In Nemesis, when the away team is searching for the android parts, why couldn't they just beam down the Argo(buggy) instead of bringing a shuttle to take it down? They mentioned before about how there was an industrial society so they couldn't have the shuttle everywhere, (and ended up ignoring that rule anyway). Wouldn't it have been easier to just beam everything?

  • have we ever seen them beam a shuttle?
    – Himarm
    Jun 20, 2016 at 17:29
  • 1
    @Himarm No, but we have seen large objects get beamed to and from ships. In Voyager they drop off a replicator and tons of water.
    – CBredlow
    Jun 20, 2016 at 17:30
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    How would they do that awesome jump if they didn't bring the RV?
    – Mazura
    Jun 20, 2016 at 17:43
  • @Himarm - The largest object ever seen transported by the Federation is a "Scorpion-class attack shuttle".
    – Valorum
    Jun 20, 2016 at 17:48
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    @CBredlow - The Enterprise gets hacked about four times a season.
    – Valorum
    Jun 20, 2016 at 19:56

4 Answers 4


Although it's very tempting to blame the ion storm (the one that prevented the crew from beaming down)...

Geordi looked up from his station and shook his head. "Captain, I don't recommend transporting; that ion storm doesn't look very neighborly. It could head this way without much warning."

Star Trek: Nemesis - Official Novelisation

...the reality is that the Argo shuttle is simply too large to beam, even with the ship's cargo transporters. If the buggy was disassembled it would probably fall just under the max size that can be transported (5m x 2m x 2m), but certainly not with the rollbar, wheels and gun attached.

  • 1
    @cbredlow - The scorpion is a slender fighter-craft with two people crammed into a line measuring approx 5m x 2m x 2m. The Argo is a shuttle-craft that can fit five (sitting two and three abreast in a dune-buggy). Even the buggy is probably too large to transport, let alone the shuttle it comes in.
    – Valorum
    Jun 20, 2016 at 18:02
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    Enterprise D was presumed able to beam shuttle craft from outside the ship into the shuttle bay. In Déjà Q Picard orders a shuttle craft beamed back into its bay and no one says that it is technically impossible. I don't know which model shuttle craft it was, but it appears roughly the size of the Argo, give or take.
    – Xantec
    Jun 20, 2016 at 19:10
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    I don't buy the "too large to beam" argument. Shuttles would be transported site to site; you wouldn't beam them onto a cargo transport pad. They beamed 400 tons of whales and water into the cargo bay of a Bird of Prey (a scout class vessel) in Star Trek IV, though I'll concede that they took more than a few liberties with the pseudo-science in that movie. Jun 20, 2016 at 23:08
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    @Valorum Actually, the Klingon transporters being able to move large quantities of living organisms isn't too unfathomable. They like their food fresh after all.
    – Xantec
    Jun 21, 2016 at 19:54
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    @Xantec - Indeed, and use boarding parties. Also, they take slaves.
    – Valorum
    Jun 21, 2016 at 19:54


Captain, I wouldn't recommend using the transporter; that ion storm doesn't look very neighborly.

The conditions negate using the transporter for anything, because an away-team and the vehicles might be left stranded. Beaming down might not be a problem, but getting back might.

Transporting a Scorpion-class Attack Flier exceeds the specifications of the cargo bay transporter. So, site-to-site transportation was likely used for that (or it was handwaved).

IMO, with enough excess energy, you could S-t-S transport the Arggo's buggy. But you wouldn't if the ACB could become compromised at any point (or worse, the matter stream itself). I.e., an impending ion storm.

Obtaining or maintaining a transporter lock enables the transporter operator to know the subject's location, even in motion, allowing the beaming process to start more quickly. This is an essential safety precaution when a starship away team enters a potentially dangerous situation that would require an emergency beam-out. –Transporter


You don't beam down shuttlecraft. Their very existence in terms of the storytelling aspects of Star Trek precludes the capacity to beam something down to a planet's surface.

  • In the Original Series, the transporter was created to skip the use of shuttlecraft in general. Rodenberry thought having characters go to a room, step on a pad and appear on a surface, would move the story keeping people interested. Later, shuttles became a plot element but were generally skipped due to their disruption of the narrative flow.

  • If we stay in-universe, my suspicions say the size of the average shuttlecraft might exceed the cargo transporting capacity of even a ship such as the Enterprise. And certainly the heavy cargo shuttlecraft like the Argo would most likely be outside of the capacity of a standard cargo transport array.

  • As for the Argo buggy, I don't see any particular reason to not beam it down unless it was larger than the transport area (or mass allotment) allowed by the transporter. I think the entire scene was created for a purpose (in my opinion) to have a great outdoor, on-planet adventure thing the viewers could relate to. Something non-holographic that reminded the viewers the crew could exist and do physical things in the real world.

Cargo transporters were larger-scale versions of personnel transporters and were optimized for the transport of inanimate objects. These transporters were adapted to handle massive quantities of material.

In case of an emergency, cargo transporters could be reset to quantum-level mode, making lifeform transport possible. One reason for such a reconfiguration was to expedite an evacuation of personnel. (TNG: "11001001")

Cargo transporters were mostly found inside the cargo bay of a starship or space station. On Level 97-C of the Spacedock-type Starbase 74, there were four cargo transporters. (TNG: "11001001")

Dedicated cargo transporter platforms used by Starfleet in the 24th century typically featured one large circular or oblong pad.

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Both of these images show cargo transporters onboard the Enterprise. Neither are large enough to consider moving something as large as the Argo, a warp-capable heavy transport shuttlecraft.

We have never seen an entire starship being transported, except by the technologically advanced Voth, who transported the entire starship Voyager into its cargo hold.

The Voth city ship was massive and extremely powerful in comparison with Starfleet vessels – the Voth were able to beam the USS Voyager into a chamber inside their vessel which could clearly house many more starships. This transport was accomplished despite Voyager's shields being raised. The Voth were also able to take command of the ship's computer, shut the majority of systems down, and take primary power offline. The dampening field used to create this effect managed to render tricorders, communicators, and phasers useless.

UPDATE: In addition to the slight change in the question, I will address another issue, size of the transport area.

  • As to the transport-ability of shuttlecraft: Some shuttles can be transported, some cannot. Shuttles vary widely in size, so it is technically possible at least some of the smallest could indeed be transported by a cargo-size transport pad.

  • There has been some controversy about site-to-site transfer and the ability to transport oversized objects. A site to site does not change the size of the transport area. The object still has to fit within the transporter window to be calculated into the transport buffer. This is about the limits of the transporter and the technology used to calculate an object in transport.

  • In addition, site-to-site transport cost twice the pattern buffer space, twice the transport time and energy needed. It also is used primarily for emergencies, since it probably works best with a precise sensor lock on a non-moving subject.

  • A site-to-site transport was a special type of transport in which an object or person was transported from one site directly to another, neither site being a transporter platform. A site-to-site transport was accomplished by first transferring the transporter's target from the site of origin to the pattern buffer of the transporter, in the same manner as the usual "beam in" procedure; instead of being routed to a transporter platform, however, the matter stream was diverted to a second site, in a similar procedure to a conventional "beam out".

  • Site-to-site transportation was very resource intensive. It consumed twice the energy of a conventional transport (since it was effectively two consecutive transport maneuvers), and required twice the time in the pattern buffer. It was very useful, however, when time was critical (for example, when a casualty needed immediate attention in sickbay, site-to-site transportation was almost invariably used) or other unusual circumstances. On the other hand, it was almost never used in emergency evacuations of large groups because it would effectively halve the capacity of the transporter system. --Memory Alpha: Site-to-Site Transport

  • I don't see how the argo couldn't fit in there. it's significantly smaller than a shuttlecraft. I didn't realize the shuttle was called the argo as well: memory-beta.wikia.com/wiki/Argo_(buggy)
    – CBredlow
    Jun 20, 2016 at 17:59
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    Their capacity precludes the necessity, not the possibility, as no one bats an eye when the captain says, "Beam [the shuttle craft] back into its bay." during one of the TNG episodes.
    – Mazura
    Jun 21, 2016 at 0:28
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    Just because the pad is tiny doesn't mean the transporter itself can't perform a site-to-site. Jun 21, 2016 at 11:05

Actually, we've seen in Star Trek Voyager that shuttles can be beamed onboard (mostly during tough spots).

And even in Star Trek Nemesis, when both Picard and Data were on that Romulan fighter craft and escaped the Scimitar, the Enterprise-E beamed them onboard.

Transporting something the size of a 'buggy' (or a shuttle for that matter) wouldn't be an issue. It may have been a problem due to the incoming Ion storm, however, we've seen before that transporters can be modified to work under such conditions (funny how newer shows or movies ignore all those modifications though to increase the 'drama factor' as opposed to working with it).

I suppose we could say a shuttle was used in Nemesis to transport the buggy to the surface to minimise or avoid any potential issues the Ion storm could produce even with modified transporters. Also, they were under a bit of a time constraint, so not worth it to risk a transporter beam when the shuttle would be perfectly fine (Starfleet is big on health and safety).

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