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Epsilon IX station

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Epsilon IX

Epsilon IX

Type: Communication array
Owner: United Federation of Planets
Operator: Starfleet
Status: Destroyed (2273)
(Replaced by 2365)
EpsilonIX 2.jpg

A view of the Epsilon IX array

Epsilon IX station assignment patch.png

Assignment patch

The Epsilon IX station was a Federation communication array and subspace transceiver that was in service with Starfleet in the late 23rd century. This space station was located fairly close to Klingon space and, in 2273, was under the command of Commander Branch.

In that year, as the V'Ger crisis unfolded, Epsilon IX transmitted detailed information to Starfleet Command about the engagement, and subsequent destruction, by V'Ger of a Klingon cruiser task force led by the Amar. Epsilon IX was subsequently destroyed by V'Ger as it passed near the station and probably misinterpreted its sensor scans as a hostile action. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Two models of Epsilon IX were mounted on two separate walls of the Starfleet Officer's Lounge. One was near where Admirals Kirk and Morrow had a conversation, while another was in the lounge's entry room. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

By the year 2365, a new Starfleet facility, the Epsilon IX Center had been constructed. The USS Enterprise-D was to visit the station before joining an expedition to the Epsilon Pulsar Cluster. (TNG: "Samaritan Snare") The station was mentioned again in the personal logs of Lieutenant Keith Rocha. The relevant log entry was transcribed thus; "Stardate 46460: More heavy traffic to the Epsilon IX station. I think Starfleet's got some big science project brewing there with at least half a dozen starships running around." (TNG: "Aquiel")

Epsilon IX personnel

Background information

The set for the interior of Epsilon IX was built on Paramount Stages 12 and 14, the set's construction costing US$40,000. (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 95) The footage filmed on this set was shot during The Motion Picture's postproduction period. (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 193)

According to Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 141), the Epsilon IX station may have been located in the Epsilon IX sector, mentioned in TNG: "Samaritan Snare".

An Epsilon IX uniform patch was among many items that were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. [1]

Studio models

Epsilon IX station studio model beauty shot

Beauty shot of the model, unused in the movie

Epsilon IX station studio model filmed on stage at Apogee Inc by Michael Lawler

Michael Lawler setting up an onstage shot of the model

Three studio models of the Epsilon IX station's exterior were built, to show the outside of the station at different scales. (text commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition)) These were designed and built at John Dykstra's company, Apogee, Inc. Up until then that station had not even been envisioned as being space based in the storyboards of Robert Abel & Associates, but rather as a location on the surface of a planet. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, pp. 64-65) It was one of the very few, if not only, designs not executed by either Robert Abel & Associates or Magicam for the movie.

When asked about them Dykstra stated, "Actually, there were about two or three of them. There was the entire station which you saw from a distance in the early shots. That was about six feet long and three-and-half feet wide–and just unbelievably detailed. On top of that, Roger Dorney, our chief optical guy, came up with a way to pull bluescreen mattes off that sucker–which was really awesome. With all the latticework and stringers that thing had, the registration had to be incredibly accurate, and he came up with results that damn near exceeded the resolution capability of the film."

Epsilon IX station panel section as featured

The large panel as featured

David Beasley and Grant McCune working on the enlarged panel section of Epsilon IX station

David Beasley (l) and McCune working on the large panel section

Epsilon IX station conning tower as featured

The conning tower as featured

The envisioned visuals and script requirements necessitated the build of additional enlarged sections of the station. Dykstra, also praising his crew of model makers, continued,

"In addition to the basic Epsilon 9 miniature, we also had one isolated panel for the closer shots that was about five feet wide and six feet long. And there was a larger-scale version of the conning tower where we used straight rear projection to put the people in. We made an inordinate number of miniatures for this picture and Grant McCune and the dozens of people he had working for him back in the model shop did just a phenomenal job.

"They were literally working around the clock, just days ahead of the camera crew. As one end of a model was being rolled onto the stage to be photographed, the other end of a model was getting a last shot of spray paint. And the fact that they made those things work under those kind of circumstances, and put the stuff together so they would last through the shots–but not by putting so much time into any one thing that it kept them from completing all the other stuff–well, it was just a miracle."

The demise of the station in the movie, being digitized by V'Ger, was executed utilizing the same methodology as has been used with the digitizing of the Klingon K't'inga-class battle cruiser model at the start of the movie. "Essentially, though, what happens to Epsilon 9 was a replay of what happened to the Klingons–the electrical discharge material and the laser scan stuff. There were a couple nice shots that didn't get into the film, where the puppets are being chased by the destruction in a different way than we've got them appearing now. But we ran out of time, and weren't able to get them to go together right." Dykstra concluded. (Cinefex, issue 2, p. 59)

Not having been involved with the design, Andrew Probert nevertheless managed to get some of his input in, "The communications station "Epsilon-9" was briefly looked at but the design and building went to John Dykstra's Apogee group. I had a second brush with that station however, when Trumbull asked me to write some appropriate dialogue to run over scenes of the station as background chatter. This introduced the station without a big sign hanging on it. I wrote several levels of dialogue and even stuck my own name in a lower level, but when Trumbull saw it, he had that level moved to the top, and you can hear a message from Commodore Probert if you listen closely." (Starlog photo guidebook Special Effects, vol. 5, p., 96)

Epsilon IX studio model as display model in the officer's lounge

Epsilon IX station as display model

Two of the studio models were reused as the display models on the walls of the Starfleet Officer's Lounge in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the master model on the wall in the room itself, while the enlarged panel section model was in the lounge's entry room, only ever so fleetingly seen as Admiral Kirk leaves the lounge. (text commentary, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition) DVD)

None of the Epsilon IX models were afterwards ever sighted again, either in a production or outside of one, and their fate or whereabouts are currently unknown.

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