Created By: LokiL on April 7, 2012

Exposed bridge

Space Ships that have their most vital compartments in a very exposed location

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Trope
For some reason many space ships tend to have their bridge where all the important people and instruments are in a very exposed place. This has probably to do with space being an ocean and sea-going ships having their bridge on top of some sort of superstructure instead of deep inside the hull. Of course all the possible reasons for placing a bridge in such an exposed place wouldn't really apply in space. You would build a space ship more like a submarine with the bridge very well protected in the middle of the ship. the only exception would be if you had a small ship that might have a cockpit for atmospheric manoeuvring, but even that could be done from a safer place via sensors and computers instead of by looking out the window. The folly of having a single point of failure in such an exposed location can easily become apparent during a space battle.

Examples:

  • Prime example could be the Stardestroyers in Star Wars. In Episode VI a single fighter takes out Darth Vader's personal Super Stardestryoer by ramming its bridge which conveniently sits atop the wedge instead of deep inside it.
  • The Enterpise from Star Trek at least in some incarnations (Like the Generations movie) sits not as one might expect in the centre of the saucer, but at its very top where it might be conveniently raked by enemy phaser fire and torpedoes.
  • The Yamato has the excuse of being an actual battleship that was retrofitted for space. It has however no excuse for having a only thinly connected and very exposed secondary bridge mounted below it where in the live action movie it had to be cut loose when an enemy bomb latched onto it.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • April 7, 2012
    KTera
    • In Halo, Covenant ships deliberately avert this and place their bridges in protected sections of their ships. The UNSC plays it straight, though.
  • April 7, 2012
    Chabal2
    Most spaceships in Warhammer 40 K have clearly defined bridges, though the weapons they carry and their sheer size make the Star Destroyer incident unlikely.
  • April 7, 2012
    deuxhero
    The Super Star Destoryer's bridge is actually protected by Deflector Shields, they were just brought down by the entire Rebel fleet bombarding it.
  • April 7, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Star Wars also had the ship in the beginning of Episode III.

    • Very much averted by Battlestar Galactica, the bridge of the titular ship is deep within the hull with no windows.
  • April 7, 2012
    desdendelle
    ^ That would be, I assume, the Invisible Hand, but I don't think that it fits the trope; the big spire-ish thingy is an observation spire and the bridge is tucked away in the ship's forward section.
  • April 8, 2012
    Arivne
    The third example in the OP needs the name of the anime series it's from: Uchuu Senkan Yamato AKA Star Blazers.
  • April 8, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Gene Roddenberry actually specified this should be the case, when asked by a fan about how this was impractical, for basically the same reasons Federation ships don't have cloaking devices: Star Fleet doesn't build warships, and man doesn't hide.
  • April 8, 2012
    fulltimeD
    @desdendelle: The poster was referring to the new series, not the old, in which it's not even called the bridge (it's the CIC).
  • April 8, 2012
    Koveras
    • The Archangel-class battleships in Gundam SEED had a very exposed bridge, which nearly got most of the main cast killed at least twice in the series. This was actually addressed in Gundam SEED Destiny, where the Minerva-class has a bridge that is essentially pulled inside of the ship during battles.

    This trope probably follows the same logic as In Space Everyone Can See Your Face and Helmets Are Hardly Heroic.
  • April 8, 2012
    nitrokitty
    • In Mass Effect, the Normandy's command center is in the middle of the ship, though the bridge itself extends all the way to the front.
  • April 8, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Capital ships in Farscape, such as Moya and the mammoth Peacekeeper Command Carrier, generally avert this. The Scarran Dreadnought, however, appears to have a bridge-like superstructure similar to a Star Destroyer.
  • April 8, 2012
    TheTailKinker
    Averted in the Honor Harrington series. It's specifically stated many times in the series that the bridge deck, CIC, flag deck and even auxiliary control all reside as close to the center of the ship as they can be placed.
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