LCARS - b-main-engineering - Decks - Bridge Eng - Stardrive - Deck 36

USS Spectrum

- Deck 36 -

Main Engineering


MSD - Master Systems Display
MSM - Master Situation Monitor
IPSS - Impulse Propulsion Systems Status
WPSS - Warp Propulsion Systems Status
CEO - Chief Engineers Office
CEOA - Assistant Chief Engineers Office

Antiproton Generation Repeater Display
Propulsion Systems Display
Emergency Manual Overide
Environmental Systems Display
Engineering Office Consol
Chief Engineers Workstation
Assistant Chiefs Workstation
Cochrane Regulator

Isolinear Chip Reader
PADD - Engineers
Isolinear Optical Chips

Fusion Power Regulators

MSD - Master Situation Display
Master Situation Display

MAIN ENGINEERING The Main Engineering control center on Deck 36 serves as a master control for the ships warp propulsion system, as well as the impulse propulsion system and other engineering systems. Main Engineering also serves as a backup control center in the event of failure of the Main Bridge and the Battle Bridge. Workstations at this location can be reconfigured to emulate Conn, Ops, Tactical, and other command operations. This is a desirable site for such functions because of its protected location within the Engineering section and its proximity to key warp propulsion system components. Optical data network hardlines provide protected backup communications to other major systems.

Warp propulsion systems status display. This wall display incorporates a schematic of the warp propulsion system and shows performance of all key system elements.

MATTER/ANTIMATTER REACTION SYSTEM - The matter/antimatter reaction assembly is variously referred to as the Warp reactor, Warp engine core, and main engine core. Energy produced within the core is shared between starship propulsion and other major ship systems.

MATTER/ANTIMATTER REACTION ASSEMBLY - As the warp propulsion system is the heart of the USS Enterprise, the matter/antimatter reaction assembly (M/ARA) is the heart of the warp propulsion system. The M/ARA is variously called the warp reactor, warp engine core, or main engine core. Energy produced within the core is shared between its primary application, the propulsion of the starship, and the raw power requirements of other major ship systems. The M/ARA is the principal power-generating system because of the 10 times greater energy output of the matter/antimatter reaction over that of standard fusion, as found in the impulse propulsion system. The M/ARA consists of four subsystems: reactant injectors, magnetic constriction segments, matter/antimatter reaction chamber, and power transfer conduits.

MAGNETIC CONSTRICTION SEGMENTS - The upper and lower magnetic constriction segments (MCS) constitute the central mass of the core. These components work to structurally support the matter/antimatter reaction chamber, provide a pressure vessel to maintain the proper core operating environment, and align the incoming matter and antimatter streams for combining within the matter/antimatter reaction chamber (M/ARC). The upper MCS measures 18 meters in length, the lower unit 12 meters. Both are 2.5 meters in diameter. A typical segment comprises eight sets of tension frame members, a toroidal pressure vessel wall, twelve sets of magnetic constrictor coils, and related power feed and control hardware. The constrictor coils are high-density, forced-matrix cobalt-lanthanide-boronite, with thirty-six active elements configured to provide maximum field strength only within the pressure vessel and permitting little or no field spillage into Engineering. The pressure vessel toroids are alternating layers of vapor-deposited carbonitic ferracite and transparent aluminum borosilicate. The vertical tension members are machined tritanium and cortenite reinforcing whiskers, and are phase transition-bonded in place as the vehicle frame is being assembled to produce a single unified structure. All engine frame members possess integral conduits for structural integrity field energy reinforcing under normal operation. The outermost transparent layer serves as one observable gauge of engine performance, as harmless secondary photons are emitted from the inner layers, providing a visible blue glow. The peristaltic action and energy level of the constrictor coils can be readily seen by the Chief Engineer and/or deputy personnel. As the streams of matter and antimatter are released from their respective nozzles, the constrictor coils compress each stream in the Y axis and add between 200 and 300 m/sec velocity. This insures proper alignment and collision energy for them each to land on target within the M/ARC at the exact center of the chamber. It is at this spot that the M/A reaction is mediated by the dilithium crystal articulation frame.

WARP FIELD THEORY AND APPLICATION Like those before him, Zefram Cochrane, the scientist generally credited with the development of modern warp physics, built his work upon the shoulders of giants. Beginning in the mid-twenty-first century, Cochrane, working with his legendary engineering team, labored to derive the basic mechanism of continuum distortion propulsion (CDP). Intellectually, he grasped the potential for higher energies and faster-than-light travel, which signified practical operations beyond the Sol system. The eventual promise of rapid interstellar travel saw his team take on the added task of an intensive review of the whole of the physical sciences. It was hoped that the effort would lead to better comprehension of known phenomena applicable to warp physics, as well as the possibility of left field ideas influenced by related disciplines. Their crusade finally led to a set of complex equations, materials formulae, and operating procedures that described the essentials of superluminal flight. In those original warp drive theories, single (or at most double) shaped fields, created at tremendous energy expenditure, could distort the space/time continuum enough to drive a starship. As early as 2061, Cochrane's team succeeded in producing a prototype field device of massive proportions. Described as a fluctuation superimpeller, it finally allowed an unmanned flight test vehicle to straddle the speed of light (c) all, alternating between two velocity states while remaining at neither for longer than Planck time, 1.3 x 10 second, the smallest possible unit of measurable time. This had the net effect of maintaining velocities at the previously unattainable speed of light, while avoiding the theoretically infinite energy expenditure which would otherwise have been required. Early CDP engines which were only informally dubbed warp engines met with success, and were almost immediately incorporated into existing spacecraft designs with surprising ease. Although slow and inefficient by todays standards, these engines yielded a substantial reduction of undesired time dilation effects, paving the way for round-trip flights on the order of a few years, not decades. Cochrane and his team eventually relocated to the Alpha Centauri colonies (a move that took only four years because of CDP-powered space vehicles), and they continued to pioneer advances in warp physics that would eventually jump the wall altogether and explore the mysterious realm of subspace that lay on the other side. The key to the creation of subsequent non-Newtonian methods, i.e., propulsion not dependent upon exhausting reaction products, lay in the concept of nesting many layers of warp field energy, each layer exerting a controlled amount of force against its next-outermost neighbor. The cumulative effect of the force applied drives the vehicle forward and is known as asymmetrical peristaltic field manipulation (APFM). Warp field coils in the engine nacelles are energized in sequential order, fore to aft. The firing frequency determines the number of field layers, a greater number of layers per unit time being required at higher warp factors. Each new field layer expands outward from the nacelles, experiences a rapid force coupling and decoupling at variable distances from the nacelles, simultaneously transferring energy and separating from the previous layer at velocities between 0.5c and 0.9c. This is well within the bounds of traditional physics, effectively circumventing the limits of General, Special, and Transformational Relativity. During force coupling the radiated energy makes the necessary transition into subspace, applying an apparent mass reduction effect to the spacecraft. This facilitates the slippage of the spacecraft through the sequencing layers of warp field energy.

WARP POWER MEASUREMENT - The cochrane is the unit used to measure subspace field stress. Cochranes are also used to measure field distortion generated by other spatial manipulation devices, including tractor beams, deflectors, and synthetic gravity fields. Fields below Warp 1 are measured in millicochranes. A subspace field of one thousand millicochranes or greater becomes the familiar warp field. Field intensity for each warp factor increases geometrically and is a function of the total of the individual field layer values. Note that the cochrane value for a given warp factor corresponds to the apparent velocity of a spacecraft traveling at that warp factor. For example, a ship traveling at Warp Factor 3 is maintaining a warp field of at least 39 cochranes and is therefore traveling at 39 times c, the speed of light. Approximate values for integer warp factors are: Warp Factor 1 = 1 cochrane Warp Factor 2 = 10 cochranes Warp Factor 3 = 39 cochranes ; Warp Factor 4 = 102 cochranes ; Warp Factor 5 = 214 cochranes ; Warp Factor 6 = 392 cochranes ; Warp Factor 7 = 656 cochranes ; Warp Factor 8 = 1024 cochranes ; Warp Factor 9 = 1516 cochranes. The actual values are dependent upon interstellar conditions, e.g., gas density, electric and magnetic fields within the different regions of the Milky Way galaxy, and fluctuations in the subspace domain. Starships routinely travel at multiples of c, but they suffer from energy penalties resulting from quantum drag forces and motive power oscillation inefficiencies. The amount of power required to maintain a given warp factor is a function of the cochrane value of the warp field. However, the energy required to initially establish the field is much greater, and is called the peak transitional threshold. Once that threshold has been crossed, the amount of power required to maintain a given warp factor is lessened. While the current engine designs allow for control of unprecedented amounts of energy, the warp driver coil electrodynamic efficiency decreases as the warp factor increases. Ongoing studies indicate, however, that no new materials breakthroughs are anticipated to produce increased high warp factor endurance. Warp fields exceeding a given warp factor, but lacking the energy to cross the threshold to the next higher level, are called fractional warp factors. Travel at a given fractional warp factor can be significantly faster than travel at the next lower integral warp, but for extended travel, it is often more energy-efficient to simply increase to the next higher integral warp factor.

THEORETICAL LIMITS Eugene's Limit allows for warp stress to increase asymptotically, approaching but never reaching a value corresponding to Warp Factor 10. As field values approach ten, power requirements rise geometrically, while the aforementioned driver coil efficiency drops dramatically. The required force coupling and decoupling of the warp field layers rise to unattainable frequencies, exceeding not only the flight system's control capabilities, but more important the limit imposed by the aforementioned Planck time. Even if it were possible to expend the theoretically infinite amount of energy required, an object at Warp 10 would be traveling infinitely fast, occupying all points in the universe simultaneously.

WARP PROPULSION SYSTEM - As installed in the Galaxy class, the warp propulsion system consists of three major assemblies: the matter/antimatter reaction assembly, power transfer conduits, and warp engine nacelles. The total system provides energy for its primary application, propelling the USS Enterprise through space, as well as its secondary application, powering such essential high-capacity systems as the defensive shields, phaser arrays, tractor beam, main deflector, and computer cores. The original propulsion system specifications, transmitted to the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards on 6 July 2343, called for hardware capable of sustaining a normal cruising speed of Warp 5 until fuel exhaustion, a maximum cruising speed of Warp 7, and a maximum top speed of Warp 9.3 for twelve hours. These theoretical milestones had been modeled in computer simulations, based on a total vehicle mass of 6.5 million metric tonnes. In the following six months, however, well before the spaceframe designs had been finalized, Starfleet reevaluated the overall requirements of the Galaxy class, based upon a combination of factors. The driving influences were: (1) changing political conditions among members of the Federation, (2) intelligence forecasts describing improved Threat hardware, and (3) increasing numbers of scientific programs that could benefit from a vessel with superior performance. Further computer modeling efforts by members of the structural, systems, and propulsion working groups resulted in revised specifications being sent to the Utopia Planitia designers on 24 December 2344. These specifications required the Galaxy class to sustain a normal cruising speed of Warp 6 until fuel exhaustion, a maximum cruising speed of Warp 9.2, and a maximum top speed of Warp 9.6 for twelve hours. The total estimated vehicle mass was reduced through materials improvements and internal rearrangements to 4.96 million metric tonnes. Once the major designs were frozen, prototype engine components were fabricated, using elements of past vehicles as reference points. Computer models of each major assembly were merged into a total system model in order to test theoretical performance characteristics. The first all-up system model test finally took place at UP on 16 April 2356, and was demonstrated to Starfleet two days later. As performance studies progressed, prototype hardware was fabricated. Materials failures plagued the initial development of the core of the system, the warp reaction chamber, which must contain the furious matter/antimatter reactions. These difficulties were eliminated with the introduction of cobalt hexafluoride to the inner chamber lining, which proved effective in reinforcing the core magnetic fields. Similarly, materials problems slowed the construction of the warp engine nacelles. The key internal elements of the warp engines, the verterium cortenide 947/952 coils, which convert the core energy into the propulsive warp fields, could not be manufactured to flight tolerances in density and shape for the first half of the prototype construction phase. These problems were corrected with adjustments to a lengthy furnace cooling period. Remarkably, work on the power transfer conduits between the warp core and the nacelles proceeded without incident. Detailed analysis of the prototype conduits revealed early on that they would easily bear the required structural and electrodynamic loads, and their basic function was little changed from their predecessors of a century earlier. Once the prototype spaceframe test article was sufficiently complete to allow for it, engine installation was performed. The power transfer conduits, which had been imbedded within the nacelles support pylons as the spaceframe was built, awaited the docking of the nacelles and core assemblies. On 5 May 2356 the prototype starship NX-70637, as yet unnamed as the USS Galaxy, for the first time existed as a flyable space vessel.