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What makes a starship design "good"? 
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Again, minor apologies for splitting these posts up, but I wanted to come at them in different ways:

John N. Ritter wrote:
But then there is another factor to consider, how long does it take to produce a basic primary hull at a star base? If we assume the traditional view, then quite some time. if we assume that things are manufactured via some kind of gigantic 3D printing process, then it might be a matter of weeks, or perhaps days to extrude a primary hull. If we go with a middle ground, where only basic things can be produced at a time, like a frame work, then the skin, then the internal fancy-pancy parts(computers et el), then it will take longer.


That's something that I was thinking (okay, daydreaming) about a few weeks back. How do they build these ships? There's the traditional method like we build ships and airplanes today, assembling the frames, then putting on the panels, then installing the wiring and internal systems.

Now it's possible that they do use some huge 3D printing method in the future--a giant machine that just assembles up the major components, like printing out entire hull sections, wiring, cabinets, air ducts, etc. Everything. Maybe they do this in big components, like compartment by compartment, and those are then assembled into a frame. Or maybe the machine just "prints" a primary hull in four big pizza slices.

The idea that I was daydreaming about was that maybe the hull sections are "grown" using some kind of crystalline metal process. Maybe they float in a vat of stuff that starts to grow into certain shapes, and then those materials are all assembled. One possible benefit would be fewer seams. To make a floor and wall, you would not need two pieces (the floor, and the wall), you would only need to grow one piece that has a 90 degree angle in it. No connector joint.


07 Jun 2013 14:22
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I am still not so sure that you are correct.

If there is a large lead time to build, then it makes more sense to have completed or nearly completed hulls - especially if there is a high loss rate. A high loss rate has its own problems, however. As in just how violent is the universe? Klingons et el not with standing. I would expect that by the time of TOS, that these little problems would have been mostly solved. As in, it is a good thing not to get killed due to some stupid reason. War loss would be planned for.

As to cost, this might not matter too much, depending upon the manufacture method. Unions not with standing.

From our back and fourth , it becomes every more plain that ST is too simply done.


08 Jun 2013 00:58
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John N. Ritter wrote:
If there is a large lead time to build, then it makes more sense to have completed or nearly completed hulls - especially if there is a high loss rate.


Except that the crew is dead. So who mans this spare hull that's sitting around?

There's a reason that the U.S. Navy does not have more ships than it has crews for them.


08 Jun 2013 08:43
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I keep going back to the old Boy Scout motto: "Be Prepared".


08 Jun 2013 14:55
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John N. Ritter wrote:
I keep going back to the old Boy Scout motto: "Be Prepared".



Jim Kirk was no boy scout.


08 Jun 2013 17:46
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Except that the crew is dead. So who mans this spare hull that's sitting around?

There's a reason that the U.S. Navy does not have more ships than it has crews for them.


simple solution... they do everything with transporters... ; )

all the starships... all the torpedoes... all the probes... all the shuttles... all the crews... all the ship's cats... are only transporter patterns... : )

maybe there are merely a handful of highly automated regional Star Bases that simply beam up a fully crewed ship or task force whenever and wherever they need one... and that all the historical documents are showing is a single ship/crew (with minor personnel and equipment changes) endlessly recreated and sent out on missions over the multi-millennial span of the UNITED EARTH FEDERATION era... ; )

at least that would simplify the entire Stardate issue... ; )

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08 Jun 2013 18:46
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zirconic wrote:
There's a reason that the U.S. Navy does not have more ships than it has crews for them.


http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_S ... rve_fleets

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10 Jun 2013 20:29
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aridas wrote:
zirconic wrote:
There's a reason that the U.S. Navy does not have more ships than it has crews for them.


http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_S ... rve_fleets


Yep. But that entry is out of date. For instance, it lists a bunch of ships at Philadelphia that are no longer there (I know because I flew over that area a few weeks ago and only saw a handful of warships left). And if you look at the "List of USN Reserve Fleets" entry you'll see that many of the reserve fleets no longer exist, or are going out of business. Look at James River, for instance. Almost all the ships listed there are "Stored, pending disposal." They're not awaiting reactivation, they're awaiting sinking or scrapping. Suisun Bay is being inactivated, so are some of the others. Puget Sound holds a number of nuclear submarines because that's where the Navy scraps them.

If you look at the reserve fleets over time you'll notice several things:

-the number of ships held ready to be returned to service has decreased dramatically. Most ships that go into mothballs now are never going to return to service and are not intended to return to service. One of the problems is that they are both complicated to operate, and grow rapidly obsolete compared to in-service ships. How do you pull a destroyer out of mothballs after ten years when all of her computers are obsolete and are not capable of datalinking to the rest of the active fleet? And how do you pull a destroyer out of mothballs after ten years and expect her gas turbine engines to work properly? You don't.

-the overall number of ships in the reserve fleets has gone down dramatically compared to even the 1980s. The Navy has simply started to send them into mothballs for a short time before disposing of them, usually by sinking them, sometimes by scrapping them. They don't keep them around, unlike in the years after WWII.

Want proof? Look at the disposition of the Spruance class destroyers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spruance_class

31 ships, all started building in the 1970s. They were largely contemporaries of the Ticonderoga class cruisers, which used the same hull and propulsion. Yet when the Spruances were retired starting in the late 1990s, the Navy didn't keep them around. They sank most of them with missiles and torpedoes (cheaper than scrapping them). Of the 31 ships, only one remains, used as a test ship. Look at all the ships listed as "Disposed of in support of Fleet training exercise." (The four Kidd class destroyers, based on the same hull, have been sold to Taiwan.)

If you looked at the list of combatants kept "in reserve" you'd find very few ships, and the ones that are in the reserve fleet primarily serve as spare parts stores for active ships. Nobody ever expects them to come back into service.


10 Jun 2013 21:04
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They don't keep them around, unlike in the years after WWII.


That is the point. There was a time when the reserve fleet was depended upon for a near-ready and waiting supply of ships that could quickly be integrated into a navy inflated presumably by draft-filled ranks and ratings. What has changed is not the need. It's the technology. As you point out, a mothballed ship is too antiquated to be reintegrated even a decade later into a fleet progressing with Moore's Law.

The US Navy has changed from one designed around a small professional core ready to absorb draftees to a larger professional organization no longer designed to be inflated when the need arises. The fleet reflects this change.

So, to this extent you are right. But it certainly worked differently for the two preceding centuries, during which time the technology evolved more slowly and the Navy was kept small (along with the Army).

The question then is, what better describes Starfleet? Is it a stable organization designed to fulfill its mission and contingencies as is? Or is it a core designed to be added to as needed?

If technology is deemed to be more stable than today, perhaps that would impact the portrayal. However, even a rapidly evolving fleet might be designed to accept older ships if those ships are designed to be refit with new technology. Certainly the mothball yards depicted in TNG would seem to indicate this might be the case. The modular design of starships both inside and out would also seem to hint this is a possibility.

We can't know, of course. But I think it assumes too much to assert that it is out of the question that a core fleet might be designed to accept mothballed hulls designed to be plugged with the latest technology when needed and then manned with newly enlisted crewmen.

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10 Jun 2013 21:56
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aridas wrote:
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But I think it assumes too much to assert that it is out of the question that a core fleet might be designed to accept mothballed hulls designed to be plugged with the latest technology when needed and then manned with newly enlisted crewmen.


Newly enlisted crewmen who would not know how to use that latest technology.

The common denominator, as you accepted, is technology. It used to be that most of a warship could be run by minimally trained recruits. But that pretty much ended by the 1970s. It's unlikely that 200 years in the future, with technology far more advanced than today, you could put a bunch of minimally trained people on a ship and expect them to operate it effectively.


10 Jun 2013 22:08
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