Steadfast-A Small Craft Assignment
The Steadfast-A is equipped with auxiliary shuttlecraft to support mission objectives.
Standard complement of shuttlecraft includes ten standard personnel shuttles, then cargo shuttles, and five special-purpose craft. Additional special-purpose shuttles can be provided to a starship as necessary. The Steadfast-A also carries twelve two-person shuttlepods for extravehicluar and short-range use.
Operating rules require that at least eleven shuttle vehicles be maintained at operational status at all times. Cruise Mode operating rules require one standard shuttlecraft and one shuttlepod to be at urgent stand-by at all times, available for launch at five minutes' notice. Four additional shuttlecraft are always available on immediate stand-by (thirty minutes to launch), and an additional six vehicles are maintained for launch with twelve hours' notice. Red Alert Mode operating rules require two additional shuttles to be brought to urgent stand-by, and all nine remaining operational vehicles to be maintained at immediate stand-by.
The Galaxy class USS Steadfast-A has three major facilities intended for the support of auxiliary shuttlecraft operations from the ship.
The Main Shuttlebay, located in the center and aft sections of Deck 4 in the Primary Hull, includes launch support, recovery, and maintenance facilities for shuttle operations.
Two additional secondary shuttlebays are located in the center and aft sections (both port and starboard) of Deck 13 in the dorsal area of the Secondary Hull.
Shuttlebay exterior space doors are triple-layered compressible extruded duranium. Inner doors are composed of lightweight neofoam sheeting in an expanded tritanium framework. During active shuttlebay operations, atmospheric integrity is maintained by means of an annular forcefield, which permits both doors to remain open for vehicluar ingress and egress without depressurizing the bay.
Shuttlebay Two also includes a dedicated maintenance bay for servicing sensor array pallets. Two shuttlepods are provided for extravehicular removal and replacement of these pallets. Additionally, two adjacent maintenance bays provide work facilities for preparation and servicing of mission-specific sensor instrumentation.
Shuttlebay Three includes hardware for short-term conversion to Class H, K, or L environmental conditions, intended for use in emergency evacuation situations.
Each shuttlebay has its own operations control booth, which is supervised by an on-duty Flight Deck Officer. Each Flight Deck Officer is responsible for operations within that particular shuttlebay, but must report to the main shuttlebay officer for launch and landing clearance. In turn, the main shuttlebay officer must seek clearance from the Operations Manager on teh Main Bridge.
Launch maneuvers and landing approach piloting is managed by a number of precision short-range tractor beam emitters located in each shuttlebay and on the ship's exterior, just outside each set of space doors. These tractor beams are computer controlled under the direction of the Flight Deck Officer, permitting the safe maneuvering of shuttle vehicles within the bays and in the 350-meter approach zone.