Two questions about San Francisco

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by somebuddyx, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. somebuddyx

    somebuddyx Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    1. When was it known the ship was built at a place called San Francisco Fleet Yards and that place was up in space as opposed to on the ground? The dedication plaque says San Francisco, Calif, which makes me wonder if the original intention was the ship was built in San Francisco itself, on the ground.
    2. Was it determined in TMP that Starfleet HQ was in San Francisco or was it known before?
    I wonder if both these ideas were solidified in The Motion Picture but am curious if there were background or fanon ideas suggesting it before that. Cheerios.
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    There were naval drydocks in San Francisco. The book Above San Francisco showed the CVN-65 USS Enterprise in one IIRC. No doubt those yards were the inspiration for that element in the show. In the various pre-TMP attempts to bring Trek back there were references to drydocks above San Francisco, at least as far back as the 1975 Star Trek II (what everyone calls The God Thing). I don't recall if there was any implication that there any ship construction facilities still on the ground.

    Screen Shot 2021-04-28 at 2.42.48 AM.png
     
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  3. BK613

    BK613 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Doesn't The Making of Star Trek make reference to the San Francisco Naval Yards? We know that the TOS E's dedication plaque says "San Francisco, Calif." so the association with that city was there at the beginning.
    Also, knowing other names of a thing can sometimes be useful:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunters_Point_Naval_Shipyard

    Edit: posted before the caffeine kicked in. TMoST quote:
    "The unit components were built at the Star Fleet Division of what is still called the San Francisco Navy Yards and the vessel was assembled in space." Pat II, Chapter 2
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
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  4. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commodore Commodore

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    Well just like the Enterprise D plaque says Utopia Planitia.
    There probably was a yard on the ground in San Fran , maybe just offices, but maybe making parts for the yard, and like utopia planitia, a dock/yard was in synchronous orbit above the city.
     
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  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There's a nuance between "Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards" and "San Francisco, Calif.", though. The former could easily be the name of a business, with actual dockyards all over the universe, only named after the one that started it all. The latter with its "Calif." seems to nail it down geographically to a somewhat more concrete degree.

    The Defiant and the Valiant came from Antares Ship Yards that explicitly weren't at Antares, but in the Bajor sector, according to the dedication plaques. (Sisko says he worked on the former vessel at Utopia Planitia, which then allows us to think that "Utopia Planitia" is like "Antares" here, not a place at all but a name for a business. Or then the plaques refer to the second life these ships got, after having been discarded as unsuited for their originally intended anti-Borg role.)

    As for the "built in space vs. built on surface" issue, both could well hold true. Most (war)ships today are built on land, and then built more after being dropped in water. It might be fairly uncommon in Trek to build a ship to completion on a groundside dockyard, but common to build most of her down there and then to launch her for fitting out in space. We know it's fairly trivial for an operational starship to take off from a planet (or from inside a black hole for that matter), and it might not require much beyond the completion of a hull and installation of power systems and impulse engines to make the ship capable of that.

    We never really saw a ship being built in space in any of the shows or movies, FWIW. We saw ships launched on their maiden voyages from space, but that might have been after months of test flights, even the first of which did not start at the construction site but at a test facility to which the ship was first towed or whatever. We also saw ships with hull plates missing, in the likes of VGR "Relativity", but those had low registries and were probably being repaired rather than built.

    In contrast, we very much saw NCC-1701 being built on the surface in that one timeline where she was an order of magnitude bigger than in the regular timeline. Perhaps the bigger they come, the better it is to build them down where there's air and ready access to raw materials and perhaps also some helpful gravity...

    (Then again, in that timeline, we heard of a ship being built in space, for space, with Scotty having misgivings on whether she could really take off. Which was rather silly, because of course starships can defeat one gee, on one-tenth auxiliary power and after being kicked in the groin by a Doomsday Machine. And of course the ship did take off just fine - much like her cargo transporters worked on people just fine. Scotty's just a big sissy, is all.)

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
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  6. somebuddyx

    somebuddyx Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks for the replies! I'd forgotten about Utopia Planitia having ground facilities (hell, I didn't even realise Utopia Planitia was a real place until a minute ago.) And that Making of Star Trek book was neat but my copy is long gone.
    Maurice, that opening shot from that Star Trek II sounds really cool, with the ship in at least two pieces. I wonder if they would have done a reverse saucer separation or we'd just seen it assembled in another shot.
    According to Memory Alpha "The God Thing" was going to say Starfleet HQ was in San Fran, and Gene Roddenberry obviously really liked that city from way back so maybe if it was ever going to be somewhere it was always going to be there.
    Cheers!
     
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  7. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Commodore Commodore

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    Difenatly seen 1 built in space, enterprise A in Beyond.
    Then 1 hinted at with the Enterprise D the that Leah Brahms holodeck episode with a ship still being built.
    But also there was a shot of galaxy class parts on the ground in 1 episide.
    So I agree , parts come from all over even built on the ground.
    I've always thought the best way would be in space, but in pressurized oxygenated closed in area of a station.

    As for the defiant, it was probably built at Antares .. And developed at utopia Planitia.
     
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  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Alan Dean Foster's adaptation of "The Counter-Clock Incident" in Star Trek Log Seven opens with flashbacks to the construction of the Enterprise from Robert April's perspective. It's based on the Making of ST description, with the main components put together at the San Francisco Navy Yards and later "free-space assembly" taking place at "the United Federation of Planets Starfleet assembly station" in Earth orbit. (It also draws a lot on the Star Fleet Technical Manual, crediting Franz Joseph as the Enterprise's designer and referencing Joseph's names for the five founding states of the UFP.)
     
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  9. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    A starship built on the ground could be supported by force field or structural integrity scaffolding then pushed into space via antigravity tugs. A ground-based shipyard makes it easy for the workers to come and go to work from their homes. :techman:

    In-universe, it was probably the only major city on the west coast that wasn't nuked in WWIII. It's military importance saved it with its local antiballistic defense system. ;)
     
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  10. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    OTOH the orbital shipyard may have been established before such forcefields etc were available, and once those facilities were in place there was no great advantage in moving everything back to the ground.
     
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  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Starships have to be built to withstand thousands of gees of acceleration, otherwise they'd take weeks or months to get up to significant sublight speeds. So a paltry one gee should be no big deal.

    The real advantage of building spaceships in orbit is that you don't have to expend the energy to accelerate them out of a planet's gravity well. But again, that wouldn't be that difficult for an impulse engine, plus you've got antigrav technology to make it even easier.
     
  12. BK613

    BK613 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Working in a one-gee, shirtsleeve environment would be a great advantage to the workers.
     
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  13. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Great for everything but the human workers. Those guys floating around in space suits when the ship is in spacedock can't be comfortable or safe. Working in space suits is still high risk danger.
     
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  14. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    You're right, that's a big advantage. OTOH, they're doing the Enterprise refit work in spacesuits and work bees.
     
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  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In one gee, you can fall to your death. In zero gee, you cannot. (You can still get crushed by heavy things, tho.)

    Also, a spacesuit is protective clothing. You get hurt worse if you only wear a shirt. Between the two options lies middle ground, but one really would think a spacesuit is necessarily superior to most coveralls and helmets and gloves and boots out there...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  16. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    No leverage in zero g, so, what work can you really do in a space suit?
     
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  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's what tethers and hand/foot grips are for, as well as specialized tools designed for use in microgravity. Astronauts in the ISS or the shuttle have always been able to do work just fine.
     
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  18. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    How much do you really think spacepeeps with wrenches are doing? Even back in the pre-TMP times I always assumed most of it would be done using utility vehicles a la 2001.
     
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  19. BK613

    BK613 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Although I think they have the tech to do so, it probably doesn't make sense to de-orbit a starship if some of the smaller tasks can be done in space. I can attest that IRL, repair and refit work can take place pier-side as well as in a shipyard's drydock.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course, but that doesn't change the fact that astronauts can and do use hand tools in space.

    https://www.airspacemag.com/space/tools-of-the-astronaut-trade-15273242/
    A couple of other articles about the difficulties of working in space and the solutions that have been devised:

    https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/servicing/series/cats.html
    https://www.space.com/1308-space-tools-shelf-shuttle.html