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July 19 2024


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Sternbach On 'Enterprise' Technology

By Christian
July 5, 2001 - 11:58 PM

After being involved with Star Trek for over 20 years, Voyager Senior Illustrator Rick Sternbach was not asked to stay on for Enterprise. But in a new interview today, Sternbach revealed he at least contributed a small bit to the series' early development.

"I [provided] them with some astronomical tech data during the early development of the series about ten months ago," Sternbach told, "which spelled out how many stars might be contained within given volumes of space (reachable by various low warp factors, from [Warp 2] to [Warp 5]), and how many of those stars might harbor habitable planets."

Sternbach was one of the co-authors of the TNG Technical Manual, and as such highly familiar with Star Trek's warp field theories.

The former Senior Illustrator said he was impressed by the basic concept of Enterprise. "I like the idea of going back in history, though I think I would have gone back a bit further to the early interstellar flights which must have logically followed 'First Contact," Sternbach said. However, he added that he understood why the series was set at a later date. "[They] may have a more interesting crew and shorter travel times (although we've already seen speed and distance constraints tossed out the window in all three recent Trek series)."

One thing that will be different from the most recent Trek shows, and more similar to the Original Series, is that Captain Archer's Enterprise will feature real buttons as opposed to the high-tech LCARS interfaces. Sternbach said this could work well for Enterprise. "Knobs and levers are still being used today for certain systems for a very good reason: if your power goes dead, you can still hand-operate gas valves, close or open hatches, that sort of thing."

"Not every single bit of gear has to be a powered device. Of course, we deal with increasingly electrified and computerized aerospace equipment, which has to be built reliably and with backups. Do some informed digging into NASA's various websites for views of the interiors of the International Space Station modules. There's nothing 1950s about any of this stuff, and it would certainly work for post-Phoenix vehicles with some judicious updating."

Sternbach made his comments as part of a Q&A session that was organised at For his thoughts on Voyager, the Technical Manuals, and more, please read the full Q&A transcript.

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