs helped Dr. Wesley and his fellow scientists understand why the previous efforts to create a high-energy warp field using available power sources had failed. The destruction caused in controlled environments by these efforts was prodigious and well-documented. The Defiant disaster had finally given Wesley and his colleagues what they needed to make a breakthrough. New calculations were made and simulations and tests conducted.

While the concept of transwarp drive was revolutionary, Dr. Wesley's basic engine design itself was only somewhat unconventional. A linear intermix chamber, specced to run at a "hotter" reaction rate than on current vessels, would power twin nacelles to achieve conventional speeds. Making use of the nine natural power jumps, a ship's warp field could more deeply imbed the vessel within subspace and more efficiently provide all conventional warp velocity through the transwarp drive. Once the starship had passed the ninth warp jump, the transwarp part of the drive would initialize. This was effected by positioning a secondary "supercharger" reaction just ahead of the power transfer lines to the nacelles, wherein additional antimatter would be fed into the main plasma manifold, essentially double-charging the drive plasma. In turn, this supercharged plasma would power a second layer of the warp coils, which would provide the actual transwarp jump. Coordinated with a tunneling beam emmitted from the main deflector dish, as well as an increase in the vessel's structural integrity and inertial damping fields, the ship would continue to accelerate exponentially towards the tenth jump. Finally, at the onset of critical transwarp momentum, the starship would cross the Transwarp Barrier and be propelled through the spatial membrane from the "Initial Point" to "Destination Point." The vessel's crew would only experience a brief state of disorientation and time passage, but this would render computer control of the transwarp drive system essential.

While many in Starfleet were skeptical of transwarp’s virtues, Admiral Randolph Harrison “Harry” Morrow emerged as its champion. The young, charismatic Morrow had held a fascination with warp development since he served as a supervisor at the ASDB, and long followed Dr. Wesley’s efforts. The young maverick, mentored by Admiral Nogura himself, worked his growing influence to bring around his fellows in the Admiralty, and the Federation Council finally ordered transwarp included as part of the SV-20 project. The Transwarp Development Project was officially born. The project soon came to be known among inner Starfleet circles as “the Great Experiment,” which would be made a household phrase by Federation news outlets.
The original version of Chapter Two can be found here. Whatcha think?
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Old September 23 2013, 08:18 PM   #298
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

I like this! This however made me think -- going back to the Transwarp subject; as you know it really bothers me that a full scale mock up was made before thoroughly testing the concept smaller scale. Earlier we talked about a compromise, where it was only a partial failure.

Another thought occurred to me. What if the Excelsior in ST III functioned just as well as it was expected to -- that the limits and extent that they could achieve Transwarp were known prior to starship construction. In other words, prior to ST III, they knew the Transwarp experiment would not result in the "infinite speed" or breaking the "warp 10 barrier", but kept the project name for PR.

In reality, Transwarp was dropped for political reasons -- Transwarp as a concept was simply a plot device to allow our heros to be the underdog in TSFS. After TSFS, the producers had little interest in the concept, and the production team of TNG seemed to consciously distance themselves from many of the concepts from the films.

When trying to divine an in-universe rationalization, I find myself wanting to mirror the real world reason. In other words, since transwarp was abandoned for political reasons production wise, why not assume it was abandoned for political reasons in universe wise too? I don't know if this is a good approach -- this may in fact be the wrong thing to do, allowing the production reality to shape the universe that we want to be "above" such considerations.

Yet in my mind, it makes a certain sense. Kirks actions in TSFS contributed to a very tense and sensitive political situation (the Genesis project and planet) blowing up in Starfleet's face. Though Kirk's actions in TVH led to his actions being all but pardoned, we have little indication that the overall political situation was resolved or even improved. Rather, it was simply deferred due to a more imminent crisis.

I could see Starfleet, in the immediate aftermath of events of TSFS, putting a hold on Excelsior trials as the leaders scrambled to contain and address the political fallout from all sides. Indeed, a freeze on R&D may have been imposed on any cutting edge technology that could be construed as providing a tactical or combative advantage. Agreements such as Federations abstention from cloaking technology might have had their genesis (no pun intended) here.

When all the dust had settled, and the federation had brought some stability to the situation, an edict may have come down to discontinue use of the term "transwarp." Starfleet would then quietly close out the project, officially labeling it a "failure" (which technically it was determined to be long before the Excelsior was built), and discretely make improvements under the guise of enhancements to "conventional" warp drive. And Admiral Harry Morrow, the man who spearheaded the project, quietly stepped down from his role as Starfleet Commander.

The hit to morale would be substantial. During this decade, and in spite of their efforts to the contrary, Starfleet found itself becoming perceived as more and more militaristic. Border disputes, raids on colonies, bottlenecks on the supply of resources pushed Starfleet deployments more into this role.

Excelsior project was heralded as a beacon of light, with hopes that it would bring exploration and discovery back to the forefront, returning Starfleet to a new scientific era. Alas, what began as a shining talisman to the future soon became an albatross of the past. Starfleet would not see a return to this era for another 80 years. It is not without irony that Excelsior's commissioning plate came to have the quote "No matter where you go, there you are"

To be clear, exploration and discover were never abandoned. Several new cultures were discovered and relationships forged. This issue was simply that Starfleets overlapping roles of exploration and protection, which always necessitating careful communication and education for both member and non member interactions, continued to become more blurred and nebulous during this era.
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Old September 23 2013, 09:12 PM   #299
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

Just to point out: the Enterprise is said to have exceeded warp ten in "That Which Survives" among other cases, and the Orion ship from "Journey to Babel" was also traveling at warp ten.

I never much cared for the "infinite velocity" theory of transwarp drive. I still believe it refers to something a lot more esoteric than that; say, the ability to sustain fractional warp factors for extended periods of time.
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Old September 24 2013, 12:09 AM   #300
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Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

^^^ Agreed. Always disliked the Warp 10 paradox as well, partly because one of Trek's worst episodes ("Threshold") featured it, but also because it was too reminiscent of HHGTTG's Infinite Improbability Drive and, therefore, I could never take it seriously.
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