This was the first piece of hardware I was asked to work on,... I don't remember why.
It was to be a large orbiting Starfleet facility that had the capability of assembling spaceships from prefabricated elements 'beamed' to it's location. It seemed logical that it should also have the capability of fabricating additional parts & other items needed to repair and/or refurbish various ships of various shapes & sizes.
It was to be comprised of clusters of offices, all connected in some way,... with a few having docking connections for small Engineers' Inspection Craft called Travel Pods. These pods were to be shaped exactly like the office units and, when docked, would be indistinguishable from them. Why? Because Gene Roddenberry originally thought of them as kind of a 'flying office', and he also thought it would be fun surprise to see this office-pod detach from it's cluster when Scotty took Kirk to the new Enterprise. Not a bad idea, really, when you consider what it might be like for a contractor's trailer, today, to fly to various areas of a large job site, as he/she inspects & supervises the work.
With those requirements in mind then, I dove in to this first drawing on March 30, 1978, never dreaming that it was the start of a year & a half of work on this film.
|I continue to
rearrange the components, adding a 'Dockyard Control' tower to the top,
living quarters below, with the office level below that. The
'factory' and station power center are at the bottom with some sort of
life support unit in-between. I labeled it "Complex-5" to suggest
that this was one of several orbital facilities.
"Form Follows Function".
In other words, once I understand what the function of something is,... I can get a better feeling for how (I think) it should look while performing that function. For instance, people working in offices and a factory need places to relax and a place to live, while they also need food & oxygen. Continuing from the sketch above, I'm trying to find a good location for those living quarters, allowing people to get between work & 'home' easily. Here, my life support 'towers' have become large hydroponics facilities where most of the station's food is grown and the oxygen, from those growing plants & vegetables, is cycled into the station for breathing. I'm no engineer, and this probably wouldn't actually work,... but it's the function I've assigned to those components. Even though parts of the station are still under construction (look how long the International Space Station is taking to build) I saw this as an older facility that's continuing to evolve. Notice the backup solar collectors stored on the sides of those towers.
I'm also continuing to refine the Travel Pod, with it's 'office connection' on the back and it's now hinged 'Docking Ring' on the right-front side. Notice the four protrusions on the bottom and one (of four) on top. These are Reaction Control Thrusters which I've incorporated, for the first time on any Star Trek craft, in order to show how these vessels perform finite maneuvers. The Pod also has escape hatches, top & bottom, and seats along the interior sides.
At the same time, I'm developing and including the Work Bees in these sketches to see how they work,... further defining their function as I go along.