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Starfleet Command > Technical Manuals > Starfleet > Command Systems

Main Bridge

Primary operational control of a galaxy-class starship is provided by the Main Bridge, located on Deck 1, at the top of the Saucer Module. The Main Bridge directly supervises all primary mission operations and co-ordinates all departmental activities.
The central area provides seating and displays for the captain, executive officer and another officer. In front of this area are the Operations Manager and the Flight Control Officer (CONN), both of whom face the main viewscreen. Aft of the command area is the elevated tactical station, and the Science I & II, Mission Ops, Environmental Control and Engineering stations. At the very front of the Bridge is the main viewscreen, measuring 4.8 x 2.5 m. This is generally used to display the external situation from one of the forward optical scanners, but can also be used for other visual, informational or communications use. Behind the aft workstations is a large equipment bay, used to house three of the seven dedicated bridge computer optical subprocessors, and six of the twelve shared processors. Also on deck 1, there is the Observation Lounge, Captain's ready room and head, and the crew head. Replicator terminals are also situated on the Bridge and in the ready room. There are two standard turbolift shafts serving the Bridge, and one emergency turbo used solely for transport to the Battle Bridge (deck 8).

Bridge Operations

Operational authority for the starship rests with the Commanding Officer, usually the captain, who is responsible for following Starfleet orders and policy, as well as interpretation of Federation law and diplomatic directives. The Commanding Officer is directly answerable to Starfleet Command for ship performance. The Main Bridge, through the Operations Manager, also monitors all primary and secondary mission objectives, to provide an optimal operating state. The Operations Manager also co-ordinates between different departments. The Main Bridge also serves as a command centre during alert and crisis situations. During Separated Flight Mode, combat operations are overseen by the Battle Bridge, while control of the Saucer Module remains with the Main Bridge. In these situations, the captain and senior staff will command the Stardrive section, while a designated junior officer will be left in command of the Main Bridge.

Basic Control Panel & Terminal Use

Control/display panels are software-defined surfaces that are continually updated and reconfigured for maximum operator efficiency and ease of use. Each panel is tied into a local subprocessor that continually monitors panel activity and compares it to predefined scenarios and operational profiles. This allows the computer to continuously update the configuration to provide the operator with a current menu of most likely actions. It also provides the operator with enough information and flexibility to determine and execute non programmed instructions, if desired. Cruise Mode operating rules allow each crew member to define a customised configuration for their work station. This means that crew members are free to configure panel layout and procedural menus to suit personal working styles and experience. In the case where a system upgrade has recently has been installed, but the duty officer has not yet been trained in the new configuration, panel software can usually be programmed to emulate the previous version until the officer has been trained to use the new system. Standard configuration can be activated at any time, and Full Enable configuration is automatically activated during Alert status.

Flight Control (CONN)

The Flight Control console, often known as Conn, is responsible for piloting and navigation of the starship. Although most functions are heavily automated, their criticality demands that an officer oversees these operations at all times. Conn receives instructions directly from the Commanding Officer. There are five major areas of responsibility for Conn: navigational references & course plotting, supervision of automatic flight operations, manual flight operations, position verification and bridge liaison with Engineering. At impulse speeds, Conn is responsible for monitoring relativistic effects as well as the status of the Inertial Damping System. In the event that Conn requests a manoeuvre that exceeds the capacity of the IDF, the computer will request Conn to modify the flight plan to bring it within permitted performance envelope. During Alert status, flight rules permit Conn to specify manoeuvres that are potentially dangerous to the crew or starship.

Operations Management

Many shipboard operations involve scheduling resources or hardware (such as power or sensor use) that affect several departments. In such cases, it is common for various operations to present conflicting requirements. It is the responsibility of the Operations Manager to co-ordinate such activities so that mission goals are not jeopardised. Having a crew member in this decision-making process is viral because of the large number of unpredictable situations with which a starship must deal. The Ops panel allows the Operations Manger to see at a glance a constantly updated list of current major shipboard activities. This permits Ops to assign priorities and so allocate resources fairly among departments. This is especially critical where two or more requests require the use of the same equipment.

Tactical

The Main Bridge station dedicated to defensive systems control and starship internal security is Tactical. In its current configuration, Tactical occupies a unique place on the Bridge, situated between the central command area and the aft stations. The physical layout of the elevated Tactical console is a sweeping curve that gives and unobstructed view of the command area and main viewer. This allows for an uninterrupted exchange between the Security Officer, who is also the senior Tactical Officer, and other bridge officers. The Tactical station is a standing position, deemed necessary because for efficient security operations. Although the station can accommodate two officers, it is usual for the Security Officer to conduct operations alone, even during Alert situations. Nevertheless, a second tactical officer is available as necessary, in the event that the senior officer is required for Away Team duty or is otherwise indisposed.

Command Stations

The Main Bridge command stations provide seating and displays for the Commanding Officer and two other other officers, usually the executive officer and the counsellor. The command stations are located centrally, designed to maximise interaction with the rest of the bridge, and afford and unobstructed view of the main viewscreen. The captain's chair features armrests that incorporate miniaturised status displays, including the backup Conn and Ops panels. The captain can use these to override basic starship operation, although this is usually reserved for emergency situations. The other two stations incorporate larger displays, allowing these officers to access and manipulate data in the course of their duties. Cruise Mode operating rules require a shift CO to be on duty at all times, although presence of other personnel is optional, depending on alert status. Yellow and Red Alert operating rules require two command personnel in addition to Conn and Ops.

Science Stations

Science Stations I and II are located directly behind the Tactical station on the upper level of the Bridge. They are used by bridge personnel to provide realtime scientific analyses of scientific data to command personnel. These stations are not assigned full-time technicians, but can be used when needed. In some cases, the science stations are used by personnel attached to secondary missions, including researchers, science officers and mission specialists. Science I and II are usually configured for independent operation, but can be linked if two researchers wish to work together. These stations have priority links to Conn, Ops and Tactical. In addition, during alert situations, science stations can have priority access to sensor arrays, overriding ongoing science department observations, if necessary.

Mission Ops

Mission Ops provides additional to support to the Operations Manager, and is specifically responsible for monitoring activity related to secondary mission directives. In doing so, Mission Ops relieves the Operations Manager of responsibility for lower-priority tasks. Mission Ops is responsible for resolving low-level conflicts, but will refer higher-level conflicts to the Operations Manager.

Environment

The Environmental Systems station permits monitoring and control of the life support system. Although this station is usually unattended due to the highly automated nature of these systems, this station is of vital importance during emergency situations. This station is usually programmed to monitor atmosphere, temperature, gravity, IDF and shielding subsystems. It also monitors critical consumables such as oxygen and water. It also oversees the function of various recycling and reprocessing systems that insure a continuous supply of air, water, food and other consumables. When unattended, this station will alert Ops of any situation requiring crew intervention. During alert situations, Environment serves as backup Operations Manager, monitoring and allocating life support resources to maximise crew survivability. The Environmental Systems Officer is authorised to initiate Yellow or Red Alert and is responsible for executing survival scenarious such as evacuation to environmental support areas.

Engineering

The Engineering monitor duplicates, in a somewhat simplified form, the Chief Engineer's display from main engineering. It includes warp and impulse propulsion systems, and related subsystems. The purpose of this station is to allow the Chief Engineer to monitor engineering systems while on the bridge. This is particularly important during alert situations that require the Chief Engineer to be on the bridge while he must simultaneously monitor engineering system status. During most routine situations, this station is the responsibility of Conn and Ops. This station is usually configured for passive display, but can be reconfigured to give full control over all engineering systems.

System Diagnostics

Level 1 Diagnostic
This refers to the most comprehensive system diagnostic. Extensive automated diagnostic routines are performed, but a Level 1 diagnostic requires a team of crew members to physically verify operation of system mechanisms, rather than depending on automated checking routines. This protects against possible errors that may be present in the hardware and software checking routines. Level 1 diagnostics may take several hours, and usually require the system being tested to be taken offline for all checks to be performed.
Level 2 Diagnostic
Like the Level 1 diagnostic, this is a very comprehensive check, but the crew is not required to verify as many system components physically. This means that the diagnostic gives a less reliable analysis of the system's performance, but the time taken to perform the diagnostic is roughly half the time for a Level 1 diagnostic.
Level 3 Diagnostic
This is similar to the Levels 1 and 2 diagnosits, but requires crew verification of only the key systems. Level 3 diagnostics can usually be completed in under ten minutes.
Level 4 Diagnostic
This automated diagnostic is intended for use whenever trouble is suspected with a system. While similar to the Level 5 diagnostic, it performs a more sophisticated series of checks than the Level 5 diagnostic. Level 4 diagnostics can be performed in about 30 seconds.
Level 5 Diagnostic
This automated diagnostic is intended for routine use to verify system performance. Level 5 diagnostics, which can run in less than three seconds, are performed an all major systems at least on a daily basis, and more often during alert situations, when systems and resources must be carefully monitored.

Battle Bridge

The Battle Bridge, located on Deck 8 of Galaxy-class starships, is a second major facility for starship operational control, and serves as a command and control centre for tactical operations during Separated Flight Mode. It incorporates the standard Conn and Ops panels for navigation, but incaludes enhanced tactical analysis and weapons contorl stations, as well as communications and engineering. As with other control facilities, software-defineable workstations permit consoles to be reconfigured as necessary to handle specific situations.

Main Engineering

Main Engineering, located on Deck 36 serves as a master control for the warp engine, and also the impulse drive and other engineering systems. Main Engineering also serves as a backup control centre in case the Main Bridge and Battle Bridge fail. Workstations here can be reconfigured to emulate the stations on the Main Bridge - Conn, Ops, Tactical and other stations. This is useful location for a backup control centre because of its protected location within the Engineering section and its proximity to key warp engine components. ODN connections allow for protected communications with the computer and other ship systems.

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