Travel Pod - with a booster???

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Robert Comsol, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    That's an interesting issue you are touching here.

    • In TMP it seemed like Scotty was manually steering the pod or at least making occasional course adjustments
    • In TWOK it looked like Sulu and/or Uhura were making occasional adjustments
    • However, in TVH it really looks like they are all just standing without anybody interacting with the pod's controls. ;)
    Bob

    Update: In TVH it was the first time they attached an "Operating Instructions" label onto the "door".

    Lee Cole made several of such labels for TMP and those were recreated (i.e. not accurately reproduced) in the TMP Peel-Off-Graphics Book.

    If you wondered what it said on this blue label, I'm confident this it what it said:

    [​IMG]

    Of course, this instruction label was designed for the turbo lifts but some passages read like it could also pass for a travel pod (and most of us didn't get a better and closer look, anyway).

    Had the set decorators intended to pass these doors as something else (cover hatch for space suits or engine components) they could have theoretically used other and more appropriate label leftovers.

    Possibly the set decorators thought they'd be dealing with the previous travel pod, while the VFX guys in post-production thought of the new and extended version, instead.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2013
  2. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    Those are very cool pictures. Thanks for posting and keeping in touch with Mr. Probert. :)
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Modifying the pod is just one of those dumb wastes of money that so often happens in movie series. You have a perfectly good miniature and someone changes it just to change it.

    That's not to say they didn't shoot angles where you could see more of the exterior. What you see in a movie is tiny fraction of what is shot, after all. And you can see parts of the exterior in some shots (notice the blank nothing off to the side).
     
  4. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    While I don't mind the modification to create yet another variation, I don't either like the fact that the alteration is at the expense of the original designer and model builder and - worse - we never got to see the original model on display. :(

    Nevertheless, the modification was on display but now, I'd at least like to get a good look at the entire back of the modified travel pod.

    Yes, the upper part was built so you could see parts of the exterior.
    I just found it noticable that the part below the windshield wasn't just "flat" with structures painted on but instead carefully prepared to accomodate the real size grid structure and forward lights. Probably one of those last minute decisions not to finish that detailing. Maybe some real forward lights would have caused problems for the shooting cameras?

    Bob
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The original design was to have the lighted "waistband" as a single unbroken band, as Andy can tell you. Later the louvres were added to break it up. It's possible the live action was shot before the design was changed rather than some deliberate decision not to finish the detailing.
     
  6. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    I think I rather prefer the original personally, without the "booster." I always rather liked how the original unit was designed to dock in a flush manner with the airlocks.
     
  7. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Personally, I liked the concept but thought the execution was way off. Not that anyone at the time could have done better (it's not like there was a lot of knowledge floating around in 1978 about docking mechanisms) but the travel pod design seems potentially problematic on a number of levels:

    1) No exterior windows or ports in the rear of the pod, which means it is impossible to manually dock the travel pod in an emergency.

    2) No assistance rails; if the pod is just a couple of inches out of alignment with the hatch, if the angle is slightly wrong or if one of the passengers makes some kind of sudden movement during the approach, the docking rings will bump each other and the pod will have to set up again. It's a bit like trying to plug a cable into a USB port at the end of a three foot stick.

    3) Sliding doors.

    It's a cool idea and all, just really REALLY impractical in the real-world sense. I actually think the docking ports on NX-01 did a better job of reflecting realistic functionality, but they have the benefit of being designed when knowledge of real-world docking mechanisms is public domain.
     
  8. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    Agree with (1) and (2), but since the sliding doors retract into the parent craft and actually strengthen the link between the two vessels, isn't that a good thing?
     
  9. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No.

    There's a lot of very small things that can go wrong with a sliding door that presents a very big problem in an emergency or even in day-to-day use. This is especially problematic if the travel pod has to try and dock with a spacecraft that is old or damaged and the sliding clearance for the doors may be even slightly compromised by corrosion or warping of the metal; one little dent in the track or one corroded beating means the doors may not open or close all the way, which would prevent the pod from safely leaving at all until somebody takes apart the damn bulkhead just to free up the doors.

    A hinged door is just plain safer, especially since it is easier to open and close a hinged door by hand; the travel pod's doors don't even have handles and are polished metal, so good luck forcing them open in a power failure and FORGET about forcing them back closed again.
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    @ Crazy Eddie

    No offense, but to me it looks like you're trying to apply 20th Century experience to arrive at 23rd Century conclusions.

    For all we know these (semi-automated?) travel pods operate mostly or exclusively in secure environments where these problems you are describing will hardly ever or never occur.

    Bob
     
  11. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    I think that's a given - you couldn't even get out of one unless it was docked with something!

    However, we saw Spock's shuttle use the same docking system. Did it also have another exit though?
     
  12. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which, if those ports were designed exclusively for use by travel pods, would be one thing.

    But they're not. It's implied to be a standard docking attachment used by every small craft in the fleet, so it wouldn't be limited to just travel pods. Arguably, the larger shuttles might have rear windows or cameras that would make manual docking a bit less impossible, but the other issues -- the alignment problem and the sliding doors -- remain an issue.

    More to the point, this is a thread discussing the fact that the travel pod's aft hatch was removed and replaced with some kind of propulsion system, so evidently the door isn't that useful of a feature in the first place. I actually think the ship's main shuttlebay is probably a better choice for the arrival and departure of shuttlecraft, since it's much easier to control the things that can potentially go wrong in an emergency. Starfleet apparently feels the same way, since we never see anyone use a travel pod in this way after TWOK.
     
  13. Mytran

    Mytran Commodore Commodore

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    The docking rings were introduced (according to Mr Scott's Guide To The Enterprise) to reduce wear and tear on the pressurisation ducts and speed up deliveries.

    Sadly, this concept is undermined by the use of magic forcefields seen in the very same movie, with spacecraft freely moving in and out of the open space doors of the shuttlebay.
     
  14. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    @ Crazy Eddie

    I'm not sure there is a problem aligning any vehicle with a docking ring with the docking port of a ship or station. The vehicle's docking ring has a few dozen clamps that will "feel" their way into the docking port openings.

    @ Mytran

    The TMP shuttlecraft also had an extra door or hatch IIRC. Yes, those magic Star Wars forcefields make the concept look redundant.

    Funny, I found myself thinking that the travel pod could also be very useful as a lifeboat.

    Bob
     
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which is fine once the pod's ring and the ship's port have actually interfaced and everything. But GETTING to that point is substantially harder than it looks. Again, try taping a flash drive to the end of a three foot stick and then plugging that flash drive into a USB port.

    Modern docking ports have physical mechanisms that make the initial interface possible. Androgynous docking mechanisms use alignment rails to get to the interface point (and then the latches engage) while the Soyuz system uses a cone-shaped drogue to guide the docking probe into position. Even the CBM used on the space station has a smaller alignment mechanism to help work out the the last couple of inches to the actual attachment.

    These mechanisms allow for a (relatively) speedy and painless docking because the alignment doesn't have to be perfect; the ship can be a couple of centimeters off-center, or angled slightly up and down with respect to the port and still make a perfect soft dock to the attachment point. The common berthing mechanism with its smaller alignment rails tollerates a lot less deviation, which is why you can only attach things with it using a manipulator arm (and then only VERY slowly). IOW, the travel pod docking system is really only feasible if the pod is guided into the docking port using a very high-precision tractor beam; otherwise, the pod has to maneuver itself to a position with an accuracy of within six centimeters and cannot be misaligned by even a degree in order to dock properly. There is no tolerance there for even slight deviation.

    What the TMP docking port really needs is a set of These babies:

    [​IMG]

    Of course, since the TMP docking port is an explicitly non-androgynous design, you only need it on one port and not both; you either need one on the travel pod (so the TMP port would remain mostly unchanged) or you need to add a set of outwardly-flared rails to the ship's docking port.

    ETA: actually, it occurs to me that changing the shape of the pod's docking ring might accomplish this also. The current design is cylindrical; tapering it into an open cone-shape (and the starship's port in a matching concave shape) would accomplish that.
     
  16. Data Holmes

    Data Holmes Admiral Admiral

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    It's funny that these fictional problems with the dock didn't stop it's design being used in the federation all the way to the USS Voyager... That's what, a hundred or two years of using the same design. Sounds like it was successful.
     
  17. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's obviously not the same design, or even the same TYPE of design. Voyager and Enterprise-D use those circular ports to dock with space stations and starbases like DS9. Apart from the fact that the travel pod and the brick shuttle have apparently been discontinued, there's the fact that the rectangular gangplank on the TMP ship -- which is supposed to be the space station docking port -- has also been removed in favor of the circular hatches.

    It's a completely different design with a completely different function. Really, the only thing they have in common is that they're both round.:vulcan:
     
  18. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    About the sliding doors, I've had this funny image in my head of one of the travel pods or the Vulcan shuttle having to land in the shuttlebay, and then the doors slide open, and each half promptly rolls off and falls to the floor of the bay! :lol:
     
  19. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Check out this great article on the Phase II and TMP pre-production: http://beyondthemarquee.com/21244/

    It's got two interesting pictures of an enlarged engineering hull section for the Jefferies Phase II Enterprise - one with an interesting docking port variation.

    Bob
     
  20. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    Wow. That is quite an interesting difference.