The Academy Flight Range

The Starfleet Academy Flight Range orbits Saturn, the sixth planet in the Sol system. Starfleet cadets conduct flight exercises in an area of space near the planet exercises in an area of space near the planet reserved for their use. Students learn flight basics in simulations and atmospheric experience before graduating to Academy trainer craft - small, maneuverable ships similar in instrumentation to shuttlecraft. The Flight Range offers advanced flight instruction, allowing cadets to maneuver training craft under actual flight conditions. The gravitational dynamics of Saturn and its system of moons, along with the debris of Saturn's rings, offer a suitably challenging environment for training Starfleet cadets.

Saturn Station One

Saturn Station One is the heart of Flight Range operations. The facility - similar in design and structure to orbital starbases found throughout the Federation - circles Saturn just outside the orbit of its farthest moon. The base consists of a cylindrical center core with a broad, flattened top serving as a spacedock facility. The station maintains artificial gravity in its operational areas, but not within the spacedock itself.

The spacedock holds several hundred Academy trainer craft, along with more conventional shuttles and four runabout-class vessels. A crew of Starfleet engineers and Academy cadets maintains all craft at the starbase. The base's cylinder section contains quarters for crew members and cadets, engineering facilities, testing and training facilities, and other support facilities, including the main power core. The operations control center (Ops) and administrative areas are at the very top of the station.

Saturn Station One is a hub of activity. Academy training flights depart and return on a regular basis, along with maintenance ships and shuttles carrying cadets to and from the station. Starfleet vessels occasionally dock to offload equipment and personnel, but the Saturn facility does not see as much interstellar traffic as a typical starbase.

The commander and administrator of Saturn Station One is the Academy Flight Range Officer, in charge of the flight range and all its operations. Captain Nicholas M'butu currently serves as Flight Range Officer. The career Starfleet officer has experience aboard starships and starbases. An expert staff of officers helps M'butu handle the unique demands of a "teaching station".

In addition to its role in administering the Flight Range, Saturn Station One serves as an emergency resource for vessels in Earth's solar system, supplementing the resources of Pluto Station and the Jupiter Outposts. Vessels from the starbase can assist in rescuing and recovering damaged vessels. Since the training craft are not equipped with weapons, vessels from the Saturn Station are not involved in defensive operations.

Saturn NavCon

The Academy Flight Range closes the area to all other traffic to prevent accidents. A perimeter of subspace navigational buoys clearly defines the Academy's training range. These markers transmit a constant signal on all Federation subspace frequencies, warning ships from the flight range area and directing them back toward the standard spacelanes. Proximity detectors in the buoys also detect vessels coming into range and alert Saturn NavCon.

A navigational control satellite in extended orbit around Saturn performs sensor sweeps of the entire flight range, monitoring all vessel flight paths. Saturn NavCon not only keeps a record of everything that transpires on the range, it also immediately alerts Flight Range Ops to any emergencies (such as a collision). The telemetry from NavCon allows Starbase One and other support facilities to react immediately to any crisis.

A small crew of three oversees the NavCon satellite maintenance and monitors flight data recording and telemetry. One of the crew members is generally an Academy cadet learning the NavCon systems and protocols. The small station provides quarters for only three crew members on board, and they are more cramped than in accommodations found on most Starfleet vessels. Small vessels can dock with the satellite, but transporters are generally used to board and disembark. Cadet squads regularly visit the satellite for tours and briefings on the NavCon systems.

Mimas Station

The moons of Saturn host a variety of operations. The Starfleet Corps of Engineers built an emergency evacuation center for the Academy Flight Range on Mimas, one of Saturn's major moons.

Mimas is a Class G planetoid, the closest of Saturn's major moons. Bright, polished ice marked with meteor impact craters covers the surface. Since the moon orbits closest to Saturn, it provides the ideal staging area for the emergency evacuation center, placing it within transporter range of the entire flight area.

The center itself is a small facility on the surface of Mimas consisting of an underground (or, in this case, under-ice) complex with limited surface exposure. A small crew of Starfleet personnel, mainly medical, maintain the station's systems and remain on alert for any signs of trouble on the flight range. Since accidents are quite rare, duty on Mimas Station tends to be quiet, allowing time for other activities, such as research. Officers from the Starfleet Medical School and the Academy Infirmary often accept brief tours on Mimas Station to purse other duties while rendering assistance in the event of an accident. The doctors on Mimas Station also assist Saturn Station One as needed, such as when responding to a vessel in distress.