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Starship Technology
Saucer Separation
Unlike the early days of exploration when all members of a ship's crew accepted certain dangers, the newest generation of ships have ample room and resources to provide luxuries to its crew among them the ability to support non-Starfleet passengers. When Starfleet decided to allow families of the crew to live aboard ship, ship designers had to find a way to protect innocent lives in case of emergency or battle.

Saucer separation was first placed in the Galaxy class' design as way of moving families and civilians out of harms way. Without the saucer section the star drive section becomes an effective battleship with most of the ship's mass gone, the ship is free to engage in battle when lives aren't risked unnecessarily. Since the Galaxy class was designed, other ship classes have incorporated this safety feature. The other use of the saucer section is emergency evacuation when the warp core is about to breach, the entire crew can get to a safe distance from the breach, although the detached saucer has no warp capabilities and is stranded until another ship arrives. This use of separation has been designed into various starships dating as far back as the Constitution class.

On Galaxy class starships the saucer and star drive sections are held together by eighteen latching clamps that pass through the load baring structures of the saucer and driver sections . During separation these latches retract into the structure of the star drive section. The latches can as easily extend and spread to reattach the saucer section when the danger has passed.

An outgrowth of saucer separation is multi-vector assault mode of the Prometheus class. The Prometheus class can separate into three warp and battle capable sections. The three parts can coordinate during a battle to become a formidable enemy
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