Class ? warp drive

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by WildKazoo, Oct 6, 2021.

  1. WildKazoo

    WildKazoo Ensign Red Shirt

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    In Deep Space Nine and Voyager, the warp propulsion systems of the USS Defiant and USS Voyager are given numbered classes. Class 7 for the Defiant and Class 9 for Voyager. I am trying to determine what that may mean. The episodes just don't give enough context. I have tried scouring beta canon in an attempt to find if it defines their power output, efficiency, or some other quantities. Has anyone found something that defines this in beta canon? If not, anyone know of some fan-made explanation for those classifications?
     
  2. Dumbbell

    Dumbbell Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Nothing official, but in the old days “class” could be synonymous with mass. Think in terms of various ship construction manuals, i.e. FASA’s or Spacedock’s. The warp engines as a system were responsible for the bulk of the mass of any designed starship.

    In this context, the references likely refer to a warp engine specifically designed for a vessel of that class.

    It would be difficult, though, to verify this idea with the authors of those references.
     
  3. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When you stated Class ? Warp Drive, it got me thinking of Class 1 Hyper Drive for the Millenium Falcon.

    How Fast is the Millennium Falcon? A Thought Experiment!
    The Millennium Falcon’s top speed is 25,000 light years per day, 1041.66 light years per hour.

    That's Wf of 122.X on my scale which is just the TNG era scale with the BS hand drawn curve to infinity after Warp Factor 9 deleted and we let the TNG era formula run all the way to infinity properly, the natural way, via Spread Sheet and a Computer =D.

    I've always wanted to know how fast the Millenium Falcon was relative to StarFleet Warp Drives, and it ain't half bad.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Beagle in "Bread and Circuses" is apparently considered a lesser vessel for its Class 4 stardrive. So quite possibly bigger means better, that is, bigger numbers indicate more powerful warp drives. In relation to the ship, too, since if the Beagle were a sorry little midget but had Class 4, she might still outrun the massive Voyager which has to make do with a Class 9 when it really would need a Class 12 in order to compete...

    Elsewhere, the designations appear to go the opposite way. Shuttles in the 23rd century are of Class A, C and F, in a decreasing order of size and capabiities (the big A has transporters, the C has a good, fast interstellar warp drive and plenty of legroom, and the F is a midget relatively lacking in equipment and performance).

    Probes in the 24th century get Class letters or numbers but no apparent hierarchy. Phasers get Type numbers that appear to denote power and capacities in ascending order; shuttles get Type numbers that appear to denote order of introduction, with Type 6 looking distinctly older in design language than the otherwise similar Type 8, say. So there is no real rhyme and reason to the use of the words Class and Type, but we can still think each specific application is sensible and systematic and all...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  5. WildKazoo

    WildKazoo Ensign Red Shirt

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    Great suggestions, thanks. I'll take a look at some of the older materials and see if they offer any insight. And maybe I'll just give up on defining this for my head canon.
     
  6. publiusr

    publiusr Admiral Admiral

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    Sternbach's Chronology had different generations of warp drive.
     
  7. matthunter

    matthunter Admiral Admiral

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    The Spacedock expansion for the LUG Trek RPGs had different classes of core delivering increasing amounts of power the higher the class (I believe the Galaxy core was rated as either Class 12 or 13). This didn't necessarily hamstring ships like the Defiant in battle as smaller vessels would not have many additional power draws like lab facilities, holodecks and shuttlebays compared to a flying city like a Galaxy, so they would still have plenty for powerful weapons and strong shields.
     
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  8. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    I believe FASA likely had something similar, though I'd have to look, as they had multiple models of other systems like engines and weapons. Some later generations had different options in regard to power vs versatility. A higher model number didn't necessarily mean a more perfect or efficient version.
     
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  9. Oddish

    Oddish Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know, and I would love to. I would say that it's probably either a matter of:

    1. Size (a shuttle pod would use a Class 1, while a Galaxy class would use, say, a 12... the Defiant, a six-deck starship, uses a 7; Voyager is 15 decks and takes a 9).

    2. Newness (the Defiant, built during the TNG era but maybe using an older engine that wasn't designed for a ship its size, uses a 7 while the brand-new Voyager uses a 9).
     
  10. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    I recall that the Star Wars EU has different classes of hyperdrive, which seem to mainly affect speed while in hyperspace with class one being the military standard. The Millennium Falcon has a much faster hyperdrive.
     
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  11. Dumbbell

    Dumbbell Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I’d go with size, or more specifically mass.

    A Class 7 warp drive would refer to a warp drive suitable for a vessel within a specific mass range on a scale of mass ranges where a Class 9 warp drive would be suitable for a vessel of greater mass than Class 7.

    Think in terms of the entire warp drive system, not just the engines themselves. Since the warp drive system would make up the bulk of the starship’s mass, the warp drive’s class would by synonymous with the starship’s class. For example, a Class 7 warp drive would be suitable for a Class 7 starship, and a Class 9 warp drive would be suitable for a Class 9 starship. A Class 7 starship would need a Class 7 warp drive, and a Class 9 starship would need a Class 9 warp drive.

    Now, in the case of the Defiant, equipped with a Class 7 warp drive, we know that it was overpowered. In this case, we have probably built a Class 6 starship but with a Class 7 warp drive, in technical terms. A Class 7 warp drive is not suitable for a Class 6 starship, since it will shake itself apart, as we learn in the DS9 series. Star Fleet abandoned the project. It failed. This was later addressed, somewhat, likely resulting in increasing the starship’s mass to Class 7 within the mass range suitable for a Class 7 warp drive. After that, along with further modifications that likely added to its mass, the Defiant Class became viable again.
     
  12. Go-Captain

    Go-Captain Captain Captain

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    Could be power output, so warp drives could be downgraded in class over decades, and warp drives of the same size might have wildly different power outputs depending on their generation. That works pretty nicely with Defiant and Voyager having Class 7 and 9 warp drives respectively, because even though the Defiant is, what, 10 times smaller it is noted as having an extremely overpowered warp core for its size.

    I guess that means a Class 1 would be what shuttles have, and a Class 2 might be what Runabouts have. Class 3 could be fighters, and small vessels like the Raven. Maybe a normal starship of the Defiant's size, perhaps an Oberth, would have a Class 5 warp drive.
     
  13. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think it might have more to do with the size / volume of the Warp Field that it supports.

    Each Class can support Warp Fields of ___ size with larger vessels needing larger Warp Fields.

    Speed and Intensity will always improve with tech over time, but size of Warp Fields will stay constant and if your vessel is of ___ size.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I guess my problem with that is that we're pretty explicitly talking about a class of warp drive / stardrive, not class of ship.

    If Class 6 meant engines capable of moving ships in the size range 6, why not speak of the Class 6 of ship size instead? Apparently, a mere knowledge of the ship herself is not yet sufficient for establishing the Class of her warp drive, there being this additional need to say "Ours has Class 9" as if there were multiple alternatives.

    Also, when the "Class 7" issue arises, in "Valiant", this appears to be a specific design or a design family of engines on which an engineer may or may not have competency, rather than a matter of output range or other parameters. The narrower the definition, the more reasonable the dialogue over whether Nog knows how to run one or not. This might support the interpretation that higher Class is a newer design, even though the shuttles do it better (in a fashion more naturally fitting the English language) by using Type in that sense. Yet just as with shuttles, one would run into the issue of there being ridiculously few Classes out there: surely Starfleet, enamored with countless parallel ship or shuttle designs per era, would already be up to Class 47 at the very least. Or, alternately, a given Class would cover dozens of dissimilar designs and be meaningless.

    Again going back to "Valiant", Nog says that the Defiant, too, has a Class 7 (additionally specified as "nearly identical" to the Valiant one), as if this were news. If two externally identical ships aren't expected to have the same Class of warp drive by default, we need all the more specificity to the term. Should we think that the surprise factor here is that both the ships have been overengined above their blatantly apparent size range, a rare thing both sets of engineers take pride on, and the secrecy surrounding the Defiant class confuses both as to how rare this in fact is? Or that both for their part realize it's unusual to have a Class as new as 7 on a hull that really is a 6 by age (both ships being long-mothballed failed prototypes)? The latter would nail down Kirk's ship as a Class 5, so that she can still gloat over a Class 4 in "Bread and Circuses" - but with zero wiggle room toward either the obsolete or the futuristic, which isn't all that comfortable.

    As a pure apropos, the late VOY tendency to generically refer to shuttles of many distinct Types as "Class 2" could be thrown in: the ascending order of performance would be fine for explaining this Class 2 as a warp engine "size", while OTOH completely incompatible with the idea that Class would denote age of the design. Kirk's ship could be humiliatingly higher up than Class 4, and the Beagle in turn humiliatingly close to a mere shuttle...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
  15. Dumbbell

    Dumbbell Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Either way, it is a pity that we still have class distinctions in the 24th Century. :lol:
     
  16. Oddish

    Oddish Admiral Admiral

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    At the end of the day, it's all technobabble. ;)
     
  17. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Many fields of speciality IRL has lingo / terminology that is technically "Techno Babble" to those on the outside who don't understand how everything works.

    Simple example, those who don't understand anything about modern PC's, all the specs and features is effectively jibberish / Techno Babble to anybody who isn't well versed in how a modern Computer works.

    If I start trying to debate with you the PRO's & CON's of AMD Zen 3 CPU Architecture vs Intel RocketLake CPU Architecture; unless you're well versed on how PC CPU's work, have been following the scene for some time, or are very informed on how PC CPU's work; all the words I spew out of my mouth might as well be a alien language to you.

    To me, it's just technical terms; but too the average normie, it might as well be greek.

    You can apply that to just about any technical field.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...The weird and not completely plausible thing about Treknobabble is that it's actually plain English words, rather than acronyms or made-up or haphazardly borrowed words. If Starfleet existed for real, its engineers probably wouldn't order "replacement amplification crystals for the navigational deflector array" but "ILR-CAUs for the NDef-22", or then "A-swishers for the Dish".

    That is, Starfleetish indeed is Greek. And Latin. Aka English.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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