The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Lance, May 14, 2012.

  1. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Interesting thought but not in this case.

    YORKTOWN CAPTAIN: (on viewscreen) Our systems engineers are trying to deploy a makeshift solar-sail. We have high hopes that this will, if successful, generate power to keep us alive.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Good point.

    As for the feasibility of non-makeshift sails, TAS "Practical Joker" shows a comparable structure - the inflatable decoy starship. Admittedly, the ship wasn't exactly deprived of power when manufacturing the decoy, but she did achieve this without human help, and without full replicator technology, suggesting that some resources and materials would be available off the shelf.

    (Unless we assume the decoy was an existing, stowed item - as in the novel How Much For Just a Planet? - even though our heroes don't recognize it and even though it's not a tactically realistic decoy but one twenty times the natural size.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not much energy could be collected by a solar sail in interstellar space, or far from a star compared to the power needed to minimally run a starship.
     
  4. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    The pint is that a solar sail doesn't generate power. It could be used as a mirror to concentrate sunlight onto a solar panel but a solar sail is just a very large, very thin reflector.

    "There has been some theoretical speculation about using molecular manufacturing techniques to create advanced, strong, hyper-light sail material, based on nanotube mesh weaves, where the weave "spaces" are less than half the wavelength of light impinging on the sail. While such materials have so far only been produced in laboratory conditions, and the means for manufacturing such material on an industrial scale are not yet available, such materials could mass less than 0.1 g/m²,[27] making them lighter than any current sail material by a factor of at least 30. For comparison, 5 micrometre thick Mylar sail material mass 7 g/m², aluminized Kapton films have a mass as much as 12 g/m²,[21] and Energy Science Laboratories' new carbon fiber material masses 3 g/m².[26]"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail#Materials

    A solar sail is going to produce no power on it's own. Regardless of the improper terminology, a solar sail big enough to move a starship would be many, many kilometers on a side. That's also based on the reflectivity of the material. A makeshift sail would hardly be optimal. Also, the strength of the solar wind of the star. It may move them close to a habitable planet in the system so the escape pods can land, but unless it was already very close the time would be on the order of weeks or months even with a huge sail. Hardly something that's would be usable when you don't even have enough power to run the lights.
     
  5. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    On reflection, I've come to see the 1701-A as having been a kind of 'provisional ship', a intermediate and completely unplanned for step that Starfleet took only because of the exceptional circumstances with the Earth probe in STIV. This might also help explain why (mistaken registry of the USS Yamato aside), we never see another Starship carry over a previous registry number with a prefix.

    Here's the timeline as I see it:

    In STIII, Admiral Morrow says the Enterprise is to be mothballed, and while we aren't shown it, he probably also clues Kirk in on the Excelsior program and the plans for a new Enterprise while he's at it. Due to the thing with Spock's katra, Kirk and crew steal the 1701, blow it up over genesis, get Spock back, and are exiled to Vulcan. When they return to Earth, save it from the whale probe, and the various theories about needing to punish Kirk but also (outwardly) reward him see him and crew being assigned to an unplanned Enterprise: given the registry 1701-A to indicate its kind of "unofficial" status. Kirk and crew are then effectively off active duties, although they are occasionally reunited and sent off on special missions together where their unique expertise is advantageous (Nimbus III, convoy for the Klingon chancellor). Enterprise-B is under active construction by this point, so when the call comes through that Starfleet wants to recall 1701-A, it isn't entirely a surprise to the crew: they've all been effectively off 'active duty' for a while anyway, and the newer Excelsior Class Starship Enterprise is probably very much a known quantity by then. The decision is also taken to use the registry 1701-B for the new ship (as a nod to the unique legacy of the Enterprise -- maybe before the Earth probe saga it would have been launched with a different registry number somewhere in the 2000s), something which becomes a tradition for all the subsequent ones as well.

    What do we think? It seems like a plausible chain of events to me. :)
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think much like the Sovereign class version, it was built under a different name then changed based on events.

    I never understood why Starfleet would have other Excelsior class ships under construction when they still hadn't proven that the prototype was workable?
     
  7. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    We never learn that the prototype would not have been workable. All we know is that it hasn't broken the old speed records of the Enterprise quite yet when the two ships meet in ST3:TSfS.

    And considering how extreme some of those records were, I don't wonder a bit... The Excelsior under transwarp drive could have already been flown at speeds a hundred times faster than the fastest competing starship, excluding Kirk's ship which was an unfair competitor for having gotten assistance from superior lifeforms and weird phenomena.

    The idea that something about the Excelsior or the transwarp drive failed to pan out is completely external to aired Star Trek. On the other hand, nothing is said or shown to establish that ships of the Excelsior design would have required transwarp to be feasible. Perhaps NX-2000 was just a random ship of that class diverted from the main production run for this rare propulsion experiment, while others were being completed with conventional engines for conventional purposes.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Indicating its a ship class she has never seen before.

    Indicating that it hasn't been out testing those engines yet.

    This would seem to indicate the ship/class is new.

    Why would they quit building their workhorse class (Constitution), when their envisioned work horse hasn't even been through trial runs yet? And if the Excelsior had already been flying at incredible speeds, why would hey abandon the project because of a little sabotage?

    I stand by my assessment that the 1701-A is a new build that was constructed under another name, much like the 1701-E.
     
  9. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    There likely was nothing wrong with the Excelsior as far as its basic spaceframe and systems was concerned. The switch of the ship's registry to NCC-2000 likely signalled the point the design went into mass production and it may have happened five or more years before Star Trek VI (enough time for Starfleet to develop a variant design), IMO.
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I would think that the innards would have to be redesigned to integrate a standard warp reactor vs. the transwarp drive variation.
     
  11. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    Not necessarily. Even if other Excelsior-class ships weren't equipped with transwarp drive, there could have been enough room in the design for a conventional warp drive, with the extra space repurposed for other onboard systems and facilities.
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm going to stick with my own rationalization for two reasons:

    1) We simply don't know if the Excelsior was even operational between 2285-90. She could have easily been sitting in Spacedock having her innards reworked for conventional use.

    2) We have no proof of there being any more than two ships of the class (Excelsior and Enterprise) being in operation as of 2293.
     
  13. danellis

    danellis Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Both TNG and Voyager discuss the Borg having Transwarp drive in almost magical terms. I'd think it highly unlikely they'd so this if StarFleet had developed a working Transwarp system within living memory.

    That said whenever Voyager's on verge on getting transwarp drive it only ever seems to be half an hour's work to bolt it onto their existing systems - it can't be *that* incompatible.

    dJE
     
  14. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You have another near century of development of warp theory and technological progress and well, it's Voyager. :p
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    There's nothing to indicate that the Excelsior would have been intended as the new workhorse. Quite to the contrary...

    The Excelsior class being dropped from the exalted initial position indicated in ST3 to the status of workhorse as seen in TNG may well have taken the entire intervening half a century.

    There's no evidence that the project would have been abandoned. For all we know, both the ship and the drive were splendid successes.

    But transwarp probably just means "better than warp". There would exist a transwarp drive at any given timepoint: in Archer's days, it would be the warp seven drive, in Kirk's days it would be the Excelsior drive, and in Picard's days the goal would again be set higher.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    Look at the differences between the 1701-B and the NX/NCC-2000. There's a good chance that both ships started life as testbeds for different/competing drive systems. Which would make them both being built in or around the same time not to unusual.
     
  17. blueziggy

    blueziggy Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    i know that warp goes the speed of the script, but throwing that aside... the excelsior does get to khitomer pretty quickly from beta quadrant. im not sure of the distances, but that would tell me at the very least that "transwarp" became the new standard and all scotty did was make it stall.
     
  18. lewisniven

    lewisniven Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    from memory beta:

    "The Enterprise-A is ordered to be decommissioned by Admiral Androvar Drake and is scheduled to be destroyed in a live fire exercise. However, the government of Chal requests that they be given the Enterprise to use in their system defense forces. When Chal's population takes control of the vessel, they retrofit the ship with disruptors. Retired Captain James T. Kirk is appointed commanding officer of the vessel, which is renamed Enterprise (without a registry or registry prefix) as it makes way for Chal. The Enterprise is then destroyed over planet Chal by Admiral Drake in an act of revenge against Kirk. (TOS novel: The Ashes of Eden)"

    Apologies if thats been posted already, not read the whole thread I admit.
     
  19. Mr Pointy Ears

    Mr Pointy Ears Captain Captain

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    Wasnt the yorktown updted and giveth the new registy nuber nccc 1701-A?.
     
  20. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    That's one theory, but there are others.