That Spacedock "shuttle" is actually a Tug

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Maurice, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I posted about this over on Trek Movies I-X, but realized it's probably a topic of interest here and not all of you here may read that forum. Sorry for the double-post.

    Anyway, in short, I discovered yesterday that those shuttles seen flying in and around Spacedock in Star Treks III and IV were actually designed to be tugs.

    I learned this speaking to Bill George of ILM, who designed and built the thing for ST III. When I mentioned that I'd never seen much about this craft, he said, "It's a tug. That's the tractor beam emitter," and pointed to the array of quarter-circle ribs on the back of the ship above the nacelles. He went on to explain his idea that these ships would act as tugboats in spacedock, which is why you see them moving around the Enterprise...ready to guide her if necessary.

    So, there ya go...right from the designer's mouth, a bit of trivia I suspect none of us knew.

    You can see the tractor beam detail in the photo in row3, columns 2 and 3, and row 4, column 3 of this page.
     
  2. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not sure, but this is pretty much common knowledge I think?

    P.S. I first learned about it in "Jackill's Star Fleet Reference Manual" volume III, first printing 1995. So the truth is out there.
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Really? I'd not seen any such mention of that previously. I'd be curious to hear how many people out there knew that.
     
  4. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, it would be interesting to find out. I just assumed if I knew, pretty much everybody else did too, but who knows?
     
  5. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I knew that.. :bolian:
     
  6. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    Has anyone ever drawn any to-scale schematics or other technical literature of this craft?
     
  7. SonicRanger

    SonicRanger Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I was disappointed this "tug" wasn't in Mr. Scott's Guide.
     
  8. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "Jackill's Star Fleet Reference Manual" volume III, has a two page spread on the spec's. He calls it the Clydesdale Class "Shutug".
     
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If not, I bet I can get Bill to let me document his model of it, which is in the same scale as a TOS shuttle, a TNG (Probert) shuttle and a TMP Workbee and Air Tram he also built.
     
  10. Herkimer Jitty

    Herkimer Jitty Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ye gods, I'm so tired I read this as

    "That Spacedock "shuttle" is actually a Targ."

    for a second there.

    Comes as a surprise to me, since what I've seen usually just identifies it as a regular shuttle, but I don't have any of the materials published back in ye olde times of yore.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I "always" bought the idea of the little craft as a tractor-beam tug, because it seemed so ill suited for anything else. No access hatch for surface disembarking, for example. Little in the way of landing gear as well; the matte in ST4 shows the craft rather precariously perched for maintenance. And the little figurines in the cockpit wear spacesuit-like working gear...

    That matte scene is a bit weird, though.

    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tvhhd/tvhhd0055.jpg

    We see no fewer than three of these working vehicles swarm around what is supposed to be a group of VIPs, delegates or other bigwigs, in a really cramped setting of clustered office-like buildings and tarmac marked with yellow lines for guiding vehicular movement. What is this place? The backlot of a shuttleport?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Boris Skrbic

    Boris Skrbic Commander Red Shirt

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    This is nice to know, but what we really need from Bill George is a lot more information about the Excelsior class. Is the 1,531-foot length final? What are the intended functions of various details on the model (to the extent they were nailed down)? How involved was Bill George with the bird of prey and what can he tell us about its final size and detailing?
     
  13. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Perhaps this is "edge" of the spaceport facility. If the camera did a 180 turn you'd probably see the landing field itself, perhaps. These are the admin and maintenance buildings for the shuttle port. Boeing field in Seattle is kind of like this. Admin and hangar facilities run right up tp the tarmac at the field. IMO. YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  14. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I looked up the Jackhill version of the tug and while it's correctly identified as a tug, the features aren't correctly identified. It calls what Bill George identified as the tractor beam emitter as a radiator, and the engines are labeled as tractor beam emitters. I'll try to get photos next time I see Bill.
     
  15. FalTorPan

    FalTorPan Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I never knew the purpose of that ship. Thanks for the info!
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Some JJPrise aesthetics there... I'd love to see more of these craft, and they'd fit right in if the decision was made to apply them to the new movies.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Patrickivan

    Patrickivan Fleet Captain Newbie

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    Well hell- I didn't know either... I love a good Trek surprise after all these years!
     
  18. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    Does anyone know if any capabilities have been assigned to one of these crafts?

    Can a single one of these little ships tow a starship the size of Kirk's Enterprise? If so, at what velocity?
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^Dunno, but I could ask Bill. I suspect they can move big ships in small velocity sort of ways, much like the maneuvering thrusters.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    They don't appear to be the world's most practical SAR choppers - no evidence of a recovery hatch or even sufficient internal space for holding rescuees. Yet one of these (and exactly one) is sent to meet our heroes after they crash their Klingon BoP.

    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tvhhd/tvhhd2132.jpg

    Does this perhaps mean a single tug could recover a starship of BoP size against one-gee pull? Tractor beams do appear to be rather non-Newtonian in other contexts: perhaps there's no strain placed on the tug's lifting engines, say, and the only limiting factor is the amount of power pumped into the tractor beam?

    Timo Saloniemi