Overview of role of Chief of Operations and Science on a Starfleet vessel
The task of the Operations Panel (or Opps) is to monitor and allocate resources to the various activities around the ship. It also serves as a science position where sensor data and calibration can be monitored and interpreted. Relevant information is then communicated to command officers or auxiliary stations. To do all this effectively they have a range of materials at their disposal, including sensors, remote probes and a computer database.
The eyes and ears of a starship. The Sensors serve three functions; Astronomical Observation, Planetary Surface analysis, and Remote Life form analysis. There are at least 15,525 substances that can not be detected by Federation Sensors. There are three primary Sensor Arrays on a Federation starship;
- Main Long Range Sensor Array - Normally located behind the Deflector Dish in the Secondary Hull. on the USS Explorer they are located on the lower deck behind next to the science Section. On the USS Sutherland a vast majority of the systems have been shifted to Decks 1-4, in its science section. These arrays are designed to gather information at faster than light speeds so the ship is not blind at Warp. Maximum effective range is approximately 5 light years. It can reach distances of up to 17 light years, but the process takes about 1.5 hours. This is why scanning a single Sector takes a whole day. Within a solar system information is practically instantaneous (0.2 sec). The Long Range Sensor Array includes;
There are additional mounting points are set for further mission specific equipment or upgrades (3 on the USS Explorer, 15 on the USS Sutherland).
- Wide Angle Active EM Scanner
- Narrow Angle Active EM Scanner
- 2 m Gamma Ray Telescope
- Variable Frequency EM Flux Sensor
- Life Form Analysis Instrument Cluster
- Parametric subspace Field Stress Sensor
- Gravimetric Distortion Scanner
- Passive Neutrino Imaging Scanner
- Thermal Imaging Array
- Lateral Sensor Arrays - Three semi-redundant modular clusters of 6 sensor pallets are contained in various positions over the ship (5 on the USS Explorer, 24 on the USS Sutherland). There are and additional (3 and 18 respectively modular cluster mountings for mission specific sensors or upgrades. Standard layout is thus;
Repair of specific pallet components can normally done via close access ports. Removal of whole clusters or pallets must be done using a shuttle craft.
- Wide Angle EM Radiation Imaging Scanner
- Quark Population Analysis Computer
- Z Range Particle Spectrometry Sensor
- High Energy Proton Spectrometry Cluster
- Gravimetric Distortion Mapping Scanner
- Steerable Life Form Analysis Cluster
- Active Magnetic Interferometry Scanner
- Low Frequency EM Flux Sensor
- Localised subspace Field Stress Sensor
- Parametric subspace Field Stress Sensor
- Hydrogen Filter subspace Flux Scanner
- Linear Calibration subspace Flux Scanner
- Variable Band Optical Imaging Cluster
- Virtual Aperture Graviton Flux Spectrometer
- High Resolution Graviton Flux Spectrometer
- Very Low Energy Graviton Spin Polarimeter
- Passive Imaging Gamma Interferometry Sensor
- Low Level Thermal Imaging Sensor
- Fixed Angle Gamma Frequency Counter
- Virtual Particle Mapping Camera
- Navigational Sensor Arrays - There are a number of clusters (70 on the USS Explorer, and 350 on the USS Sutherland) located at key points and dedicated to maintaining accurate navigation. These arrays try to perform at 130% of the required responsiveness for Warp speeds. If their performance drops to below 120% the ship will drop out of Warp until the error is corrected. This is vital given an error of even a nanometre at high Warp can put a starship light years off course, or worse, into the heart of a star. A Navigational cluster includes:
- Quasar Telescope
- Wide Angle IR Source Tracker
- Narrow Angle IR-UV-Gamma Ray Imager
- Passive subspace Multi-Beacon Receiver
- Stellar Gravitational Detectors
- High Energy Charged Particle Detectors
- Galactic Plasma Wave Cartographic Processor
- Federation Time-base Beacon Receiver
- Stellar Pair Coordinate Imager
There are also a number of "Skin Sensors" which have the effect of maintaining a general "sense of being" for the ship. They detect things like hull fractures and minor impacts in much the same way as the skin on the back of your hand but are not useable as redundancies to the larger Sensor Arrays.
At times, launching an automated Probe to recover information is a far better option than endangering the ship. Probes are launched through the Photon Torpedo Launcher.
Of course not everything that a starship encounters will be entirely new. Often there will be records of readings or related instances that will help the Science division assess the phenomena and develop appropriate contingency responses. There is only room for one Computer core on the USS Explorer, rather than the customary two on ships like the USS Sutherland (one dedicated to Engineering functions, located in the Secondary Hull, and one allocated for scientific and command functions in the Primary Hull). Computer processing power is allocated by the Chief of Operations, and may be from either core, at his/her discretion. The M-7A is not as powerful as the LICARUS system, but the USS Explorer is not as big a ship as the Galaxy Class. In fact as the USS Explorer's Core is only 1/8th the volume of even one of the USS Sutherland's Core's it has a significantly reduced reference base.