The Mystery Inside the TOS Primary Hull Support Pylon

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by mickemoose, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. mickemoose

    mickemoose Ensign Red Shirt

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    After reading hundreds of posts on this board as a "spectator," I've finally decided to join in.

    Looking at my Polar Lights 1/1000 scale TOS Enterprise got me thinking about what's inside the support pylon that connects the saucer to the engineering hull.

    From port to starboard, that area of the ship is quite narrow. Plus, I envision a myriad of structural support beams, power transfer conduits, life support conduits (i.e. freshwater & wastewater lines, air lines, etc.) Let's not forget there's also a vertical turbolift shaft that passes through there and at least one long vertical Jeffries tube (with the 3-sided red ladder) or, several staggered Jeffries tube ladders.

    When you consider all this, there's not much usable space in the pylon for anything functional. That's why I lean toward Doug Drexler's depiction of the pylon in his TOS cutaway which shows, basically, an uninhabitable area.

    http://drexfiles.wordpress.com/2009/10/11/1701-cutaway/

    On the other hand, I count (5) horizontal rows of windows on both sides of the pylon. This evidence makes the FJ blueprint, showing observation decks in this area, convincing.

    Then again, there's already an observation deck at the aft end of the engineering hull, at the hangar bay ("Conscience of the King"). (Also, possibly another observation deck on the other side of the hangar bay since the window pattern on the opposite side is an exact duplicate.) How many observation decks do you need??

    If there are "rooms" inside the pylon, as suggested by the windows, I would think these may represent inspection/testing areas for maintenance personnel.

    Any other thoughts?
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The ship in general has precious few windows, which makes their presence in the neck all the more curious.

    Then again, we have seen that windows may be shuttered unless commanded to open, as in "Mark of Gideon". Perhaps the outer hull is filled with portholes, but most are kept closed almost 100% of the time - and the open holes in the neck actually stand proof to there being nobody there who'd care about an exterior view, which is why nobody bothers to close those things. (Clearly, Starfleet doesn't believe in darkening a starship for tactical reasons, as the bright navigation beacons continue to flash in all circumstances!)

    The neck might be argued to be the part of the ship with the best view to the other parts of the ship, which may be the overriding concern in window placement in starships of the era. But since the portholes we see do not bulge out at all, the view they offer is in fact quite poor...

    Plotwise, we have some references to interior spaces on Deck 12 - a deck necessarily in the neck if we believe in the model where the saucer has 11 decks. Spock takes Mudd and his women there to meet Kirk in "Mudd's Women" (unless we decide he takes them there to be decontaminated and frisked before allowing them to enter the primary hull where Kirk waits, and the editing just skips this detour); the other Deck 12 references in Memory Alpha are arguable.

    If we wriggle out of the "Mudd's Women" reference, we haven't seen the interior of the neck. But if we keep the reference, then after the turbolift ride to the supposed Deck 12, we see a space there that looks like Kirk's later quarters, with this corner
    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x06hd/muddswomenhd142.jpg
    and this engineering-related alcove
    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x06hd/muddswomenhd125.jpg
    and no sign of windows. A bit difficult to fit in there IMHO.

    We don't know if the shaft is vertical - an angled one would probably make more sense. Where does the evidence for a vertical ladderway (higher than two decks tall, anyway) come from?

    The movie version of the ship appears to have a ladderway (or a stretch thereof) as seen when Spock climbs down to engineering to save the ship. It's also somewhat differently shaped. But while still featuring portholes, it also appears to feature an externally visible vertical element - a differently colored band of hull, perhaps marking the turboshaft. Or then that plasma conduit or warp core or whatever that goes up from engineering - but since the set also features a corridor extending forward from engineering, the intended Probert placement of that vertical shaft must be dismissed, which means the shaft won't be vertical all the way up but rather angled along the aft edge of the neck. That is, if it goes up at all, and doesn't truncate in some piece of machinery in the neck, say, a fuel tank like in TNG.

    The TOS interior may have been identical to the TMP one, and possibly even functionally similar to the TNG one. Or then not.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I assume the lounges as seen in Franz Joseph's old blueprints.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I guess the choice of innards is symbolic of whether we think that the neck connects the two hulls, or separates them.

    A maze of shafts, conduits and piping would act as a connecting element. A series of lounges would indicate space unused for connecting and thus shunted to some other use.

    There are good reasons to argue either way. Since there are two hulls to begin with, Starfleet must be thinking in terms of making them separate - so a structure between them is likely to be a separator rather than a connector... Or perhaps rather Starfleet wants to operate two different sets of machinery and capabilities, neither of which can make do without the other, and thus needs to install a connecting piece that allows for the sharing of resources.

    FWIW, surprisingly many starship designs feature this "bottleneck", indicating that Starfleet likes such choke points and doesn't want them any wider than absolutely necessary. The ability to separate the two hulls is quoted as a rationale for this, implicitly or explicitly. Again, one may argue that the separator is built without connections so that it would be better at separating - or that the separator exists in the first place because a connection is still needed and the two hulls cannot readily fly on their own even though Starfleet wants them to. But the extremes are unlikely to be the right answer, because we also see "intermediate" necks, such as the extremely thick Excelsior one, negating many connecting or separating arguments.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think the Drexler cutaway depicts that area as "uninhabitable." If you look closely, there are some gold outlines of door panels and curved struts that match the shape of outlines in the crew quarters, briefing rooms, etc. in the saucer. That implies there's some kind of occupied area there.

    Also, in "Dagger of the Mind," there's a reference in dialogue to section C, deck 14, and both the Drexler cutaway and the FJ blueprints seem to agree that deck 14 would be the lowermost deck of the dorsal. (And the scene where a crewmember spots Van Gelder on that deck only shows a small section of the corridors, so it's not too inconsistent with that possibility.) "Mudd's Women" also implies that the captain's quarters are on deck 12, which would also be in the dorsal, but since that was later contradicted, it's best disregarded as a continuity glitch.
     
  6. mickemoose

    mickemoose Ensign Red Shirt

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    Timo,

    Good points for either argument. However, I'm still a "student of the neck as a connector theory" rather than a separator for reasons you already mentioned (i.e. both hulls are dependent upon each other). Actually, I see the saucer as more dependent on the engineering hull for survival since power generation and life support is provided by the engineering hull. In the event of separation, the saucer can sustain itself for awhile, but, all by itself, without contact with starfleet or a starbase, it's nothing more than a lifeboat living on borrowed time. Power will be exhausted, and it would take you forever to make any headway traveling at impulse speed.

    In this respect, the neck can be seen as an "umbilical cord" (if you will) for the saucer.

    You mentioned:

    "We don't know if the shaft is vertical - an angled one would probably make more sense. Where does the evidence for a vertical ladderway (higher than two decks tall, anyway) come from?

    Without power, or a tubolift malfunction, there must an alternate way to get from one hull to the other. (Refer to Scotty and his "lads" using the ladder to climb down to engineering in the "Doomsday Machine.")

    Hmmm...the idea of an angled turbolift is interesting. In most fan-inspired cutaways, the only turbolift path I've seen drawn out in the neck is straight across to the back and straight down. I've even seen a stairway that parallels the back end of the neck.
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    A stairway would probably be preferable to a ladderway in any case. Why crawl or climb when you can run?

    An angled turboshaft would be more practical if there are no stops inside the neck; the shaft wouldn't have to feature stations that allow the cab to rotate back to vertical (taking somewhat more room than a standard station) at every deck, then.

    Should we consider ST5:TFF sufficient proof that there exists a perfectly vertical and rather wide lift shaft from the secondary hull (from Deck 13 at least) to the level of the saucer (at deck 7/8)? ;) If so, the feature might just as well have been there in TOS already.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    These are some notes I made a while back. I'm in the process of sealing the lighting in my Polar Lights saucer section so I guess the neck will be the next step.


    Dorsal I Deck
    This deck is utilised for various engineering systems such as a Gravity Dampening Field Generator, all of which can be accessed via the Jeffries Tube. The vertical Impulse Drive Feed Conduit Engineering Core runs through here. A small Observation Lounge sits at the forward end.

    Observation Lounge

    Dorsal J Deck
    This deck is utilised for various engineering systems such as life support, all of which can be accessed via the Jeffries Tube. The vertical Impulse Drive Feed Conduit Engineering Core runs through here. A small Observation Lounge sits at the forward end.

    Observation Lounge

    Life Support I-M Decks


    Dorsal K Deck
    This deck is utilised for various engineering systems such as a force-field generator to protect the pylon, and emergency battery banks, all of which can be accessed via the Jeffries Tube. The vertical Impulse Drive Feed Conduit Engineering Core runs through here.

    Shield Generator

    Emergency Battery Bank


    Dorsal L Deck
    This deck houses the upper Torpedo Complex. Two Torpedo Casing and Staging Bays hold ten Photon Torpedoes each. The warheads and variable payload modules are stowed in the Warhead Locker. The torpedoes are mated with a payload and fuelled and then lowered by crane through the well in the Staging Bay to the Launch Bays on M Deck. Paired exhaust ducts run aft from above the launch tubes to the Torpedo Exhaust Vent. The vertical Impulse Drive Feed Conduit Engineering Core also runs through here.

    Torpedo Casing & Staging Bays (2)
    Ordnance Officer (Sec En) x
    Ordnance Chiefs (Sec CPO x2)
    Torpedo Specialists (3 Sec Cr x 3) xxx

    Torpedo Exhaust Ducting (2)

    Torpedo Exhaust Vent

    Torpedo Casing Storage (2)

    Torpedo Warhead Locker


    Dorsal M Deck (Torpedo Deck)
    This deck houses the port and starboard Torpedo Launch Bays. The photon torpedo is lowered through the well from the Torpedo Staging Bay on L Deck, to the Conveyor Assembly. The torpedo is conveyed forward to the Launch Tube. Two independent bays allow the ship to retain torpedo capability if one of the bays is damaged. Launch Bay A is serviced by Docking Port Four and Launch Bay B is serviced by Docking Port Five. The vertical Impulse Drive Feed Conduit Engineering Core also runs through here.

    Torpedo Launch Bay (2)
    Torpedo Specialists (2 Sec Cr x 3) xx

    Torpedo Launch Tubes (2)

    Docking Ports Four & Five (2)

    Emergency Battery Bank
     
  9. Santaman

    Santaman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The TMP novel said something (been a decade since I read it)about a criss cross of structural members bulkheads and machines with a few alcoves scattered between them that served as little places where one could be alone for a bit while looking out of a porthole, I don't think that it would be very much different before the 1701 was refitted.

    As for connector or seperator, seperation is a last ditch attempt to prevent the whole crew from being blown up so I imagine that the neck is mainly there to keep the two hulls together..
     
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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  11. YARN

    YARN Fleet Captain

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    So how long and how wide is the space inside the neck area?

    Assuming no structural support at all, how wide would that area be?

    Seems to me like you could lean against the wall and look out the port side window, then pirouette and look out the starboard window.
     
  12. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    The TOS E's neck is about 19' wide overall on a 947' long ship. Based on the window shots from "The Conscience of the King" and "The Mark of Gideon", the interior hull separation to the exterior hull is about 6" (I have not tried to measure it) so about 18' interior width.

    However, this probably would not fit an 8' wide hallway and Kirk's quarters in it.

    FWIW, I put deck 11 at the top of the secondary hull as I was not able to fit 11 decks in the primary hull so for me there was no problem with Kirk's quarters on deck 12 for a few episodes... :)
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    By Shaw's calculation based on Jefferies plans (and assuming a 947' ship) the wall to wall distance would be about 16 feet. Here he shows a possible use for the space and compares it to a small restaurant.

    [​IMG]
    Graphic by Shaw
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Unless you put them in sideways. Would also explain why we never see those windows on the walls - they are actually skylights! :vulcan:

    Semi-seriously, Starfleet seems enamored with flat structures, most prominently those funny saucers that even on big starships can only accommodate a deck or three. Arranging the interiors in a sort of "urban sprawl" seems to be preferred. And the neck would be a practical flat structure if treated sideways - probably quite a bit more practical than if sliced into decks in the upright position.

    "Deck 12" could then refer to the entire neck, from saucer bottom to engineering hull top, and feature numerous curving and branching corridors.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Yarn, Zis iz Schtar Fleet. Ve do not... pirouette here!
     
  16. mickemoose

    mickemoose Ensign Red Shirt

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    Even if the neck was constructed with a semi-monocoque design where the skin bears the stress of the load (eliminating the need for space-robbing, truss beams), there's still not much wiggle room in there.

    That narrow space doesn't seem to offer anything functional for the crew, either work-related or recreational. It would be more appropriate to have an "officer's club" or crewman's lounge located in the widest portion of the ship - the main deck (deck 7, if you agree there's 11 decks in the saucer, that is).

    I can, however, envision maintenance personnel walking down those narrow hallways in the neck as they inspect and test service points on conduits, etc. So, basically, those areas would be strictly maintenance corridors. I'm sure the neck has service areas just like any other part of the ship.

    The windows on either side of the neck? I don't have a clue. I'm convinced the placement of windows all over the ship was done without even giving thought to what areas are actually inside those windows.

    I suppose the windows on the neck could be used by the maintenance crew to visually inspect the hulls. They could look down to see the top of the engineering hull, and look up to see the underside of the saucer. Then again, maybe not! :lol:
     
  17. MyClone

    MyClone Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Love this idea conceptually, but it does seem to go against the grain of known Starfleet design. I think there's no reason to assume that any or all of the rectangles on the neck are windows -- perhaps they are sensors of some kind?

    Best, MyClone
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    In airplane design, observation galleries were typically shunted to places where they did not interfere with more serious things such as propulsion or steering; sometimes these were built into the wings, even. The neck might be the only part of the ship deemed worthless enough to receive a crewmen's lounge or somesuch.

    However, it should be taken into account that a lot of space and attention is given to recreation facilities on the TOS hero starship. There are multi-deck recreation rooms ("Let That Be..", perhaps the same facility as in ST:TMP?), and numerous smaller rooms; a bowling alley was once mentioned, even, although probably only in jest. Significant effort might be given to fitting an observation deck or other stargazing facility aboard the ship as well, then.

    The best counterindication to that might be that Kirk didn't take Lenore Karidian to such a facility! Instead, we appear to witness an observation gallery next to the shuttlebay, as if that were the best Kirk could hope to offer. Certainly the kinked gallery there, with the angled walls, would fit better anywhere else but the neck.

    If the rows of windows in the neck don't provide a spectacular view for visiting babes, then, we might have to speculate that they are off limits to civilians, even when attended by the Captain himself. That might mean dangerous and unergonomic spaces, or spaces with military secrets, or spaces dedicated to scientific solitude and calm. Why any of these spaces would require windows is very difficult to imagine, however.

    My best guess currently is that the windows there cater for the discerning passenger. That is, the neck is an otherwise useless part of the ship and thus accommodates numerous passenger cabins. Some may be permanently configured for nonhuman passengers with special environmental requirements (this is a popular idea in older Trek literature and speculation, too), and many may await use empty for extended periods of time. However, Kirk once had to move down there as repairs on the upper decks of the ship were still ongoing following (or preceding) the shift to a lower-profile superstructure...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. PvtKtara

    PvtKtara Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why not chalk up the "deck 12" reference as what it is, an erroneous tidbit thrown out there that was just as quickly ignored once they settled on Deck 5 for the very same cabin?
     
  20. wildstar

    wildstar Commander Red Shirt

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    Granted there are windows around the outside of the saucer which may or may not be lounges and rec rooms, but the neck seems like the perfect spot for lounges and small cozy officers' clubs and be able to look down on the orbited planet.