About my starships
RULE NUMBER SIX: PROGRESSIONS
Take note; like with artists and designers, models and replicas, there’s a very important difference between study and research!
A person can research something until the monarch butterflies fly home, and not learn any more than what other people already know. But to study, that’s different. Anyone in the world can study something, and if they study it enough, they can become the world's foremost expert on that thing that was studied, knowing more about it than anyone else in the world—regardless of what their level of education might be. This is what has happened to me, having been studying the Star Trek Starship since Star Trek was new on television. I have also studied vehicles, learning about progressions:
When some sort of thing or device is first made, that is the first progression of that thing. Then at some later date, if that same thing is made again, but made to be a newer version of it, then that is the second progression. And so on. It is easiest to see progressions with Mercedes–Benz cars – the inventors of the motor car. Their cars are more logical than other cars. But unfortunately, they made a mess of their nomenclature system, giving the same car different names, and different cars the same name, making it difficult to identify one car from another. What a mess they made! Sort of like the Star Trek People naming almost all their ships Enterprise.
I find this whole progressions thing fascinating. It fascinates me the way the shape of a thing can be changed, but continue to be recognizable as the same thing, but at the same time, it’s different!
The beginning of this with me with the Star Trek Starship came one day in 1976, I was watching that horrible Star Trek cartoon that they did. But then something went across in front of me for only about three seconds that caught my interest. I think it was meant to be the previous progression to the Star Trek Starship. I recognized it instantly!
That was a revelation to me, I’d never thought about the Starship in this way! Suddenly, there were all sorts of possibilities! So I began thinking on it. After a long time, I have estimated that there could be around 40 progressions of the Star Trek Starship, from the first to the last! And also that the Star Trek Starship's progression, would be somewhere in the middle – certainly not the first, but somewhere in the middle. And I kept thinking about that number – “NCC – 1701.” So, many years ago now, I decided, along with “NCC” standing for Starship Class, I decided that the 17 could be the progression number. This would mean that there should be 16 starship progressions (designs), ahead of the Star Trek Starship – starships of the “past.”
But no one was designing them! And that one that I saw in 1976 would be the 16th progression. I was able to find it on the Internet not long ago, but I found that it’s a crappy design – best to be forgotten.
And what I also found, was the same exact thing that I have been thinking for many years! I found Matt’s sketch that shows that the “17” is a progression number! And I knew the “01” would be a serial number. So from my study, I “knew” all of this many years sooner than I saw any confirmation of it. So what I would like to know, is how did Matt pick 17 for the progression? How could he have done that, when the first starship ever build would be 16 progressions away! Because he probably had no idea what design that would be. (And it seems neither does anyone else!)
What if a person could be found who could design things, but has never seen a motor car. And he is shown one from the 1960s (because the Star Trek Starship is of the 1960s), and he is told to use this car as his guide, without having seen any other cars, and to design all the previous cars leading up to this one, and every car after this one—into the future.
This is the job I’ve given myself with designing starships, except designing only the outside, and they don’t need to function. So I am trying to design all the starships, from “the first starship ever built”, to “the last starship ever built.” A huge task!
But with progressions, one must be very strict. For example with the Starship “A” of the movies, it is not a proper next progression of the Star Trek Starship. There’s basically two problems with it for it to be the 18th progression: Aside from the idea that it is the 17th progression rebuilt, which is totally absurd (because it would be easier and make more sense to build a new starship, than to change an existing one that much). 1: There was no real innovation with the design, and 2: The engine nacelles were changed too much.
This doesn’t work for progressions; for something to be changed not enough, or too much. Besides, if it’s supposed to be the next progression, they should have put 18 on it instead of 17!
And the “B” Starship; Aside from the horrible boat-like design, is too much larger to be a progression. Again, this doesn’t work for progressions. If the size changes at all, it should be smaller, not larger, this is the trend in the real world. Devices tend to be somewhat large at first, or some near the beginning of something that is new. Then at some point, to be made smaller and smaller and smaller, as man learns to put more into a smaller space. This has been happening with cars, clocks, phones, computers… But the Star Trek People have been making their starships larger and larger. Where will the madness end?
And then with the “Next Generation Starship”; the “D”, they made the primary hull wider than it is long. One should ask oneself; where is this trend going, the primary hull getting wider and wider? There’s no future for it. This sort of thing doesn’t work for progressions.
And then with the “E”, they did a total reversal – making the primary hull longer than it is wide. This again is a no–no. These sorts of changes from one to the next, are not only nonsensical, but also nonsequitur.
Change it too much, or in the wrong way, and progressions do not apply. Progressions apply only if everything remains basically the same.
If you are designing according to progressions; if you come up with a starship design, you should ask yourself; WHERE HAS MY DESIGN BEEN "IN THE PAST", HOW DID IT START, AND WHERE IS IT GOING, AND TO WHAT MIGHT IT END? I don’t think any of those starship artists ever ask themselves any such thing. I, for one, have put much thought into it. And I am also using Nude Point theory.
So to take the Star Trek Starship design, and to properly redesign it, takes a lot of work! And a lot of study. And if you are doing anything like a progression of it, remember, I say that “NCC” stands for Starship Class, and therefore, and this part it seems is what most people don’t get – all starships are the same – there’s no other classes of starships – they are all the class of starship! Any other type of ship would be a different class, and therefore not a starship! Unless it’s a special starship.
So all Starships should all have a number starting with “NCC”. This number identifies the class, or type of ship. Then the next number is the progression number; 1 through whatever. Then the last two numbers is the serial number – the duplication, or “production run” for each starship design – of the progression.
I’ve decided that there should be no more than 14 of each design. So the 14th of the 17th progression should read as 1714. Simple! So there’s no need to have any more than four numbers (plus the NCC). And so there should be no more than four numbers, and no numbers ending with 2 zeros! And no need to add any more to it at the end. Unless it’s a sub ship — like with the shuttlecraft – such as “NCC-1701/7”, for the Galileo. Which indicates by the way, that there are at least 7 shuttlecrafts – “1” through “7”.
So a shuttlecraft would have on it it’s “parent” starship nomenclature, plus something more. So if a shuttlecraft is found, the nomenclature number can identify which starship it came from.
This is the way I see it – there are no classes of starships, they are all one class!
And if there are around 40 progressions – that’s a lot of designs! Designs that only I am doing. And a lot of fictional years these designs would span – hundreds of fictional years.
With the oldest car “company” in the world (starting in 1886) Daimler-Benz; THE MERCEDES–BENZ SMALL SEDAN is up to the 11th or 12th progression, and this spans 85 years. They started this car in 1931. Mercedes-Benz progressions go for about seven years. Starship progressions, if they were real ships, would go much longer, I would say at least 4 times longer.
The Star Trek Starship was designed in 1964. Coincidentally, something else was designed that year, which in my view, is the closest thing we have to a real starship; the SR–71 blackbird.
The SR-71 Blackbird
For now, we have no real functional starship to use as an example, indeed, nothing like it. And in my view, we will never have them. But I think the SR–71 is the closest thing we have to what a starship would be like. And both the Star Trek Starship and the SR–71 coincidentally being intended for extreme speed.
But so far with the SR-71, there has been only one progression of it. And then it has been retired.
When doing a starship design, or any space ship design, how does one decide which progression it might be? One thing that is very important about using progression numbers, is that the thing must be properly identified. Otherwise there can be no progression number. In other words, if one is talking about two or more things, although different, THEY MUST BE BASICALLY THE SAME THING.
So first, the thing must be identified. One way to identify something is by random number, or a random code system. Another way is by a name for it. Another way is to describe it. It’s best to use a name, or a nomenclature. But if that’s not known, then one can use a descriptive list in order to identify things. To give you an idea that I don’t fool around with this starship progressions idea, here is my “Descriptive List System” to identify all cars and trucks that roll on wheels: it identifies one particular type of car and it’s progression number:
LAND WHEELS CONFIGURATION: TETRAPOD
LAND WHEELS AMOUNT FRONT: TWO
LAND WHEELS AMOUNT REAR: TWO
MOTOR LOCATION: FRONT
OVERALL DESIGN HEIGHT: CONVENTIONAL
FENDER METHOD: MERGING
OVERALL SHAPE METHOD: MAJESTIC
DOORS TYPE: LATERAL SWING-OUT
REAR CAB ACCESS: NONE
DOORS AMOUNT RANKED: TWO/TWO
SEATS AMOUNT RANKED: TWO/TWO
WINDOW PANELS LONG: TWO POINT ZERO
TOP TYPE: PERMANENT CLOSED
WHEEL STEERING: FRONT
WHEEL DRIVE: REAR
RUDDERS AMOUNT: TWO
PROPELLERS AMOUNT: TWO
So there you have it; one particular car identified, if not shown exactly what it is. For that you refer to the photo...
For anyone interested, some additional information:
Name: Mercedes-Benz 180
Type of Motor: Conventional four pistons ranked, water cooled;
gasoline burner: (PETROL) 180, 190.
Oil burner: (DIESEL) 180D, 190D
Motor Cylinder Displacement volume in centiliters:
For "180", "180D", "180b", "180Db" - - - - - - - is 180.
For "180a", "180c" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - is 189.
For "190", "190D", "190b", "190Db", "190c" - is 190.
For "180Dc", "190Dc" - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - is 199.
Weight in pounds: 2,530 - 180
52 - 180
40 - 180D
75 - 190
65 - 180a
50 - 190D, 190Db
68 - 180b, 180c
43 - (180D from 1955), 180Db
80 - 190b, 190c
48 - 180Dc
55 - 190Dc
Maximum speed in miles per hour:
68 - 180D
78 - 190Dc
Cruising speed* in miles per hour:
68 - 180D
78 - 190Dc
Notations: The first “full envelope” Mercedes-Benz. *”Cruising speed” is the speed at which a vehicle can maintain indefinitely. This Daimler-Benz Mercedes-Benz 180, is my second favorite motor car. And the Guinness book of world records has cited a 180D as being the worlds most durable motor car, and at last report its mileage was - 1,184,880 miles.
Copyright © Gary Stevens 2021
Zero to sixty miles per hour in seconds: 29.9 - 180
Miles per gallon:
27 - 180
40 - 180D
Power to weight ratio in pounds per horsepower: 48.653846 - 180
Production era: 1953 to 1962
So, according to Matt (and me), The Star Trek Starship IS the 17th progression.
So if one is designing starships according to progressions, how would one go about it?
For me, it's all about cars, because these are a good example. But first you must adhere to the rules for progressions as talked about in my previous sections --- so if you have the basic components for the starship in order to proceed to do other progressions of it, then it comes down to a matter of what will the shapes of each part be?
So this is a sort of dissection --- The Star Trek Starship is made of a number of parts, some large, and many smaller, and cars are the same.
In the beginning of cars, they had almost nothing of what they have now: They had no rubber tires, no tops to keep the weather out, no bumpers, no headlights to see at night, no ignition key - anyone could hop in and take off with your car, no electric starter motor - you had to get out and crank it yourself - which sometimes broke your arm, and no steering wheel, as well as a lot of other things.
So they were very different than the way they are now, of course, but certain things have not changed with cars after the first Mercedes in 1901.
Replica of the first Mercedes (not Mercedes-Benz)
In 1901, Daimler, made the first car named Mercedes, and it was the first modern car. It had the radiator put out in front of the motor (not that it was the first), and the world of car makers followed in behind except for Renault. And it stayed this way for many years, until all the makes had thrown away the radiator shape at the front of the car except for Daimler-Benz and Rolls-Royce. (Then some years later, many of the makes started returning to it.)
Through the years, many things were added, and the design and the shape of the car were gradually changed. In the beginning, wheels were very large in diameter and very narrow. And the fenders, when they had them, were very tiny. After the first Mercedes, cars were given the same size wheels, front and rear, and cars were made lower and longer (like the Mercedes), and the fenders were made larger and larger, and more and more rounded, along with other parts of the car.
By the late twenties, as seen here below, fenders had been made much larger, but not very rounded yet, and the trunk was an actual carry around trunk, that was strapped onto a rack that was on the rear of the car - it had not yet been made as part of the car.
Replica of a Mercedes-Benz, 1928. (And not very accurate - the headlights would never be attached to the radiator!)
They had been making it all more and more rounded until about in the forties, the car got to it's max roundness, as seen here, although most cars were more rounded than this:
Replica of the Mercedes-Benz medium sedan, early fifties.
(Daimler-Benz was behind on account of the war.)
But going into the fifties and sixties, they were proceeding to take all the roundness away, making cars longer, lower, straighter, and flatter. Until by the end of the sixties, they were making cars about as straight and flat as could be, illustrated by this Block Sledge:
BLOCK SLEDGE CDC 66
The odd thing I find about the car industry, is that they all mostly follow each other with the shaping of their cars. Why do they do that? I can think of two reasons; one is that if they jumped too far ahead with the design and shape of the car, people might see it as too different, and not buy it. The other is, that if they kept going ahead too far, then at some point, they'd run out of ways that they could think of to change it. And this was very important for a lot of the car makers, more so in the United States, but was not so for Mercedes-Benz. But in the States, especially after World War II, it was very important for them to come out with a new car to buy. Every 3 years they would bring out a new car. In a lot of ways, these cars were new only superficially, so the emphasis was on the "new". Not so with Mercedes-Benz. And most people liked it this way, otherwise they wouldn't have been buying the junk, and would be looking for a longer lasting bit of quality. And furthermore, it was because these cars were junky and not well designed and not very attractive - their attractiveness being mostly in the fact that they were new, that as soon as they became not new, people wanted something else - they wanted something new.
So this is the way it went - every 3 years, a new car to buy - a newer version of the same car. In the case of Daimler-Benz, they went for more years between progressions and put much more thought into them.
The point is, however often they changed, they did change.
The result being, and the fact that they followed each other, means that for people who know cars quite well, in most cases, can look at any car, and know about what year it was made.
This is the odd thing I find with car progressions - they mostly follow each other all through the years. And it's not only with cars, it's with almost everything made - including The Star Trek Starship!
So if you are following me with all of this, the obvious conclusion is, that if The Star Trek Starship had not been designed in 1964, but a different year; a different era, then it would have been a different design, a different shape, only because of that fact!
My Progressions Map
So take a good look at my progressions map.
And you might notice the shape and design of The Star Trek Starship is closest on my map to the car pictured at the bottom left - 1961, the one closest to 1964, or vice versa.
Replica of The Star Trek Starship.
So if The Star Trek Starship had been designed earlier, it would have been shorter, taller, and more rounded.
So, if it had been designed in any other era, it would have been a different design, a different shape, and so we would have had a different iconic shape, all through the years, instead of the one we have now, and that's only because of when it would have been designed: That's progressions!
This is the way I work.
So given all this information about progressions, and the fact for example that in most cases, a car can be recognized as a car, regardless of the way it was designed, you might begin to see that a Star Trek Starship progression, DOES NOT need to have a saucer shape at the front, and 2 long sleek nacelles out behind, to resemble The Enterprise.