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Starship Design Notes, Part 1

Introduction

I stumbled on the Starfleet Museum site by accident. This site rekindled a childhood urge to design make-believe ships, although none I did were as good as Masao's exteriors and excellent back stories. I asked Masao if I could design the insides. Masao has critiqued all the layouts and has been a huge help. These notes detail and contrast how the internal designs change with time, technology, and species and my own design philosophy.

Allen Rolfes

 

General Design Principles

I approached the layouts from an engineering point of view, since I'm an engineer, to make something that could be a functioning interior, at least in the Star Trek universe. I started with Earth Romulan War era ships, then early Romulan and Klingon ships, then filled in earlier earth ships then all later ships. I came up with a design philosophy that carried throughout all of them:

 

Notes on Each Ship, until 2200

After each ship title is the lead ship launch date and type/function. They are in Masao's Star Trek universe chronological order, but not necessarily the order I designed them. Notes for each ship apply to future ships of the same type until the technology changes. The first ship has more notes since it describes the systems and technology for the first time, then how technology and design differs from the ships before is noted, and also design differences between species. I describe any significant deviations from Masao's exteriors & specs, then list those stats and specs that differ:

 

BISON CARGO – 2148, civilian cargo ship

Based on the 'Nakajima Maru' side profile picture. Features are:

Primary hull:

Secondary hull:

Ship stats and specs:

 

BISON CARGO VARIANT – 2148, civilian cargo ship

This was built at the same time as the Bison cargo ship and is a sister ship to the Nakajima Maru. Differences from the Nakajima Maru are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

BISON PASSENGER – 2148, civilian passenger ship

Based on the Lufthansa liner 'Mercator' side profile picture but lengthened to the standard cargo ship length:

Ship stats and specs:

 

BISON SLEEPER – 2148, civilian sleeper ship

An example of sleeper ship technology:

Ship stats and specs:

 

BAIKAL – 2148, subspace communications ship

A civilian Bison cargo variant, with the large open cargo bay in the center that extended the diameter of the ship, was modified to carry the first generation ship mountable (however still extremely large) subspace communications array. While the modifications were extensive, they were kept to the minimum necessary to install and maintain the subspace array. Changes from the original Bison variant are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

AMARILLO – 2152, medium cruiser/patrol ship

This was the first ship I designed:

Primary hull:

Secondary hull:

Internal description and function of various missile types (see a bluescale layout such as Krechet for cross sections):

Offensive and defensive capabilities can be combined into one missile but it is not ideally suited for either role. If a ship has the room, in this era it is best to have specialized missiles for each role.

Ship stats and specs:

 

PIONEER – 2154, heavy cruiser

This was the second ship I designed and the first large ship. It is based on the Bison layout:

Ship stats and specs:

 

ARCHER – 2154, system patrol ship

A small roughly cylindrical hull system patrol ship:

Ship stats and specs:

 

LITTLE NELL I – 2154, M/AM test ship

Early generation M/AM reactors were nothing more than 'supercharged' fusion reactors. They started up as a normal fusion reactor (hydrogen fusing to helium in a magnetically contained cavity), and then minute amounts of AM were injected to 'supercharge' the reaction, much like nitrous oxide supercharges an internal combustion engine. To help with efficiency, the AM was injected at two points in the reaction chamber necessitating two AM lines to the reactor. The reactor is much sturdier to handle the increase output with special equipment to handle and feed the AM into the reaction chamber. This was no easy trick and is what took so long to develop.

The ratio of AM to regular matter that reacts is always 1:1, but extra regular matter is always injected. If no extra matter was injected, the reactor output would be pure energy in the form of heat, light, and radiation. This is not suitable for use to power the warp nacelles. Plasma, which is matter in an excited state with the electrons detached from the nuclei, must power the warp nacelles. Extra normal matter must be injected to form the basis for this plasma.

The first generation M/AM reactor had a M:AM ratio of > 1000:1. The energy of one part AM and one part matter annihilating each other was transferred to >999 parts matter (some of the excess matter would also fuse from hydrogen to helium). Plasma with such a high M:AM ratio was called 'low energy' plasma. As the decades passed and reactors became better, the amount of excess matter decreased substantially. The reactor became much more 'fuel efficient' with deuterium usage and the resulting plasma was 'higher energy'.

The warp nacelles that most efficiently used low quality plasma were the oval type, and the weak warp fields they produced were best when centered around the centerline of the ship. This is why many early ships including the Little Nell test ships used oval midline nacelles. As the decades passed and the plasma energy increased, different and better warp nacelles and configurations were built to take advantage of it to reach higher warp speeds. The nacelles became cylindrical in shape, used in pairs, and offset from the ship's centerline.

The ship itself is based on a compact cylindrical hull with half spherical end caps:

Ship stats and specs:

 

LITTLE NELL II – 2156, M/AM test ship

Based on a part spherical primary hull directly attached to a smaller diameter cylindrical secondary hull followed by an oval midline nacelle, together giving the appearance of a mushroom:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CABBAGE (Romulan) – 2156, heavy cruiser

Romulans are competent ship builders with a technology level is similar to Earth ships of the time. The biggest difference is Romulan ships never switch from fusion to M/AM warp reactors and their early fusion reactors are less efficient than Earth's fusion reactors. The ship layout is a half sphere primary hull with the secondary hull containing the fusion reactors and the nacelles attached to the back flat end:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CABBAGE TANKER (Romulan) – 2156, military deuterium tanker

Deuterium tanker variant based on the standard Cabbage, most likely built from scratch, not a modified Cabbage. Changes from the original Cabbage are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CABBAGE CARGO (Romulan) – 2156, military cargo ship

Cargo ship variant based on the standard Cabbage, most likely built from scratch, not a modified Cabbage. Changes from the original Cabbage are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

KRECHET – 2157, medium cruiser/patrol ship

The first production M/AM ship built by Earth, based on the Amarillo layout:

Ship stats and specs:

 

TANNHÄUSER – 2157, heavy cruiser

The first large M/AM capital ship built by Earth, based on the Bison/Pioneer layout:

Ship stats and specs:

 

MARCONI – 2157, command/communications ship

A close variant to Tannhäuser with a second generation ship mountable subspace communications array.

It also carries additional sensing equipment and command functions to serve as a mobile communications/command platform. Main features and changes from Tannhaüser are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

TORSK – 2158, light cruiser/patrol ship

A small light cruiser based on a slimmed version of Amarillo/Krechet layout:

Ship stats and specs:

 

FARRAGUT – 2158, fleet monitor

A planetary landing support ship based on Bison:

Ship stats and specs:

 

OLYMPUS MONS – 2158, military cargo ship

Cargo ship variant based on Farragut. Changes from Farragut:

Ship stats and specs:

 

OLYMPUS MONS MUNITIONS SHIP VARIANT – 2158, missile tender

A variant based on Farragut original design to resupply missiles to ships at the frontline. Changes from Olympus Mons:

Ship stats and specs:

 

OLYMPUS MONS TROOP TRANSPORT VARIANT – 2158, troop transport

A variant based on Farragut original design to transport and deploy troops in a combat zone. Changes from Olympus Mons:

Ship stats and specs:

 

MERCY – 2158, hospital ship

A variant based on Farragut original design as a hospital ship. It is actually closer to the troop transport variant of Olympus Mons. Changes from that ship are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

REID FLEMING – 2158, military deuterium tanker

Deuterium tanker variant based on the Farragut:

Ship stats and specs:

 

YORKTOWN – 2158, fighter carrier

A warp fighter carrier based on the Bison layout:

Ship stats and specs:

 

MINOTAUR – 2158, fighter

A warp fighter based on a cylindrical hull:

Ship stats and specs:

 

POWHATAN – 2158, light cruiser/patrol ship

A light cruiser based on an even slimmer configuration of the Torsk:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CHOWDER (Romulan) – 2158, light cruiser/patrol ship

A light cruiser based on an extremely slimmed down and smaller Cabbage configuration:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CURRAN – 2158, system patrol ship

Based on Archer's cylindrical configuration but more tapered. Major differences from Archer are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

COMET – 2158, light cruiser/patrol ship

Many layout and technical improvements were incorporated into one small test ship instead of all mainline ships during a time of war. Mainline ships only had evolutionary modifications (M/AM warp was the one exception). As Comet was not expected to see heavy combat or very long mission lengths, it did not have overly large missile, cargo and fuel stores. Even so, the improvements in subspace & propulsion efficiency and cruising speed allowed it to patrol a greater distance in a shorter time than Powhatan or Torsk. New layouts and technologies were:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CONQUEROR – 2159, heavy cruiser

The last large capital ship of the Romulan War, basically a beefed up Tannhäuser:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CLAVICLE (Romulan) – 2160, fast attack ship

A design change in Romulan ships based on the flattened exterior and two warp nacelles where it falsely appears the insides have abandoned the vertical stacked deck layout:

Ship stats and specs:

 

DAEDALUS BLOCK ONE – 2160, explorer/research ship

A demilitarized and redesigned Comet:

Ship stats and specs:

 

DAEDALUS BLOCK TWO – 2160, explorer/research ship

A Daedalus with more weapons:

Ship stats and specs:

 

BISON PASSENGER VARIANT – 2161, civilian passenger ship

After the Romulan War, many civilian Bison ships were upgraded with new M/AM warp reactors. This passenger liner was one of them:

Ship stats and specs:

 

D-2 (Klingon) – 2162, heavy cruiser

Klingons followed the Soviet style of design: poor technology necessitating clunky designs with multiple large and inefficient backup systems all supported by inadequate industrial infrastructure:

Ship stats and specs:

 

POWHATAN COURIER – 2162, civilian courier ship

Powhatans retired from military service were sold to civilians and converted to courier ships. These could carry smaller amounts of cargo or passengers at higher speeds (and at higher price) than the larger civilian carriers available at the time. This is a general purpose courier that can carry some passengers, some container cargo or some larger bulk cargo. Changes from the military Powhatan are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

COMET COURIER – 2165, civilian courier ship

Comets retired from military service were sold to civilians and converted to courier ships. These could carry smaller amounts of cargo or passengers at higher speeds (and at higher price) than the larger civilian carriers available at the time. This is a general purpose courier that can carry some passengers, some container cargo and some larger bulk cargo. Changes from the military Comet are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

DRAGON – 2166, heavy cruiser

A new ship role of 'border patrol heavy interceptor' designed to be stationed close to border starbases and assault large numbers of advancing enemy ships. It had problems during design and the test ship shakedown cruise which resulted in many design changes. The layout shown is the final 'as commissioned' model. Main features are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

OCEAN – 2168, military cargo ship

Ocean was the first line of military cargo ships designed from scratch after the Romulan War, not based on or converted from Bisons:

Ship stats and specs:

 

OCEAN – 2168, civilian cargo ship

Designed to haul civilian cargo only, a replacement for the original Bison cargo configuration. Changes from the military version are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CONSTELLATION PASSENGER – 2171/2172, civilian passenger ship

Sovezdie/Constellation was the first line of civilian passenger ships designed from scratch after the Romulan War, not based on or converted from Bisons. Built soon after Ocean but smaller, sleeker looking, and faster:

Ship stats and specs:

 

WASP – 2174, light cruiser

The cutaway by Masao was a running gag rather than a workable interior! However, I stayed as true to it as possible:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CATARACT (Romulan) – 2175, medium cruiser

The first new frontline capital ship since the Romulan War 15 years ago, incorporating the latest evolutionary advances in design and components:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CONSTELLATION PASSENGER VARIANT – 2175, civilian passenger ship

As M/AM technology made leaps and bounds forward, the designers looked to upgrade the original Sovezdie/Constellation. M/AM and nacelle technology were moving so fast the designers realized they would want to upgrade often, but would be cost prohibitive. So instead:

Ship stats and specs:

 

MOSKVA – 2179, medium cruiser

The design is moving towards a saucer primary hull and cylinder secondary hull in later Earth designs:

Ship stats and specs:

 

MOSKVA TUG– 2182, military tug

Moskva was redesigned to a tug variant to transport newly introduced large highly adaptable cylindrical cargo modules which could be used for container cargo, bulk or liquid cargo, or even military or civilian personnel in a starliner configuration:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CONSTELLATION CARGO – 2182, military cargo/passenger ship

The military was looking for a faster ship that carried more passengers and less cargo to supplement Ocean.Rather than build a new ship from scratch, they designed a military version around Sovezdie called Constellation:

Ship stats and specs:

 

D-3 (Klingon) – 2183, heavy cruiser

A modified D-2 to hold a M/AM reactor:

Ship stats and specs:

 

GAGARIN – 2184, light cruiser/patrol ship

A scaled down version loosely based on Moskva for patrol duty:

Ship stats and specs:

 

CONSTELLATION CIVILIAN CARGO – 2185, civilian cargo ship

Designed solely to haul civilian cargo. Changes from the latest passenger version are:

Ship stats and specs:

 

HYPERION – 2194, medium cruiser

A medium cruiser with two technological improvements. The first is a subspace communications transmitter on a 'smaller' starship for the first time:

The second technological improvement is cargo transporters (personnel transporters did not enter regular service for another ~2 decades). Cargo transporters were perfected in the mid to late 2180's. Several earlier ships including Wasp, Moskva, Ocean and Constellation were refitted with them but Hyperion was first to be designed with them from the start. This had a profound influence on ship design:

Other design changes:

Ship stats and specs:

 

PARIS – 2196, light cruiser/patrol ship

A patrol ship that attaches the secondary hull directly to the top aft of the primary hull without an connecting neck. This configuration is the basis for future compact saucer ships:

There are several constraints that limit the weapons tactical use, which is why it was seldom used and never mounted as a ship's main weapon:

The cannon was used for only a short period of Federation history. Previous to Paris, AM was too expensive to be used in such a wasteful fashion. Soon after AM became economic enough as ammo for a cannon, the photon torpedo was developed which is a much better AM deliver device. This closed the short window of the AM cannon.

Ship stats and specs:

 

Credits: All text by Allen Rolfes

 

Continue to Part 2

 

Last modified: 21.05.14