mattm's picture
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Meet the flight operations console - more commonly referred to as “the helm”. It’s a multipurpose workstation that will allow a Quartermaster to fly the ship across three navigation modes. The current focus is on the most commonly used mode – impulse navigation.

Impulse navigation allows travel within a stellar system between planets with the vessel operating at significant fractions of light speed (“C”). Endeavour’s maximum impulse speed is estimated at 0.2C or 60,000KM per second.

In this mode one of the helm's three panels displays the Tactical Operating Environment (TOE) grid, which provides a 3D representation of the vessel’s position relative to other vessels and astronomical objects (AOs) such as planets.

Another panel is used for impulse navigation and displays a map and details of major AOs in the current star system. It also displays the ambient electromagnetic (EM) output of the system’s star, as this has a masking effect which could obscure other vessels from detection by EMDAR.

 From top: Impulse maneuvering panel; impulse navigation panelThe central panel is used for impulse maneuvering, which controls the vessel’s speed and heading. As the engines are a major EM emitter (which can be detected by other vessels) this panel also displays the vessel’s current EM output.

The helm is located at the front of the new sim room, configured in a horizontal layout – that is, the three panels are laid out flat next to each other, rather than mounted vertically. This configuration can be used sitting or standing (the helm pedestal can be raised).

There’s debate on whether there should be a big viewscreen on the wall in front of the helm (Star Trek style). There’s certainly a space there for it, but the designers argue that the conn (Captain’s chair) will have its own screens for information and so a big viewscreen is just a distraction for everyone else.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Right now the helm is being used in simulations to develop flight procedures and training exercises. Other simulations involving the helm are helping to refine the accuracy of EM profiles, which predict how EM output by vessels dissipates over distance. Getting this right is fundamental to the accuracy of EMDAR systems.


paulm's picture

Are three screens going to be enough for everything the helm does? Including FTL and RCS? This just seems to cover impulse.

Chief_Sonya's picture

The intention is you would shift those panels between flight modes. When you were in FTL, for example, you wouldn't need access to some of the impulse screens (like inpulse nav, for example) so you would repurpose that panel for FTL. 

As I understand it that console hardware configuration is expandable - you could up to add another three monitors behind the ones you see in the pic.

Nick's picture

Some people might expect a big viewscreen because shows like Star Trek have normalised that on Federation vessels. The big viewscreen suits Federation style operation - collaborative and open - with frequently the whole bridge being invited to participate in or comment on whatever's happening on the viewscreen. It varies on other ships. Dominion vessels are at the other end of the spectrum with no viewscreen and unquestionable Vorta captains receiving all command related info through their visor.

In Star Wars large vessels tend not to have them, with bridge crew each having their own panels and often not all facing the same direction. The captain makes all command decisions and crew don't comment on them.

The ISDC being a military style organisation no large viewscreen on the bridge might make sense. If the bridge layout draws inspiration from submarines - captain's chair at the back in the middle and with their viewscreen in place of a periscope - many people would just see submarine-in-space and think that normal. There could be one or more conference rooms with big viewscreens for times / scenes when you need that.

mattm's picture

In this configuration the conn will have two panels, displaying a read-only version of the contacts board that also includes the compass and vessel EM output. The other screen will be the TOE grid. The screens can be repurposed as needed, though.

If we had a big viewscreen then, what would be useful to display on it? The TOE grid springs to mind, but that's of limited use if it's fixed in a 360º environment (or it could be linked to show whatever view the conn's TOE panel is showing).

The current configuration is by no means fixed - one of the points of the modular design is to provide for experiemntation and trying different options.