Saucer Separation

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by xvicente, May 2, 2013.

  1. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Worf: "according to my calculations, a solar probe launched from either the Klingon ship or the planet's surface will take eleven seconds to reach the sun."

    I never have bought into the idea that torpedoes only have a combination of a sublight engine and something referred to as a "warp sustainer."

    The distance between the Earth and our sun is about five hundred light seconds. Worf in GEN said that a solar probe (admittedly not a torpedo) would travel a not dissimilar distance, from basically a standing start, in eleven seconds. Meaning the probe had to be capable of achieving warp on it's own, it clearly possessed a independent warp drive.

    Again a probe and a torpedo are not the same thing, however they are about the same size, if a small warp drive were available for one, why not the other?

    And if they were unable to release the saucer at warp (for whatever reason), it would be "trapped" at sublight speeds.

    Interstellar space is a big place, the saucer would have propulsion suited for travel between planets, not between stars.

    :)
     
  2. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    It could be down to several reasons.

    A probe doesn't need to carry targeting systems (at least, not always, they can easily be programmed to follow a pre-set course, which is impractical for most torpedo applications), nor does it need to carry a warhead. the removal of these systems may make room for a small warp drive. With the miniscule mass of a torpedo, I don't imagine that it would require a particularly powerful unit.

    Also, probes aren't always built off the torpedo base. As such, a probe may be designed with the ability to incorporate a small warp engine. Also, given the tactical requirements for a torpedo, a warp drive may be impractical - any anti-torpedo defense could easily track a warp signature, for example.
     
  3. xvicente

    xvicente Captain Captain

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    I remember Data saying in the first episode that saucer separation was not safe at any speed > zero (relative to what, I dont know), much less at warp. This seems to contradicts that "warp sustainer coils" theory.

    Maybe this is one of the times when TNG tangled itself in it's own technobabble.
     
  4. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Here's the dialog:

    I don't think that means necessarily that there are no sustainers (I have no dog in that fight, by the way), just that separation at warp is potentially unsafe. If sustainers are there, the intention is pretty clearly to use them only in case of emergency already threatening the ship.
     
  5. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Of course, if they wanted to go with the warp sustainers idea, all they had to do was have Data say it was unsafe above warp 3 or something. They could have gotten around it if they wanted to.
     
  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Do we really think this is something that would have occurred to them in the pilot episode of the series?
     
  7. xvicente

    xvicente Captain Captain

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    Well the ship is said to be new. Maybe the warp sustainers were installed the next Tuesday.

    in-universe chronology it would be consistent starfleet practice.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    If the saucer had the ability to sustain warp, yet not the ability to achieve it on its own (despite virtually every other piece of Starfleet hardware having the latter ability), then LaForge committed a hideous offense in "Arsenal of Freedom" by not giving the saucer an initial warp velocity to sustain...

    And at that point the saucer already did have some means to achieve high warp, as demonstrated in "Encounter at Farpoint". Unless we assume Starfleet removed that ability the previous Tuesday?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I still think the evidence from EaF is evidence of poorly-considered writing rather than evidence that the saucer has warp drive, especially given the contradictory evidence presented in "Brothers".
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    "Brothers" doesn't really state anything much - only that our heroes think they have a way to force Data out of warp. Doesn't mean the ship was designed for such a thing; our heroes are a resourceful bunch, well motivated to sabotage their own ship on this occasion so that it does things other than those designed into it.

    In any case, two counts of effortless interstellar travel seem to well outweigh "Brothers"...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Tim Walker

    Tim Walker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There is an alternative life boat scenario...the star drive section as an escape pod, should the saucer section be compromised. This is comparable to use of the Apollo 13 lunar module.
     
  12. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    OT, but Data's line in "Farpoint" reminds of Riker's accidentally chuckle-worthy line in "Generations." "Pretty big margin for error," he says with concern. Um, Will, a big margin is a good thing.
     
  13. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That would suggest that the saucer is not suppose to be detached at warp speed at all. But then the question would be, how is it suppose to get anyplace away from the stadrive section? Or is the stardrive suppose to leave it someplace and hope to retrieve it later, with only the hope that another starship finds them before whatever destroys the stardrive section gets there first?

    The saucer has no known warp drive, and if it was not designed to be released at warp speeds, than it's not be equipped with a warp sustainer. So than how does it get to Farpoint station , or how is it expected to get to any nearby starbase if left behind?
     
  14. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm not seeing the problem here. The saucer has impulse engines. It's a bit like the donut spare tire on a car: not ideal, but it beats being stuck on the side of the road someplace.
     
  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, when the saucer separates, it basically becomes one big lifeboat, capable of carrying hundreds if not thousands of evacuees.
     
  16. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Still begs the question: How was the saucer expected to make it to Farpoint Station?

    How Lt. Logan suppose to reach Starbase 103 with the saucer section in "The Arsenal of Freedom"?
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    By using the warp engines of the saucer section, apparently (see various previous posts).

    Nobody in Star Trek ever says the saucer doesn't have warp engines, so it's pretty natural to assume that it has those. Especially since it is witnessed traveling at relatively high warp on its own once ("Farpoint") and implied to be capable of this once ("Arsenal").

    The saucer doesn't have warp nacelles. But neither does the Defiant. And the saucer does have prominent blue-glowing bits, just like several nacelle-less starships, that might be where its warp coils do their outlandish radiating.

    Two different parts of a ship both having warp engines is nothing new: ships have carried warp-capable shuttlecraft often enough (arguably ever since the 2230s at least). It's just a matter of scale, and it's all the better if the various warp-capable sections have differing warp capabilities. They will then justifiably meet different operational requirements and complement each other.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They could probably fit something like a older generation warp system in there without much of a problem. Just more heavily shielded for the civilians (and crew's) safety. Those older nacelles didn't have external lights (for the most part).
     
  19. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    All of these questions and scenarios (in-universe) had to have crossed the minds of the ship's designers. When the separating ship was proiposed, I'm sure someone said "But what are the occupants supposed to do then?". I seriously doubt the reply was "Sucks to be them!"
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I guess the original concept would have been sort of valid: when in doubt, leave the saucer behind at a safe location and then warp to danger (and hopefully back).

    Naturally, this wouldn't work well for heroic drama, though. Even the contemplative and cautious Picard flat out refused to consider leaving the saucer behind in the first episode dealing with the issue, "Heart of Glory". His "first investigate, then perhaps separate" doctrine just wasn't compatible with the hardware he was operating. Not even if we assume that the saucer did have the ability to go to at least medium warp all on its own.

    Timo Saloniemi