SpaceDock questions

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by SicOne, May 31, 2014.

  1. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    FWIW, Jackill's work has two small doors on each side of the cockpit, about where the 5 is on the studio model above.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The model would have to be further reinterpreted to allow the pilots to escape from their cockpit to the aft part of the craft first; there doesn't seem to be a door or hatch in the back wall, either. ;)

    I sort of like the idea of a "wet" craft with a windshield that is opened regularly for various tasks, much as was the idea with the workbee. Shirtsleeves ops are possible but perhaps uncommon... The two top hatches would then be for accessing the rear machinery, not for entry or exit.

    Odds and ends:

    - Fancy how these craft see use both within Spacedock and down at San Francisco. Why would tugs take the trip down to the planet?

    - Planetside, these craft are being serviced next to what looks more like office buildings than maintenance hangars, albeit with some sort of a robotic arm attached to a wall. Is that area really a small craft maintenance center or what?

    - Dignitaries supposedly walk past these dirty craft in their fancy costumes. Are they lost?

    - It seems awkward to park these landing gear -less craft. Yet two sit on some sort of dedicated pedestals or antigrav caissons...

    - In light of HD & pause button, should we accept that every craft of this type seen in the movies has the letter 5 painted on the side? Is that a unit or assignment number rather than craft number?

    Considering the jobs we see these craft actually perform, perhaps "pilot boat" would be the better match? Such boats could escort diplomatic vessels down to San Francisco grounds in addition to serving a similar purpose in orbit; could guide our heroes' observation pod within the dock; and could also be used for SAR around both San Francisco and Spacedock. The pilots and possible rescue crew in the aft compartment would be constantly clad for action, ready to jump out or perhaps beam out, and the craft would have aerodynamic features for extensive in-atmosphere as well as transatmospheric operations.

    Doesn't mean the big ribbing astern wouldn't be a humungous tractor beam emitter.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Welcome to Star Trek.

    Why? It's probably not that hard to do, considering that the basic MHD technology needed to make it work is already available in the 21st century.

    Also, I'm not entirely sure that workbees were specifically designed to operate in space. They could actually be ATMOSPHERIC craft -- sort of a flying forklift, really -- that can be converted for use in space.
     
  4. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not if they were IN the spacedock, no. But having left spacedock on a free-floating trajectory (possibly under impulse power, leaving at fairly high speed) they are now on separate orbits with a relative velocity of a few hundreds of meters per second. Something to consider is that if you move your ship away from the space station on an angle relative to the plane of its orbit (without changing altitude at all), both you and the station will make one complete orbit along that path before returning to each other with the exact same relative trajectories.

    So if you boost out of the North Door at full impulse power and crank it to 450m/s, and then loose power, an hour or so later you come back around in your orbit, and there's the station again, right where you left it; you crash into the South Door at 450m/s, a collision which would have enough kinetic energy to destroy most of the station even if it doesn't burst your antimatter pods. It gets a tiny bit safer if you boost out of the station not directly laterally but slightly forward (a plane change plus an apogee change) but in that case, while you'll almost certainly miss the station, you'll sill come zipping past it again every time you complete an orbit, which makes you a huge hazard to any other ships that might still be in the vicinity of the dock when you come back around. And god help you if another ship boosted out of the opposite door in the opposite direction: picture a head-on collision between two starships at 900m/s, half a kilometer off of shroomdock's door.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...You mean the show that managed to avoid introducing spacesuits for two seasons and a half by pretending that shirtsleeves is the way to go in outer space?

    But the workbee is a 1980s craft, with clumsy steering rockets and whatnot... Arguably, treknology took a big leap backward when the ST:TMP team decided to accept input from rocket scientists.

    In-universe, the workbee is an exercise in minimalism. Why introduce atmospheric propulsion when space propulsion will do just as nicely (as long as there's no gravity, and gravity in Trek is optional)?

    The design isn't particularly airworthy. Not that it would need to be, with treknomagic, but if flying through air is the starting point, why start out wrong?

    (In zero-gee air, the vertical asymmetry would mean constant dipping of the nose, requiring thrust to be applied just to keep the craft pointing where it wants to go.)

    ...You have also left behind its doors, and the original argument ceases to make sense.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yep. That show.

    And yet, we still see it movie around inside the Enterprise' shuttlebay even in its first cinematic appearance.

    Because they're not designed to "fly" through the air. They're forklifts, not racecars; they're designed to HOVER through the air carrying heavy loads from place to place, and their design probably reflects more structural and functional utility than maneuvering concerns.

    Kinda like the garbage scow from STID. It's not aerodynamic at all, and no one really cars.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Which isn't exactly a planetary atmosphere, or even a good analogue for one.

    The well deck of an amphibious attack ship might be a good analogue: landing craft operating in there don't exactly demonstrate dry-land or indoors prowess, they just suffer through the handicaps in order to make use of the facility. It doesn't follow that the ideal port for loading and offloading landing craft would be a giant version of a well deck, as opposed to a proper beach or pier.

    But in a planetary atmosphere, hovering wouldn't do. There would be some serious flying involved, were a load to be moved hundreds of kilometers up or down and accelerated or decelerated to match orbital velocity. So again, why start out wrong? A flightworthy design would not be a handicap in hovering ops or spaceflight.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That initial boost would out you into a higher orbit and you'd fly over it.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Only if you performed a second boost later on; otherwise, your new orbit would not be "higher", it would just be more elliptical but would indeed take you back to your starting point.

    In practice, though, you would certainly miss something as small as Spacedock with something as tiny as starship; the finite length of your boost would already see to that. And of course, even if your impulse engine failed after the boost, you would still have plenty of time to get steering thrusters or whatnot operational (any Starfleet engineer worth the shirt could do that) and could perform the minimal adjustments needed to avoid a disaster.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    First of all, "giant version of a well deck" would be a "dry dock." They're called "dry" for a reason, after all. If that analogy holds, then the whole purpose of a dry dock is a convenient device used to move starships in and out of a planetary atmosphere without them needing to be under their own power. A pressurized space dock would eliminate the need for even that: you don't need to bring the ship into the atmosphere, you can bring the atmosphere to the ship.

    Of course it would. They're hauling 5-ton steel girders from 5th avenue to 17th street, washing windows on skyscrapers, repairing structural members and antennas and replacing picture windows in highrise buildings, etc. None of which involve "serious flying" of any kind.

    Then a vector change of one or two gs would be required for the workbee to hold station with whatever it is that is actually doing all that heavy moving (e.g. a freighter or a tug of some kind). We've seen no indication that workbees are used for any kind of heavy lifting, and even less that such little craft are even capable of that kind of acceleration, nor that such maneuvering capabilities would even be necessary in the environments they're normally used (near space stations, docks and starship cargo bays). They're probably not much more maneuverable than an ordinary thruster suit.

    No, it would simply be utterly and completely uneccesary for a spacecraft that never goes anywhere faster than 20m/s, atmosphere or no atmosphere.

    It's kind of the same reason why forklifts aren't designed to be aerodynamic or why lawnmowers don't have spedometers. It's just not something that would be even slightly useful in such a thing.
     
  11. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Only in the case of a prograde boost (in the direction of your orbit), and even then it would only change the HIGHEST POINT of your orbit. You'd come back around to the same altitude after one full revolution, although because you're in a higher orbit the station would be a little bit ahead of you.

    A lateral boost would not. It would change the plane of your orbit, but your altitude would be unchanged.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    There would exist one craft for that, and another for serving the orbital installations, yes. And the two might be the same, if Spacedock held air and the bees never went outside. Otherwise these minimalistic craft would need to mount counterproductive bells and whistles - forklifts don't do that!

    I seem to have misunderstood what you meant by the workbee serving in two theaters. Apparently, it wouldn't be transatmospheric, just atmospheric and vacuum-capable and working at two separate locations but not between them. But this is a bit silly nevertheless - why integrate two distinct functions that way? The rockets are unnecessary down on Earth, the putative fans up in orbit (in- our outside the putative atmosphere of Spacedock or starship hangar deck). And pressurization for reaching the 27th floor would be incredibly wasteful.

    It would be like using an amphibious forklift today, for all forklift applications.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No. Why trouble your production line with two separate designs when the same design suffices for both? Especially if some of the buildings are going to be serviced by workbees that launched from a starship in support of a colonial mission?

    We have not yet seen a Starfleet shuttlecraft that explicitly lacks a full range of space-atmospheric functionality. Even Bajor's sub-impulse fighters can fly pretty effectively in an atmosphere (speaking of "serious flying..."). There's no basis to assume workbees couldn't do the same.

    Besides, 24th century shuttlepods aren't that much bigger than workbees and are far less aerodynamic, despite being CLEARLY trans-atmospheric and even capable of interplanetary flight. I'd be shocked if the work bees of even the 23rd century weren't trans-atmospheric themselves.

    They're not counter-productive if they serve a purpose.

    So that a starship (or construction company, for that matter) doesn't have to buy two different craft that do essentially the same job in different environments. Especially in the case of space stations, many of which include a large pressurized hangar area which also may require heavy lifting and construction work of a type that would be unseemly using manual labor alone. Likewise, a Spacedock with a pressurized interior would benefit from having pods that can move in and out of the pressurized environment as easily as a duck moves in and out of the water.

    In a society with a significant population living on floating rafts at sea, that would actually be a pretty useful invention.
     
  14. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I guess there goes the waste dump rationalization? :rolleyes: (Unless those dignitaries especially chose that area for their private talks, the smell keeps the others away)

    What do we know about diplomatic luggage or written orders ("What Are Little Girls Made Of?"). Do these things just go through the transporter or does the Federation hold on to to a security philosophy that these items must be sealed and hand-delivered?

    This little multi-functional vessel could theoretically serve as a dispatch courier and the like.

    Bob
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    "The same design suffices" applies for aircraft carriers built with diving, flying and crawling capabilities - idiotic overengineering that is counterproductive in every sense. Whether the same design suffices here is not in question; whether any sane engineer would use that which suffices, rather than that which gets the job done with the greatest efficacy and economy, is the point of disagreement.

    Workbees are quite clearly minimalistic craft, without an engine compartment of note - significantly smaller than the TNG shuttlepods, even. These can no more be compared to Bajoran fightercraft than surfboards can.

    Moreover, fightercraft need those capabilities. Since workbees aren't operating in atmospheres as far as we can tell, they do not need the associated extra capabilities.

    False. That's not what counterproductive means - it refers to situations where disadvantages outweigh advantages. Again, an aircraft carrier that crawls, flies and dives could serve a variety of purposes, but the associated technologies would certainly be counterproductive, raising the costs, complexity and supposedly also size of the ship and making it inferior to four separate designs.

    What possible advantage could there be for the buyer? If the bees aren't transatmospheric, they can't move from one assignment type to another, so two sets of craft need to be purchased anyway. Why not buy two optimal designs instead of one compromise?

    We have never seen a pressurized hangar on a space station in Star Trek. Unpressurized ones, open to space, are seen in the TMP-originating station model and the K-7; smallish pressurized ones are seen aboard starships.

    That would presuppose a Spacedock with a pressurized interior. But so far the only rationale for such seems to be that the air nicely slows down the workbees if they go out of control...

    Why would that society need the ability to drive the forklift to dry land? Surely dedicated craneboats would be the superior approach, with a handful of ordinary Sidewinders (which Starfleet keeps in stock after quarter a millennium) toiling on the islands.

    Multi-environment craft involve either compromises or ace-of-all-trades overengineering, solutions that are acceptable for e.g. starships that can't haul too much dedicated and diverse hardware. But those are downright handicaps in any other application.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The ST4 scene does feature some uniformed bloke seemingly giving instructions or directions to some of the fancily clad people... Something like "Sir, Ma'am, Other, this area is off limits to unauthorized personnel" or "If you may, the view is much superior from over there", perhaps?

    We have seen more than our fair share of PADDs being handed over, rather than data being transferred, on seemingly trivial issues in the TNG era. Even back in TOS, this shouldn't be for the technological difficulty of data transfer, but could be for the lack of security of such. And we do hear of courier ships or craft all the time. I suppose such packages would travel not only along with the dignitaries, but also in dedicated "armored vans". It's just that this essentially hatchless design doesn't strike me as a likely van, either...

    It certainly seems to get everywhere. After ST3, that is. Apparently, it had little role in the refitting of a starship, and went out of fashion before TNG.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Workbees are not aircraft carriers.

    Yes, and when an engineer can find a way to economically develop a utility craft that can function effectively in both planetary and space environments, he does so.

    You have demonstrated ZERO evidence that "minimalistic" would not include atmospheric capability. This is another of your weird assumptions that comes straight out of nowhere.

    Which is exactly what happens when the whale probe zaps everyone's power. And again, the other rationales include heat dissipation, public safety, ease of maintenance and ease of cargo loading.

    Find me a Starfleet spacecraft that CAN'T operate in multiple environments and you may have a valid point.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed, they are even worse, because there's less room aboard for silly bells and whistles.

    And is promptly fired for creating a product that won't sell.

    Bullshit - it's your atmospheric nonsense that has no basis in onscreen fact.

    The design relies heavily on primitive rocket clusters, so why would it have hypermodern invisible atmospheric drives? Wouldn't space propulsion be futuristic as well if that were affordable? These things appear extremely low tech and lacking in comforts, just as befits forklifts today.

    Air would just hamper heat dissipation in most circumstances, or take the heat to inconvenient places; the public would have no place in there anyway; and vacuum is a benign, known quantity in which these starships operate most of the time anyway. It's a huge complication to a simple matter, rather literally a "fish out of water" situation for the poor ships. And we never ever see it exploited in any fashion anyway.

    So craft magically slow down? Great. Supposedly the doors don't even have to be airtight, then, because Earth is surrounded by dense air all the way to that orbital height anyway - as evidenced by the Excelsior slowing down the exact same way when outdoors!

    Starships carry military hardware. It's like saying that all automobiles must be cross-country-capable because you can't find a road-only military vehicle anywhere in Afghanistan...

    Separate forklifts for frontline starships and more mundane locations, multipotent and simple, respectively, would make sense. Which may well be the case, because we never see a workbee deployed with a starship!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. varek

    varek Commander Red Shirt

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    Timo, I agree that Commodores or below could command a starbase or spacestation, unless it was an extremely important one, like Jupiter Station, or a strategically important location. I always wondered why they didn't have an admiral commanding DS9, even if it belonged to the Bajorans. That would have seemed to be more diplomatically appropriate.
     
  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Seems to be selling just fine. I think the engineer's pretty sfe.

    We've seen workbees operate in an atmosphere. You're the only one claiming they can't.

    Citation needed.

    Vacuum is a known quantity. It is NOT benign.

    Do you know for sure that workbees don't?

    Too bad you can't prove they exist.:techman:
     

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