Rationalising and solving UESPA problems

(I think it is safe to designate Thursday as the Starfleet’s Path to 2265 development update day.)

Since my last update: UESPA-9 design is taking a bit longer to complete. I am still on the detail phase, stuck trying to prevent the design from looking too advanced for its area. But that in itself inspired me to write this short essay today. The other notable update was the acquisition of the domain for the website.

uespa9_stage5
Here’s a preview of the detail on UESPA-9 so far! Check out my last update for more information behind the design.

Anyway, let’s get into this.

The United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA), the best-known agency for Earth’s pre-Starfleet exploration missions, has a few seemingly very advanced designs that The Powers that Be of Star Trek thought were fitting. I am by no way criticising the aesthetics of those designs as I personally like them, but they seem too advanced for being designed, constructed and launched only a few years after Zefram Cochrane’s warp flight and deadly conflicts like World War III. SS Valiant (canon mission designation, non-canon visual design) and SS Conestoga (fully canon design) are examples of two fully-functional deep space vessels launched way less than a decade after the Cochrane’s achievement. Whilst writing the first chapter of my website, this has presented a few challenges for me to overcome since I have to rationalise these canon or well-known non-canon designs, and then fill gaps with my own designs based on canon designs! One thing I should also point out is that only a few decades after these designs, civilians then had unprecedented access to space via things like the DY-500-class and the Earth Cargo Service.

There were two solutions I could chose in my mind to the problem. One, Earth had most of the technology mastered thanks to military advancement in spatial travel due to World War III. Two, first contact inspired humanity to race to the stars at an astonishing rate.

Based on how things turned out in World War I and II, the first solution can seem plausible since many innovations and/or wide-scale adoptions were made in those deadly conflicts that we take for granted, in most fields of science. Examples include things like tracked-based vehicle development, nuclear development, aviation advancement, and even the adoption of penicillin! There is one elephant in the corner though. Probably the biggest requirement for deep space travel is a solid, powerful reactor system. If nuclear fusion or even matter/antimatter technology was available in WWIII, surely the level of destruction granted from those immature (for mid-21st century humans) technologies would be far greater than 600 million dead and Earth’s majority recovery in only a decade or so?

Now considering the second solution, it is clear that it is more idealistic to think that all of humanity embraced a brighter future right on the spot in 5th April 2063. We are aware of a well-established post-atomic horror that lasted for a few decades, which resulted in some humans retaining the ‘old ways’ for a large period of time. However, this is Star Trek and I think large amounts of optimism is not out of reach. So I have developed the premise of my UESPA writing based on this solution. But, with a twist. The UESPA could have simply duplicated Cochrane’s reactor and nacelle designs (I’d like to think of Cochrane’s Warp reactor as a fusion reactor, instead of a matter/antimatter reactor) to begin with and scaled them up. We have done similar things in our history, even with spacecraft such as the Boeing X-37 (which is a 120% scaled derivative of the Boeing X-40). Early ships such as SS Valiant uses a system of multiple Cochrane reactor clones, and then most of the spaceframe technology is derived from earlier space programs. The only technologies that would be considerably different (or invented) from now to then is gravity generation, radiation shielding and weapons. Seeing as Star Trek seems to indicate that the Eastern countries were worse off, I have written than the strongest American, European or Eurasian countries spearheaded these advanced programs in an effort to rebuild Earth with whatever we could hope to find in space. Whilst the governments were exploring options, a guy from Montana launches an ex-nuclear missile with an advanced propulsion system that his isolated team developed. He gains the attention of the Vulcans, and the most stable governments of Earth realise that space IS the answer. After hearing from the Vulcans that there are indeed other sentient lifeforms in the universe as well, Earth establishes the UESPA and human ambition pushes us to the stars in only a few short years.

Now the specifics. I have written that the UESPA was founded after a popular uprising began to persuade the rebuilding governments that Earth’s future was in the stars. Which even from my perspective today, Earth’s position future in the stars might be a necessity – we will eventually need more living space, and new and unusual building materials or food products from some planet out there would be cool too. So in light of the WWIII disaster, I think it’s safe to assume a space-based economy using the resources from other planets is the logical solution. This rebuilding effort is definitely a gamble, but since Earth is unwilling to suffer more, humanity takes the bet. The UESPA designs the first explorers as large boxes with Cochrane’s engine designs to find these new worlds. Deep space probes with antimatter technology follow (but I have written that the lack of methods to properly mass-produce antimatter results in Earth being stuck with fusion for at least 6 or 7 decades) to seek out new life and civilisations to make friends with and trade with. Colony ships come not long after suitable planets for human expansion are discovered. To add balance, I have peppered in a few large accidents that indicate the immature state of this advanced technology (my UESPA-9 design is one of them – an ambitious but fatal design). The rest you’ll have to see on the website itself.

I have had other issues to resolve too, such as the timeline placement of the Bonaventure spacecraft seen in the background of a few Star Trek episodes – it’s clear it exists, but it was once attributed to the discovery of Warp! My website’s Articles section will eventually have pages detailing those minor decisions.

For today though, that’s enough (1,000+ words)! See you next week!

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My first original ship

15th October.

That’s the date my Star Trek-themed website will be fully launched and online. As that day approaches, I will be continuing to refine the website’s design and adding launch content. Today, I am currently working on my first original ship design for the website. But before we get into that, I think it is about time I brief what this website is all about.

“Starfleet’s Path to 2265” is as nerdy as it sounds. It is mainly a creative written piece on the subjective fictional history of starships belonging to Earth and Federation design. It’s based around the Star Trek’s prime universe and conforms to canon (mostly). My biggest intention is to fill in the blanks in the timeline between Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Enterprise. Over a year ago, I wrote a small piece about SQL and PHP (In the deep end: MySQL & PHP) that demonstrated an older project called the “Federation Starship Database”. It is kind of like a continuation of that with a refined goal and scope. Pre-TOS and TOS ships are my favourite from Star Trek, and this website is dedicated towards them.

Now, the ship design.

This first of many starship designs I am creating is an early explorer of the United Earth Space Probe Agency, SS Voyager (UESPA-9). I have designed and written the ship to be an early ambitious failure – a complex deep space explorer design in a period of Earth’s history where it is still suffering from the effects of a World War. A recipe for disaster. The design is largely based on a successful canon design from the same period, SS Conestoga (which I have given the registry of UESPA-8).

SS_Conestoga
The canon SS Conestoga, the ship my design is largely based on. Image from Memory Alpha, used under Fair Use.

In order to explain my process, I have briefly documented the design process here. The first thing I did was sketch up some small low detail forms for the ship based on a few well-known references from the same period (SS Valiant of 2065, SS Conestoga of 2067 and DY-500-class of 2076).

uespa9_stage_1

I found that the last form I did was the one I liked the most, as well as the most unique. So I took that form, refined the details, and did some basic annotations on the design.

uespa9_stage_2
Correction: the size measurements should read “145 (length) x 20 (width) x 30 (draft), 50,000 metric tonnes”. In hindsight, the width is far too small anyway and should logically be around 50 to 60 metres.

I then roughly recreated the form on a CAD software (I use TechSoft’s 2D Design V2) so that the design would be confined to a proper scale. I then made a copy of the form and revised the layout of the ship to better suit the length and draft I specified in my annotated drawing (although my specified width of 20 metres will likely cause problems and I am now presuming the width to be around 50 to 60 metres to accommodate the “wing” span of the nacelle pylons).

uespa9_stage_3

Finally, I produced a colourised detail basic render of the ship as a current progress preview for this blog post.

uespa9_stage_4

I hope to have this design completed by the end of the week, and it will be included in my next week’s blog update for the website. Have a good day!