28
Apr
09

Rick Sternbach + Jupiter Station = Classic Starfleet

jupiter_station_beauty

Amazing Rick’s Jupiter Station design for Voyager… a design which cleverly used decomissioned starship hulls. I asked Rick Sternbach for some background and memories of designing this outstandingly cool space station. As a kid who grew up on Bonnestell, and Freeman, Jupiter Station was the kind of thing that kept Rick awake at night as a kid. Here is master space artist Rick Sternbach with the low down -

Jupiter Station was one of those little treat assignments that came around only once in a great while on Star Trek. That’s not to say that the hundreds of other vehicles and props weren’t fun – this is Trek we’re talking about and it was 99.44% fun. Jupiter Station was particularly fun because it afforded a giddy chance to do things with the hardware that hadn’t been done before.

bild-in-picards-quartier-attached

From a painting favored by Captain Picard. It was painted by Rick himself.

The basic look of the station actually goes back to TNG, with the painting in Captain Picard’s cabin of the big blue-gray orbital facility that was inspired in equal parts by Bob McCall’s space art and the established functionality of the “mushroom” starbase from the feature films, and perhaps a dash of the core design from Deep Space 9. The facility orbiting Jupiter hadn’t been described in any great detail in the Voyager Season 6 script “Life Line,” so out came the doodling pens and the shape modeling on the Macintosh.

Early in the process, while fiddling with placements for labs, habitats, and power systems, it occurred to me that if the big oblate shape in the cabin painting wasn’t originally a starship saucer, there was no reason it couldn’t have been. A decommissioned starship hull, possibly an Ambassador class ship no longer able to withstand high warp stresses and combat, could still be useful as a scientific research station or repair facility. And just to make things visually interesting, why not couple a few hulls together? Why not make a really interesting station cobbled together out of six hulls and some other appropriate Federation gear?

quad

Rick’s CG roughs.

As with the days of TNG and DS9, Voyager’s producers accepted some computer graphic images to show what physical and virtual models would generally look like before they were built. Unlike the time allotted to build detailed CG versions of important prime vehicles, models that might only be seen in a single episode could only get rough polygon models and maybe a few inked and colored sketches, at least from our corner of the art department. Some CG roughs went through a moderate number of iterations, like the Ares IV Mars ship from “One Small Step,” with the additional step of full hand-drawn orthographic blueprints to aid the final CG vendor. With Jupiter Station, there was time to print out some renders of one rough shape model and construction notes and send them to EdenFX, plus a copy of the rough model exported in DXF format. The DXF file wasn’t perfect, but it was intended to help with basic proportions. I was using Macromedia’s ancient Extreme3D; we didn’t have Lightwave or Maya in the office back in March of 2000.

jupiter_station_side1Side – The final model built in CG by Eden Effects. We’ll drag Rob Bonchune in to comment.

The key to the look was, of course, the idea of the starship saucer hulls, with recognizable surface details such as windows and lifeboat hatches. Spotlights lit up the shadowed areas between the vertical saucer stacks. Big transfer aisles connected each saucer with its immediate neighbor and were large enough to allow for shuttle docks and movement of big cargo pallets.

jupiter_station_top

Top

The long stalks were structures on which to hang tanks for consumables and fuels for the powerplants at the very bottom (away from people, very much like the DS9 core). The lower banks of petal-shaped objects were waste heat radiators. One of the great advantages to this kind of design was repeatable shapes. One saucer got you three, and one full stack got you a second one for free.  :)

jupiter_station_bottom

Bottom

Sprouting from the middle of the complex in opposite directions were long booms with what appeared to be solar panels, though these were actually more exotic cosmic field collectors intended to sniff the surrounding space for subspace disturbances, faint messages, and the like. If you recall, similar panels were around the outside of the MIDAS array that transmitted the Doctor to Jupiter Station. The bulky block on one boom was a ship dock, the other was a dedicated subspace antenna blade.

jupiter_station_front

Front

Mentioned a few times in the Star Trek television shows and seen perhaps once, Jupiter Station nevertheless became a popular object, written about by fans and modeled by enthusiastic CG artists. There’s even a polygon model available for the astronomy program Celestia, making it possible to boldly go where Pioneer, Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini have gone before.

(Below) The finished Jupiter Station as seen on Voyager.

jupiter-station-life-line-6

jupiter-station-life-line-9

 

Jörg! Thanks buddy!!


65 Responses to “Rick Sternbach + Jupiter Station = Classic Starfleet”


  1. 1 Pacal
    April 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I always thought those hulls looked too familiar to be just coincidence. Decommisioned hulls eh makes sense! :)

  2. 2 Dave D.
    April 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Pure awesomeness!

  3. 3 MikeZ
    April 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    And here he goes again … :D
    I´ve always liked the efficiency of this design and it´s interesting to hear how it came to life.

  4. 5 Matt Boardman
    April 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Awesome! I’ve always loved this design. It’s unique, yet with a flavor of the familiar. I know that budgeting, time, and story prevented us from seeing too many things like this, but I love it because it helps expand the Trek universe. Love the use of the decommissioned starship hulls! Even in the 24th century, humans are looking for ways to be “green” ;D

    Thanks for the insights on the station, Rick, and thanks for sharing these Doug! This is one of my favorite stations!

  5. April 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    This place is just great. You get home from work, switch on the PC, and get another dose of uber-coolness (I really shouldn’t succumb to all these webby terms :) ).

    Fabulous article, thanks Doug and Rick! So… just to try follow through some of the re-used hulls logic, would that perhaps help explain (in-universe wise) the absence of Ambassador class ships in the later years of TNG and DS9? As they were superceded by the Galaxy class most could be recycled as economic space stations?

  6. April 28, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Another great surprise. :)

  7. 8 DeanneM
    April 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I’ve always liked this station in particular. When I first saw this design I thought it looked like some retro 60′s “space age” design concept. Next it occurred to me that maybe a more practical approach would have been 2 large sections rather than the 6 disk shapes. Just seemed logical, but I really LIKED the station.

    Now you’ve made it all make sense and resolved this for me! It makes perfect sense, so now I have MORE reason to like it, thanks Rick and Doug for getting these insights to us.

  8. April 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    I listen about that the Jupiter Station looks like was made which Ambassador saucers, but I never think that was really made which it !!! Nice idea :) !!!

  9. 10 BB43MAN
    April 28, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Sweet! That always was a great painting!

  10. April 28, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    BB43MAN – Thanks. I’ve always been a big fan of Bob McCall, and have known him on and off since 1974 (last met up with him and Paul Calle in Phoenix two years ago), so that painting was my homage. I love super realistic space art, but I also admire the more painterly among us. I want to be a space-based Jackson Pollack in my next life. The actual cabin artwork was done over a few nights at home in my studio and delivered the morning of the day it had to shoot after a last all-nighter. Fun stuff. :)

  11. 12 DeanneM
    April 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I agree about the painting, very nice! I enjoyed seeing Andy’s 1701-A that you so gallantly saved after 10 long years, Doug, and wouldn’t mind seeing a lot more of this art from the space-based Jackson Pollack (love that reference!) and the great Andy Probert!!

  12. April 28, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    DeanneM – My own art is up at ricksternbach.com and spacemodelsystems.com . Both sites are in desperate need of updating, but there are viewable bits of book and magazine art and a bit of Trek and other projects. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

  13. 14 DeanneM
    April 28, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Rick, thanks, checking out the links, perfect (art and model info!).

    On the station, you point out the dock on the boom…is that the only place a large ship can dock? Since you mentioned that the transfer aisles are large enough for shuttles, I assume that’s the case.

  14. April 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Since the saucers don’t greatly resemble Ambassador-class primary hulls, perhaps a clever fan can invent the class of starship from which these saucers were scavenged. :)

  15. 16 evil_genius_180
    April 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Dude, Rick’s da man. (actually, you guys all are) I love this station. And it makes sense to have decommissioned hulls being used. It’s less of a waste of resources. Though I love the old Office Complex from TMP and Spacedock from ST3, this is definitely my favorite Trek space station. :)

  16. April 28, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    My favorite space station!

  17. April 28, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    This isn’t exactly the place to get into this, but I’ve always been a bit conflicted about whether there would even be any “waste” materials around in a 24th century world/galaxy where people have access to furious amounts of energy and stellar system resources. In fact, *multiple* stellar systems’ worth of resources and energy. I think that beyond a certain point, just about anything could be manufactured and recycled with ease, negating the need to reuse those starship hulls. Star Trek really has only given the barest hints on screen about what’s possible, maybe because our heads would all explode if we sat down and worked everything out. :) But it was still fun to offer those visual reminders.

  18. April 28, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Greg Tyler – Well, those hull don’t *exactly* come from Ambassador class ships, but I suggested to Doug that they might be Ambassador variants. Maybe even precursors? Something between the B and the C, maybe cargo carriers, maybe colony transfer vessels. Could be anything.

  19. April 28, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Another day. Another awesome post to Doug’s blog =)

    It’s always a treat and even sweeter when you get Mike Okuda or Rick Sternbach to chime in on their own work like this.

    I loved this design when it was shown (all to briefly). One of the better Trek station designs. I think the “reused saucer” aspect got me subliminally, but I’d never consciously thought about it until it was pointed out here. Cool stuff!

  20. April 28, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Excelssador? Ambasior? Ambrosia?

    Just kidding. I like the station design a lot, and to be frank, I don’t care where the saucers come from. It’s just cool and logical — an excellent combination.

  21. 22 Mike Okuda
    April 28, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Even if fabrication is essentially “free” because of nearly unlimited power and replication systems, there still might be value in using existing, standardized design matrices, especially during times of crisis or rapid expansion. This could yield significant savings of design, engineering, and testing time.

    Also, “essentially free” replication wouldn’t mean completely free. Assuming that there’s some reason why you don’t have a von Newmann architecture (replicators making more replicators), there’d be some upper limit on the rate at which you could produced replicated goods. This could be a rationale for recycling of existing hardware, especially big items like starship hulls. (I’d argue that such limits must exist in the Star Trek, or there could never be a storyline about shortages.)

  22. April 28, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    Now that I look at the station again, I was probably influenced by the “Mars Parasol” designed by Ernst Stuhlinger that we saw in the “Mars and Beyond” segment of the Disney Man in Space film series. And those little drinks umbrellas. And frisbees. And M&Ms.

  23. April 28, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    m&m’s? :)

    Jupiter Station: melts in your star system, not in your hand.

  24. 26 Syd Hughes
    April 28, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Sternbach’s the man. I always thought his techno-industrial look complemented Probert’s more organic designs. Having the two together really gave a sense of depth and realism to TNG — as if they were two ends of an entire massive spectrum of shapes and looks in the TNG universe.

  25. April 28, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Thanks for this pictorial. I have always liked the Jupiter Station model.

  26. April 28, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Never watched Voyager much, but I can see I missed out on some cool stuff, design-wise. This baby rocks. Great stuff, Rick. I, too, am a great admirer of Bob McCall. I highly recommend “The Art of Robert McCall” to anyone who likes space-themed paintings.

  27. April 28, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I dig the re-use of starship saucers, and I think it would only make sense since it’s clear that the UFP tries to waste as little as possible.

  28. 30 The DC
    April 28, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Another great post, Dough. Much appreciated!

    I agree with Okuda; “free” is a relative term. Energy and material can become finite even to the Federation, as we were exposed to during the Dominion War. Furthermore, the use of existing material might facilitate integration into a fleet already employing docking systems, lifeboats, etc. as well as encourage familiarity in operations, more efficiently employing personnel across field and base commands.

    Then there’s the concept of recycling as a philosophy! It might be seen as just ethical to make the most effective use of resources and unethical to be wasteful {this should satisfy Vulcan and Andorian cultural maxims} as well as being cost efficient in the application of new resources {gratifying Tellerite sensibilities}. And Dough made a good point in an earlier post about tradition guiding the placement of the bridge…sometimes people do things because they believe they are right due to previous experience or also comfortable with the approach. Besides, recycling fits well within the Star Trek approach.

    [I actually made a short post! See even an Irishman can use willpower!]

    Slante,

    The DC

  29. 31 The DC
    April 28, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Oh! one more thing…nice carried on tradition of re-using hulls for this station, given where the TOS team got the pods for the K-7!

    LL&P,

    The DC

  30. April 28, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    What a beautiful model, so complicated and technical in nature, but the modelling and texture maps really make this a realistic station. So did you or Rick get inspired by the ISS for this?

  31. April 28, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Jim Morvay – I can’t say that ISS had any major influence on this design, except only in the most basic understanding of structures in a space environment. Even with that basic sense, Jupiter Station was more driven by the imaginary 24th century ways of building and powering and operating space equipment. Especially so close to the planet! In the good old days (like now) we’d all be fried to crispy critters if we tried to get that near with the gear we’ve got. :)

  32. April 28, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    DeanneM said: “On the station, you point out the dock on the boom…is that the only place a large ship can dock? Since you mentioned that the transfer aisles are large enough for shuttles, I assume that’s the case.”

    The boom dock would likely serve things like Runabouts and small ships that were -maybe- no more than a quarter the size of one of the station hulls. Maybe a little bigger. There certainly could have been entry doors for shuttles at various spots around the hulls and the transfer bridges, and large ships could have simply hung out nearby and beamed people and things back and forth, like with the K-7. Always some bits to think about with these designs when there was no time to work it all out originally.

  33. 35 LoyalTrekFan
    April 29, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I love the design of the Jupiter Station. In fact, I recently downloaded the TrekCore.com screencaps of the Jupiter Station and I have added them to my list of Star Trek desktop wallpapers.

    I like to say again that I appreciate the hard work that goes into Star Trek and all the behind-the-scenes info and schematics that this site provides. Again, another large Thank You!

    For anyone wanting screencaps from any of the 700+ episodes of Star Trek or the 10 films (or even the previews for the new Trek film) go to http://www.trekcore.com. One of my all time favorite Trek sites. Also, I’d recommend trekmovie.com for all the latest Trek news.

  34. April 29, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Rick, I love the idea of recycling starship hulls into a space station! It’s like the sadly never-executed idea of letting the Space Shuttles carry their fuel tanks into orbit and converting them into habitat modules for space stations, rather than dumping them to burn up wastefully in the atmosphere. I still can’t believe we never did that. It would’ve made it hugely less costly to build the ISS, and then some. (In Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, the colony starship to Mars was built primarily out of dozens of used shuttle tanks.)

    And yay, heat radiators! I’ve lamented on this blog before about how spacecraft in film and TV never have heat radiator fins even though any real large craft would need them. I’m glad that at least one space structure in the Trek universe has the ability to radiate waste heat. (Cue Homer Simpson: “In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!”)

    Mike Okuda said: “Also, “essentially free” replication wouldn’t mean completely free. Assuming that there’s some reason why you don’t have a von Newmann architecture (replicators making more replicators), there’d be some upper limit on the rate at which you could produced replicated goods. This could be a rationale for recycling of existing hardware, especially big items like starship hulls. (I’d argue that such limits must exist in the Star Trek, or there could never be a storyline about shortages.)”

    There is a good rationale for not having von Neumann replicators: the risk that they could run out of control and spread like a plague across the galaxy. Some have proposed that an answer to the Fermi paradox (why do we see no aliens?) is that von Neumann bots ate them all (see Robert Charles Wilson’s novels Spin and Axis), while others have said that if there were any aliens out there, their replicator bots would’ve devoured Earth already. If there were an interstellar civilization of organic life forms, they’d probably classify VN replicators as WMDs and aggressively ban them.

    (Awkward talking about replicators in a Trek context where the term has a significantly different meaning. The Stargate usage of the term is the one that applies here.)

    • 37 Stephen Johnson
      May 21, 2010 at 8:25 am

      I think the familiar shapes is probably a sign of “don’t reinvent the wheel”. Engineering like computer programmers don’t like having to resolve problems they have already solved. Both disciplines like to reuse things they’ve already created rather then creaing them anew everytime.

      The problem is providing a class M environment in the hostile environment of space. That means light, heating, gravity, breathable atmosphere, radiation and micrometeor protection, larger object avoidance or deflection, living quarters, food, waste products handling. So an engineer starts to build up something from basic systems, air tight hulls, maybe structural integrity forcefields for added safety, decks which can be confired as living and work areas, using standard environmental systems, using lots for redundancy in case of failures, EPS conduits for the power grid, basic shields protection from micrometeorites, deflector shield for radiation and larger objects, computer core to run things…

      An engineer looks at this and see that this particular problem has already been solved for the most part: Starships. In particular the seperable primary hulls from the modular designs that Starfleet uses. The only different is that a station won’t be moving normally. So an engineer could start with an old standard well proven primary hull design and adapt it for a space station. And since having to deal with high warp speed stresses isn’t an issue here, the engineering is free to play with the shape. So they the hulls as a building unite can be stacked and multiple stacks can be used. Using other standard building units the engineer just has to design the bits to put all the pieces together. And viola, Jupiter Station.

  35. April 29, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Robert Bussard taught me about waste heat radiators in my living room in 1983 when I was doing an article for Science Digest on starships. I’ve got his scribblings around here somewhere; essentially he was saying the best configuration for a long central ship radiator was three panels 120 degrees apart, so that no one panel would radiate directly at its neighbor. And he gave some notes about just how much heat could be dumped per unit time for a particular area and type of material, but I don’t recall the numbers. I didn’t use that config on the station, but my heart was in the right place. :)

  36. 39 CarlG
    April 29, 2009 at 1:06 am

    What can I say? Space stations are just cool. And the repurposed starship saucers are a clever touch.

    Whatever happened to that painting, anyway? Hope it didn’t get trashed or something.

  37. April 29, 2009 at 1:08 am

    There’d be more than one of this design – probably reusing other ship hulls as well as the extrapolated “Ambassador-precursor” – elsewhere in UFP space, correct?

  38. 41 FSL
    April 29, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Given that starships are still seen to be built in shipyards, it is probable that even in 24th century, it is still relatively difficult or overly energy intensive to replicate very large objects. Perhaps to recycle entire hulls are still much more efficient then re-replicating them into other things.

    Really love this station. In addition to style, it has immediately history built in, with the theory behind recycling, and the Ambassador style hulls giving it a rough construction time in Trek history.

    Too bad the station interior set didn’t have any windows!

  39. April 29, 2009 at 2:39 am

    CarlG – No idea where the painting went, probably into set dressing storage hell or possibly a dumpster. I’ve still got 3-4 painted color roughs of different sizes kicking around; I’ll see if I can dig them out.

  40. April 29, 2009 at 2:46 am

    Dwight Williams said: “There’d be more than one of this design – probably reusing other ship hulls as well as the extrapolated “Ambassador-precursor” – elsewhere in UFP space, correct?”

    Why not? I’d bet there would be something at Saturn, or possibly at the Saturn trojan points, maybe a far extrasolar station at 60 A.U. or even way out in the Oort cloud. If the UFP was smart, they’d have a constellation of stations around the solar system, orbiting in all different planes, if for nothing else than to monitor the security situation.

  41. April 29, 2009 at 3:40 am

    Rick, I think your radiator placement for Jupiter station makes more sense in this context than Dr. Bussard’s suggestion. Within the Solar System, the radiators would pretty much need to be edge-on to the Sun, or else their absorption of heat from sunlight would reduce or cancel out their ability to radiate heat. Probably they’d also have to be edge-on to Jupiter, which is one hell of an infrared emitter. And they’d have to stay that way as the station orbited Jupiter and changed its orientation relative to the two heat sources. So laying them all in a single plane is probably the best design under those circumstances. Dr. Bussard was probably speaking more about an interstellar craft where sunlight on the radiators isn’t a concern.

    And in the images from the episode, they do seem to be edge-on to Jupiter and nearly edge-on to the Sun, so that works.

    On the idea of reusing hardware, I just had a wacky thought: what if, in an inversion of the real-life situation, the TMP Centroplex was built around an inverted Regula-type space station of the kind we’ve seen all over the Federation? Maybe that was a standardized, mass-produced space station design, and Centroplex used one of them as its core and added more pieces to it. Why it would be turned upside-down (relative to the interior deck layout/gravity vector) is beyond me, though.

  42. April 29, 2009 at 4:52 am

    Correction: The Jupiter Station logo first appeared in “The swarm”. Sorry for the mix-up!

    http://s95.photobucket.com/albums/l142/gaghyogi49/April%202009%202/JupiterStationlogoTheswarm.jpg

  43. 46 CX
    April 29, 2009 at 8:13 am

    I like the station, but I think you should ditch the explanation of the Ambassador saucers. It might be easier for them to modify things in the future, but I can’t help but cringe at the idea of what it would take to modify an existing ship into a station like that. I could see using the Ambassador hull as a basic template back when it was presumably built, though to be honest the hulls themselves don’t look like Amby hulls to me.

  44. 47 Simon
    April 29, 2009 at 8:16 am

    As we say in Bavaria: “Do leckst mi doch am Arsch!” ;)

  45. 48 mythme
    April 29, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    I was just wondering how you guys envisioned Jupiter Station during the 22nd Century? Since the station was where the NX-01 was to be fitted with its phase cannons, would it have been more of an industrial center? Since it was Jupiter Station’s inspiration, would it perhaps look more like the Picard ready room illustration above?

  46. April 29, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Extreme3D?! Man, that brings back memories! We toyed around with that a bit in college; though most of the time, we were stuck with Infini-D 4.5.

    Amazing work, Rick. I always loved the “kitbashed” look of Jupiter Station!

  47. April 29, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    CX wrote: “It might be easier for them to modify things in the future, but I can’t help but cringe at the idea of what it would take to modify an existing ship into a station like that.”

    Why would it be hard at all? A starship saucer is just its habitat module — a pressurized container with life-support equipment and living space. If it’s something the size of an Ambassador or Galaxy saucer, then it’s a huge complex rivaling the size of a small city’s downtown area, filled with all sorts of residential, manufacturing, laboratory, and recreational facilities as well as hangars, cargo bays, deflectors, maneuvering thrusters, etc. Separate it from its warp engines, stick some heat radiators on it, and bam, you’ve essentially got a space station already.

  48. April 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Agreed, Christopher. In a way Jupiter Station is Skylab on subspace steroids.

  49. April 29, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Christopher L. Bennett said: “Dr. Bussard was probably speaking more about an interstellar craft where sunlight on the radiators isn’t a concern.” Oh, definitely. The radiator he described was for the ramjet ship, but the general lessons I got from him helped me think about radiators in general. Know the rules, and then break them intelligently. :)

  50. April 29, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    liquidcross – Well, I had started with Swivel 3D and followed that app all the way through Extreme3D 2, and then Macromedia abandoned it. Idiots. Weird thing is, Maya feels like Extreme in some of its controls. I took a couple of courses in Maya and my fingers started to do familiar moves. Weird. Maya is a lot more powerful and costs bucketloads more money, of course. My real aim is to get into Modo, but that’s going to have to wait for a bit.

  51. 55 Thorsten Wieking
    April 29, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    How about the first six pre-production run Ambassador classes being reused as this station? “Pre-production” could explain the visual differences.

    Anyway, once again great background information from you guys.

    Cheers
    Thorsten

  52. 56 JNG
    April 29, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    I wouldn’t see much of a problem with Ambassador structural elements being used and just minor changes being made to support the new requirements (looks like phaser strips are ditched, different escape pod requirements, et cetera). I think the internal arrangement is all swappable pressurized modules “hung” on a framework anyway. Looking at it, the scale looks correct for them to be former Ambassador hulls…or let’s say, saucers like those used for the Ambassador, because I feel it is quite likely there were other starship designs that used that same primary hull. Some might be survivors that formerly travelled the stars, or they could be new-builds because they were so easily adapted to the new purpose.

    Either way, this is a really cool station that catches the eye but has a kind of horse sense about it at the same time.

  53. April 29, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Since the final look of the saucers makes it pretty obvious that these are not Ambassador class hulls, I think we can pretty much peg them as some other class about the same diameter or smaller. I don’t have a problem with that, since there isn’t enough data on the station to contradict any other established facts. We can name the class at some other time and fiddle with the scale and such.

  54. 58 Alex
    April 30, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Hey Rick!

    I like your painting and I tried to make a scheme out of it:

    http://tinyurl.com/d2jna4
    http://tinyurl.com/d5wmo7 (huge version)

    do you think it fits?
    would you change something?

  55. 59 Scott
    May 1, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    To me, judging from the side-view of the saucers, I always took it as a Pre-Ambassador design.

    Perhaps these could be modifed Federation-class Dreadnaught saucers. After all we never offically seen them on screen.

    So when the Ambassador-class was being designed, instead of just drawing inspriation from the Consitution-class, they also drew inspiration on the larger Federation-class.

  56. 60 Tanru
    May 5, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Maybe the “left-over” saucer sections came from ships that were capable of saucer separation… except their Engineering/Secondary Hulls were destroyed/damaged beyond repair. Like what might have happened to the E-D if it’s orbit remained intact.

  57. 61 JasonAbbadon
    May 5, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Really inspirational design, Rick!
    I glommed some of your ideas for an Starship Modeler contest:
    http://www.starshipmodeler.org/contest10/images/scratch_08_StarfleetR&D2.jpg
    Now I can attempt the real thing (though I’m tempted to add some dorsal phasers!).
    Or maybe I’ll make the class those saucers came from…

  58. May 26, 2009 at 7:34 am

    That’s some great stuff right there, Rick. Love the well-thought-out (as usual) science-based consideration of design.

    Thanks to all involved in bringing us the excellent entry, eh!

    LLP,
    deg

  59. May 26, 2009 at 9:17 am

    JasonAbbadon – I know it’s a bit late in the thread, but that’s a pretty sweet model!

    deg – Thanks for that. I figure it doesn’t all have to look like Luigi Colani to be cool. :)

  60. May 26, 2009 at 10:27 am

    While Colani’s stuff is functionally aerodynamic, no doubt, I myself am not crazy about it aesthetics-wise. TBT, to me, it looks kinda cheesy, almost like some of the ol’ 70′s Buck Rogers set designs, in a way. Maybe that show was indeed ahead of its time. :P

    Like I said though, while his designs are functionally aerodynamic, I prefer a harder-line aesthetic for space hardware along the lines of 2001 and your guys’ stuff. Besides, what need of cheesy aerodynamic streamlining in space, eh? :)

    LLP,
    deg

  61. May 26, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    @42: I remember one of the Pocket Books novels from a few years ago had Starbase One situated out in the Oort Cloud.

    Sorry slightly off-topic here but…

    I’ve always thought it a bit annoying that a canon location for Starbase One has never been established. At least one other short story (from the Dominion War anthology) talks of it being Earth Spacedock (or another station orbiting Earth). I think I read that Alan Dean Foster’s Trek XI novel adaptation names the big station from the film as Starbase One too (though in the movie it’s just described as Spacedock).

    Any thoughts or other evidence folks have?


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