Monday, June 12, 2017

Star Treks Starships Going Badly or Boldly?

NX-01 Enterprise
USS Chekov NCC-57302
USS Constellation NCC-1017      
USS Constitution NCC-1700
USS Defiant NX-74205
USS Enterprise NCC-1701
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-B
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-C
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E
USS Excelsior NCC-2000
USS Jenolan NCC-2010
USS Pasteur NCC-58928           
USS Stargazer NCC-2893
USS Yamato NCC-71807  
USS Voyager NCC-74656
USS Discovery NCC 1031
USS Shenzhou

Heres a list of deep space, high tech, high spec, diplomatic, warp speed starships. At least 12 are battle cruisers commissioned by Starfleet on planet Earth since the Federations charter in 2161. Impressive isn't it?

The most famous starships in Earth history are the USS Enterprise ships - designed by Matt Jefferies and Andrew Probert seen here with the show's creator Gene Roddenberry.... but let's not forget Dr. Richard Daystrom who went completely mad designing computer systems, poor chap. The USS Enterprise represented true hope, vast technology, and service to humankind.

Now we're getting a new starship USS Discovery as producers at CBS Studios re-invent Star Trek's Prime universe without hopefully making a complete hash of Trek's timeline....So what in tarnation is going on?

I believe Star Treks problems can best be encapsulated by looking at just one STARSHIP!

The Enterprise NX 01!

So much was right about it. Doug Drexler's Enterprise styling was sensational despite getting canned by 7 time Emmy winner Dan Curry. Even today Enterprise NX-01 CGI exterior looks good. They even got the length right at 235 meters, the new Enterprise NX-01 is a bit smaller than Captain Kirks Enterprise NCC 1701 and a lot smaller than Captain Picard's flagship.

The name is cool too... Coming over for some Enterprise babe? ....(not a bad pick up line) surprise your friends with a trekkie goodie bag, for watching Star Trek at your place... Enterprise NX-01 was almost certainly the best W5 starship United Earth ever made...and riddled with faults. Chief among which is that important component called simply.... the engine.

When the Enterprise NX-01 was being designed CBS had access to the most advanced Warp propulsion engineering on the planet (USS Enterprise NCC 1701-D)  Ever wonder why Captain Picard starship (USS Enterprise-D) was able to travel an impressive 2.7 million light years away from earth in minutes? compared to USS Voyager's NCC-74656 mere 70,000 light year trip into the Delta Quadrant?

Picards Warp 9.9 starship engine was and still is a magnificent engine. Light, compact, powerful and endlessly tunable and reliable so it was a natural CBS would use it in the Enterprise NX-01, right? Nope. Sadly not, CBS (Herman Zimmerman, Brannon Braga and Rick Berman) decided it would be far better to create a new warp engine based on Zefram Cochranes Phoenix test flight in 2063. As ideas go this was a bad one.

The engine that resulted was not magnificent at all and took United Earth 32 years to create a theoretical maximum speed of 4.5! Enterprise NX-01's engine had lots of problems. It wouldn't stay cool and when it got hot which it did the ship was close to blowing up. In engineering terms it was a disaster.... as a result Star Treks Enterprise series was withdrawn after 4 years in 2005 and killed off before hitting its 100 episode. 

Its mad the "5 captains" starships were all part of the same company! So why didn't Enterprise NX-01 use one of the tried and tested USS Enterprise NCC 1701 engine?

So now heres the greatest battle of them all. The USS Discovery NCC 1031 vs USS Shenzhou. Deciding which is worst is like deciding which part of your brain you want amputated.



I'd give the Shenzhou Commander Burnham one mark just for sounding tough with the Aliens. (Tiny Print). USS Discovery gets two marks for effort at least those guys are being original by copying Ralph McQuarries Spaceship design. So there you have it.

The Enterprise NX-01 wins, it's worse than the Shenzhou and the USS Discovery NCC 1031 which must make it one of worse starships ever made. - 98 episodes of Star Trek Enterprise are still running on TV!! Do you feel a sense of pride? Which starship is your least favorite and why?

Live Long and Prosper.


The Armchair Squid said...

Interesting analysis. I have to confess, I don't give much thought to the ships themselves. The designs are certainly important icons for the franchise, though, nearly as much so as the characters.

Bish Denham said...

Somewhere along the way, my father (a scientist) or an engineer friend, somebody, lamented that because of the design of those ships they wouldn't "fly" through space, they'd tumble.


A Beer For The Shower said...

Meanwhile, I can't even put together a model car with proper instructions. I can only imagine the technical know how it takes to create these things.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's just amazing how much work and real technology go into ships that aren't real.
I'm proud of myself when I manage to string my guitar correctly.

cleemckenzie said...

I guess I'm an Enterprise kind of Trekkie. It just always fascinated me.

Birgit said...

My ex would love your descriptions here and I will send him the link. He, like Scotty, loves to ponder over the Star Trek's blueprints

Liz A. said...

I've never given this much thought. I guess I don't have an engineering brain.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Picard was always the best anyway, even with his ship.

Maurice Mitchell said...

This is a really good analysis of starship design. I've interviewed Andrew Probert on my concept art blog a few times and he has an amazing insight on ship design. Imagine the pressure to design an iconic ship like the Enterprise! Great birds of the galaxy indeed.

Spacer Guy said...

He's contributed so much to Star Trek - I need hardly list what M.A. covers so well. Such a creative inventor, artist, designer like Andrew Probert must have resulted in a fantastic interview for you Maurice and I bet got a kick out of it too. You really have been busy. I'll be beaming right over - this will be fun.

Susan Kane said...

I bought a Picard and Riker 2017 for President. Still feel that way.

My geeky electrical engineer relatives have condemned every starship for their poor design and power capabilities. It will be a wait and see.

I have a favor to ask: could you please hop over to my Susan Kane, Writer site and leave some comments. I am writing about serious issues in my family history this time (ww 1 and 2) and feel insecure.

Oh, dang. there goes my chopped up brain...

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