Shields used to create aerodynamic bubble for ships in atmosphere.

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Charles Markov, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. Charles Markov

    Charles Markov Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    The other day I was watching the original series after just finishing a book on the development of jet fighters. Immediately on seeing the good old brick shuttle I though something along the lines of "holy cow that things must handle like a misshapen brick when flying through a planets atmosphere.

    Promptly I began to think how many ships in science fiction in general have very bad aerodynamic shapes that would not work well in an atmosphere. I then began to wonder how these craft would be capable of flying through a planets atmosphere if they were so horribly streamlined.

    The only explanation I can think of has to do with shields. Specifically the idea that formed in my head was that perhaps a shuttle or Starfighter. Depending on the universe. Could configure its shields to make the ship more aerodynamic. Perhaps by forming a bullet shape around the vehicle which the air would strike rather than the ship itself. Thus allowing for a very boxy and clunky ship to still manage to take off and land in a planets atmosphere without being a major pain in the backside to fly.

    I'm not sure if any universe has dealt with such a concept, given the wealth of science fiction universes, and Trek in particular, I would not be at all surprised if such an idea has already been developed. But hey I had an idea and thought why not write something about it.
     
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  2. Santaman

    Santaman Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why bother when you have engines that are as powerful as what is mounted on starships/shuttles, to make a real life example, the MiG 25 also is a flying nickel alloy brick and yet it is one of the fastest aircraft ever made because it has enormous engines.

    On ICBM's they use a so called aerospike which reduces drag.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag-reducing_aerospike
     
  3. DSG2k

    DSG2k Commander Red Shirt

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    Aerodynamic shield configurations are a thing in the TNG TM crash sequence, IIRC, albeit not referenced in Generations. However, there is canon reference to an emergency drogue field on shuttles, which would seem to replicate the drogue chute of aircraft.

    http://www.st-v-sw.net/archive/TApathways.html
     
  4. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't believe novels are considered canon
     
  5. DSG2k

    DSG2k Commander Red Shirt

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    Taylor's were, at least until the Viacom split, though they were ignored by some licensees.

    I have a ton on this at CanonWars.com.
     
  6. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    AeroDynamic Atmospheric Shields are the only explanation for the speeds / turn rates / acceleration of such un-aerodynamic Shuttles / StarShips

    If you understand the Sears Haack-Body, then you can understand why a shielding of that shape around a vessel would allow it to travel incredibly fast with very little wave drag
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sears–Haack_body
     
  7. Takeru

    Takeru Space Police Fleet Captain

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    No, they were never canon, she as a writer/producer for the show decided to treat them as canon which is every tv writers prerogative but tnat doesn't make them canon.

    They have antigrav technology and incredibly powerful engines, they don't need aerodynamics, the shuttles just float upwards and then plow through the atmosphere as if it's nothing.
     
  8. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If the shields adsorb impact, then the shield configuration cannot create lift and drag.

    Lift is from air moving across a surface, which will not happen if air is stopped cold as it strikes a shield.
     
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  9. Charles Markov

    Charles Markov Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I was imagining something like a modified navigational deflector that pushed air around the shuttle. If this was the case then you could conceivably alter the field into an aerodynamic shape.
     
  10. psCargile

    psCargile Captain Captain

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    I came to same conclusion several years ago. But for Star Wars.
     
  11. Charles Markov

    Charles Markov Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    That would be even more necessary given how blocky the ships are. Looking at you Y wing.
     
  12. DSG2k

    DSG2k Commander Red Shirt

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    That's a very inaccurate description of the situation. Their canonicity was decided by her, acknowledged by Berman's office, publicized at StarTrek.com, acknowledged by licensees and liaisons thereto, et cetera.

    Again, I have written on this at length and debated it repeatedly, so if you are going to make challenge about it I request a familiarity with the particulars.

    Rockets may not need the wings of an aircraft since they just plow their way out of the atmosphere, but they still have aerodynamic stabilization fins.

    To be sure, when the "antigrav thrusters" are working then having large shield-based aerodynamic surfaces is literally a drag, and whether or not such a thing is used would be a question of relative power cost, tactical needs insofar as having a small shield envelope, and so on.

    But it certainly makes sense to have the option in your toolkit if you have the means, which Starfleet does.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly.
     
  14. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    You do know that the Federation isn't a wasteful inefficient culture, they'll do everything in it's power to make everything as efficient as possible.
     
  15. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    What could possibly make you think that?
     
  16. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    Oh, I dunno. Watching TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT, DSC and seeing tech get more efficient over time while making sure it works as it's supposed to.

    Seeing them seek technological improvements / progress for everything.
     
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  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But quite possibly at the cost of making everything more wasteful. I mean, jet fighters trump prop fighters in pretty much everything else but economy. Ditto for tanks vs. horses, or assault rifles vs. bows and arrows.

    Remarkably, nobody in post-TOS Star Trek was concerned about efficiency - only about effectiveness, which often is the very opposite thing. We know replicators consume the resources of a starship, sometimes significantly so (cf. malfunctions and emergencies), yet our heroes as a rule apply the technology utterly frivolously. There is never any mention of trying to avoid wasting of resources - to the contrary, entire starships are thrown away if this saves a single life. And there's no such thing as fuel economy in Starfleet, not when it comes to choices of course or speed. Which incidentally makes it all the more natural for Janeway to get in trouble with the very issue eventually, in her super-exceptional circumstances.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    You gotta remember, is it practical to have to stop by to resupply on food stores every few weeks (ergo traveling back or having a ship come out to meet you)? Or being able to generate your own food stores via Food Replicator, generic matter in storage tanks, and just continuing on the mission to get it done ASAP.

    Same with Weapons, if you don't win, all the economy / savings in the world doesn't matter if you end up losing.

    There's a bare minimum standard of tech that you need (ergo winning / surviving) before you consider efficiency.

    Same with saving lives, especially of your own people, what good is all this fancy tech / StarShip / Crew if it can't save the lives of your own folks. Forget outsiders / Non-StarFleet / Non-Federation for a moment. If you can't even save your own people, then it doesn't really matter since your gear isn't good enough to do your job and all the efficiency / savings in the world won't matter because you failed your task that you were charged with. StarFleet needs to be able to take care of itself and it's own Citizenry / Territory before it can worry about outsiders.
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    That may not be the case given they all appear to be fly-by-wire where the computer is doing the flight stability. If you want a real world example of flying a brick through the atmosphere, look at a hobby RC acrobatic drone where most of their frames are rectangular slabs with arms. Yet they are remarkably stable and will hold attitude when flying at speed because of their high thrust-to-weight ratio and flight stability software.

    Translate that into our classic boxy TOS shuttle with ion engine power and thrust (capable of traveling from planet surface to outer space) that flight handling in the atmosphere shouldn't be a problem at all, IMHO.
     
  20. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    The F-4 Phantom was literally Engine Thrust Power overcoming bad Aerodynamics with patchwork features in it's design to allow it to fly.