Bussard Ramscoop

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Bussard collector on a NX class warp nacelle

The Bussard ramscoop is named after twentieth century physicist and mathematician Robert W. Bussard who laid the theoretical ground work that eventually led to the ramscoop used on Star Fleet vessels. The ramscoops are attached to the forward end caps of the warp nacelles where they collect matter from the interstellar medium. The ramscoop is a vital part of the refuel systems of any federation ship. Due to the low volume of material found in the interstellar medium the ramscoops operate best at higher relativistic speeds.

The ramscoops consists of three main assemblies, an ionizing beam emitter (IBE), Magnetic field generator/collector (MFG/C), and continuous cycle fractionator (CCF). Built into the forward end cap of the nacelle are one or more windows constructed of reinforced polyduranide and is transparent to a narrow range of ionizing energies produced by the ramscoop. In some designs the entirety of the end cap is constructed of the polyduranide.

Ionizing Beam Emitter (IBE)

The ionizing beam emitter or IBE generates the ionizing energies that impart a charge to neutral particles in space for collection by the magnetic field. At warp speeds these ionizing energies are pushed into subspace frequencies so that the beam components can project out ahead of the star ship decay to their normal states and produce the desired effect.

Magnetic Field Generator/Collector (MFG/C)

Gas from a nebula being collected by a Sovering class ship

Consisting of coils of cobalt-lanthanide-boronite designed to cast a magnetic “net” ahead of the ship to pull the charged particles toward the matter intakes of the Continuous Cycle Fractionator. The coils can draw power from the EPS system or directly from the transfer conduits for the warp drive.

At sublight speeds the MFG/C sweeps forward normally but during operations at warp the coil operation is reversed to slow down the incoming matter. This system works in close connection with the main navigational deflector to create small field holes to permit usable amounts of matter through the protective field created by the deflector and into the ramscoop.

Continuous Cycle Fractionator (CCF)

The Continuous Cycle Fractionator (CCF) takes in the gas collected by the ramscoop and separates the collected matter via electro-centrifugal fractioning. While some deuterium will be generated by the ramscoop other “burnable” materials will be generated. The different materials will be separated and moved into the ship’s engineering hull with the deuterium moved to the deuterium storage tanks and the other materials are moved to the consumables storage tanks where the materials will be stored until used in the on board replicators or used in the warp core if needed.

Bussard operation diagram