• The Starship Designer

Starship Designing: A Design Framework Adhering to Progressions {Rule 6 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.

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 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 I 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.

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:


























Additional Information;

Name: Mercedes-Benz 180

or 180D

or 190

or 180a

or 190D

or 180b

or 180Db

or 190b

or 190Db

or 180c

or 180Dc

or 190c

or 190Dc

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:

180 - 180, 180D, 180b, 180Db

189 - 180a, 180c190 - 190, 190D, 190b, 190Db, 190c

199 - 180Dc, 190Dc

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

Zero to sixty miles per hour in seconds: 29.9 - 180

Drag coefficient:

Miles per gallon:

27 - 180

40 - 180D

Power to weight ratio in pounds per horsepower: 48.653846 - 180

Production era: 1953 to 1962


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