Let's Talk Starbases

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Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-23 04:51pm

Starbases! They're visited often- usually right before or after the beginning of episodes, but how much do we know about them?

They seem somewhat varied in construction, though some types are more common than others.


The, ah, I don't know what it's called but Starbase 375 is an example of a nice medium-size station. Not too different in scale from a Deep Space 9 type station, a bit smaller if anything (though unlike DS9, capable of taking smaller ships inside. I don't think anything bigger than a Miranda though, and maybe not that), they seem big enough to supply fleets and be the main bases for good areas of space, so I'm guessing this is kinda the baseline, "We at Starfleet feel this is good for the tasks a starbase needs to be able to do."

Then there's the big ones, Spacedock Type Starbases. Whoa yea, these things are *big!* Galaxies and Excelsiors can fly inside them (apparently this is partially so that workers can do external work without worries of radiation, I guess they can use lighter suits), and that's where big refits like the E-D getting a new warp core installed happen. It's a shame we never see one in combat, they seem like they'd be the big "this territory is ours," HQs with power to spare for shields and defensive weapons (aided by being able to hold ships in protective hiding). I'm not sure if there's even references to how tough they are, though if anyone can think of any, that'd be quite informative.

Aside from that, there's a variety of other stations, plus even some planetary facilities are called 'Starbase'. Though perhaps a complex can all fall under 'starbase'? (I.e. in some systems, a starbase may be a small station plus attendant planetary facilities).

So, what can we judge on what makes a 'Starbase' and what their baseline capabilities are? They all seem able to do supply, repairs, and some level of personal training and R&R at minimum.

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Crazedwraith » 2017-04-23 05:05pm

Also, I wonder what the distinction between a Starbase and a Deep Space station is. Because DS9 is not in deep space.

It could be a matter of scale. As DS9 had a commander in charge where Starbases usually have Admirals. Also possibly that Starbases are starfleet owned facilities and Deep Space stations are only starfleet operated. (Ds9 being owned by Bajor)
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by FedRebel » 2017-04-23 05:47pm

Deep Space stations are frontier "watchtowers", typically placed at the Federation's borders

The large 'mushroom' style starbases and the smaller 'Regula' style starbases are spread across Federation space in a 'hub and spoke' model. Spacedock's cover an "over-sector" while smaller bases just cover a given sector

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-23 07:10pm

FedRebel wrote:Deep Space stations are frontier "watchtowers", typically placed at the Federation's borders
Right. DS9 is Deep Space in that it's in Bajorian space, outside the Federation even.

Bashir gave a big speech about being on the Frontier when he first showed up.
The large 'mushroom' style starbases and the smaller 'Regula' style starbases are spread across Federation space in a 'hub and spoke' model. Spacedock's cover an "over-sector" while smaller bases just cover a given sector
That makes sense.

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-04-24 04:13am

I'd suspect that similar sized starbases would have shields that are about as strong as DS9 while the true giants like ESD or the even bigger one that E-D visited would have shields that would take a truly massive fleet to take down.

as for weapons I think that varies according to the role. From something that can only deter pirates or opportunistic enemy raiders to something that can engage a fleet of warships and have decent chance of winning. After all you don't need much weapons for a starbase that's operating as research outpost, traffic control station or a trading hub and yes I know DS9 acted as all 3 of those but it also was the first line of defense against threats from the Gamma Quadrant hence being more heavily armed.

granted this is all just speculation as IIRC there's nothing specific mentioned in canon.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by WATCH-MAN » 2017-04-24 12:50pm

I always assumed that a starbase is not necessarily the station in orbit of a planet, but the whole facility Starfleet has on a planet and its orbit - including space-stations and -yards and ground facilities - with the purpose to supply, repair or refit starships.

Deep Space stations on the other hand could be stations that are not in a orbit of a planet.

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Crazedwraith » 2017-04-24 12:53pm

WATCH-MAN wrote: Deep Space stations on the other hand could be stations that are not in a orbit of a planet.

DS9 was DS9 when it was orbiting Bajor.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2017-04-24 01:14pm

And... Yorktown :D
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-04-24 01:37pm

Wasn't the full name of the K-7 station from TOS Deep Space Station K-7?

If so it was on orbit of the Sherman's system.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by WATCH-MAN » 2017-04-24 01:42pm

Crazedwraith wrote:
WATCH-MAN wrote: Deep Space stations on the other hand could be stations that are not in a orbit of a planet.

DS9 was DS9 when it was orbiting Bajor.
Maybe the station was regarded only as a deep space station as it lacked what a Starfleet starbase usually has as there were no other facilities on Bajor.

Insofar - without the ground facilities a Starbase usually has, it couldn't do much more than a deep space station.

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by WATCH-MAN » 2017-04-24 01:45pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:And... Yorktown :D
Alternate timeline.

Maybe in this, they changed the systematic.

Or - as Yorktown was big enough to have all the facilities a Starbase usually has, it was regarded as a Starbase as it could do what a Starbase - usually with groundfacilies and yard - is supposed to be able to do.

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-24 05:35pm

I would think that Starbase vs Deep Space is partially a matter of location- DS9 is flat outside Fed territory after all- plus maybe some of capabilities.

Deep Space 9 doesn't have the training/staff facilities a Starbase seems to have, though is just fine for supplies and repairs (and, lesse, did it do big refits there? Guess it did handle some of the Defiant's upgrades on their own... though when they captured a Jemmy bug, they took it to the nearest Starbase, not DS9). Hm, that may be one big difference, at a Starbase you can definitely get replacement crew for ships, at DS9 they don't have a lot of excess Starfleet personal, at least not til the war starts and it's importance increases.
Lord Revan wrote:I'd suspect that similar sized starbases would have shields that are about as strong as DS9 while the true giants like ESD or the even bigger one that E-D visited would have shields that would take a truly massive fleet to take down.

as for weapons I think that varies according to the role. From something that can only deter pirates or opportunistic enemy raiders to something that can engage a fleet of warships and have decent chance of winning. After all you don't need much weapons for a starbase that's operating as research outpost, traffic control station or a trading hub and yes I know DS9 acted as all 3 of those but it also was the first line of defense against threats from the Gamma Quadrant hence being more heavily armed.

granted this is all just speculation as IIRC there's nothing specific mentioned in canon.
The raw power of a station means even one without much armament is likely to be able to hold off against actual big military warships for a time, after all, so they don't need to fully arm, like, science starbases 100 light years from the nearest frontier which has a friendly on the other side anyway.

A few phaser banks (type 9s or 10s) and some standard dual-purpose probe/torpedo launchers is probably plenty for most... while the same size of station near the Romulans or Klingons* would have weapon-turrets like DS9 and be loaded for bear with high-end phaser arrays, rapid fire torpedo launchers, etc..

*The Klingons would be disappointed if there were lightly armed stations near them.

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-27 02:10am

DS9's defences were, come to think of it, probably the most impressive conventional defences for a single Federation location/vessel in all of Star Trek. What was it, 5,000 torpedoes? Plus probably dozens of individual weapons emplacements? And shields good enough that it took a prolonged assault by dozens of Klingon warships including a battleship to temporarily drop them?

Edit: Plus, of course, they had the Runabouts and Defiant backing up the station normally.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-27 03:53am

The Romulan Republic wrote:DS9's defences were, come to think of it, probably the most impressive conventional defences for a single Federation location/vessel in all of Star Trek. What was it, 5,000 torpedoes? Plus probably dozens of individual weapons emplacements? And shields good enough that it took a prolonged assault by dozens of Klingon warships including a battleship to temporarily drop them?

Edit: Plus, of course, they had the Runabouts and Defiant backing up the station normally.
Pound for pound maybe, but the mushroom shaped Starbases would have power generators that make DS9's look small, and have tons of photons and such onboard just in their function of supply bases (plus whatever ships *they* have inside at the time) before even getting into what they'd put on to prepare one for war. Heck, that's probably where they manufacture photons to deliver to ships.


DS9 probably did outpace any of the 'Regula' style Starbases, maybe by a good margin, on account no individual one was in a position so strategic as to require that much (I'm sure they did update them for the war, but spread out rather than focusing down on any individual one), but size has a quantity all it's own. The amount of power one should have should be something else, and it has so much more hull than DS9. Just imagine what it'd take to get through the outer mushroom dome, and that's not even anything vital. The lower section is less-so and may have very important stuff, but is still much thicker than DS9's core.

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Deathstalker » 2017-04-27 09:13pm

Would have been awesome to see the mushroom Starbase over Earth sling photons at the two Borg ships that attacked Earth. The Borg must have been afraid of it and attacked from the opposite side.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-04-28 05:36am

Honestly I suspect that "position" matters much more in how powerful a station is then any other factors, stations in important strategic location (say for example at the UFP side of the neutral zone) would probably be at least as well armed and shielded as DS9 while ones in less important location might have little more then a token armament and shields, just enough that Orion Sydicate pirate (or something similar) would consider the station to be "not worth the effort" to raid for valuebles.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Q99 » 2017-04-28 08:11am

Lord Revan wrote:Honestly I suspect that "position" matters much more in how powerful a station is then any other factors, stations in important strategic location (say for example at the UFP side of the neutral zone) would probably be at least as well armed and shielded as DS9 while ones in less important location might have little more then a token armament and shields, just enough that Orion Sydicate pirate (or something similar) would consider the station to be "not worth the effort" to raid for valuebles.

A science or civilian station might have a token armament. I'd think Starbases, being for starfleet ships and expected to supply and refit them, defacto military bases, are likely to be more in-between. Not nearly as weapon bristly as DS9 or a Neutral Zone base, but even a group of ships has reason to be weary.

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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2017-04-28 01:19pm

To those saying that Earth Spacedock should be heavily armed - why? It's right in the heart of Federatin territory. If it has to fire on an enemy, then that enemy has already either destroyed or circumvented every Starfleet ship or squadron between the border and Earth. In other words, if this station has to open fire, things are already so fucking screwed up.

Case in point - would you expect, oh, the Norfolk Navy Base to have a heavy anti-ship armament? Or Portsmouth? Or Murmansk? It's a refit and repair yard, not a fucking battlestation!

Klingon versions of Spacedock, sure, I can see those carrying a heavy punch, but not something built by the Federation right over Earth.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-28 01:29pm

On the other hand, the Federation has had multiple surprise/short notice attacks on Earth throughout its history. Those border defences are not air-tight, and never have been (unsurprisingly, given the size of space and the presence of cloaks and superior FTL).

Having a strong line of defence right over Earth which can hold off a surprise attack until Starfleet reinforcements get there could be very useful.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2017-04-28 01:36pm

The only ones I can think of were the two Borg attacks, the Breen late in the Dominion War, and if you want to count ENT, the Xindi prototype weapon.

Only two of those count as surprise attacks - the two Borg incursions ere detected a long way off and Starfleet mustered a fleet on both cases - that those fleets failed against a seemingly overwhelming adversary is hardly their fault.

I would expect Earth to have defences, that's not in question. What I question is why people assume that a single, giant repair and refit station should be a major part of things, when by it's very nature it can only cover a small part of Earth at a time.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-28 01:39pm

Well, granted, one immobile station won't be able to cover all approaches to the planet.

However, your list of attacks on Earth is not complete. Two obvious additions are VGER and the Whale Probe from the films.

The Scimitar was intended for such an attack on Earth in Nemesis as well, but never reached the target.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2017-04-28 01:45pm

Yes, I'd forgotten VGER and the Whale Probe - but again, even if Spacedock had been armed tot he teeth what use would it have been? We see it get disabled by the Whale Probe just like the starships. The same applies for V'Ger - a heavily armed space station would be useless.

Hell, the fact that in both cases the day was saved by individual starships rather than fleets or battle stations may well have persuaded Stafleet that huge armed stations weren't effective at defending planets.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-28 01:52pm

Well, there's an obvious trade off in starships vs. star bases.

A star base doesn't need to be mobile, so it can use the space that would go to propulsion systems, structural integrity fields, etc. to add more weapons, armour, shields, etc. Though this may only apply to a dedicated defensive station, not one that expends much of its volume on space docks and shore leave facilities or whatever.

On the other hand, by virtue of being tied to a single location, it will always be a less flexible asset.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2017-04-28 01:56pm

I understand the trade off.

Now that I think about it, with the exception of DS9 which was Cardassian-built and then specifically refitted, and the Neutral Zone outposts in "Balance of Terror", I cannot recall any Federation starbase or orbital platform being armed.

The only times I know if it come from books, specifically the series dealing with (IIRC) the Taurus Expanse that centered on Starbase 47, a Watchtower-class that according to an included schematice had 12 phaser/photon torpedo emplacements, but I can't recall them being mentioned or used directly in the books (it's been a while). Even that was a special case,since the Starbase was rushed to completion and was in an area that was known to be turbulent and dangerous.
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Re: Let's Talk Starbases

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-28 02:04pm

Hmm...

You know, other than that one VGER wiped out in the films, I can't recall a Federation Starbase ever coming under attack on-screen.

Although, I gather that some sort of space colony was attacked in Beyond (which I still haven't seen).

I don't think the fact that it was Cardassian-built is relevant to DS9 having stronger defences though. Like you said, it was refitted- it was basically unarmed initially, wasn't it?
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