Does The Enterprise Orbit

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by T'Girl, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. timelord1010

    timelord1010 Captain Captain

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    I always assumed that the impulse (Fusion) engines were only used for sublight travel. Maybe in a "powered" orbit the starship uses the warp field or some other energy field to negate gravity so the ship can "park" anywhere it wants in orbit. Anti-matter is only used to power the warp engines, not used for thrust to propel the ship so there would be no large radiation signature coming from the ship since the warp engines are fully contained. Just my 2 cents.
     
  2. Lieut. Arex

    Lieut. Arex Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The orbit in "This Side of Paradise" must be a natural one as there's no mention of it decaying anytime soon. Kirk says he could stay aboard, but not pilot the Enterprise. Ditto Exeter's in "Omega Glory". She'd been there for at least six months. "Court Martial" seems to show a powered one, otherwise Finney's sabotage of the engines would be no immediate threat. The choice must be the captain's, dependent on the mission.
     
  3. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    According to this Memory Alpha article, the Enterprise orbited Excalbia at an altitude of almost 643.5 miles. If we assume that this orbit was a "powered" one, and that it would be typical of "powered" orbits, would it require huge amounts of energy to sustain? I could see this notion of "powered" orbits being used, but I would think it would have to be arranged to avoid excessive power consumption.
     
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^ At 16,000 miles the pull of Earth would be 0.04 gees. At 190,000 tons of mass, the Enterprise's "weight" would only be 7,600 tons at that altitude.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  5. Bill Morris

    Bill Morris Commodore Commodore

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    Momentum does part of the work of keeping the ship from falling out of orbit. The higher the orbit, the less power is required. How much power must be applied depends on the planets's rotation you are matching. Faster rotation means less power needed. You could think of it as flying backward within your orbit in relation to the advance of the area you want to scan, since an unpowered orbit would take you around too fast in most cases. And you orbit above the planet's equator, maintaining the desired distance from the spot of interest, albeit at an angle. If you don't need to stay in sight of a certain spot, you can move to an orbit 600 miles above the surface and coast until the plot thickens.

    The Space Shuttle orbiter flies forward within its initial orbit to catch up with the ISS but uses little power to do that and usually takes many hours (many trips around the world)
    to match the orbit of the ISS.
     
  6. GodThingFormerly

    GodThingFormerly A Different Kind of Asshole

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    The "hang" could be caused by apoapsis dwell if the Enterprise employs highly elliptical (i.e., Molniya-Class) satellite orbits in order to stay above the landing party's horizon for the maximum possible time during every orbital period in the event an emergency beam-out is required. Of course, this is highly dependent on the subject planet's diameter, gravitational potential and sidereal rotation rate, although one may propose that in a majority of cases the space vehicle's orbit is artificially precessed by firing the impulse engines briefly at periapsis in order to keep the apoapsis directly over the landing party's position during each pass. OTOH, an idling warp drive may be able to sufficiently amplify the Lense-Thirring (i.e., relativistic "gravito-magnetic" frame dragging) effect when the orbit's inclination is close to equatorial for the same purpose depending upon which propulsion system is more energy efficient for a particular planet/orbit combination.

    SLR
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2010
  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A couple of random notes:

    1) "Orbit" today is valid parlance for the pattern an aircraft maintains, for example when aiming a radar at the ground below, or waiting for its turn to land, or waiting for a chance to provide fuel to other aircraft. Thus, if Kirk orders a stationary orbit above London, there's nothing semantically wrong with it, even though "stationary orbit" does have other usages in aeronautics jargon besides "staying put above said spot".

    2) I think we can all agree that a starship would be able to maintain a steady one gee of acceleration (and thus hover over any given spot) for at least a couple of months if not years. That is, the ship isn't likely to run out of fuel or energy in that time, and the engines supposedly don't require all that much "must take 'em offline" maintenance. Perhaps impulse engines do require some sort of propellant that would run out if the ship wasn't allowed to take short breaks for replenishment, though? Difficult to tell, since their actual method of operation has been kept hidden in aired Trek.

    3) The effects of impulse hovering on the spot beneath might not be all that severe when we consider that the shipwrights would do everything in their power to minimize the "impulse signature" anyway, for tactical reasons.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh? When did they start using that term? I always thought it was called a “holding pattern.”

    An aircraft flying in a big circle while waiting to land isn't orbiting anything. It's just flying in a big circle. :)
     
  9. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    "Mirror, Mirror" seems to acknowledge a normal low orbit, since they mention cities coming in and out of targeting range as they orbit.
     
  10. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    American pilots circle the airport. British pilots orbit the airport.
     
  11. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    French pilots surrender the airfield.
     
  12. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, what can you expect from people who call an elevator a "lift," an apartment a "flat," a baby carriage a "pram," and women's panties "knickers." And drive on the wrong side of the road. :rolleyes:

    Again with the French surrender jokes! :guffaw::lol::guffaw:
     
  13. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It gets even more complicated when we hear about starships orbiting space stations like DS9 and K7. I had thought for a while that these stations might have their own artificial gravity generators specifically designed to allow ships to orbit them the way they would a planet, but if you take "orbit" to be a more generic term it could refer to anything from stationkeeping patterns to a complicated arrangement involving tractor beams and impulse engine counterthrust.

    Makes me think of a certain frenchman whose first combat action as Captain of the Enterprise ended with the line: "Commander send the following on all frequencies and language forms: 'We surrender.'"
     
  14. USS Jack Riley

    USS Jack Riley Captain Captain

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    So wrong. Hilarious, but wrong.
     
  15. USS Jack Riley

    USS Jack Riley Captain Captain

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    I didn't know that. I figured with all the international rules in place there was a standard "language" for air terminology.
     
  16. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    Well, what can you expect from people who call a lift an "elevator," a flat an "apartment", a pram a "carriage" (or even a "buggy!") and trousers "pants". And drive on the wrong side of the road. :rolleyes:

    :guffaw:
     
  17. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There is. It's called English. :)

    Reminds me of the old joke about the radio exchange between a Lufthansa pilot and the control tower at Munich airport:

    Lufthansa (In German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"

    Ground (In English): "If you want an answer you must speak English."

    Lufthansa (In English): "I am a German pilot, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"

    At that moment, before the controller could answer, the voice of a British Airways pilot said, "Because you lost the bloody war!"
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Depending on the mass of K7/DS9 the Enterprise would slowly, naturlally orbit the station.
     
  19. USS Jack Riley

    USS Jack Riley Captain Captain

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    I knew about English being the language, I was more referring to the terminology used. Not trying to be snarky, just short on time.

    Had heard that joke before. Classic.
     
  20. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    that would be difficult to set up. Even thruster fire from Enterprise would be sufficient to break orbit.