Enterprise-D shuttlebays

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Wingsley, Jul 3, 2016.

  1. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    I have some questions regarding the Enterprise-D, and all Galaxy-class starships in TNG and beyond.

    My questions have to do with the shuttlecraft hangars, facilities and whatever craft are housed there.

    IIRC, there is supposed to be a shuttle bay house in the "neck", the upper-most part of the secondary hull near the Battle Bridge and where the "neck" connects to the saucer-section. Is this bay a fully functioning shuttle bay, and does it include hangar facilities to house dormant shuttlecraft and other small space vehicles? If so, where are these facilities located, and how large are they? Is this the only bay available for the stardrive section when it is separated from the saucer?

    How many bays does the entire Galaxy-class starship have? How many does each section of the ship have while separated?

    Is there any indication that there would be enough room in the combined hangars for the ship to house "worker bee"-type craft for repairing the starship in case it is damaged while isolated on the frontier?

    Has there ever been any indication in canon about how many starship personnel are assigned to man these bays and hangars, maintain all the small craft there, and manage traffic control?

    I recall that in "Contagion", Captain Donald Varley of the U.S.S. Yamato said that 18 people were killed when a forcefield in an open shuttlebay shut down, presumably exposing Yamato crew people to open space. Is this an indication of how many people typically work in at least one shuttle bay?

    We've seen that, when starship personnel enter the launch-bay section of such a facility, they enter through heavy doors. Does this imply that ingress-egress at these points is controlled by an airlock?

    Has there ever been any indication of how many travel pods or other very small dockyard-style craft are carried by a Galaxy-class ship?
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The neck has two side-by-side doors, one wider than the other. Behind these are the supposed Shuttlebays 2 and 3. In fact, these are the bays we actually see from the inside in the various TNG episodes featuring shuttlebay action. There's a big "2" or "3" painted on the floor of the set, varying from ep to ep. Sometimes this is consistent with which bay is supposed to be on which side (as per exterior views of shuttles departing), sometimes not.

    Both facilities are the size of the "shuttlebay/cargo hold" set, although we can pretend one is larger than the other by turning a blind eye on certain camera angles (we have to play pretend with the width of the door"s" anyway). There's enough room there for both the Type 6 and Type 15 props simultaneously, or for a guest craft prop next to a hero one; in theory, the bay could perhaps hold four or five of these craft while still leaving some room for the outermost to depart. There is no adjoining "hangar" above or below, or at least there are no hatch seams visible. Nor is there a side door large enough to accommodate even the smaller shuttlepods.

    What ops can be performed on the craft is unknown. There are tractor beams available, on pedestals and apparently on booms just outside the door. Apart from that, all we ever see is cargo and passenger loading/offloading, plus diagnostics using tricorders or smallish plug-in instruments. Fueling takes place by unknown means, perhaps even in other facilities altogether - there's no dialogue mention of such.

    Three bays are labeled, Bay 1 being atop the saucer and going with it in separation. Bays 2 and 3 remain with the stardrive section. No shuttlecraft action from the stardrive section has taken place after separation, at least not on screen; the saucer bay launched the shuttle that rescued Picard/Locutus in "BoBW" after separation.

    No dialogue hints at a fourth bay. OTOH, some cargo holds open directly to space and could obviously be used as shuttlebays.

    OTTH, all the shuttlebay and cargo bay sets have a perfectly vertical rectangular door, even though the ship has no vertical outer surfaces. No part of the ship is ever seen through the doors. This would only be possible if we assume all the bays are angled so that their vertical walls match the slanted ones of the outer hull - something of a problem when there's no angle between the bays and the corridors adjoining them! MSDs portray horizontal decks, not slanted ones, and window rows agree.

    Bay 1 could hold the Millennium Falcon if need be, and has an unknown internal structure, thus lacking known obstacles to "beehives". Bays 2 and 3 are typically seen fairly extensively and at most house two craft, never a workbee or a hive.

    Save for "The Child", where Bay 3 launches a shuttle through an air curtain and several personnel stand around in regular uniforms, operating consoles or spectating, the bays are empty at all times - except when people are embarking, disembarking or performing maintenance. Doesn't mean there wouldn't be unseen people at those upper-level control booths that didn't yet exist for real in "The Child". Their presence for monitoring a launch or a recovery is never indicated to be mandatory, though.

    No separate personnel for traffic control are mentioned; Data comments on departures and arrivals, including unauthorized ones. But the people departing without permission all are capable of fooling personnel in addition to machinery - they may have legitimate user privileges or the skills to fake those - so a clean getaway is no proof of the bay having been empty of personnel.

    There are no statistics to favor any particular number over another, except for flat zero - heroes typically confront unauthorized users or other shuttle-related mysteries solo, making good dramatic use of the vastness of the empty space to heighten the tension.

    We clearly see there are no double doors. Forcefield air curtains are extensively used for the outer doors, though, so a backup airtight inner door makes good sense. An air curtain is in practice a "single-door airlock", of course.

    None, alas. We hear of transporters numbering in the dozens, but small craft are never counted. We can get estimates of overall small craft capacity from the evacuation scenario in "Ensigns of Command", but that probably doesn't tell us anything about the smallest craft, incapable of taking passengers and possibly even unsuited to transatmospheric ops.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The TMP/TWOK travel pods were presumably replaced by better transporters, or the more versatile shuttlepods.

    The Enterprise's main shuttlebay was also - presumably - large enough to carry at least three Runabouts, as these were offloaded during Emissary. It's possible they were stored in one of the large cargo bays I suppose, but the Enterprise seems to retain at least one Runabout herself - used by Picard and company in Timescape. All indications are that the main shuttlebay is a vast complex.
     
  4. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    I'm stunned that nobody seems to think there's an unseen hangar(s) connected to the two bays in the stardrive section. I wonder if there's any room in the adjoining volume of that hull to at least house unused craft, parts, and a maintenance shop. I'd like to think that such a hangar exists in order to make the smaller bays useful in the event of saucer-sep.
     
  5. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    In Shane (Lora) Johnson's Star Trek TNG Technical Journal, there is a diagram of Shuttlebay two which has three maintenance bays concealed by "Bulkhead Doors" which presumably are wall sections which slide down to reveal the space. Though I don't recall anything on screen to back this up. But it's a cool idea.

    I also would propse that the inner vertical door is of a smaller frame and is inset of the slanted outer doors. Though this too is not indicated by any shot on screen (and I'm willing to bet is contradicted) but it's easy for me to squint and imagine it's that way.

    --Alex
     
  6. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    Is it my imagination, or is the "shuttle bay" TNG set two decks tall?
     
  7. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Correct. Although the outer door is only 1 deck tall!
     
  8. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    What height are the doors on the Enterprise-D, externally?
     
  9. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Probably a match vertically, but they appear bigger as they are on a slant.
    However, it offers a very low margin for clearance on anything but a shuttlepod.

    Remember those nice big Flight Deck doors on the original Enterprise? :-)
     
  10. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I hated the shuttlebay scenes in TNG- those vertical doors ruined any sense of being on that actual ship. I just wish once- in any of the seven years or the film, they could have shown the main shuttlebay aside from that brief exterior shot in 'Cause and Effect'/ It was a massive bay that would have looked awesome on screen, even as an establishing matte shot.
     
  11. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    I wonder if anything could be done today using CGI...
     
  12. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It has been recreated at least once in CGI- there was a wonderful animated walk through which was posted a while back. It was based on the blueprint set with the massive center structure several decks high and the outside edges filled with storage alcoves for different types of shuttles.
     
  13. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is it, I believe

     
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  14. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    Yep, that's it.

    Now, I wonder if anything could be done with a smaller shuttle bay in the secondary hull, maybe including the Battle Bridge and/or Engineering.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Since the inner door is significantly smaller than the larger of the outer ones, this could almost work, and I'm thus willing to do the squint as well. Perhaps both outer doors hide an identical inner bay, but the broader one (#3, starboard) additionally covers a narrow bay for workbees or a personnel airlock or whatever?

    The shot from "The Child" cannot be explained this way, as it reveals a sheer unobstructed drop from the lip of the "inner" bay door. Perhaps this is in fact the inner door of Cargo Bay 3, as opposed to that of Shuttlebay 3, and the outer doors are the fan-type ones at the bottom of the secondary hull?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For me, I'm popping for weirdly reflective surfaces on parts of the outside of the ship. The door frames each side (and below) of the outer door are there, but you can't see them because they are reflecting the starfield!
    Also, it is far brighter inside the ship than out - that has to make vision deception at times, right?
    Anyone buying this?
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    A mirror for checking out whether you picked up a clean shuttle this morning? A great idea - and might explain why so many shuttles change appearances between launch and actual flight (the heroes caught their mistake in time and made a swift corrective swap).

    What's missing is the actual reflection of the shuttle on these putative mirrors...

    Timo Saloniemi