On the size of ships

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On the size of ships

Postby Teaos » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:48 pm

So I was going through the old Art and Design threads and found GK's old Enterprise ship Here

And it got me thinking that we all assume that ships got smaller and weaker the further back we got. Partly because that is what we see happen for the most part.

But what if ships are more like Computers? Start off massive but get smaller with time and more powerful at the same time?

The original Earth Spaceship could have been like 800m long. Thats not a hell of a lot bigger than some of the supertankers we have in the world nowadays. And assuming we have solved the problem of getting shit of earths surface and into orbit there is no good reason whey the ships wouldn't have been massive AND weak.

Thank about it. The engines would have been newly designed and probably bulky, they would have needed space parts and a lot of crew to run them, along with all the other systems that would need their own specialist. Also if the ship takes months or years to get anywhere you would want a decent sized ship just to stop people going mad.
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby McAvoy » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:01 am

Well the NX class is fairly large. One of the lesser arguments against the NX class is its size meaning it's saucer is very close to that of a Connie saucer size. But the NX class had only 80 or so crew. To me that indicates that equipment was much larger that of their future analogues.

I guess you could say that the size of the ships was related to technological limitations.

Oh I believe the largest super tanker in the world was about 450 meters long. I could be wrong but its definitely not even close to 800 meters.
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby Lt. Staplic » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:14 am

I think that this may be true. It's one of the problems I ran into in the new Beta SIM I started most people out with small ships and found that they couldn't make it anywhere in the turn. Between the tiny mission endurance times and the low warp factor, there were several that couldn't even make it out of their home system. I feel like ships designed to do anything much more than fly around the solar system would have had to have been quite large in order to carry enough fuel and supplies for such a long mission.
Check this out, Let me know if your interested: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=7385
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby Teaos » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:27 am

450 tanker + 150 industrial improvement = 800 starship?
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby McAvoy » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:51 am

Lt. Staplic wrote:I think that this may be true. It's one of the problems I ran into in the new Beta SIM I started most people out with small ships and found that they couldn't make it anywhere in the turn. Between the tiny mission endurance times and the low warp factor, there were several that couldn't even make it out of their home system. I feel like ships designed to do anything much more than fly around the solar system would have had to have been quite large in order to carry enough fuel and supplies for such a long mission.


I am sorry but what does arbitrary figures made in a RPG have to do with the topic?
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby Mikey » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:59 am

Teaos wrote:450 tanker + 150 industrial improvement = 800 starship?


Your math is getting to be like your spelling.
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby Lt. Staplic » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:22 pm

McAvoy wrote:
Lt. Staplic wrote:I think that this may be true. It's one of the problems I ran into in the new Beta SIM I started most people out with small ships and found that they couldn't make it anywhere in the turn. Between the tiny mission endurance times and the low warp factor, there were several that couldn't even make it out of their home system. I feel like ships designed to do anything much more than fly around the solar system would have had to have been quite large in order to carry enough fuel and supplies for such a long mission.


I am sorry but what does arbitrary figures made in a RPG have to do with the topic?


I wouldn't call the numbers arbitrary since at the very least it represents a crude mathematical approximation of what we see on the show.

Regardless of the status of the numbers, Teaos has a point. All of the equipment should be larger, but the nail in the coffin for a small ship being deployed on long missions with a low warp factor is fuel. Based on the Power Usage Graph, which may or may not be cannon, but I'll make the starting assumption that this is correct to within a reasonable error, to sustain warp 5 requires 2.0x10^13 W. Assuming very high efficiency* in their warp reactor this requires just over 0.2kg of mass reacting every second. Under STP conditions we can expect every second of fuel to take up a volume of: 0.22m^3**.

In order to reach even Wolf 359 with enough fuel to return would take 864,501.5 m^3 of volume. That's not including the space required for the actual storage container the equipment to magnetically confine the antimatter, the equipment to extract the matter and antimatter and send it to the Warp Core, the Warp Core itself, or the conduits taking the plasma to the nacelles.

That's also not taking into account any extra power generation that would be needed to power anything else on the ship that could pose as serious power hogs like life support, the computers, or weapons.

We haven't even looked at how much space full life support systems for even a small crew would take, or the storage facilities needed to store enough food for a month and a half. Plus the equipment to make sure the food is preserved for that time. Then we have all of the other equipment on the ship that will take up space. And as if that wasn't enough since we're charting new space where humankind has never gone before in the only or one of the few ships even capable of reaching this area of space, they're going to need enough spare parts to fix major problems in their primary systems.

Wolf 359 is also the closest system to us besides the Alpha Centauri trinary. So if they wanted to go anywhere else, like Q'onoS for instance, they would have to be packing a lot more gear.

*In reality the efficiency of the warp engine would be no where near this. In addition to physical inabilities to harness all of the energy, this is a fairly new technology to mankind and is prone to be wrought with small glitches that summed up destroy their efficiency levels. A safer bet may be 50% efficiency.

**This is based off the density of Hydrogen at STP.
Check this out, Let me know if your interested: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=7385
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby Teaos » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:00 pm

Dramatically it would have been a nice touch to.

I worked on ships for three years. and the thing that annoys me about the NX class is it is to neat.

When you build a ship, water or space, you use EVERY bit of space on it.

Bunks under stairs, closets in the odd joining juncture of two walls. Pipes and wires running across ever ceiling and every wall.

It should look like a submarine. Not a cruise ship.

Their Cargo holds are light and airy... they should be packed to the roof with stock and only the thinnest person on the ship is able to slip in to retrieve stuff.
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby shran » Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:05 pm

Teaos wrote:Dramatically it would have been a nice touch to.

I worked on ships for three years. and the thing that annoys me about the NX class is it is to neat.

When you build a ship, water or space, you use EVER bit of space on it.

Bunks under stairs, closets in the odd joining juncture of two walls. Pipes and wires running across ever ceiling and every wall.

It should look like a submarine. Not a cruise ship.

Their Cargo holds are light and airy... they should be packed to the roof with stock and only the thinnest person on the ship is able to slip in to retrieve stuff.

Would have made for interesting shots though, completely changing the general feel of the ship and the series, making the vastness of space outside all that more meaningful and characterwise we might even miss Hoshi, as she had/developed claustrophobia.
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:15 pm

The fact is that the trend we see is for larger ships over time - mostly established from the Connie through Excelsior, Ambassador, and Galaxy.

That said, the trend does seem to reverse later on. Ships seen from the future are often smaller.
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby Sonic Glitch » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:25 pm

GrahamKennedy wrote:The fact is that the trend we see is for larger ships over time - mostly established from the Connie through Excelsior, Ambassador, and Galaxy.

That said, the trend does seem to reverse later on. Ships seen from the future are often smaller.

It's actually kind of odd: the trend in technology is to get smaller (and with more blinking lights) while the trends in ships tends to be towards bigger sizes. That's actually one of the reasons I don't have an issue with the Defiant and its power: to me it makes sense :lol:

The trend in "bigger is better" seems to be focused in the JoaT ships -- the long range explorers/show the flag ships; and over time those ships were expected to go further, faster, and longer than their predecessors. The specialized ships (by which I mean Oberth, Miranda/Soyuz, Akira, Intrepid, Centaur, etc) always seemed to be smaller, yeah they got a bit bigger over time but they've always been on the smaller size (relative to the large JoAT ships).
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby Graham Kennedy » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:48 pm

Seems like they're really just following the real world trend in ship size. Ships have been growing larger for a long, long time.
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby McAvoy » Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:36 pm

GrahamKennedy wrote:Seems like they're really just following the real world trend in ship size. Ships have been growing larger for a long, long time.


Not really size as pretty much stagnated. They have gotten heavier though.
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby Captain Seafort » Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:47 pm

I suspect that's what Graham's talking about. "Size" is a woolly enough term that it could be referring to either dimensions or displacement.
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Re: On the size of ships

Postby Graham Kennedy » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:05 pm

McAvoy wrote:
GrahamKennedy wrote:Seems like they're really just following the real world trend in ship size. Ships have been growing larger for a long, long time.


Not really size as pretty much stagnated. They have gotten heavier though.

You think ships are growing heavier without getting bigger? Seriously?
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