Does The Enterprise Orbit

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by T'Girl, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But the way Trek sensors work, the landing party is ALWAYS in sight, even when you're on the other side of the planet. This is directly implied in the ability of starships to scan the entire surface of a planet in LESS than the time it would take to orbit the entire thing; for whatever reason, some sensor devices do not require a direct line of sight. For probably the same reason, neither do transporters, hence it is possible to beam people into and out of caverns deep underground.

    There's no reason to assume the same mechanism that allows you to scan objects on the other side of the planet doesn't also apply to transporters. Again, there's the example of TSFS where Kirk is able to beam directly aboard the Enterprise from a transporter pad in San Francisco without having to wait for the station to come around to the right position; same again in TMP, where Kirk beams directly to the orbital office complex after a short meeting with Admiral Nogura. Orbital mechanics don't seem to be an issue at all.

    Though realistically, they probably should, but it's one of the various things (we have never minded) that Trek has seldom handled realistically.

    No, the satellites would have to do that themselves. Remember, the only way to deploy them without changing their apogee is to a series of plane-change maneuvers for each separate satellite. If Enterprise performed that manuever for them, it would get Satellite A into the right position but Satellite B into the wrong one, and Satellite C following them would be screwed. If, on the other hand, each satellite fires its maneuvering engines as soon as it is launched, all of them can change their orbital planes at the same time, and all of them reach final positions ALSO at the same time.

    This is evidently what V'ger's devices did in TMP; they were all launched on the same vector, but all executed plane-change maneuvers to proceed to an equidistant position around Earth. They would reach their final orbits at the same time, which would eventually bring them all to the same equatorial position at the same moment.

    Satellites never appear to until they start moving.

    But even THAT fails to be the case in "A Private Little War" where Enterprise intentionally changes orbits to avoid the Klingon warship on the other side. It also fails to be the case in TWOK where Enterprise is able to beam the landing party out of the Genesis cave from the OPPOSITE side of the planetoid from where they beamed in (Khan was over there, remember?). Most glaringly in "Descent Part II" where Enterprise avoids the Borg ship for a few critical moments by dropping out of warp on the opposite side of the planet and then IMMEDIATELY begins to beam landing parties aboard; it is too convenient to imagine that the Borg intentionally placed themselves on the opposite side of the planet from where Enterprise needed to be to get a transporter lock.

    It's not exactly as if Starships are slaves to newtonian mechanics like everything else in the heavens. But to say they habitually ignore it is too much of a stretch. The best you can say is that starships CAN maneuver any way they want, into and out of any orbit they like, even jumping into retrograde orbits at the drop of a hat. But it is illogical to assume that they would do this as a matter of course; it would be like claiming that harrier jets will hover in formation with an aircraft carrier and only land when they really really need to.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But obviously there is, because transporter penetration has always been limited to just a couple of kilometers of rock - except when there are exotic materials or fields at play, when penetration is even less.

    And Ben Sisko could transport from San Francisco to his New Orleans home and back.

    But none of that is relevant to the issue of a starship taking care of her landing party. Earth is well stocked with infrastructure, evidently including transporter relays that allow over-the-horizon beaming even without the presence of any sort of orbital elements. No wilderness world has provided the same sort of services to our knowledge...

    Huh? There's no reason the Enterprise couldn't give each satellite an arbitrary/desired initial velocity vector for the hoped-for (circular?) orbit from the get-go. Launching a fan of a dozen sats from one equatorial position at various inclinations, then waiting a bit (or moving counter-orbit) and launching a second such spread, then again waiting/moving and repeating, the ship could deploy the sats in a matter of minutes. Letting the sats do it by themselves would take hours or days, and would require onboard propulsion systems that would see no further use on the satellites' brief mission.

    Again, it's a capability the ship has built in, and it would be downright perverse to leave the capability unused. Orbital mechanics are for wussies, or perhaps for the religiously naturist. Kirk's crew doesn't seem to fit either bill. The ship can't help being the ultimate miracle machine - so why waste time building lesser repeats of such functionality into the throwaway satellites, or coasting on a freefall orbit, or other such things that are only necessary when no miracle machine is available?

    What fails to be the case? After this little maneuver, Scotty keeps telling he will have to take further steps to keep the Klingons from seeing them. There are no timing issues for Kirk's second beam-down, so he could well wait for the right step in the dance. Unless the Klingons specifically hover over Tyree's village all the time - but since we don't see regular Klingon beam-downs or beam-ups, this need not be the case.

    To be sure, the tactical graphic shows both ships circling the planetoid, not hovering over a spot. Which incidentally has to mean powered orbits, as the little rock couldn't easily host a circular orbit of those parameters...

    Remember where those landing parties were and why. Picard deployed closer to a thousand people on the planet to do a blind search for the Borg hideout, in teams of four plus all the available shuttles. They spanned the planet in their search. In order to pick them up, Crusher would necessarily have to cover more than just one spot on the planet. Which nicely explains why she had to leave 47 people behind at first: the ship might have 20+ transporters (as per "11001001") but she'd have to maneuver to get them all.

    However, with just 47 people left (that is, a dozen teams), it wouldn't take exceptional odds to have most of them at locations from which the Borg are below the horizon. One or two unlucky teams might be sitting beneath the Borg - but if none were, that would be no big surprise. After all, the 47 would be on what had been a "shadow spot" during the original sweep (at least if the theory of line-of-sight transporters holds true), and such a spot could easily be covered from half a hemisphere's worth of different angles, so the advantage would be Crusher's.

    In the end, Crusher came, took a look at something like 1/3 of the planet from the medium orbit vantage point, and picked up 41 people, in the process exposing the ship to the Borg. The last team, Picard's, was in the Borg compound, the likeliest place over which the Borg ship would settle, and they could not be picked up - eminently logical!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. GodThingFormerly

    GodThingFormerly A Different Kind of Asshole

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    I naturally disagree. :) ST:TMP clearly depicts the Centroplex passing directly over the San Francisco city peninsula during Kirk's beam-up, and taking into account the orbital elements of the yards as given by the film's tech advisor Jesco von Puttkamer in his German-language translation of Gene Roddenberry's novelization...

    Original: "Hoch über der Erde, in einer Umlaufbahn von 1680 Kilometer Höhe und mit einer Bahnneigung von 46 Grad, umkreiste das riesige Raumdock den blauen Planeten einmal in zwei Stunden. Dreimal täglich geriet es in Sicht des Starfleet-Hauptquartiers von San Francisco."

    My (crappy) English translation: "High over the Earth, in an orbit of 1680 kilometers altitude and with an inclination of 46 degrees, the giant spacedock circled the blue planet once every two hours. Three times a day it passed within view of Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco."

    ...which strongly suggest that Starfleet's transporter technology was still restricted to line-of-site operation circa 2279 CE, at least as far as The Great Bird was concerned. Presumably the concept of transporter-relays is a 24th century development.

    SLR
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Might well be. But what in the novelization (let alone the movie) necessitates the orbital office schedule dictating Kirk's beam-up schedule? If the office is up there near zenith thrice a day, it's gonna be above the horizon for the better part of the day (despite 46 degrees being a bit severe) - so Kirk deciding it was time to go kick Decker in the groin need not have been "coordinated" in any meaningful way with the orbital period of the office.

    Of course, if the movement of the dock indeed were a line-of-sight problem, I trust Kirk could have done a two-leg journey, beaming up to a different orbital station and then partway down to the office (or to the Enterprise, state of repairs allowing). It might be an expensive and privileged way to travel, but for Kirk that would not be an obstacle.

    But yeah, by the time of Ben Sisko's cadet years, I trust there would be a ground network of phased matter pipelines to afford problem-free, schedule-free transportation literally across the globe. Plus, possibly, a relay line to allow for Earth-Moon transporting, despite this supposedly being beyond the range of Starfleet's standard starship transporters.

    Or, for all we know, certain large dirtside models would have the required range without needing relays. We never did get the impression that the transporters aboard Kirk's ship would be the most advanced in the Federation, or the ones with the greatest range. But the line-of-sight issue does seem important: Starfleet might choose limited-range transporters on its starships for convenience (as the ships themselves could span the distance if need be), but would insist on state-of-the-art penetration capabilities (which the civilians might never need, whilst they'd insist on the range). And the state of Kirk's art certainly didn't allow for trips to the center of Sargon's planet, not without alien boost.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually there's a pretty big reason: Enterprise is moving to a changed orbit each time it positions its satellite, but that means it's deploying the next satellite from the previous satellite's orbit. In this situation, the satellites do not distribute evenly, they actually form a constellation that orbits the planet in an ever-expanding string.

    In order to get global coverage, Enterprise has to launch them from the exact same orbit--probably a polar orbit, though other arrangements are possible--and have each one conduct a plane-change manuever to slide out of that polar orbit. If the plane-changes are angled properly, they'll be in orbital resonance so every satellite crosses the equator at the same time; when this happens, all of the satellites are in equdistant positions at altitudes high enough to cover the entire planet all at once.

    Sure. But again, the ground track of these satellites would behave as an expanding debris plume that distributes VERY slowly through the planet's orbit. It would take several days for them to get into the right position, and then they would only stay in that position for a few minutes at most.

    Depending on your altitude, it would take three hours (one complete orbit) to deploy them all and then have them drop into their final positions three hours later.

    since the mission IS brief, this is a non-issue. Enterprise would be expected to collect them afterwards anyway.

    Or for people like Spock who are smart enough to know how to use orbital mechanics to their advantage. As in, for example, Paradise Syndrome, where Spock keeps very close track of exactly how much Delta-V he needs to change the asteroid's orbit enough to miss the planet. Changing the asteroid's orbit was Spock's first choice; carving it up with phasers was his last resort.

    But it IS a ship, not a miracle machine.

    Except it's clearly implied that Scotty didn't need to keep the away team in sight at all times, and for that matter neither did the Klingons. So they either don't have this operational practice (keeping the away team always in sight) or don't have this operational limitation (the NEED to keep the away team in sight).

    Precisely. And Reliant's position is a matching orbit with Regula-1.

    It "has" to mean nothing of the sort, especially since Reliant is parked at orbit next to Regula-1 seconds before the graphic comes up.

    What parameters? The orbit in question is never described. For all we know they're circling at an altitude of 10km over a 100km planetoid that weighs as much as Earth.

    But she didn't, as there were no orders for orbital maneuvers to pickup all of those people. For that matter, it's implied from the manuever that all Enterprise needed was TIME, and the only way to get it was to drop out of warp at a specific point above the planet. No mention was made of line of sight or positioning, and we can safely rule these out as factors in the beamout, especially since the Borg would have known to simply hang over the position of the last away team and wait for Enterprise to return.

    They weren't playing odds in this case. They intentionally dropped out of warp at a position where the Borg were on the far side of the planet. Not to get a lock on the away team, but to give them a few seconds out of weapons range to do the beamup.

    Remember again that at the time the Borg ship was not hovering over anything; it intentionally swung around the planet just to engage the (implicitly stationary) Enterprise. Transport was cutoff when Crusher raised the shields, not that it would have made a difference, since Picard's signal was being jammed inside the compound anyway.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But that's exactly what the ship will not do. Since she is completely free of orbital-mechanics considerations, she will always reposition herself in a manner optimal for satellite deployment - if necessary, flying all over the planet and dropping a stationary sat at each desired position. That's the fast way to do it, and Kirk (for some unfathomable reason) was in a great hurry throughout the episode.

    The huge difference was that the asteroid stretched the resources of the ship. Things like shepherding a landing party or deploying satellites would not even register.

    Spock wouldn't be "smart" in conserving resources in those other cases. He would be pennywise, i.e. stupid. Starfleet should reassign him off the starship and put him in charge of a lightsail or a ballistic barge.

    Same difference. If she cannot hover at will, or position sats in defiance of Newton, she cannot be a starship. And the important thing is that she cannot be even one-fiftieth starship that way. Being starship liberates a space vessel from Newtonian concerns as thoroughly as being battle cruiser liberates a naval vessel from thinking in terms of wind.

    That's an odd conclusion, when the point of the drama is that the Klingons' arrival limited the freedom of operations for our heroes. Surely the heroes would have preferred to operate freely, and to protect their landing party - but as it happened, they had to even consider abandoning the landing party altogether and flying off to some other star system!

    But going by the visuals where the ships and stations appear next to the planetoid in an assortment of ways, Regula is even smaller than that. Essentially, we have a space station "orbiting" a tiny asteroid that doesn't really have measurable gravitational pull.

    In a scene so full of cuts? How could we tell?

    And in order to preserve the line-of-sight idea, all we need is a little bit of nudging to cover one hemisphere. Since Data was supposed to have traveled on foot after leaving the shuttle, most of the teams would have been deployed within easy reach from just one vantage point even with line-of-sight transporter.

    The Borg exhibited no awareness of the away teams, though.

    They wouldn't need to "play" anything. Since they needed to arrive using a feint, they would either have to maneuver thereafter to pick up the remaining teams with line-of-sight, or then they wouldn't have to maneuver. Thanks to the good odds, they didn't have to maneuver (that we'd know of).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which saves them time deploying them, but doesn't save them anything else.

    Enterprise would literally have to accelerate to orbital velocities from a standing start--up to around 10km/s--then cancel that velocity, change directions, return to its original position, then accelerate BACK to orbital velocity all over again. For thirty satellites, this requires the ship to execute a Delta-V of around 600km/s in a matter of minutes, and it STILL has to wait several hours for the satellites to orbit the planet and get into their final positions to orbit the entire planet (at which point they will only be in those positions for a handful of minutes).

    In the end, using the impulse engines in this way accomplishes nothing except saving the satellites some propellant; since Enterprise still has to dash back to the proper launch point to deploy the satellites, it doesn't save them any time and consumes ten times as much fuel. Really, it would be like getting in the car and driving all the way around the block to get to your next-door neighbor's house. You easily could do it, but it would take you the same amount of time to simply WALK there.

    Where is the intelligence in the expending greater resources without any specific advantage in that expenditure? To put it bluntly, it is illogical to use a powered orbit to achieve what an inertial orbit could accomplish in the same amount of time.

    There's nothing implicit in the definition of "starship" that suggests the ship is immune to conventional physics. This is Enterprise we're talking about, not TARDIS.

    False analogy, as I've already explained, since battlecruisers are not equipped with sails. Starships, however, ARE equipped with both thrusters and semi-newtonian impulse engines.

    It's similar to suggesting that a space shuttle doesn't have to worry about things like airspeed and lift since it's designed to fly in space; if that really were the case, the shuttle would not have been equipped with wings.

    Sure. What it didn't do was limit their ability to beam back to the ship if they wanted to, as Enterprise never actually left transporter range. Line of sight therefore fails to be an issue for some reason.

    Speculation; you have no idea what Regula's surface gravity is. But considering the ability of humans to comfortably walk around in the Genesis Cave without floating off the ground, it is obviously similar to Earth gravity.

    And you're still forced to explain why the Borg wouldn't simply hover over that one hemisphere to catch Enterprise when it came back. It boils down to exactly two possibilities:
    1) Either the Borg are in an inertial orbit and happened to be on the far side of the planet at the time (good timing, Crusher) or
    2) Transporters do not require line of sight to beam on and off of a planet.

    Since this entire point of yours depends on some never-before-hinted-at total disdain for "natural" orbits by starships, the first point would have to be ruled out at the outset since the Borg ship wouldn't be caught dead in a freefall orbit with an enemy ship still nearby. This leaves only the second point, which is again consistent with the use of transporters in the entirety of trek history without any explicit requirement for line-of-sight transport.

    Since Picard and his team had ALREADY been captured by Lore, their awareness is not really up for debate. Unless you want to suggest that the Borg ship was for some reason totally out of communication with the surface for some reason, in which case one wonders why the ship would have pursued Enterprise at all.

    You're getting carried away with your assumptions, though. You can't use this as a datapoint for "line of sight transporters" since they DIDN'T have to maneuver in the first place. It's just as likely that they simply beamed the away teams up from the other side of the planet, much the way starships routinely SCAN for life forms on the far sides of planets.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And that's what starships do for a living.

    Although there'd be absolutely no reason to "return to its original position". You still think in terms of the satellites being deployed from a single point in a spread of some sort. Kirk would never do that. He'd drop the satellites where they need to be, perhaps even neglecting to give them any orbital velocity whatsoever so that they'd simply fall towards the planet (in a curve of no particular significance) while performing their brief job.
    In simplicity, in streamlining, in saving time. Nothing measurable would be gained by "going with the flow", either.

    Police cruisers don't shut down the engine when going downhill, either, even though that would give them a slight edge in fuel consumption. Reason? The edge would be too damn slight, and in any case, they don't pay for the fuel. Spock doesn't pay for the fuel of the Enterprise, either. But he may have to pay, with his career, if he doesn't get stuff done fast enough.
    Well, for starters, she must defy the rocket equation to get around at sublight. For the main course, she must be capable of expending the sort of energies needed for going between stars while punching God so hard on the nose that She only sees stars and not a relativity violation. For dessert, she's got gravity manipulation tech aboard. And that goes well with the sweet wine of stories where orbital mechanics don't exist.

    A starship is not a spacecraft. It's a storytelling vehicle, with enough known and unknown quantities to render it essentially incapable of behaving like a rocket.
    Which just goes to prove that it doesn't pay to be pennywise.
    Neither of which need see any use in orbital maneuvering, ever. Battlecruisers have masts, but like you say, those don't get dressed up in sails, ever.

    Hmh? Scotty says they'll be out of communicator range if they need to flee. This in practice translates to out of transporter range, too - as our heroes find out when Kirk is bitten. There's no indication in "A Private Little War" that the ship wouldn't have left transporter range, and every indirect indication that they did, therefore it doesn't tell us much about the line-of-sight issue.

    Why would they? They didn't have any idea of where and when the Enterprise would return, or what our heroes would be interested in. At no point did they express awareness that there'd be surface teams to pick up, save for Picard's posse at the lion's den.

    Mine? It was you who brought up this example. My general point is that natural orbits don't make sense, and that transporters are usually depicted as incapable of penetrating any amount of rock, hence incapable of going past the horizon. If "Descent" offers counterevidence, then bringing it up might be of interest - but why would the idea of the Borg hovering over some random spot of the planet and not another be of any interest?

    Crusher warps in with knowledge of the Borg ship's whereabouts. She then starts beaming up 41 people she didn't beam up the previous time - thus probably people from the "shadow side" of the initial beam-up run. The Borg could be just about anywhere the second time around, but it's just as likely as anything else that they'd be where the first Starfleet incursion happened, hence not on the original "shadow side", in which case the events make rather perfect sense.

    Picard had not divulged any information of importance (that we'd know of), and the traitorous Data was not privy to any information about the away teams. So again, the renegade Borg had nothing to go by here. They'd know of Picard and the E-D, but not of the away teams infesting their hideout world, nor of Crusher's orders or plans.

    And I don't need to, as the point is made elsewhere clearly enough: transporters can't penetrate planetwide stretches of rock. But you can't use this as a datapoint against the "line-of-sight" interpretation, either.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Regarding dropping the satellites in orbit - wouldn't it make more sense that the Enterprise moved around the planet and dropped them in place? For all we know, the satellites have a built-in antigrav unit and thruster system to keep them exactly in place once dropped (and thus ignoring a normal orbit).
     
  10. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, that's what SHUTTLEs do for a living. Starships are designed to travel between star systems.

    Not the same point, the same ORBIT. I spent way too much time working on these sorts of problems in college to pretend that what you're proposing is in any way faster or more efficient than plane-change orbital phasing. Instead of the Enterprise using her engines to boost those satellites, then reverse course, return to the launch orbit, boost the satellite, reverse course, return to launch orbit, boost satellite, etc etc (the visuals from TOS-R indicate nothing even remotely similar tot his, by the way) one simply deploys all the satellites and has them perform an orbital plane change so they all cross the equator at the same time. Again, this appears to be exactly what V'ger did in TMP, and lord knows V'ger had enough power to do it the hard way if he wanted to.

    But it DOESN'T save time, and since the powered orbit method would require several dozen different impulse maneuvers it isn't streamlined either. It is, again, like driving your car around the block instead of walking next door.

    False analogy. What you're suggesting is equivalent to a police cruiser turning around and driving backwards, in drive, using the engine to slow itself down. This is considerably more complicated and not particularly more effective than simply using the BRAKES to slow yourself down.

    Since when? It's never been canonically established that the Enterprise NORMALLY moves at anything close to relativistic velocities at "sublight" velocities. Visually, we have datapoints that "impulse power" can be anything from 60mph to .5c, depending on the plot.

    A "storytelling vehicle" has any properties it needs to relevant to the plot, including but not limited to behaving exactly like a rocket.

    A spacecraft, on the other hand, has certain properties implicit in the nature of a man-made craft that travels in space based loosely on known scientific principles and future technology.

    Evidently it does in Star Trek, hence the addition of impulse engines and thrusters.

    Yes, because using your faster-than-light space warping stardrive for orbital maneuvering makes SO much more sense.:vulcan:

    Yes. IF they need to flee. Note here that communicator range is a function of distance, NOT the ship's position in orbit of the planet.

    And given that they KNEW about Picard's group, it makes sense that they would be in position over the Borg compound to prevent Enterprise from interfering with Lore's plans. Most of the away teams were, of course, scattered around within a few kilometers of that compound. So IF the Borg were in a powered orbit, then Crusher would have had to beam them from the opposite side of the planet in order to get them as quickly as she did.

    In this case, you'd have to come up with a concrete example of a starship NOT being able to beam someone up simply because of their position around a particular planetary body. AFAIK, this has never happened even once in the entire history of Star Trek.

    Yes, but you support this point by citing possible scenarios and alternatives that make even less sense. There are, for sure, plenty of reasons to prefer powered orbits under certain circumstances, but to call them standard procedure is one hell of a leap. I refer, again, to the Harrier example; just because an aircraft can defy gravity with engine power alone doesn't mean Harrier pilots prefer to hover instead of flying or landing.

    Except when they DO. As in TWOK (Deep within Regula) and in TNG "Bloodlines" where Jason Vigo is beamed out of a cave two kilometers underground.

    It's doubtful that ordinary rock is any hindrance on transporter operations to begin with. It's even more doubtful that a line of sight is ever required with any restrictions less substantial than some fancy mineral or a deflector shield.

    Because the Borg wouldn't be there unless Lore called them to protect his compound. And the Enterprise wouldn't be there except looking for Data, who went to Lore's compound. Ergo, IF the Borg were in a powered orbit hovering over anything at all, Enterprise would have had to get past them to get a line of sight on the transporter team.

    The logic of the episode either precludes powered orbits (no one was hovering over anything at all and the Borg were guarding the planet in its entirety) or precludes line-of-sight transport (doesn't matter whether you're hovering or not, if you can scan it you can beam it).

    Of course, the best datapoint we have comes from Mirror, Mirror, where we have:

    [/quote]
    Whatever it is you think this type of "orbit" might be, one thing it is NOT is a hovering powered orbit maintaining position over a target city. Sulu either means that Enterprise is parked at some sort of sun-synchronus orbit and not even orbiting the planet (a strong possibility) or he's referring to the relative rotation of the planet as Enterprise comes around in its orbit. There are lots of ways Sulu could correct a natural orbit to keep the target in range longer, or bring it back into range sooner, or even--in the event of some kind of highly-inclined nearly polar orbit--execute a plane change that would actually overtake the planet's rotation and bring the target even closer. A sun-synchornus orbit could accomplish the same thing if Enterprise dropped into a lower/higher orbit change relative position to the planet.

    But a POWERED orbit has none of these features; Enterprise would be able to move to any point around the planet it wanted and stay there forever. There are few if any reasons for the ship to not already having been in that orbit if they were getting ready to bomb them anyway.

    There wasn't anyone ON the "shadow" side. They were all within a few dozen kilometers of the compound, remember?

    Irrelevant, since Picard HIMSELF had been captured and Lore probably assumed Enterprise would be along soon to rescue him. That alone explains the sudden presence of the Borg ship in orbit.
     
  11. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, because if the Enterprise drops the satellites while in motion, then the satellites are also in motion whether the antigravs keep them aloft or not. Enterprise would have to move faster and faster each time it drops a satellite, which then compounds the problem since the higher launch speed puts each satellite into a slightly different eliptical orbit slightly corrected by antigrav action; they would immediately drift completely out of position.
     
  12. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Perhaps you missed the "and thruster system" which would power the satellite in place?
     
  13. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's not the "in place" thing that is the problem. Newton's third law: an object in motion REMAINS in motion. That means that if Enterprise drops that satellite while moving, then the satellite continues to move with the Enterprise unless acted upon by an outside force. Your antigrav system only compensates for the fact that the satellite isn't in orbital velocity.

    Which means that unless you want all of these satellites to cluster in the exact same position, Enterprise has to accelerate to get away from it. That acceleration puts Enterprise into a higher orbit, which the next satellite then assumes; since the next satellite is moving at a higher velocity, it drifts farther away from the one behind it and must therefore use thruster action to cancel its forward velocity and move back to the lower orbit. Problem solved... sort of, since the NEXT satellite has to do the same thing, with an even greater thruster action.

    This is no different from letting the satellites perform a plane-change maneuver on their own, except it requires Enterprise to constantly accelerate at the same time, and it puts all of the satellites into a parallel orbit where they will not cover the entire planet.
     
  14. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I see the issue here. You're assuming that there is no technology in TOS that would overcome 21st century real-world orbital mechanics :)
     
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, I'm saying orbital mechanics--well, strictly speaking, the known laws of physics--still apply in ANY century whether your technology can defy them or not. Just because an airplane manages to overcome the Law of Gravity does NOT mean the plane will remain airborne if you keep the nose pointed straight at the sky until your engine stalls.

    Even a satellite equipped with thrusters and antigravs is still governed by the laws of physics; they won't simply stop in place once Enterprise drops them UNLESS there is something in space to stop them from moving. If you're going to use their thrusters for that, then there's no particular advantage over deploying them from a polar orbit on a path to orbital resonance.
     
  16. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am impressed that this thread is still going.
     
  17. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Feb 26, 2010
    Well there are certain military planes that can do that until they run out of fuel ;) Ahhhh technology :D

    I won't debate you on the real world physics, but I will disagree with you on the adherence to it once you get anything fictional tech involved that looks like it can circumvent the problem (like antigrav). And I just used that as an example since I went back and looked at the episode in question. Since no specifics were mentioned about the satellites technology I'll admit it can go either way :)

    Here is an interesting quote from the episode (note, I only am referring to the TOS version that I have, not the TOS-R so I don't know what was done differently between the two.)

    You could work out the details of the seeding orbit as I'm not very good in orbital mechanics and go - yeah, they did it your way - and that's fine as nothing is mentioned in the episode on how they seeded the satellites. The interesting part is that the sats are all in a permanent orbit at an altitude of 72 miles. Isn't that kinda low to be "permanent" when you factor in atmospheric drag? Maybe in the end there is some extra tech that allows them to stay so low without falling from the sky?
     
  18. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Apr 12, 2006
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    No there are not. Engines and wings--both devices used by aircraft to provide lift--require both an atmosphere and the motion thereof to function. If you simply climb straight up, you either run out of air (the engines dies) or you run out of airflow (the wings no longer provide lift). The result of this is a stall.

    Stalling is a limitation of aviation technology that pilots are very familiar with. Space craft have other limitations--Delta-V budget, to name the most obvious--that astronauts are familiar with. The point here being that all technology works within certain limitations, and those limitations only go away when technology finds a method to overcome them. Simply ignoring those limitations and assuming technology is too great to care about them doesn't cut it.

    Antigrav doesn't look like it can circumvent that problem, since conservation of momentum doesn't have anything to do with gravity.

    Besides, simply throwing out the laws of physics saying "advanced technology is advanced" doesn't make for very compelling science fiction, in fact it typically degenerates into made-up physics and increasingly absurd pseudoscientific gibberish in order to justify whatever random problem/solution the writers pulled out of their asses this week. This, unfortunately, IS a problem Star Trek has sometimes had: when you concoct a device so advanced that it can do anything, you're suddenly forced to come up with all kinds of absurd reasons why it can't do the one thing our heroes need it to do when the episode begins.

    IIRC, "seeding orbit" is an older term for an equatorial orbit from one craft that then expels several other craft at highly inclined orbits. With 210 satellites launched this way, you'd wind up with a ground track that looks like a diagonal line that oscillates like a snake crawling in a zig-zag line. They'd be able to cover the entire planet, but not all at the same time.

    That's one of the reasons I figured they probably used an orbital resonance pattern, but I haven't seen that episode in years so I didn't remember Sulu's line.

    Depends on the atmosphere. It's pretty low for EARTH, but we have no idea what Deneva's atmosphere is like or what its surface gravity is. If Deneva is a small dense planet--say, 1000km in diameter--it might be able to get away with having a thinner atmosphere overall even though its surface pressure is comparable to Earth's.
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2010
    You did not say "climb straight up" but just "pointed straight at the sky". A combat aircraft with thrust greater than it's weight would be able to hold a nose up attitude and not climb much and not fall back down to the earth unless it ran out of fuel or it hit a limit in the engine design. Obviously, if the aircraft chose to climb straight up it would eventually run out of atmosphere and with a higher thrust to weight is no longer relying on lift from its wings.

    But also simply forcing real-world limits on future fictional technology makes about as much sense when there is evidence that they've overcome it (for that particular purpose or instance.)

    Quite true. But since this isn't a future episode that might be corrected by scientific consultants in script rewrites or post before airing, this is a past episode that we're looking at trying to explain it. This is the reverse, the device has already been concocted and used. We're just approaching it from different directions where one side wants it to fit within real-world limits and the other thinks that is how it works in TOS ;)

    Since they never showed the seeding orbit then it is very possible that is what happened.

    Possible again, although with the FX back then it could be anywhere from 1000km to slightly larger than earth diameter.
     
  20. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Aug 20, 2009
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    Back in the 1980's Russian MiG's would do just this. Russian MiG's use to fly straight towards the West German boarder at high mach speed turning aside at the last minute just to jangle the nerves of NATO radar operators, everytime western forces would have to go on alert. Then the Russian tried a new tactic, they again would fly at the boarder, but instead of turning away, they would flare in mid air, go nose up and "hover" balancing their aircraft on it's main engine, after a few minute they would nose over and return to base. From the perspective of a NATO radar screen the plane simply stopped, until the west figured it out they were baffled.