Monday, October 24, 2011

Crew as Mission Control: Is this Classic Model Accurate?

Honest, it's not bad...
         Far and away, our most popular posts were the Crew as Mission Control series. I was thinking about this in the car this morning, and it hit me:  Could the classic Bridge designs from the Star Trek universe be considered a good model for a Mission Control center?  After all, the designer of the Bridge of the NX-01 in Enterprise,  Herman Zimmerman ,actually consults with DOD designers in the design of real-life Command Centers.  So there must be some logical sense to the design.  The more I thought about it, the more the idea seemed to take hold.  
        The command staff would sit in the center of the FCR, with the various departments arrayed around them, allowing them to view all the action as it happens.  The main viewer in the front of the Bridge, of course, is a fictional analog of the main display in every mission control ever built.  
A Klingon Tactical Display.
        The only two things that I would change (besides the ridiculous location of the Bridge) is first, that the outer rings of work stations would face inward, allowing one to work and see the main screen at the same time.  A series of repeater displays above and behind the work stations would allow the command staff in the center to see data and make eye-contact with their staff without disrupting the work flow.  
       The second thing I would change is that the bridge crew (including extras) that you see in a typical Star Trek episode would be the only crew on the spacecraft.  Anybody else that the ship needs would be robotic.

           Anyway, tomorrow, I'll continue to discuss our new supplement lines and spacecraft, so I'll see you then.


  1. CIC on the re-imagined Galactica meets this description.

  2. I had an idea (that I'm probably going to use in my own work), where the control room is spherical, and the walls are viewer displays of the surrounding space from the ship's perspective, augmenting the images with highlighting and tactical data as needed. The seating arrangement is on a column going out from the aft end of the room to the center. The commander and pilot sit on the top of the column with their seats facing forward, while the XO and other CIC personnel (communications, sensors, weapons, launch coordination, etc.) are seated around the column with their seats facing outward to the walls.

    What do you guys think?

  3. I like it! My only suggestion would be to integrate the seats and controls, and them gimble them. That way the crew can face any relevant portion of the surrounding images.

  4. I've always thought a real interplanetary spaceship would resemble a submarine more closely than anything else. Instead of a "big screen", everyone would have customized tactical displays for their particular role. Most of the flight would be on instruments anyway. Only docking and astrogation would use external cameras. The operations center would lie as close to the center of the ship, with crew quarters and storage forward and engineering behind.

    Also, using acceleration instead of artificial gravity, the "forward windows" would appear to the crew as a skylight. Mangaka2170's "display dome" isn't a bad design. A "grittier" design with less available space would have pilot, co-pilot, navigator, captain, and anyone else directly involved in steering the ship lying on acceleration couches facing "forward", perhaps radiating from a central hatch. Everyone else would have stations elsewhere: engineering, gunnery, communications, etc.

  5. True enough. I like the central display because automation will make the crew of a spacecraft function more like Mission Control than a traditional crew, and Flight Control Rooms have a big ass central display. In The Black Desert setting, only spacecraft that land on planets have windows in the control room. On Interplanetary Vehicles, the FCR is deep inside the lifesystem.

    I like the stations radiating from a central core.

  6. This is Trey again. I keep getting messages that I don't have rights to see the held for moderation message. Weird.

    Anyway, here it is.

    Did this thing eat my post again?
    My concern on the bridge - it doesn't take advantage of the commonly available VR. I'd imagine it to have armored life support pods where the command staff can interact through redundant high bandwidth communications in something like Mangaka2170's concept. This way, the bridge crew is protected and have a chance of surviving the mess.

    For civilian vessels, well, I imagine it would rely a lot more on VR to give them some military bridge functionality but wouldn't have the redundancy and resilience.


Questions, comments, criticisms? All non-Trolls welcome!