Nova class; why such a low warp-speed?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Mage, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    I've always wondered why, according to dialogue from Voyager, the Nova class had such a low warp speed?

    Assuming the class was launched in the late 2360's/early 2370's, it's a very new class of ships, so the engines should be pretty new. And with the main missions of these class involving long term planetary surveys, you'd think Starfleet would want these ships to get to a newly discovered planet on the outskirts of Federation space pretty darned quick.

    So why would Starfleet design a ship with low warpspeeds on purpose?
     
  2. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It would depend on the size of the warp core, the fuel stores available and purpose of the ship. The Nova-Class is a surveyor, she can take her time to go from assignment to assignment and isn't intended for combat or pursuit, so less power would be needed for propulsion and more for sensors, computers and research equipment.

    Also with a crew of only around 80, most of which would be researchers and labtechs, there would be a smaller engineering staff than usual, so keeping the core as simple and easy-to-maintain design as possible would be best.

    The designers could have focused more on longevity than top performance. She has a top speed of warp 8 but could be able to maintain that for weeks instead of hours.

    That's how I see it anyways.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    It makes little sense, since the Nova is basically a miniature Sovereign-class, and Voyager launched with shuttles that could do warp 9+. The plot of "Equinox" needed it to be noticeably slower than Voyager for the 'upgrades' to have meaning, so it was. Perhaps Starfleet fitted new ships with outdated Oberth-class warp cores?
     
  4. Shik

    Shik Commander Red Shirt

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    What need does a "planetary surveyor" have for fast speed? Of course, we don't know that ALL Novas ("Novae"?) are limited to Warp 8; perhaps the destroyer-like variants such as Rhode Island are in fact fitted with combat powertrains.
     
  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Aside from a saucer, stardrive hull and two nacelles I see very little similarities between the Nova- and Sovereign-Classes. The Sovereign is a capital ship, designed to be out on the fringes, fighting battles, making contact, and expanding Federation interests. The Nova goes in and studies what ships such as the Sovereign-Class discover.

    As for the warp 9 shuttles, that was only achievable after they found a new source of dilithium which was more stable at higher warp factors, which was how they got to warp 10. It was never established that it was the norm for type-9 shuttles (DITL lists their top speed at warp 4), or even if the warp core survived the field tests.
     
  6. Mage

    Mage Commodore Commodore

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    Human comfort is the key. It's been established that the higher you get in the warp scale, the speed itself grows exponentially, I believe that's the right term.
    Meaning, that the the difference between warp 7 and 8 is less then the difference between warp 8 and 9.

    Now, I don't think a lot of people would like to be assigned to a ship that has to muddle along at warp 6 to get all across the Federation, while warp 9 would do it faster.

    And as for size of the warpcore... The Defiant class is smaller then the Nova, and can hit warp 9 easy-peasy.
     
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Until the development of the Intrepid-Class, all Starfleet ships were restricted to warp five after the degredation warp fields caused to subspace.

    The Defiant-Class was stated as being over-powered and over-gunned for a ship of its size. But as a warship it needed to be able to intercept Borg ships and whoop ass, so it needs all the power it can generate, whilst the Nova-Class doesn't have that need.
     
  8. Infern0

    Infern0 Captain Captain

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    it was a rubbish, cheap ship.
     
  9. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    Well we know the basic geometry can be used to produce a super high-speed courier, so it's likely a ship like Equinox was equipped with lower output cores for fuel efficiency purposes and for the simple fact they didn't need anything faster.
     
  10. The Librarian

    The Librarian Commodore Commodore

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    I think it's clear the speed problem is in the warp core, because once they added the dead alien fuel the ship sped up with no issue. I think it's likely that they took a ship originally designed for higher speeds - say, one possible Defiant prototype - and stuck in a simpler, more fuel efficient, and easier to maintain core when the design was chosen as a science ship that doesn't need to move around too speedily. That way they could dedicate more crew to doing science and less to keeping the warp core functioning, important on such a small ship. I wouldn't be surprised if these ships are often fairly specialized. You might send several of them assigned to a single planet, each investigating different features, and moving around the sector as needed but never traveling as far as the Enterprise or other large ships did routinely. They left the original warp nacelles in place so they could easily change that decision if Starfleet needed fast scouts or couriers or whatnot.
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    They have very similar shapes, and what is the point of the rather silly shape of Starfleet vessels if not to be efficient at warp speeds?
    I don't even know what DITL is, but I recall in "Threshold" that they didn't activate their new transwarp drive until the shuttle had already reached warp 9.
     
  12. starburst

    starburst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Personal opinion but I think the Nova is one of the best looking non hero ships from the TNG-VOY Trek, for me its up there with the Akira (personal favourite) and the Steamrunner which I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with.

    I think you chaps have hit the nail on the head, if you think about cars instead of Starships you could have 2 of the same car but give one a more powerful engine and your going to have completely different performance.

    The Warp Core was obviously less advanced than Voyagers (either by design or budget limitations) which was a sleek and advanced looking unit, nor did it have the 'powerful' aesthetic they gave the Defiant core.
     
  13. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    Agreed. I really doubt an Oberth-class ship could reach warp 8, and THOSE little guys are still around as late as First Contact. Comparing apples to apples, a Nova science vessel is certainly an upgrade in every way.

    Mark
     
  14. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Equinox should probably have been a much older ship...either that or make it clear that it was traveling slower for a reason (i.e. one nacelle had been destroyed or something).
     
  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I totally love the Nova-class. It'd be a ship I'd want to serve on or even command if I was a Starfleet officer.

    I always imagined the Nova-class as a science vessel, and not a high-speed cruiser. As such, I think the majority of its missions involve long-term planetary and stellar research where it could spend weeks or even months in orbit of a world or parked within a single star system. IMO, it doesn't need to have a Warp Nine Engine, when a Warp Eight Engine would likely be more than sufficient to conduct scientific studies.

    I also tend to think the Nova-class has the same normal cruising speed (Warp 6) as other vessels anyway.
     
  16. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    We Trek nerds would've had a field day if they'd actually used an Oberth. That would've been AWESOME and fit right in with the story too.

    Mark
     
  17. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yep, it'd have been the one time in TNG-era history that using an Oberth would have made sense.
     
  18. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Well, it also makes sense that Starfleet would have a new science vessel design by then too.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I'd further say it's always about the warp core. Or the structural integrity field. Or the navigation software, or whatever. The warp coils are demonstrably not something that the engineers would tailor for a specific performance range, as so many plotlines feature something going wrong and the ship suddenly flying off at much higher than recommended or designed speed.

    In the real world, when something goes wrong with your engines, you don't start moving faster. You typically start moving more slowly, or stop moving, or very suddenly move in multiple directions simultaneously. But warp coils don't appear to be "engines" per se - more like propellers that never cavitate, or wheels with bearings that never seize, or sails that never tear.

    As far as we can tell, if you cast your coil set properly, it's good for all speeds from zero to infinite, just like a calculator is good for displaying all numbers from zero to infinite, even if some other components might fall short of producing infinities or even particularly large finite outputs.

    Probably it isn't advantageous, perhaps not even possible, to create low performance coils for low performance starships. Quite possibly (and even statistically evidently), any starship is warp ten waiting to happen, by the very nature of what warp coils are. That wouldn't be much of a dramatic cheat.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :lol:

    Good to see you back, Timo!

    I don't necessarily agree with the warp coil theory, but I would agree that any speed limitation likely has more to do with the warp core and the amount of energy it can produce than anything else.