Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Wingsley, Feb 12, 2011.
THERE! ARE!! FOUR!!! LIGHTS!!!!
I missed the part where the aviation-style navigation lights has anything to do with the drydock operating in an atmosphere.
^ No, you ignored it. It's there. Just go back and read.
...That there are lights there for helping starship insertion, which make the system inapplicable for starship exertion? Doesn't sound too convincing. Besides, the pilot of the dockyard would probably also have use for reference points at the corners of his or her own vessel to match the running lights of the target ship, even if his or her task was to fly the dockyard against stationary target ships.
Wanna bet the lights can change color at the press of a (carefully marked) button?
That said, Trek atmospheric vehicles have generally had a more or less aerodynamic appearance, with the blocky TOS shuttles being a borderline case beyond which few vehicles venture. Given the state of Treknological art, there might be major problems with operating a piece of flimsy scaffolding in the atmosphere, or making it bear loads (say, those between the tractor beams that anchor the starship to be carried, and the lifting engines that supposedly move the dock box from surface to orbit).
Well, you know, that may possible, but that wasn't Andrew Probert's intention when he designed the drydock. His original design had the latticework completely surround the ship, and in fact had to open on one end to allow the ship to leave. It would not have been able to pick a ship up off the surface with a closed bottom. The open bottom came out of a common-sense issue -- the support bracket for the Enterprise model had to be able to reach up into the drydock model -- not from a design parameter. But more than that...
This is the key point. The whole idea of the latticework design of the drydock was from the beginning to show a structure that was built in space, operates in space, and stays in space. The fragile-looking (and actually fragile in the case of the model) structure is one that can exist only in the microgravity environment of Earth orbit, and not one to withstand atmospheric or surface-gravity loads. This was one of Andrew Probert's goals in designing the drydock in this way. Sure, he could have designed a beefy structure that could carry a starship up from the surface, but that's not what he wanted, and it probably wasn't what Gene Roddenberry wanted, either.
In modern maritime navigation, green lights are kept to one's right when exiting a station or harbor, but red light are kept to one's right when entering one (because the same channels are used for entry and exit, and the lights aren't changed for each ship). This has given rise to the rule of thumb "Red Right Returning."
If the opposite end of the drydock has a lighting scheme that reverses that of the near end (red lights on the left side of the image, green lights on the right), both ends would be properly lit for either entry or exit. Perhaps the access gangway assembly is mobile? It doesn't seem to connect to any other noticeably habitable part of the structure.
Even if the lighting on the opposite end is not reversed (which it should be, if that end is meant for entry), and the docking arm is not mobile, the drydock might still be used primarily as a crane. Ships entering to be lowered to ground level would still need entry lights, and ships exiting after having been raised to space would need exit lights. Ultimately, I don't think that the lights provide much information.
"AVIATION-style"? Try "NAVIGATION-style." Lights are applied to ships and docks (and buoys and bridges and etc.) so that they can be identified when the lights are all that can be seen. According to present rules (which can be extrapolated to apply to spacecraft of the future), the configurations of lights are specific, so that whatever carries the lights can be identified solely by the configuration of the lights from any point of view. Docks cannot have the same configuration of lights as any ship so that they can't be confused with a ship. However, docks have to be lit in such a way so that a ship trying to dock with it can recognize it as a dock and approach it from the correct direction at the correct angle.
Reference the photos I linked to earlier. The drydock has columns of red lights on the port side and green lights on the starboard side, and white lights along the top, bottom, and sides. The correct entry orientation would be to have the column of red lights on your left (port), the column of green lights on your right (starboard), and a row of white lights only at the top and not across the bottom or in the center. If you see any other configuration, then you're approaching the dock from the wrong direction/angle.
If the dock were a moving vehicle (in other words, a ship), it would have to have a configuration of lights like a ship, not a dock. Ships do not have columns of red/green lights. But one thing ships have that docks don't is strobes. Notice that all the travel pods and work bees, and the Enterprise itself once it's under power, have strobes. The drydock doesn't. Drydock isn't meant to be a moving vehicle -- it is a (relatively) stationary structure.
Aahz appears to be making the point that when TMP was produced, Probert, et al were making the drydock concept to match the notion of that time that starships would be built in the (naturally) zero-g and contaminent-free environment of space. While it is obviously entirely possible with TOS / TMP-era technology that you could probably argue that drydocks are capable of planetfall and payload-lifting into orbit, (Why not just beam the whole ship up from the surface into space?) it remains to be seen why a spacefaring culture would do this.
Think of all the possibilities of what you could build in space, where the is no gravity. If the drydock latticework houses low-power forcefield generators to protect the interior of the docking cradle from micrometeoroids and unwanted solar radiation, the notion of a free-floating dock in orbit offers even more appeal. A question left dangling for me is whether the NX drydock seen in ENT would have the capability as far back as the 22nd century.
Another question on my mind is how far a drydock structure could be collapsed. Remember the old Ptolemy-class transport-tug starships from Franz Joseph, and the cylindrical cargo containers he proposed mating to them? (Forbin came up with an excellent alternative in his Sultana.)I wonder if it would be possible for a drydock to be packed into one of those containers, tugged by a Ptolemy-like (or Sultana-like) starship to a remote location, and then unpacked for use. Say, maybe a derelict Federation starship (like Decker's Constellation or the Excalibur from the M-5 war games) is found in deep space, is determined to be salvageable, and this would be Starfleet's way of repairing the wrecked ship on-site. Would that seem plausible?
Enterprise was built in the San Francisco fleet yards, according to its dedication plaque; it had to get from San Francisco to orbit SOMEHOW.
The New Enterprise was built in the Riverside Shipyards in Iowa; same issue. It either entered orbit under its own power or it was lifted into orbit by specialized equipment.
That's not what I mean. In naval useage, the whole point of a dry dock is that a vessel enters the dock, is then removed from the water, refurbished, then returned to the water. Submarine drydocks will actually float ABOVE the water and lift the vessel itself; the ship enters on one side and exits on the other, same case here. The lights are pretty much irrelevant to this since there's no analogy to a "drydock" if the dock just stays in orbit the whole time.
Only if they're designed to maneuver in an atmosphere. A descending dry dock will have killed its orbital velocity and descended straight down on antigravs and then straight up again. At a descent/ascent rate of about 30mph, it would take an entire day to lower the ship to its construction yards an entire day to lift it again.
Any way you slice it, that's gotta be less hazardous that letting the ship try to land/launch by itself.
Unlike the Enterprise, the workbees, the orbital office building, and the Epsilon Nine space station?
Just sayin, we've got PLENTY of things in TMP that are designed to spend their entire operating lives in space. All of them look rather beefy and well put together. The dry dock is the only thing that ISN'T, and I don't think it's because it's a space-only structure.
Yeah, I got all that. What remains to be seen is how the presence of navigation lights in any way contradicts the dock's ability to descend to ground level.
Aircraft carriers do.
Why would the strobes be active when the dock is holding a fixed orbit? Even Enterprise' strobes don't become active until she actually begins to maneuver.
POPCORN! GET SOME POPCORN RIGHT HERE...
"Drydock" was meant to be a "throwback" term. After all, none of the ships are in water that they need to be removed from. Removal from the water was to facilitate access to the underwater portion of the hull. Ships in orbit don't need to be removed from anything in order to facilitate access to their hulls. Nor do they need to be "removed" from space into the atmosphere for service -- that's why they have all the various pieces of equipment up there -- the drydock itself, workbees, inspection/travel pods, even EVA suits with their various add-on components for servicing ships in space.
Except that, once again, the drydock structure was designed solely for operation in a microgravity environment, as are most of the ships, Enterprise included.
Funny you should mention Epsilon Nine -- the majority of its structure is latticework as well -- another space-only structure, like the drydock. The orbital office complex was also designed for space-only operation, but since its function is vastly different, so is its appearance. Even so, portions of its structure were designed (also by Probert) to have a "space-only" appearance.
As for the other ships, designers of ships often like to have form in addition to function. The Enterprise is a beautiful ship, and was designed for beauty as well as performance. And I mean performance -- high warp speed would require a beefy structure, no matter how good your integrity-field technology is. Drydock isn't going anywhere, so it doesn't need to be beefy ... or beautiful.
*ahem* Those aren't navigation lights -- those are landing lights used so pilots landing on the carrier can see the orientation of the deck in relation to their orientation. They wanna land level on the deck, don'cha know...
And interesting that you would bring up a carrier in this discussion. Aircraft approach the carrier such that the carrier's green nav light is on the right and the red nav light is on the left. Any other orientation and they're approaching the carrier incorrectly.
It's holding a fixed orbit because its SUPPOSED to hold a fixed orbit; therefore, it doesn't have strobes. You can speculate all you want, but according to the designer, Andrew Probert, it is a structure that is supposed to stay in one location in space, not go up and down to and from the Earth's surface.
Starfleet's San Francisco Fleet Yards are in geostationary orbit over San Francisco. According to the Star Trek Writer's Guide for the original series, the Enterprise's components were assembled in space.
JJ Trek is crap. They didn't think through a single thing like Roddenberry would have. But regardless, we're discussing non-reboot drydock technologies ... or at least I am, anyway...
But Enterprise was built on the ground, no matter where it was DESIGNED to operate.
Actually the majority of its structure is communications arrays and deep space antennas. Not unlike the Argus Array that appears in TNG, only alot shinier and busier looking.
Which doesn't change the overall point that there's no reason to intentionally set out to design "a structure that only functions in space" since, by definition, EVERYTHING WE'VE EVER SEEN in Star Trek fits that description. The only things that don't are shuttlecraft, which look no more suited to atmospheric flight than the space dock.
Indeed. And the lights you described on the space dock evidently serve the same purpose to aid in the docking of starships.
And yet, aircraft carriers are mobile vessels that do not have strobes or running lights like aircraft do.
Again, neither does the Enterprise when it's docked.
Unless Earth's orbital inclination has changed considerably, no it isn't. Geostationary orbits are, BY DEFINITION, equatorial orbits, and San Francisco isn't on the equator.
Either way it's still canon. More importantly, it pre-dates TMP by almost 20 years.
The correct light orientation when entering is actually the opposite of that - hence the mnemonic "Red Right Returning." Right lights are kept to starboard when entering a port or drydock; green lights are kept to starboard when exiting.
That's not entirely true. Floating dry docks (AFDs in U.S. Navy classification) are ships that are capable of partial flooding to embark ships for remote dry dock repairs. They also have columns of red and green navigational lights, like those used on the TMP dry dock. In this photo, the navigational lights can be seen at the upper corners, behind the rows of decorative and working lights.
Let's remember here that "drydock" is a fan designation for the facility, not something we could observe being used by Starfleet either in dialogue or in onscreen writing.
For all we know, the facilities shown in ST:TMP, ST2, ST:GEN and VOY "Relativity" are officially designated "wetdocks" exactly because they expose the ship to the water-analogue of starship operations...
^ Perhaps not. If the latticework of the TMP dock utilizes forcefields to screen out micrometeoroids and harmful solar and/or cosmic radiation, it would be providing a controlled environment for shipbuilding/refit operations. This would put the "dry" in the dock.
No, as I already indicated in my earlier post, Enterprise was built in space. This was established long ago by Gene Roddenberry himself. You can argue the point all you want, but you can't change what's already been determined by the Great Bird.
True that, yet nevertheless the drydock was designed specifically for that look, and the function of the drydock was specifically to be a space-only construction/repair facility. Again, no amount of arguing will change that.
Hardly. It's one thing entirely to bring a ship into a dock at a slow speed, needing only left/right orientation and angle (and up/down in the case of spaceships), but its another thing entirely to land a plane on a carrier deck at full speed, needing precision flightpath and roll angle information.
Also true, but I didn't make that up, and you're not the first to point out the technical discrepancy. However, the fan community has more-or-less determined that the San Francisco Fleet Yards are in geostationary orbit at the same longitude as San Francisco. Regardless, the Fleet Yards are in space, and Enterprise was assembled there, JJ Trek notwithstanding.
I do official declare it the DRY, not the WET dock.
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