Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by aridas sofia, Mar 3, 2008.
Do you have an internal laid out? That'll help with the docking location.
What are the "docking bays" for? Would a tunnel to move people around be enough, or are we talking about a larger passage for transfer of cargo or bulk supplies? Or are we talking about an actual bay, where something can fly into the ship? Like accepting a small craft from some origin other than the Polaris?
I have some ideas. I'll whip something up this evening after work and post it if I have time.
No artist here, but it seems to me reasonable that small docking ports would be located on the same central dome structure that provides both the docks for the landing boats and the hatchways through which equipment and personal worksuits move in and out of the ship.
Similar to Santaman's suggestion, how about a pair of swivel arms -- reminiscent of a jetliner passenger tunnel -- that is mounted near the nose and tucked in the gap between the fuselage and the sail until needed? Then it swivels out and possibly telescopes to attach to another ship/station.
I forget, does Polaris have artificial gravity? or is it under gravity only when accelerating? If the former, then nose to nose or any docking where the ship orientations are not the same, would be awkward.
What purpose does the rectangular indentation in front of the central sphere serve? You could nest a docking collar in there, if there's no conflict with other systems.
^I think that's the aforementioned EVA hatch.
Here is my thought, on the dome for the lander you already have a panel in place that could be hinged out with a collapsing docking tube behind it. Here is a crude drawing:
This gives you more space internally to stow the mechanism considering how narrow the decks are else where.
You have to remember that the internal decks are oriented perpendicular to the ship’s direction of travel. In other words, the nose is “up” and the tail is “down.” Having the ship dock nose-first would require some sort of elevator or a ladder at the very least, would present problems transitioning from one gravity plane to another, make it difficult to move cargo, etc. Less than ideal.
This is possible but also less than ideal. For my design sensibilities, a more robust, rigid docking connection would be preferred.
No disrespect to Aridas Sofia’s brilliant interior layouts, but I haven’t allowed them to constrain my design choices for some time. At this point, the ship’s external structures are far more relevant to the location of the docking ports than what’s inside.
This is mainly for moving people and possibly smaller cargo. Bulkier stuff would be brought in through the external cargo bay doors. The only auxiliary craft Polaris has are the lander modules and EVA pods, both of which are already accommodated.
This would be my preferred choice as well except for the fact that the main engines and weapons pylons extend much further out from the sides of the ship. The docking port would have to be extensible in order to reach another ship of similar or greater size. A space station might already have extended docking arms but Polaris should be able to dock with or without them.
Sojourner actually hit upon an idea very similar to another one I’ve been considering that might tie-in well with your suggestion, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
Possible, but somewhat mechanically overcomplicated and would, I think, wind up looking very much like an afterthought.
This is virtually identical to one of the two most probable solutions I have thus far come up with on my own. It still winds up to be in a rather awkward location for the reasons I described above, but it also has a lot of logical advantages. The hull panel is already there. It’s directly adjacent to both the lander module and the cargo bay. It’s off the ship’s central axis so the telescoping mechanism does not interfere with the connecting power conduit that runs through the middle of the main fuselage. I’m still edgy about the structural integrity of an extensible arm that has to reach out so far, but it may be do-able.
Well, Polaris doesn't necessarily need to carry all the equipment necessary for a hard dock with a larger ship - it is a small vessel and must have all kinds of limits other than crew size, no matter how independent it is. IOW, maybe it simply has a standard docking door, and is dependent upon other ships or starports to provide the extensible tunnels or mechanisms to lock on.
^Then what happens if 2 Polaris class ships need to dock?
No, a docking mechanism should be androgynous to the ship for maximum utility.
Hmmm, this might not sound related, but when the ship lands, how do people get to the ground? is there a rear elevator that drops down?
Vektor, re: your structural concerns. Remember this is future technology, I am sure metallurgy has advanced enough that telescoping structures should provide enough tensile strength for these purposes. Unless your planning high powered maneuvers while docked?
Based on the known details of the ship internals/functions, the design I showed is probably the only way to go without adding/changing external structures.
If your open to additional (somewhat large )structures I can think of several neat ideas.
I'd recommend a docking collar on the exterior of the engine housing, which could lead directly to a utility-access corridor running directly from that point into the main body:
Okay, so, my idea was more less the same as sojourner's. Except, rather than a rigid corridor, I would make it a flexible affair, imagine a rather large, stiffish dryer hose. The reason is that it'd be difficult enough to attach two vessels of such size at all, let alone maneuvering them to exactly the correct position to match up two extensible, inflexible pipes close enough to make a positive seal. Also, given the torque any movement of either ship would put on the joints and structure of a solid connection, I just think a solid gangway like that would be highly prone to failure in the worst possible way. A solid connector would only work if there were additional struts that came out to latch onto the docking ship and allowed both vessels to be rigidly attached to each other at numerous points to reduce the possibility of accidently destroying the interconnecting concourse structure.
Then they would have to find a workaround. They're not Star Trek ships; they can't do everything at any time. Nor are they military spacecraft designed to operate as part of a fleet of ships. I'm not even sure how many Zodiac class ships exist; they're not turned out on an assembly line and may almost never encounter one another. How often did Serenity hard-dock with another Firefly class ship?
Why would they have to dock? There are large hatches for cargo transfer as well as hatches for crew and work craft. It's also not unreasonable that ships other than the landing boats might under some circumstances have access to those docking areas.
For cargo transfger, they could just maneuver close to each other and string a cable between the two ships. Then, just send the cargo across via the cable. Personnel transfers could be accomplished this way as well. This could be done reletively quickly. Much like the UNREP activity you see between two navy ships in the present day.
I like Justin Bieber's and Mysterion's ideas, both of which remind me of just stringing lines between ships at sea, a simple, straightforward, lightweight, versatile, and general-purpose solution.
More important than how do Zodiac class ships link with each other, is how does one dock with a space station. In this case, I like the idea of offloading the equipment to solve that problem as much as possible onto the station itself. If a micrometeor-proof connection is needed to support a shirtsleeve environment, an extendible "walkway" could reach around from the station and hard-seal at one of the cargo doors. If necessary, the cargo doorway could be fitted with a special collar to support a standard port size.
Therefore, I don't see that any redesign of the ship is necessary.
given the size and utility of the vessel, i'd second the "just get close and we'll throw a line across" solution. surely, transfering crew or cargo in a shirtsleeve environment isn't required so often that it warrants a hardware solution?
Else just don't dock at all but have her land on her feet on a platform or something...
Questions for Vektor really.
I just pointed out a possible problem (in universe) with your solution to the docking issue.
Stringing lines can work nearly as well, though from a VFX point of view it's more costly to film than someone walking down a corridor.
Okay, I can buy the idea that ship-to-ship transfers are done via cables and space suits or maybe even flexible tunnels, but I just can't imagine anyone would design and build a ship like Polaris without the ability to hard-dock to an orbital complex or other facility for more efficient transfer of crew and cargo.
If I had it to do over again, I would put the docking ports where the point-defense turrets currently are. The thought has even occurred to me that they were docking ports originally but were replaced during the refit, the defensive capabilities being judged more important. You could still have an auxiliary docking port or two, maybe in the locations Sojourner suggested, that would allow it to link up to something like an extended docking pylon, as well as tertiary hatches and airlocks in other locations.
Regardless of how you rationalize it, I think we have a couple of options that would not require any significant modifications to the ship's design. In fact, the "Sojourner concept," to coin a term, wouldn't require any changes at all as the external hull panel is already there and what's behind it won't be seen in this production anyway.
I think I'll be moving on now. Thanks to all of you for the creative input!
Ooo, the Sojourner Concept, sounds like a 70's prog rock band!
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