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Design Thread: Nostromo interiors and deck configurations
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jkruse05



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the welcome! Been sifting through your friend's archive a bit and this stuff is beautiful. The few shots from outside the sets are particularly interesting to me, they give a nice sense of scale, not to mention the effort put into portraying a believable ship.
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FenGiddel
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have finally gotten 'round to using SpaceJockey's Nostromo sectional drawings to make a rude attempt at designating decks. Now that I've done that, I can move on to using his plan sections to sketch in rooms and chambers, etc.


Here are some ideas:

A Deck is the "0" level of the sectional. I did some thinking about the Bridge on A-Deck and realize that the cockpit area is raised by maybe 3 feet(?), so the viewport windows will sit pretty high in the 10' space. That means that area will open up somewhat into the "+10" space above it, but leaves plenty of room for SpaceJockey's observatory deck above A Deck!

B Deck is the "-30" level, aligning it with what I still want to believe is the starboard located docking tube on the bow. That means our friends, the crew, must climb 30 feet of ladderway between the two! (And gives us a truer appreciation for how volatile that acid was!)

C Deck I placed on the "-50" level, figuring that the bulk of that deck lies in the neck, except for the science blister and airlock lift complex. Spacejockey has posted that he's had a look at this space in his drawings and it is narrow, so not sure about the garages fitting here...





Here's a link to a larger version:http://propsummit.com/upload/656/grahams_nostromo_decks_plans.jpg







Here's a link to a larger version:http://propsummit.com/upload/656/dc_and_grahams_nostromo_ortho_141_a_b_c_decks.jpg


These are painfully crude, but perhaps they will serve to fuel more thoughts about the internals of our favorite spooky ship. [Special thanks to SpaceJockey for his graphics]


Happy Holidays!
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joberg
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well made and it gives you some kind of idea how big that rig is Wink
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Vader
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are images of the ship which Cobb describes as a "Basic Lockheed CM 88B Bison transporter frame etcetc":

Shematic
Drawing

I post these in order to illustrate why I feel it is so clear that the ship that Cobb describes in those words is a freighter, was always a freighter, and was never going to be anything but a freighter. Just looking at those pictures it is clear to me that, in Cobbs head, that ship was never a tug, nor was it ever going to be one.

Now, does the "modified and fitted with a Yutani T9A NLS stellar drive etc" mean that this was an in-system freighter converted to haul interstellar cargo, or was it always an interstellar ship, just modified with a different engine? No idea.
And it doesn't matter, because whatever it was, it is clearly still just a freighter -- just for one, there is nothing on the ship to attach a payload to. The round feature on the top that most resembles the attachment point ("claw socket") seen in later designs is clearly shown in the second picture to be a retractable antenna.


The Nostromo as we know her therefore represents an entirely different concept.


My point with all this is that as those words clearly were never meant to describe the Nostromo as we know her, they do not canonically apply to her, and therefore we need not -- indeed, should not -- feel constrained to fit what we're building here into the "basic Lockheed CM 88B Bison transporter frame modified and fitted with a Yutani T9A NLS stellar drive etcetc" story.

"Should not?"
Indeed. Should not.

Because if we accept the kind of nitty-gritty real-world constraints and logic that in spite of its fantastic, pseudo-scientific elements (which really aren't all that many, all told) still feel so present in the ALIEN universe, it makes no sense for an interstellar equivalent of an ocean tugboat to be a modified cargo boat. As I pointed out early on this thread, a towing vehicle is -- must be -- purpose built from the keel up.

Now, I agree that the premise of her actually being a pilot ship to guide an otherwise internally propelled refinery has some elegance, and I can easily see how someone back in the day might have felt compelled to speculate in those terms, but unfortunately, it is in conflict with the very first canonical fact we ever get to learn about the ALIEN setting (after "we are in outer space" and "there is a spaceship"): "COMMERCIAL TOWING VEHICLE 'THE NOSTROMO'".
In nautical terms, a pilot is a pilot, and a tug is a tug; they fulfil very different functions, and one can never be called the other.


Having then established that the Nostromo is a towing vehicle, it must be assumed that a company like Weyland-Yutani will by necessity only spend a necessary minimum of funds equipping her with any features or expensive accommodations (such as pressure hull) beyond the absolute minimum required to fulfil that primary function.
That assumption is both reasonable and safe, as that is pretty much the way it works IRL already.

I postulated earlier that the Nostromo is in fact a hyperspace tug -- that her purpose is not to drag her payload through realspace, but to provide the propulsion unit to move it through hyperspace.
If that postulate is accepted, what one should expect the main part of her bulk to be devoted to is the hyperspace engine. After that, the necessary systems to power and move that engine around (power plant, realspace engines, computer system, fuel). And in last place, some meagre pressurised accommodation for a crew to service it all.


In essence, I would expect the Nostromo to be the interstellar equivalent of this deep-sea tug (this is a so-called "ATB tug", meaning that the tug actually plugs into a socket on the payload ... not entirely unlike what Nostromo does, actually) -- basically all ridiculously oversize propulsion systems to shift the payload, and only a bare minimum of accommodation for anything else ... such as the crew.
Certainly no cargo holds, or moon pools, or helipads, or any other features that might be practical for a freighter or for an exploration ship, but that fall somewhat short of being utilitarian for a purpose-built towing vehicle.


In a similar vein, I envision the Nostromo pretty much being built around a ridiculously oversize hyperdrive -- and in my mind, it makes sense for that hyperdrive to be the vast, cavernous space overlooked by the engineering control room viewports.


Hm ... a thought just struck me.
Another thing I postulated earlier on this thread was that the main power plant is a fusion reactor, with a thermoelectric power generation system.
The cooling requirements of such a system are rather particular. It struck me that it would make sense to locate such a cooling system in the nacelles.
In fact, it struck me, it would for that precise reason make even better sense to locate the entire reactor in one of the nacelles.
In fact in fact, it further struck me, it would make perfect sense to have two reactors -- the power requirement of such a vastly oversize hyperdrive at full tilt could reasonably be expected to be sizeable.
Two reactors ... two cooling systems ... two nacelles. The symmetry appeals to me.
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FenGiddel
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that the Leviathan is no Nostromo-type, but I have long loved those drawings. By starting with those, you have my complete attention… Wink

Vader wrote:
Now, does the "modified and fitted with a Yutani T9A NLS stellar drive etc" mean that this was an in-system freighter converted to haul interstellar cargo, or was it always an interstellar ship, just modified with a different engine? No idea.


You might have something with the "modified and fitted" bit. “Fitted” could indicate something new, as opposed to “re-fitted”, which could more aptly describe a change-out of stellar drive for stellar drive. Of course, taking an in-system hauler interstellar might also require extensive modifications for more consumables like air, water, food…Balajis…

Quote:
Because if we accept the kind of nitty-gritty real-world constraints and logic that in spite of its fantastic, pseudo-scientific elements (which really aren't all that many, all told) still feel so present in the ALIEN universe, it makes no sense for an interstellar equivalent of an ocean tugboat to be a modified cargo boat. As I pointed out early on this thread, a towing vehicle is -- must be -- purpose built from the keel up.


Stands to reason. The umbilical clamp receiver would seem necessarily a direct part of the ship’s primary skeleton, to which would also be attached the landing gear, allowing its receiving pistons to support the ship’s bulk planetside.

Quote:
Having then established that the Nostromo is a towing vehicle, it must be assumed that a company like Weyland-Yutani will by necessity only spend a necessary minimum of funds equipping her with any features or expensive accommodations (such as pressure hull) beyond the absolute minimum required to fulfil that primary function.
That assumption is both reasonable and safe, as that is pretty much the way it works IRL already.


Yep, fundamentally: “Spend as frugally as possible to meet minimum safety standards while maximizing profit margins. I read a very interesting article about a sea captain who was removed from the job after whistleblowing whilst he was master of the container ship Horizon Trader. I had a blast using it as a template for a possible claim against Weyland-Yutani!

Quote:
I postulated earlier that the Nostromo is in fact a hyperspace tug -- that her purpose is not to drag her payload through realspace, but to provide the propulsion unit to move it through hyperspace.
If that postulate is accepted, what one should expect the main part of her bulk to be devoted to is the hyperspace engine. After that, the necessary systems to power and move that engine around (power plant, realspace engines, computer system, fuel). And in last place, some meagre pressurised accommodation for a crew to service it all.


I have been editing the blueprinting FAQ that you supplied input for and remember that bit. Re-reading it recently, I thought it made more sense, as well, since in space towing is less efficient than pushing.

Quote:
In essence, I would expect the Nostromo to be the interstellar equivalent of this deep-sea tug (this is a so-called "ATB tug", meaning that the tug actually plugs into a socket on the payload ... not entirely unlike what Nostromo does, actually) -- basically all ridiculously oversize propulsion systems to shift the payload, and only a bare minimum of accommodation for anything else ... such as the crew. […] I envision the Nostromo pretty much being built around a ridiculously oversize hyperdrive -- and in my mind, it makes sense for that hyperdrive to be the vast, cavernous space overlooked by the engineering control room viewports.


Pretty much agreed on all points. Thanks for including a photograph for illustration. Thinking along the same “minimal effort for maximal profit” thread, it may be there is an automated cargo system that packs some things in those empty unpressurized spaces for use at the voyages’ endpoints, since the ship is going that way anyway…

Quote:
Hm ... a thought just struck me.
Another thing I postulated earlier on this thread was that the main power plant is a fusion reactor, with a thermoelectric power generation system.
The cooling requirements of such a system are rather particular. It struck me that it would make sense to locate such a cooling system in the nacelles.
In fact, it struck me, it would for that precise reason make even better sense to locate the entire reactor in one of the nacelles.
In fact in fact, it further struck me, it would make perfect sense to have two reactors -- the power requirement of such a vastly oversize hyperdrive at full tilt could reasonably be expected to be sizeable.

Two reactors ... two cooling systems ... two nacelles. The symmetry appeals to me.


I like the elegance of symmetry, but need more details on how locating them in the nacelles would work, i.e., is there enough room for thrust-tunnels between intakes and exhausts for such heavy machinery as a reactor core?

At any rate, a lovely essay that makes a lot of sense, given the peculiarities of Nostromo’s design and mission. Keep those good ideas coming, since I would like to use them to further populate the Nostromo FAQ…thinking it might become more of a technical guide to the ship, what say? Wink
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Vader
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love jkruse05's schematics! They put a finger on one of the major issues that have bothered me with almost all attempts to map the interior of the Nostromo, up to and including the ALIEN: Isolation DLC.
In particular, jkruse05's comment on the A Deck really illustrates the point: "There are three sections shown in the movie. It is implied that they are all connected, but it is never concretely shown."

And that's pretty much what I'm on about. In order to make the deck plans make sense, we need to dissociate ourselves from the set plans -- yet that seems almost impossible to do.


(Darrell -- if you thought your schematics were "painfully crude", wait until you see what I've done...!)


What I've done here is that I've superimposed jkruse05's drawings onto the deck outlines -- not in the "natural" positions suggested by the sets, but where I think they might go.

Now, please bear in mind that I've made no real effort to match the scale, or line up ladder positions, or really given any of it very much thought at all. My main point is really just to demonstrate that we need to think outside of the box outlined by the set plans:

A Deck:


B Deck:


C Deck:


Lower C Deck:




Now, in reality I don't actually believe in what I've done here for a second!
I think the decks must be very differently organised; not simply floors stacked on top of one another, just like in a house.


For instance, look at this picture:



Even if the hyperspace engine were to be entirely housed inside the main hull, it would be patently impossible for the C Deck (where the control room is) in its entirety to be as low down in the hull as we're currently theorising. At least the control room would need to be somewhere around the same vertical level as the bridge -- i.e. the bulk of the A deck, by the current paradigm.

And if the hyperspace engine actually extends into the larger volume defined by the "nacelle arm" portion of the hull -- as I am inclined to believe -- then the control room would need to be even higher up -- somewhere around the +30' level.


Likewise, this image clearly illustrates how the shuttle can't possibly be accessed from the level that we're currently attributing to the B Deck, but must be accessed from the -10' flat just below A Deck.


It therefore seems to me that the deck names on board the Nostromo aren't so much indicative of vertical levels as of functional areas, and that the "decks" actually can meander up and down in the hull, as required.
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Vader
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FenGiddel86 wrote:
Quote:
Hm ... a thought just struck me.
Another thing I postulated earlier on this thread was that the main power plant is a fusion reactor, with a thermoelectric power generation system.
The cooling requirements of such a system are rather particular. It struck me that it would make sense to locate such a cooling system in the nacelles.
In fact, it struck me, it would for that precise reason make even better sense to locate the entire reactor in one of the nacelles.
In fact in fact, it further struck me, it would make perfect sense to have two reactors -- the power requirement of such a vastly oversize hyperdrive at full tilt could reasonably be expected to be sizeable.

Two reactors ... two cooling systems ... two nacelles. The symmetry appeals to me.


I like the elegance of symmetry, but need more details on how locating them in the nacelles would work, i.e., is there enough room for thrust-tunnels between intakes and exhausts for such heavy machinery as a reactor core?


Your point beautifully illustrates the exact issue I was trying to address with my post, Darrell!

Remember that the whole notion of "thrust tunnels" comes from Cobb's Leviathan text -- a text which applies to an entirely different ship concept; one that has no similarities to Nostromo whatsoever.


Therefore, I strongly believe we need to disassociate ourselves from that text as source material to what we're trying to accomplish.
It simply doesn't apply to the Nostromo.


It is also clear to me that the three main realspace engines -- the ones on either nacelle and the one on the main hull -- are all identical. The one on the hull clearly doesn't have a "thrust tunnel" ... ergo, the ones on the nacelles don't have them, either.
(Beside the fact that with the kind of reactionless drives we've postulated earlier -- what would a "thrust tunnel" even be?)
Meaning that there is plenty of space to locate other systems (such as fusion reactors) in the nacelles. In fact ... what else would the nacelles be there for?

The baffles surrounding the port and starboard engines could thus (very conveniently) be part of the reactors' heat dissipation system, along with the structures appropriately called "waste heat manifolds".
And having atmosphere intakes in the nacelles comes most handy for the reactors, since they still need to be cooled when there isn't a -270.45°C (or 2.7K) environment available to radiate heat into...
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I need to go back and look at those sketches you borrowed again to remember exactly the color coding.

Figuring out the internals is definitely an exercise in mental flexibility! I once called the web page I used for discussing its guts, "Deconstructing Nostromo", since you just about have to do so, then plug the pieces back in where they make the best sense.

To go back to Leviathan for a moment, I will say that Ron Cobb's internal layout, in Alien Vault, is an instructive guide to ship layout that goes beyond most fan-created deck plans/cutaways. There's a good pic of his layout in the Alien Vault. Do you have that?
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joberg
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting ideas for sure. Not the first time a ship, built for a certain purpose, has been retro-fitted for another one.

Question: what's more logical, a war ship transformed into a tug, or a tug transformed into a war ship?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before Vader made the point that the Leviathan may not be a viable template for Nostromo, I always wondered about Cobb's throwaway bit about "the ship's original Saturn J-3000 engines were removed and replaced with the two immensely powerful Rolls-Royce N66 Cyclone thrust engines, with bipolar vectoring for midline lift function".

Of course, he drew that up before the model was built, but it would have been kinda cool if the finished miniature would've had obviously-retrofitted thrust engines (read: nacelles) to attest to her workhorse utility.

The ship's hood would need to be reinforced to take the stress of that umbilical claw, for sure.

Oh yeah, and joberg: I haven't had my first cup of coffee, so maybe that's why I'm not getting the "warship to tug and vice versa" reference, buddy... Smile
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Vader
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

joberg wrote:
Very interesting ideas for sure. Not the first time a ship, built for a certain purpose, has been retro-fitted for another one.

For sure. But what gets converted, and what it gets converted into, will always by definition need to follow a very strict logic dictated by fairly immutable engineering considerations.

joberg wrote:
Question: what's more logical, a war ship transformed into a tug, or a tug transformed into a war ship?

Answer: up until circa 1940, either might have made just about as much sense. Today, neither does. And I can only imagine future spacecraft designs being even more specialised than today's ships, not less.

Straight off the cuff though, I can't recall that any other type of vessel (with the possible exception of something similar to an arctic ice-breaker) has ever been converted into a deep-sea tugboat.

For the same reason, the notion of transforming a cargo ship, or a troop transport, or a cruise liner, or whatever, into a deep-space hyperspace tug seems not very logical at all.


Have a look at the picture of the ocean tug I linked to above. That boat does pretty much the same job on today's shipping lanes as the Nostromo does in ALIEN.
What kind of pre-existing ship could you conceivably imagine being converted into that?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darrell, I draw your attention to the Leviathan images I linked to above, and the quote:

Ron Cobb wrote:
The original Saturn J-3000 engines have been replaced by 2 Rolls-Royce N66 Cyclone thrust tunnels, with bi-polar vectoring for midline lift function.


The explanation for what, exactly, the text refers to lies in a careful study of those images:

The "thrust tunnels" are in fact not the Leviathan's nacelles!

The function of these "thrust tunnels" must be precisely what Cobb says. Consequently the words can only refer to the long engine pods mounted ventrally to the hull, with bi-polar vectored thrust — at the aft, vectored (chiefly) abaft for main propulsion; at the fore, vectored downward for additional VTOL thrust for midline lift (thruster nozzles visible underneath the hull amidships, just fore of the nacelle positions).

The fore and aft VTOL thruster clusters (the aft ones being mounted on the nacelles) are identical, and obviously part of the original design; clearly not a retrofit.


From the information given, we may infer that the Leviathan was refitted with these particular Rolls Royce engines because the configuration provides those additional VTOL thrusters, thereby increasing the ship's lift capacity — a feature highly relevant to a cargo ship such as the Leviathan ... and not in the least relevant to a tug such as the Nostromo.
Again underscoring the fact that the Leviathan is, indeed, not at all a viable template for the Nostromo.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got it Vader; you mean to say that, since the ship of the future will be too particular and specialized (that is designed for one purpose and nothing else) it would make no sense to try to do a retro-fitting job.

The question I have is: what if Weyland made sure that their "Tug Boats" were actually retro-fitted war ships capable of investigating any "interesting signals" coming from far-away worlds and to be diverted to said world?
Engine capacity to enter any kind of atmosphere and pulling out of it also (without burning/destroying engines in the process)...
What about all these different vehicules into Nostromo's belly, if not for some kind of dual purpose(mining, exploration)?
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Vader: When it comes to using the set plans as guides for deck plans, I agree that they should be changed to fit the needs of the ship's internal spaces, not sticking rigidly to the set layout, which was for a film and not a ship. A buddy has done wonders drafting reproductions of the set plans and you and he ave the same thoughts relative to NOT letting the set plans dictate deck plans. I imagine using them mostly for design aesthetics.

@joberg: You make some good points and I am not sure if the films, et. al. would give us enough data to make a certain decision on how they design their ships.

I've spent a lot of time trying to imagine what Weyland-Yutani's merchant fleet might look like. If we can generalize from Nostromo, they do not like to spend a lot of money on them for upkeep. The mandate to check out systemized transmissions seems like maybe a governmental mandate, which if like here in the US, often comes without any financial incentive or assistance to implement when additional hardware is needed to implement.

Maybe for the sake of this thread, we can pursue both:
1) ships built multipurpose to be able to meet various needs, and
2) ships built specific to function, requiring (or precluding) sufficient modification to meet unrealized needs.

See how they pan out; sort of "compare and contrast."

I propose:

* Use set plans as a guide for deck plans;
* Use Leviathan as a control in our testing for what makes up Nostromo.
* Explore both specialized and general purpose hulls

Cheers, guys! thanks for the good inputs!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

joberg wrote:
The question I have is: what if Weyland made sure that their "Tug Boats" were actually retro-fitted war ships capable of investigating any "interesting signals" coming from far-away worlds and to be diverted to said world?
Engine capacity to enter any kind of atmosphere and pulling out of it also (without burning/destroying engines in the process)...
What about all these different vehicules into Nostromo's belly, if not for some kind of dual purpose(mining, exploration)?


Good question!

Interestingly though, that is also a question I brought up almost verbatim in the very first post I ever made on this thread, I think:

Vader wrote:
When imagining the functions of spacegoing vessels, I often think it helps to think of their present-day, oceangoing counterparts. It is of course by no means guaranteed that in the future, spacecraft will obey by the same design criteria as ships on the oceans, but I find this mental exercise helps ground designs that would otherwise be pure fancy in concrete, recognisable reality — sort of like the "reality" represented by the interior design of the Nostromo herself.


I am thinking about the very first canonical fact we learn about the Nostromo — in fact, pretty much the very first thing we get to learn about the world of Alien at all, only two minutes into the feature: the captioned words "commercial towing vehicle".

Now as for ships on water, a towing vehicle pretty much needs to be built as a towing vehicle from the keel up. Towing other craft places such rigorous demands on a vessel that rebuilding some other design, e.g. a tramp freighter, to work as a tug would be impractical, if not downright impossible.
Furthermore, these vehicles are so specialised, that they do not usually do well doubling as other types of craft, if for no other reason that it makes little economical sense to waste such a specialised resource to do other tasks.

[ ... ]

But what do the words "towing vehicle" imply here? This is one of those issues that has been bugging me for the last thirty years...
Just as what the hell does any kind of a "commercial vehicle" do with a Science Officer?

[ ... ]

No, what this suggests to me is that the Nostromo must be a hyperspace tug — the unit to contain all the hyperspace bubble generators (properly vastly oversized to be able to envelop something as huge as the refinery) — and yes, computers — to enable the refinery to move into non-Newtonian space and navigate interstellar distances at what equates to superrelativistic velocities.


So, all realspace propulsion, and fuel, to move the refinery is on the refinery, and the Nostromo's contribution as a towing vehicle is a huge hyperspace generator.


But what are the various vehicles doing in the cargo bay? Well ... this is where the Science Officer comes in.

Imagine that in this future, Humanity has spread out over a vast volume of space. Vast, and almost completely unexplored. Humans have through telescopes and probe missions identified points in this volume that are of economical interest, and have built colonies there, but all the volume between these points is nothing but a vast terra incognita.

This might have lead to a [state/government] policy stating that every single manned vehicle, be it only a lowly tug, may at any point be called upon to act as a research vessel.
Hence also the policy that any indication of non-human intelligence must be investigated, at the pain of forfeiture of all shares.
And hence, vehicles are brought along to transport crew on planetary surfaces or through its atmosphere, should it be necessary.

And hence also the presence of a Science Officer on commercial spaceships.


I also seem to recall we conjectured somewhere around page 5-6 that some of these vehicles might be to transport stores on board the ship -- those decks do stretch quite some distance, and hyperdrive spare parts can be heavy....


The thing is ... the ALIENS universe isn't Star Trek. Intelligent extraterrestrials aren't found lurking behind every corner; they're unique in the extreme. It may even be that at this time, no concrete evidence of other sentient life forms in the galaxy have been found (and yes, I utterly and completely reject Prometheus/Covenant as parts of the ALIEN canon).
The Nostromo's crew does have standing orders to investigate, yes, but the possibility of this order actually ever being invoked is so esoteric and rare that other than Ash, it seems nobody in the crew but the Captain is even aware of the existence of that policy.

Therefore -- even though scientific exploration is something that the Nostromo might be called upon to perform under certain circumstances -- this is so extremely rare, that it can't reasonably be regarded even as a secondary task for the ship, or even tertiary, but even lower ordered than that.

So exploration cannot be something this ship is designed or built for, on any fundamental level. It makes little economic sense to build commercial ships of any kind -- let alone hard working, "low-brow" workhorses like tugboats -- as science vessels, or even design them with science missions in mind, when all indications are that the vast majority of ships go through their entire service lives without ever being called upon to serve as research platforms.


Adding a science officer (whose primary task appears to be to act as the ship's surgeon, anyway) to the crew is the only concession to this imperative -- and N.B. that in spite of the ship's vast size, he doesn't even get a proper lab; he needs to do his scientific work from the infirmary!

That the whole rest of the hull would still be a military vessel, at considerable difficulty and expense rebuilt into a tug -- specifically to enable his scientific mission! -- seems, well ... unlikely in the extreme.
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FenGiddel
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did some thinking about how I might begin to imagine the inside of the nacelles, and after blocking out space for the landing gear machinery, realized how cramped it might get in there.

Accordingly, I placed two vertical axis turbines around the landing gear chamber, thinking that configuration might lend itself better to ducting access to the vents.

Portside cutaway



Bow cutaway



I cannot imagine how the ducting might work, but I wonder if the vertical vents on the front of the nacelles are intakes (perhaps containing the very ones that overheated) that feed one or both of the exhausts. If only one, then maybe the vertical vents atop the hood provide intakes for the aft exhausts.

Curious...to say the least. Maybe I scaled the turbines too big...

Making sense out of arbitrary model-building decisions might be more of a mountain-climb than I thought.

Mayhap these will stir someone else's thinking about the interior of this monster.

(They packed a lot of stuff into the engine spaces of the Space Shuttle, so this outta be a piece of cake, no?)
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Vader
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since we're postulating reactionless thruster technology, and that the (considering the size of the thing, very modest) exhaust plumes seen during the landing sequence come from the cooling rather than actual thrust, I think we need not bother with any "turbines" at all.

And it wouldn't work anyway. Look at the British Harrier "jump jet", for instance. Consider the size of the air intakes, and then consider the size of the four VTOL exhausts from the jet turbine. You'll notice that the former make a much larger area than all the latter put together.

The reason is simple physics: what a "turbine" by definition does is compress the gas passing through it, then heat it up explosively, utilising the heat expansion and resulting increase in pressure to speed it up, thereby making it gain momentum, and thereby provide thrust. A larger outlet than inlet means less pressure, meaning you don't gain momentum -- ergo, the exhaust can give no thrust.

Now compare the size of the Nostromo's air intakes to the four VTOL thrusters.


See what I mean?


And besides -- the VTOL thrusters would still have to work even when landing on bodies with no atmosphere whatsoever. How would that work with turbines?

So I think we can safely disregard any notion that the VTOL thrust depends in any way on turbine technology, or that the atmospheric intakes have a direct connection to generating thrust anywhere.


My feeling is that the VTOL thrusters are just about the size of the "thruster boxes" extending from the nacelles, just like the realspace engines in the aft are the size of the "bells", no more.

This would also leave just about exactly the right space to house a fusion plant between the fore thruster and the landing gear well, and the bulk of the cooling system in the space above the aft thruster.


Note by the way the apertures that SJ dubbed "air intakes" at the fore end of the interconnect module? How they have the exact same patterns as the VTOL thrust "nozzles"?
I do not believe those features to be air intakes of any kind. Rather, I am firmly convinced they are realspace retro-thrusters. I mean, the Nostromo has to have a brake, doesn't she?
The size of these thrusters is also clearly defined -- you can see how their "boxes" are attached to the interconnect module. The ratio of thrust aperture to box size also seems to just about match that of the VTOL thrusters.

The one thing one may wonder about is their off-centre position. What happens to Nostromo's mass if you apply a force along that axis? Will it not cause the hull to turn "nose up"?
Not necessarily -- not if we assume that the direction of thrust these "boxes" generate can be vectored along any axis "visible" from the thrust aperture, sort of like the "beam pointing" of a synthetic aperture radar.

Then the Nostromo would have two parts to her retro-thrusters: the boxes on the interconnect module -- and forward vectored thrust from the forward VTOL thrusters. Together, these straddle the Nostromo's centre of gravity, meaning that they will be able to provide an even braking force.
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Space Jockey
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeez, if I ever decide to put any more prints out I'm in deep sh!t....
Where's my popcorn...?
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joberg
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, since NASA has discovered planets that could sustain life (albeit at thousands of light years from Earth) could it be possible that a big Corp like Weyland could possibly "kill two birds with one stone" with design-like Nostromo tug ships, scouring space for minerals or other resources, while exploring new planets with the possibilities of discovering/mining new deposits?

The crews in Cryo for years is not a problem in terms of light-years and if (a big if here) they discover a new life form, they would be the first to lay claim to said life form...so the need for a powerful ship (I don't think that they'd need more military equipment either).

Maybe Weyland Corp has found a way to circumvent some laws; "no sir, this is only a tug ship, not an exploration/military ship; therefore the tax laws pertaining to our operation is set at a minimum" Wink

If you were part of a crew, being paid for a certain job (hauling minerals/goods), knowing from the get-go that your Cryo-Sleep could be interrupted (elongating your voyage, thus your home/base return) for a signal of some kind/new planets exploration, would you sign-up?

Makes sense that the higher-ups, including the Captain, would be the only one aware of that policy. Let him deal with the crew Wink
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FenGiddel
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Vader: Thank you for such well-reasoned points! While I teared up to find my ducted-turbines theory so handily dealt with, it makes me think about things in a broader way, and I thank you for that. It's what I want this thread to provide me with! Smile

You have reminded me of how tough it will be to assign real-world tech to the miniature's appearance. Given how it came to be built (by using all of the Foss and Cobb drawings as inspiration), I wonder if it will come to be.

I think of Ripley's bit of dialogue during the landing sequence ("Positive status on the lifters...") and figured the quad thrusters were the "lifters". Maybe not.

And I wonder if that is by-product exhaust from the reactionless thrusters, why they'd vent that downward, to such chaotic effect.

As appealing as the reaction-less drives are, I have to wonder why they'd use any kind of rocket, but I'm leaving my mind open as we move forward. I'll be researching the Harrier, my interest spurred by your commentary.

@Space Jockey: Nah, man, you're good! If it weren't for thick-skinned guys like you, willing to step out there and make some firm decisions on this turkey, there'd BE no blueprint poster.

I've been a part of the blueprint fandom for over 30 years and the only decisions I've ever truly questioned are the ones made without any kind of rationale...and you have proven to have a method to your madness on these very boards.

And no mere popcorn for you: steak, taters, and champagne for the maestro! Smile

@joberg: I agree with W-Y having a "two birds-one stone" buck-saving mentality, which is proven large in their decision to send an old towing vehicle to checking on an unknown transmission before committing major resources with an exploratory mission.


Quote:
The crews in Cryo for years is not a problem in terms of light-years and if (a big if here) they discover a new life form, they would be the first to lay claim to said life form...so the need for a powerful ship (I don't think that they'd need more military equipment either).


And God help the crew that would have to find a way to transport said life form back to Earth. I mean, they only have a basic automated medical bay, after all. You gonna share your cryotube with ET? Not me! Wink


Quote:
Maybe Weyland Corp has found a way to circumvent some laws; "no sir, this is only a tug ship, not an exploration/military ship; therefore the tax laws pertaining to our operation is set at a minimum"


Agree totally. See above comment on these sneaky ba$tards!



Quote:
If you were part of a crew, being paid for a certain job (hauling minerals/goods), knowing from the get-go that your Cryo-Sleep could be interrupted (elongating your voyage, thus your home/base return) for a signal of some kind/new planets exploration, would you sign-up?

Makes sense that the higher-ups, including the Captain, would be the only one aware of that policy. Let him deal with the crew


Never followed that thought "rabbit" down its hole, but that is a very logical conclusion. Maybe it is buried in the fine print boilerplate that some might ignore in their hurry to get to the "bonus" situation...


Thank you, gentlemen, for the thought-provoking comments![/code]
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