Shuttle's warp capabilities

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by USS Excelsior, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. USS Excelsior

    USS Excelsior Commodore Commodore

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    If a 24th Century shuttle can reach Warp 4 as quoted in a Voyager episode, why would a starship have trouble going to warp when they lose warp drive due to damage.

    If they can fit warp drive on something as small as a shuttle surely they could add multiple back up warp drives to go to warp.

    Heck they could launch multiple shuttles in front of a starship and use their warp drives to tow a starship if the shuttles lock onto it with a tractor beam.
     
  2. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Captain Captain

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    My guess would be that a shuttle's miniaturized warp-core would not have enough power to form a large enough subspace bubble around an actual starship, thus preventing it from taking it to warp.

    The same could be said for a bunch of shuttles trying to tow a large starship - they can't form a subspace bubble around it, so trying to pull it may just tear the ship apart.

    But that's an entirely un-educated guess since it's never been explained in an episode or film why said method couldn't work.

    Then again, has the situation you suggest ever actually come up in Star Trek? The only time I can think of was in the DS9 episode, A Time to Stand, when the Starfleet types were stranded far from home when their warp-drive matrix (or whatever, can't exactly remember what part of the ship it was) was damaged. But the shuttle option wasn't really available to them there since they were in a captured Jem Hadar ship at the time, which don't appear to have any shuttlebays or shuttles of their own.

    So the method you suggest could infact be standard practice, we just haven't seen or heard of it before because the situation hasn't come up.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    It doesn't seem plausible from the layman's point of view that a cruise liner could be towed by its MOB boats, even though those boats can move just as fast as the cruise liner if not faster by using their own outboard motors. And treknology is likely to follow the layman's expectations in the general case.

    You'd probably need something like a hundred shuttles to tow a single starship, much like a hundred 100 hp engines would be needed to replace the 10,000 hp diesels of the cruise ship even in the ideal case. Or the ratio could be even more disadvantageous.

    (To be sure, we did see Sisko's tiny runabout tow the disabled Cardassian cruiser in "Emissary", at a creeping sublight pace. But that's quite plausible in the vacuum of space, where there is no resistance to movement; even a thruster suit could tow a Death Star, given enough time and enough fuel. Warp is supposedly more analogous to operating in an atmosphere or underwater: there is constant resistance to movement, something you have to overcome by running your engines all the time.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. The Borg Queen

    The Borg Queen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For the same reason they couldn't use a shuttle's transporter in Nemesis?
     
  5. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I can see a small shuttle having a more compact warp field which could not envelope a large ship.
     
  6. The Borg Queen

    The Borg Queen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Does it matter?
    Doesn't the size of the Warp Core determine the size of the Warp Field?
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The modern technobabble in the various (noncanon) manuals suggests the warp core determines the strength of the warp field, as in "how many cochranes?".

    The size of the field then probably is a function of the output in cochranes (whatever those are) and the specs of the warp coils that actually erect the field. Just for fun, the TNG TM gives the Type 6 shuttle a warp core of 2.1 cochranes, while the top speed is given as warp 2 - a coincidence? In contrast, the DS9 TM gives all the starships a 1500+ cochrane core, and a top speed in the warp 9 range. So perhaps a cochrane (abbreviated c?) is related to the speed of the ship in multiples of lightspeed, although not necessarily directly so?

    (That "1500+" figure may seem like laziness - why not come up with specific specs for each ship type? Then again, the USN likes to give the speed of all its units as a mysterious "30+ knots", even when it's something of a public secret that the laws of hydrodynamics won't allow them to do much more than 31 knots at best.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. GodThingFormerly

    GodThingFormerly A Different Kind of Asshole

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    I suspect that supercavitation technology will eventually become as applicable to surface vessels as it is currently to torpedoes and - it has been rumored - submarines.

    TGT
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    No doubt. Yet the wild rumors about 50-knot USN carriers can't quite be explained by secret high technologies, as the hulls of those ships aren't even suited for planing, let alone for supercavitating applications...

    And the doctrinal need for superfast naval vessels remains doubtful. Similarly, the dramatic need for very fast shuttlecraft in the Trek universe is not particularly great: the shuttles are mostly plot devices for getting to places slowly.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Then imagine trying to STOP the starship once it got going! That's a lot of mass with a lot of inertia to counter! What'll they do, swing all the shuttles around, reattach them to the stern, and hit the gas? The whole operation would take a half hour. Better not need to stop quickly! :lol:
     
  11. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral

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    The whole discussion here re: warp drive seems to me to be following the wrong approach.

    The conversation as its being held here is appropriate to IMPULSE, but not to WARP, IMHO.

    See, warp drive involves basically putting the entire ship into a field. The power necessary to generate the field (or "bubble") is associated with the size of the field as much as with mass of the object being moved.

    SO, it all scales. A warp system on a shuttle makes a very small "warp bubble" just big enough for that shuttle. A warp system for a Galaxy-class makes one large enough to hold the entire Galaxy class ship.

    This is supported in TNG-era lore by instances where they had to increase power to their subspace field to enlarge it to do ... different things (lower the mass of an external object, or take another larger object in tow at warp). In all cases, the power draw was MUCH greater.

    So, the reason you can't just use shuttle engines to tow a big ship is that they can't generate a subspace field large enough to fit the entire big ship inside.

    This DOES raise the issue of "why not have many smaller bubble generators all over the ship instead of two big nacelles?"

    Seems like that's what the Borg already do, so it's plausible... just not a Federation design preference.
     
  12. starburst

    starburst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If the Enterprise E's core is anything to go bye then maybe...altho Voyager was supposed to be one the fastest ships in the fleet and her core is really slim.

    Enterprise seemed to suggest it was all about the size of the warp coils...I remember Trip commenting on the size of certain ships coils and guessing they could get to warp x
     
  13. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    The nacelles generate the warp field. The warp core provides power to the nacelles. I'd imagine the size of the warp coil assembly within the nacelles is as important as how much power the core is putting into it.
     
  14. USS Excelsior

    USS Excelsior Commodore Commodore

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    Yea I hadn't thought about that one. That a minuature Warp Drive would be adequate for a minuature shuttle.

    But it does beg the question as to why can't there be multiple minuature warp drive backups on a starship if the warp drive is sent off line.
     
  15. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Warp fields that starships generate can be expandable to encompass other objects.

    While shuttles are small, I find it very doubtful that a hundred would be needed to tow a single starship.

    1 Runabout was able to tow a Galor class ship through a wormhole.
    Granted, that was done at impulse velocity, but I would surmise that if they wanted to do it under Warp, then they would need about 3 to 6 runabouts/shuttles that would be positioned in a ortographic pattern around a ship, and project their own warp fields into one large one that would be enough to surround and tow a larger ship (plus the shuttles themselves) such as the Intrepid or Galaxy class at warp.

    As for having backup warp capability ...
    Well, I would surmise they only have one system and not the backup because it's a main form of interstellar propulsion for them, and large enough to prevent backups maybe ?

    Btw, don't the nacelles have the responsibility of creating a Warp bubble in combination (or not) with the main deflector or the navigational deflector ?

    If the warp drive is off-line it probably means several power and/or computer connections were lost between the nacelles and the rest of the ship (or other related systems), thus preventing them from generating a stable warp field.

    Ships are fragile enough as it is when you think about it, so losing a system or two in battle is to be expected.
    Warp drive to be among the 'high risk' ones because the Warp core is used to power the entire ship, including the Warp engines.
     
  16. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Captain Captain

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    Something I've no idea if it has been brought up before, but would a starship be able to replicate a NEW warp core if they were forced to eject or lost the old one? Certainly the only time we've seen a successful warp-core ejection (Voy's Day of Honour) there was no sign of the dueterium tanks or anti-matter generators being ejected.

    Could this mean that if the core blows or suffers major damage, Starfleet ships of the 24th century are just able to replicate a new one?

    Could this be why we've never heard of the spare warp-core being held aboard starships? Because it isn't necessary? The ship can just whip up a new one?

    I'm not sure how dilithium would fix into this hypnosis, but maybe ships of the 24th century carry a stock pile of the stuff incase of damage to/ loss of the original?
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Probably it is possible to replicate just about anything in theory: if they lose the primary hull, they can replicate another. Given enough time and resources. Which they probably do not have.

    A functioning warp core is probably an important thing in keeping the replicators going. If you lose one, you lose the other. It might take something like three years to replicate a new core even if Janeway could find a safe haven with suitable resources.

    And dilithium, antimatter, gold-pressed latinum, live kittens and basically everything we ever heard of can be replicated, if one puts enough effort into it. Or at least we have never heard of anything being unreplicable. It just isn't sensible to replicate a kilogram of antimatter by using a replicator that requires ten kilograms of antimatter for power...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. GodThingFormerly

    GodThingFormerly A Different Kind of Asshole

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    The late 21st century interplanetary transfer vehicle Theseus featured in Peter Watts' 2006 hard LitSF novel Blindsight (available for purchase from Amazon or as a free download under the CCPL from the author's website) is equipped with a NanoFabrication facility that can rebuild - using onboard reaction mass as the raw materials source - any damaged component of the ship along with manufacturing entirely news ones (heavy weapons, radiation shielding, etc.) from software product models residing in the spacecraft's onboard computer. I've long thought that such an industrial replication technology would be a baseline requirement for Starfleet starships engaged in autonomous galactic exploration missions from the TMP-era onward. Whether it be catastrophic damage due to a failed attempt at first contact or care of a natural astrophysical phenomenon, the starship remnant could limp to the nearest Population 1 (high-metallicity) star system, settle down in the local asteroid belt, and get to work regenerating itself - even if only to the extent required for a functional warp drive - which may take several years depending upon the number of replacement parts required. Of course, such a procedure would only become necessary if rescue within a reasonable period of time is not a viable option. On a related note, the same replication system could also fabricate a photon-energized anti-matter generator designed to be deployed into a grazing orbit around the stellar primary in order to manufacture the ship's fuel supply.

    TGT
     
  19. aridas sofia

    aridas sofia Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That is a beautifully functional and yet magically fascinating design.
     
  20. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Captain Captain

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    Why such a long-time to rebuild the warp-core?

    Certainly, it ain't exactly a cup of earl grey, but it isn't that big. As I mentioned before, when we did see a core ejected, the deuterium and anti-matter tanks didn't appear to go with it, just the core itself, about 3-4 storeys high and but not that thick - so what would be the need to replicate anti-matter and deuterium? And as for dilithium which does appear to be situated in some warp-cores (judging by Scotty's comments in TNG's Relics) and as far as we know isn't replicatable (Judging by the fact the Federation still mines the stuff), maybe the ship does have some spares?

    As for how much-power it would take, who knows? We don't know how much mass the warp-core has or all the specific materials are required. But we have seen people use the transporter while the ship is on emergency power before, so the replicators should still work without the core and obviously ships' should still have the fusion cores for their impulse engines - maybe as long it's just the core that's damaged/lost, a Starfleet ship could whip up a new one lickedy split.

    And by lickedy split I mean around two weeks, with an engineering crew working round the clock. But hey, I'm guessing, this is just a wild, crazy idea and I should probably be locked up because of.