Why Did Roddenberry Hate the "dreadnought" from the Starfleet Technical Manual?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Samuel, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, I did wonder about that. I didn't know if it was an FJ extrapolation that it was a "main sensor" or if it was the original intention.
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    FWIW it's also identified as the main sensor in The Making of Star Trek's section on the Enterprise.
     
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  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And both the Romulan BoP and the Klingon battlecruiser have the nacelles out on pylons away from the body of the ship. The first ships that broke that rule were the ones introduced in ST III, the Grissom with its nacelles attached to the saucer and the Klingon BoP with guns on the ends of the "wings" and the engine pods evidently on the back of the main body. Another case of ILM's designers throwing out Jefferies's design logic in favor of what they thought looked cool, and part of the general dumbing down of Star Trek on the big screen.


    I suppose one could see it as sort of a Starfleet equivalent of the Romulan Bird-of-Prey, a basic saucer-with-nacelles design. From that standpoint, I guess it kind of makes sense. Still, I like the modularity of the Enterprise design, the way it looks like it's designed to function in space, all spread out and shaped in a way that would be precariously top-heavy and fragile under gravity but is perfectly fine in free fall. Too many subsequent Starfleet designs are flattened out and compact and feel like they're shaped by planetbound assumptions. I find that less satisfying. I like spaceships that look like they could only exist in space.


    You're thinking of the schematic on p. 178, but you're overlooking the text on p. 191: "The starship's main sensor-deflector (a parabolic sensor antenna and asteroid-deflector) is located at the front end of the secondary hull." Not to mention the 1964 Roddenberry memo on p. 85-6 which summarizes his discussions with scientists and includes the following passage:
    So yes, it absolutely was intended as a navigational deflector from the very beginning. Since there's no dish on any of Jefferies's early design sketches, he presumably added the dish in response to the scientists' recommendation that a deflector would be needed.

    (Those real-science proposals for meteoroid deflection have been around for a long time, before and after TOS. My first published story, "Aggravated Vehicular Genocide" from 1998, was inspired when it occurred to me to wonder what would happen if a starship's asteroid deflection laser destroyed a space habitat by mistake. I was just recently trying to figure out when I first had the idea for that kind of deflection system, and now I realize I've probably had it in mind ever since I read The Making of Star Trek as a child, since it's right there on p. 86.)
     
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  4. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    Missed that in my cursory glance. I don't think you can decisively conclude the "very beginning" (1964–5) but pretty early on, sure. :)
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    As I said, it was during the period when the ship was still being designed. The memo isn't specifically dated, but it's reproduced between memos from July and August 1964 and is part of a section discussing the thinking and research that went into the design of the ship's interior and exterior. The deflector idea was established before the models were built, before the teleplay for "The Cage" was completed, before a single frame of film was exposed. So yes, it was from the beginning.
     
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  6. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As a side note, Wah Chung's Bird of Prey seems to have been designed around the draft script idea that Romulan spies had stolen Starfleet designs.
     
  7. STEPhon IT

    STEPhon IT Commodore Commodore

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    This is why Propulsion Units were renamed to Nacelles.
     
  8. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    I dropped this thread for awhile by accident, but Dukhat, thanks for the response to my query way upstream. This is interesting. Now I have to bop back two pages and start reading more . . . cheers.:beer:
     
  9. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't follow.
     
  10. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The original idea was that the BoP was an exact copy of the Constitution class's saucer section (presumably with a bird painted underneath), which was why the ship was described in the script as only capable of impulse speeds, since it had no warp nacelles. Which was why there's so much confusion about that line because the finished model did have nacelles.

    No problem. :)
     
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  11. Phoenix219

    Phoenix219 Commodore Commodore

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    Are there any artists designs remaining from the possible ship designs? Any idea what they looked like?
     
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  12. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Bill George built several study models of the Excelsior, and Nimoy chose the one that looked close to the actual filming model.

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Excelsior_class_model
     
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  13. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What about the Galileo shuttle? It's nacelles are separate from the body of the ship, but only slightly - about the same as the Grissom's saucer proper is separate from her nacelles.
     
  14. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    I think the only disagreement here, Christopher, is over what constitutes an established certainty. I am reticent to go that far without being able to find a primary source that clearly indicates a+b=c. You may very well be right but I suggest the idea that the dish was intended to be the deflector is as yet unverified because that function is not clearly indicated for it prior to TMOST.

    Consider the facts we've laid out thus far:
    1. The 1964 memo that asserts there ought to be a "meteoroid shield" or "meteoroid force field deflector" cited on p.85–6 of TMOST. Harvey verified the date of this by showing me a photo of the original (link), which—while undated—has Pato Guzman cced on it, which means it's "The Cage" era, ergo 1964 as you surmised.
    2. There's the TMOST published in 1968 p. 191 text: "The starship's main sensor-deflector (a parabolic sensor antenna and asteroid-deflector)."
    3. There's the TMOST published 1968 p.178 The Enterprise diagram reprinted on p.178 of starship diagram that indicates the dish as "Main Sensor" w/o mention of the deflector function
    4. Jefferies'1964 construction drawings which show a radome type nose prior to the dish, but no function is indicated for these features as far as I can recall (and I'm unable to findthe image I stored of it at this moment).
    5. The Writer's Guide mentions the deflectors but does not say from where they emanate.
    Thus my point is simply that the works cited provide no record of when the function of navigational deflector was assigned to the radome nose/dish other than that decision was clearly made by the time TMOST was being written. Again, it's possible and perhaps even likely that was the intent from early on, but not proven by the materials presented thus far. That's the distinction I am making.

    And I make it because in this era of Cash Markman and his ilk treating assumption as fact, I think it unwise to state with certainty that which is as-yet not fully proven. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Hmm, interesting. I kinda like the four-engine study models better than the final Excelsior.


    A fair point, I guess. But that was more a matter of production necessity. Jefferies's original, more aerodynamic design for the shuttle had the nacelles further out from the ship. Also, it was ambiguous whether TOS shuttles were warp-equipped, although several episodes (like "The Menagerie," "Metamorphosis," and "...Last Battlefield") did show them making interstellar flights.

    In-story, perhaps, you could rationalize it in terms of the engines being lower-powered and not emitting as much radiation.


    You're just splitting hairs at this point. It doesn't matter what exact day during the production of TOS the decision was made. The issue on the table was whether the deflector-dish idea originated with TOS's creators or was a later retcon by Franz Joseph or Andrew Probert or someone of the sort. The answer is, yes, TOS's own creators did intend it to be a deflector, and TMoST proves that.
     
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  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Seems that some of the Jeffries ideas have been grossly misunderstood. Perhaps by himself, too?

    If warp nacelles are hazardous, why does his Enterprise design deliberately place them in closest possible proximity with the habitat saucer (after that dogleg to the secondary hull and back)?

    OTOH, if "hazardous" just means "it would be nice to be able to jettison these things rapidly", then the Reliant is a fine design... And the Grissom provides a clear path of ejection, too.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. mos6507

    mos6507 Commodore Commodore

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    You're correct but at the same time, at the very least ILM managed to give the ship a decidedly nautical feel, i.e. the Miranda looks like a catamaran.
     
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  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sure, I agree the Miranda is one of the best-looking ILM designs, but my whole problem is that they valued how a ship looks over how it works. Jefferies was able to balance both quite well.
     
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  19. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    Truth is, you're rarely willing to concede anything. You argue minutia when it suits you then dismiss others as being nitpicky if they do the same. I admitted it's likely you may be correct and that my point was merely that it's not an absolute certainty given the lack of documentation, but you can't even allow that tiny point.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  20. Vger23

    Vger23 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I would have designed my ship with 4 warp nacelles directly adjacent to the ships daycare facility.
     
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