ATTN Joe or George...Fury Errors?

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at
Tue May 20 06:13:24 EDT 1997

From: wilko at (Steve Wilkinson)
Date: 18 May 1997 12:41:10 -0400
Lines: 66

Some time ago, over on umtsb5, a bloody massive thread appeared. It
concerned the launch of the Furies from the launch bays. We were just
wondering if you could shed some light on the subject. Thanks in

When the Furies are 'dropped', they still have a velocity moving
tangentially wrt to the station - bit like you would if you were on
one of those large centrifuge type thingies you get at the fair.
However, in the series, it *APPEARS* that they move out radially -
sort of like being shot of of a cannon whilst on the centrifuge, but
several orders of magnitude greater. Since the furies are distinctly
_dropped_ and *not* shot out this would appear to break the laws of

Problem is it's rotational mechanics, and very few people visualise
the stuff correctly (or actually sit down with a graphics package and
check it out), which leads to the assumption the CGI is wrong.

It all started out when [someone] watched Severed Dreams and thought
'Hold on they're launching radially, not tangentially'. It appears in
a very specific scene *close up to the bays* that the camera point is
stationary, except the camera angle POV isn't. This gives the illusion
of a slightly faster rotation at that point, which gives a much
greater illusion of radial launching. If you look carefully though, it
looks like they are slipping to one side as if falling to the right of
the screen, even though there's no gravity, which is precisely in
keeping with what you would expect.

Furthermore, many on the group failed to recognise the effect of scale
has on the illusion - a wide diameter station, several orders of
magnitude greater than the object being launched makes it even worse.
However despite all this we all eventually decided to take our own
opinions with us.

The reason why so many people are a bit touchy about *ANY* mention of
Starfury launching in this newsgroup is that a few months ago,
[someone] became the most hated man in the newsgroup by starting a
thread about it, asking the question, "is this an error?" and
defending his views very well. The thing is, this thread grew into
uncontrolable proportions, involved colossal ASCII art posts, lots of
physics arguments and gave nightmares to about half of the population
of this newsgroup. The conclusion to that looooooong discussion
was: the launch sequence is possible, the Furies would cross the bay
doors as shown, without crashing into them. But there are doubts about
the amount of radial/tangential speed showed in the launch sequences. 

It's *almost* as futile an argument as Green vs Purple. You'll never
convince those who think you're wrong without a blow by blow 3D demo
that repeatedly shows the same launch from many camera orientations
and most of us aint got the time. 

Then somene had a brainwave and said: "Perhaps one day someone will
ask JMS or George for details about this".

So here I am, just wondering what the official 'line' is on this

Thanks very much,

- Steve Wilkinson (on behalf of umtsb5)
"So in a voice, so in shapeless flame, angels affect us oft and
worshipped be..."

From: George Johnsen <ndeiprod at>
Date: 19 May 1997 22:14:59 -0400
Lines: 20


The official line as has been stated is that the 'furies drop is
inertial.  Rotational dynamics errors aside, it has been discussed to

We have been doing some physics consulting to improve our drop
sequences, and the new 'bolt drops are the first fruit.  (I would tell
you the name, but I forgot to ask their permission, so I won't).  We
will continue to have this kind of discussion with folks who know. We
are the storytellers, they are the rocket scientists.  We like to
listen, and do incorporate as much as we can within the confines of the
4:3 screen and 41 minute 55 second 02 frame (excluding main title) time

George Johnsen

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