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In Star Trek Enterprise (the prequel series), the NX-01 has a fin/wing that connects the two engines and nacelles.

What is contained in this area? There appears to be a large room in the middle of the fin that I don't recall being used.

I'm only halfway through the Enterprise series, so perhaps it comes into play later on. Do they ever explain this part of the ship?

NX-01 with tail fin circled

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    Solarwind surfing scnr Jul 8 '16 at 16:52
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    To me it looked like a homage to the original Romulan warbirds. Which they totally should have stuck with. boardgamegeek.com/camo/6be65b04418664b57b325b95bbeadcaabdcb5c76/… Jul 8 '16 at 23:40
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    Out universe the NX class is a self plagerized rehash of the TNG era Akira class which had a photon torpedo launcher for that structure. The lineage for that design torpedo launcher going back to the Miranda class Reliant of Star Trek II. On the NX class it is just an anachronism because it was set before photon torpedoes existed so you get some other answer about it being part of the engines. Oct 4 at 16:06
  • See, @lucasbachmann, that's where messing with the timeline gets all wibbly-wobbly. Is the NX based off of the TNG Akira class because the Akira came first in our timeline, or is the Akira's torpedo launcher where it is because the NX came first in the Trek timeline?
    – FreeMan
    Oct 4 at 17:02
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I'm actually going to list this in contrast to CBredlow's - but like the blueprint in that answer, this isn't necessarily 'official' canon either, although, the two images below and their explanations are sourced as coming from a canon source (depending on your point of view)

Doug Drexler, the designer of Enterprise NX-01, was very generous in giving us more insight into the design of the ship than I ever would have hoped for. He describes the purposes of many not-so-obvious or concealed details of the ship.

Symmetrical Warp Field Governor

enter image description here

enter image description here

http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/articles/nx01.htm

From Memory Alpha:

'a symmetrical warp field governor located just aft of the saucer section, that regulated the warp field shape that would otherwise break apart at higher warp factors'

https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/NX_class

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  • That makes a lot more sense, but you see a similar structure (with the blue tweedle on it) on the saucer section of other ships classes like the Miranda and the constitution. Are those also part of the warp field governor?
    – CBredlow
    Jul 8 '16 at 17:25
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    On the Miranda class, the thing on the rollbar is a photon torpedo launcher. Not sure what the blue circle thing aft on the saucer is
    – NKCampbell
    Jul 8 '16 at 17:37
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    And here I always assumed it was the warp core. The more you know! Jul 8 '16 at 21:41
  • Since there's no answer given in canon, I'm marking this as accepted because it is the explanation given by the out-of-universe designer of the ship. Jul 10 '16 at 2:28
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This picture show it being part of the aft docking assembly, as well as the impulse engine governors. enter image description here

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    A nice info-graphic, but bear in mind that Kennedy Shipyards are fan work and not canon.
    – Xantec
    Jul 8 '16 at 16:59
  • @Xantec I understand that, it was the best thing I could find. I don't remember them saying exactly what it was in the show either
    – CBredlow
    Jul 8 '16 at 17:03
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    Please properly cite and link to your sources when you reproduce work by others. Jul 10 '16 at 0:01
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The following is information related to the question but doesn't fully answer it. There's a bit of a confusion on where the "blue dome" feature originated. Here's the answer from a production viewpoint, as near as I can figure it.

The blue dome feature on the NX-01 governor appears to be a visual "nod" to a similar feature on the Motion Picture Enterprise and related vehicles. Andrew Probert, the final designer for TMP Enterprise, called it the "deflector crystal" labelling it so here:

https://forgottentrek.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/Enterprise-cutaway-1.jpg

Basically he thought that the impulse drive on the refit was powered by the matter antimatter reactor which, from it's name "intermix shaft" and swirly lights along its hole length, you can get the idea worked very differently from a TMP warp core. Here's a Trekyards interview with Probert to hear his original thinking.

Recall that he did all this BEFORE Sternbach and Okuda (with some knowledge of real world fusion rocket concepts like DAEDALUS) assigned the Galaxy-class' system of fusion rockets that later fandom assumes is the "one true way" to do impulse drives.

What the crystal did was redirect matter antimatter intermix exhaust out the back of the impulse drives for thrust. The idea that the matter/antimatter intermix needed to be working right for impulse flight is hinted at on screen by Scotty's line in TMP when they're about to leave dock:

"Intermix set, Bridge, impulse power at your discretion."

So that's another wrinkle in the tech canon for you to mull over. As a real world space propulsion engineer having multiple ways of doing the "same thing" adds verisimilitude for me...but your mileage may vary. I find a lot of fans I know dislike "discontinuities" like this.

For those interested the linear intermix shaft always reminded me of a certain resemblance to a linear laser confinement fusion device picture in Chen et al:

Linear Fusion Reactor proposal

I found this idea here: Francis Chen Plasma Physics

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. The first part - the appearance of the structure - seems potentially useful, but it's not clear that the structure on the NX-01 is the same structure other than a similar shape and colour; you could make this a useful answer if you could find any evidence that it was intended to be the same. (The last part about laser confinement fusion doesn't add anything at all, and just hides the point of your answer.)
    – DavidW
    Oct 4 at 15:15

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