Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Praetor, Aug 18, 2013.
^ In fairness, they did much the same thing to the Reliant.
Stop looking at it!
I...can't...It's like a train wreck!
Leave my poor Pregnant Guppy alone!
Guys, I've reached an impasse with the warp core and really need your help. I've concocted five options that I'd like your opinions on - which do you think is the most likely/logical?
Option One, the traditional/deflection crystal placed version:
This version has a warp core that basically works just like the TMP intermix chamber, although I haven't shown the reactor that I think would "actually" exist at the bottom of the chamber.
Option Two, the "Crazy Eddie," which is how I interpreted his suggestion (thanks, pal):
This one puts a short, vertical reactor core from the top of the hump to the ventral, and would have power transfer conduits branching directly into the pylons, as well (possibly) as one going up to the deflection crystals.
Option Three, the "Sternbach," which basically follows TNG-onward core placement thought:
This one actually makes the chasm be directly related to the core functions - potentially containing the reactor itself. The PTC arrangement needs exploring (and I haven't got one going up to the impulse engines in this sample.)
Option Four, another take on the "Crazy Eddie" but this time putting the core horizontally:
This has the benefit of allowing the core to be slightly larger, and potentially allowing the engine core to be ejected in the "humpback" assembly.
Option Five, another take on Option One:
This is basically the TNG-friendly version of Option One; the warp core is entirely contained in the secondary hull, as well as roughly equal in height, with a PTC connecting to the impulse engines and to the nacelle pylons.
Any of these (except for as noted with V1/V5) could work with either the TMP style reactor or the TNG style reactor, IMO. I just read in the other thread where 137th Gebring suggested that the ship may've had two warp cores/intermix shafts, indicated by the dual deflection crystals. This is a concept I'd not considered before, but could work as an interpretation of Option One.
So, what does everyone think? Are there any placement options I've missed?
When I did some deck plans, I basically used Option 5, with the neck full of deuterium tankage. I think One and Five both work well, and I could easily see 5 being a 'modernized' version of One, using the same space but cutting it off at the saucer. That's if you want to go traditional; the horizontal 'Crazy Eddie' is very creative and I kind of like it given how different it is. There's no reason a warp core has to be vertical, after all.
1 and 5 seems more consistent in application if you're trying to keep it similar to the Constitutions, IMHO. Also, the Hathaway in TNG appeared to have only a single warp core in a vertical orientation despite everything being doubled up on the Constellations.
But given how flat the mid-to-stern section is on the Excelsior's engineering hull, what if the warp core was horizontal in the engineering hull and then branched up into the hump? That way the top of the core is still pointing forward toward the front/impulse engines.
I'm glad you bring up the neck. I've always struggled to assign a function to the grill around it, which also appears in lesser form where the pylon humpback meets the spine of the engineering hull. It seems like it would perform some heat dissipation function - which to me points towards some major heat-generating equipment being in the neck, and some of lesser extent in the humpback.
On the other hand, maybe it's not radiators, maybe it's some sort of wacky Starfleet experiment in flexible hull connections? But then, how do you explain its presence on the Ambassador class?
The one problem with the horizontal core in the humpback, to me, is that you're going to have to pump the matter and antimatter fairly far to get it there... unless the pod contains highly concentrated small bottles.
That's where I keep drifting. And I was just thinking that the Constellation core might be what the Excelsior core "really" looked like.
Great suggestion! I therefore give you...
While I was working on that, I came up with a second version of Option 3 that seems a little less convoluted:
I'm still fairly undecided.
I personally think it's some sort of sensor, possibly connected to the advanced warp drive. While the grill does sort of look like a terrestrial radiator, its ridged nature would actually make it a pretty horrible radiator in space because the ridges would just radiate heat onto each other. The Ambassador retained it in a smaller form, and presumably by the time the Galaxy came around it was once again unnecessary.
Moving antimatter around would be inconvenient for the horizontal core, unless it's right there in the flat part directly underneath the hump. There's no particular reason it has to be down in the very bottom of the ship, especially since the cut-in takes up so much space (which is why I don't think the deuterium tank is down there either). The matter is less of a problem since it doesn't vaporize the entire ship if something goes wrong and pumping around cryogenic fluids is a relatively mild inconvenience.
Personally, I prefer option 6 with the long horizontal warp core. No specific reason, though.
As for the neck grill, keep in mind that the same feature is repeated in the warp nacelles and under the hump. I can understand the artistic reasons for it, tying the entire design together, but I'm at a loss for assigning a practical reason for it.
I'd go for Option 4. The humpback has qualities of the deuterium tanks envisioned for the Enterprise-D, though I'd imagine the antimatter pods to be located in the bow part of the humpback.
Reason for this speculation is that during a head-on confrontation / attack the neck of the Excelsior, the saucer hull and the protruding impulse engine section would probably serve as a good mechanical shield protecting such antimatter pods.
Another reason is the obvious design similarity to the engine pod of the Oberth Class. While I believe we are essentially looking at a pre-TOS design with the Oberth, I have no reason to doubt that the humpback on its engineering pod is a mid-23rd Century upgrade (or a genuine mid-23rd Century design for those that disagree with my theory).
But regardless, I think any theory needs to be compatible with this screenshot from ST III, and the images we could see before (didn't we see part of a vertical intermix shaft?)
The TOS references in "The Apple" and "The Savage Curtain" only suggested the discarding of the warp nacelles while in "That Which Survives" the ejection of the "engineering core" in the engineering hull seemed to be the solution if all else failed.
On the Excelsior it would appear you could do both if the necessity ever arose. You jettison the humpback matter-antimatter module and/or the warp nacelles.
So, I hit the jackpot yesterday.
I stumbled across this site, where the blogger posted some fantastic reference drawings of the Enterprise-B version of the ship which appear to be highly, highly accurate. He doesn't seem to know where they came from He speculates they were model drawings for "Generations," but that doesn't make a ton of sense to me; they look more like the results of an in-depth analysis of the model, maybe around the time she was auctioned off.
Among the gold nuggets present there:
Looks to be completely accurate. Woot. That'll come help in rendering that area. Also confirms the location of the mounting arm inside the pod from below.
Great points and I'm inclined to agree... perhaps these are "flow sensors" of some sort.
Generally, I'm beginning to think that having the warp core in the humpback is an even bigger liability than having a long power transfer conduit.
GREAT CATCH, thank you! I had completely forgotten about this. Previously, I had thought of this shot from TUC that seems to happen aboard the Excelsior, but it's not completely clear.
We see the Excelsior hit with a torpedo and the bridge crew thrown around, then cut back the the Enteprise for Uhura's reaction and see the hull burn of the Excelsior on the Enterprise bridge screen. The next scene is crewmen running down a hallway closing a blast door, and then the engineering room door coming down, but it's unclear whether we are still on the Enterprise or back on Excelsior. I've always assumed Excelsior, simply because the Enterprise wasn't hit immediately afterward. OTOH, it's possible that this is just the result of earlier hits.
To me, regardless whether we saw the Excelsior warp core or not, it doesn't make much sense to me to have a TNG style warp core on the Enterprise but not the Excelsior.
Back to TSFS, we definitely see a divider section in a TMP-style warp core on Excelsior there. If we wanted to, we could pretend it's not "really" a TMP style core, but I think we're still stuck with some form of vertical core component.
I have long thought the same thing. The Excelsior's design is actually highly modular.
So I think I've whittled down the contestants to two:
Option One, the Classic:
Advantages: traditional, straightforward, lines up with deflection crystals
Disadvantages: long PTC, doesn't make tons of sense for a TNG-style core
Option Two, the vertical Crazy Eddie:
Advantages: short PTC to engines, potential ease of access for repairs and modernization
Disadvantages: short core height possibly implausible for such a big ship
Option Three, the Sternbach:
Advantages: easily suits the TNG-style core and TMP core, keeps reactor out of the saucer, allows for potential easy upgrades and plausibility via engineering hull chasm
Disadvantages: requires the lower bay to not just be a shuttlebay and convoluted PTC strurcture might negate the shuttlebay altogethe
Surprisingly (especially to myself) I seem to be leaning towards Option Three, but I'm still drawn to the simplicity of Option One.
By the way, I realized in more closely examining some photos of the TSFS vs TUC version of the ship that to properly align with the original (undisputed) deflection crystal, the core actually needs to be shifted forward slightly, like this:
That's not a new image, it just happens to closely match Option Five.
I can't help but feel that getting caught up in a TMP-style vs. TNG-style argument is going to end up being counterproductive. Any resemblances between 2290s and 2360s cores might appear closer than they actually are.
Still, what do we know about the TMP core? We know from Mr. Probert that it was essentially envisioned as a big power transfer conduit, without reactions actually occurring in it. This could tell us that there were reactors either in the nacelles or in the secondary hull somewhere, and the same might apply for Excelsior.
However, Mr. Sternbach postulates on the Voyager's similarly styled core that the whole core is an intermix chamber lined with dilithium, with reactions occurring throughout. It's interesting to think that the TMP-style design might not fully utilized its potential, later being fully fulfilled on Voyager.
I think, also, that during this era hull separation was not considered to be a standard operating procedure, and therefore it would probably be acceptable that the warp core wouldn't work anymore if the ship separated.
So, what are our possibilities?
TMP style warp core in the Enterprise-A and Excelsior, ignoring the reuse of the TNG core, where the TMP core is just a PTC and the reaction happens in a specific, central location not seen onscreen.
TMP style warp core in the Enterprise-A and Excelsior, ignoring the reuse of the TNG core, where the TMP core actually is the intermix chamber, lined with dilithium a la Voyager.
TNG style warp core in the Enterprise-A and Excelsior, indicating a potential shift in technology during this time, possibly pioneered by Excelsior.
TNG resembling warp core in the Enterprise-A and Excelsior that mostly works like the "swirl" core (# 2) but also has a single, central reactor chamber in main engineering.
It's probably worth noting that the engine core of the 80-year-old Hathaway, which was a mothballed contemporary of Excelsior, pretty clearly seems to have a proto-TNG core. (I don't believe we saw the red PTCs leading away from it though.)
Here's a question or thought:
The TMP vertical intermix shaft had a physical horizontal shaft connected to it. The TNG vertical intermix shaft (or warp core) in TUC also had a physical shaft connected to it (the way it was filmed, there was only one visible shaft.)
Were there any physical shafts connected to Voyager's warp core?
Supposedly, there were unseen horizontal leads that led to the pylons and nacelles, but they're not seen in either the MSD or on the set itself. There are panels on the pylons that are meant to trace their path.
I have to bring up a question: What is the external structure of the neck for?
Compared to the other starship designs it's rather unusual. The Excelsior design apparently has not only "space-energy/matter sinks" around the warp nacelles (like Enterprise and Reliant) but also covering the entire neck.
I could believe that the objects we see in the neck are the "space-energy field attraction sensors" (usually around the navigational deflector of the TMP Enterprise) and the entire outer neck actually consists of these sinks.
The neck could just mostly be the storage space for deuterium to either fuel the impulse engines above or the M/AM reaction further to the stern.
If you look at the Sternbach option we might be looking at the reaction point between the matter reactants in the neck and the antimatter pods in the humpback.
Of course we'd still have a horizontal intermix shaft.
Then what's that vertical segment we saw in ST III? Possibly a shaft leading to the bottom, powering the transwarp components of the Excelsior in ST III and in the chasm (and Scotty is just leaving this section with the vital transwarp circuits concealed in his pockets).
I guess the leads would be on a different deck of engineering not portrayed by the voyager filming sets. Just trying to line up the differences.
Okay, this isn't based on anything, but I like the idea of a TNG warp core for the Excelsior, seeing as how the warp nacelles share more design elements with the Enterprise D. And in my private continuity, transwarp WAS a success, and became integrated as the new standard in the TNG era.
Not necessarily that "private". I just went over my TNG materials and back in the late 1980's there was a fanzine that somehow had gotten access to genuine Art Department materials, including sketches of Andrew Probert etc.
Sometimes these looked like a copy of a copy of a copy but there are apparently genuine screen schematics from the bridge (e.g. Picard's command chair schematics) and one of those shows the Enterprise-D on a schematic that reads "transwarp". It's very reminiscent of the transwarp schematics from Shane Johnson's Scott's Guide to the (TMP) Enterprise from ST IV.
I'm definitely in favor of option 1, with my own personal bias for a dual core, based on the crystal layout.
Speaking of Option 1, why is it that the shaft has to be straight? According to Option 1, the antimatter pods would be just right above the navigational deflector, correct?
Do we have some unwritten trek-no-logical law that says "structures running through angled necks of starships always have to be vertical"?
Why don't we have an angled shaft (running through the neck) that could conveniently lead past the nav deflector and down to the antimmater pods at the bottom of the engineering hull.
As a matter of fact, we do have a hatch structure there (the cover plate for the mounting rod) that could just be the loading hatch for the antimatter pods.
P.S. Corrected my erroneous observation in post 214. Do we have a good explanation of the gridded structures covering the neck?
According to those model blueprints I linked upthread, when the model was built the little things in the recesses were intended to be weapons, but it was later decided (for TUC) they were tractor beam emitters. In "Generations" it looks like a workbee is flying away from the port one on the B, but there's no logical hatch there where it could dock. (However, an airlock would be logical there. It just doesn't fit the detail.)
I've always supposed them to be potential "megaphaser" emplacements to match the Reliant's roll bar units. In my thinking, they could draw power right from the warp engines, but it's very likely that on most ships of the class they were not used, since we never once see them fired. So on most ships, it was probably just an extra place where external-facing hardware could be mounted.
The grills themselves, I don't think we've ever had a logical explanation for. It's worth noting they also appear in lesser form at the base of the "humpback."
An intriguing notion. I'm still not sold on having the neck be tankage - but the idea of some combination of flow sensors and matter intakes (where what I'd previously supposed to be megaphasers was) is rather appealing.
That was indeed was I was kind of thinking with the Sternbach option, although in this version I think I was thinking the reactor would be in the pod, and the pod would provide easy access to 3 of 4 sides of it for service.
Well, you make a great point - engineering doesn't have to be where the PTCs lead off. That means engineering could actually be higher up in the neck somewhere, maybe the actual mid-point if it's a TNG-style core to better fit that paradigm. Then the PTC could go vertically down a couple decks before going aft horizontally.
See, that was along the lines of my thinking, but narratively I was trying to have it both ways: transwarp was a success in the sense that it allowed warp drive to be reinvented, but the actual goal of transwarp (the breaking of the transwarp barrier) was never achieved. It's my way of sidestepping "Threshold."
Fascinating... it'd be interesting to see that. I seem to remember reading that Mike Okuda told Shane Johnson that he could modify his TVH graphics to include the word transwarp because at the time there was no reason to think transwarp wasn't successful... but at some point during TNG pre-production it was decided to drop the term. I presume it was because it was deemed confusing and not directly linear from TOS. Also, Roddenberry may have disliked that it came from movies he didn't wholly approve of.
At the moment, I'm 50/50 on the dual core notion. The one reason why I'm not totally sold is that originally she had the great big crystal before the dual ones. I suppose you could make the argument that one big fancy warp core got replaced with two, less fancy ones...
Correct - right near the bow of the secondary hull, really.
Well, I think the one thing working against it is precedent. Plus we do know we have some sort of horizontal segment there somewhere. Although, for the Sternbach option, I was thinking the same thing about the mounting rod hatch.
Honestly, at the moment I'm leaning towards Option One, with a horizontal core and a slightly more complicated than necessary PTC arrangement. I'll play with it a bit this evening.
Separate names with a comma.