What does a Mining ship need really?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 26, 2014 - 12:08pm
I just had a radical thought on this: Could a large KHs freighter of the deck plan type included in KH's box set be used as a mining ship?

You have the forward "egg" section of the freighter and a long boom that cargo containers connect too.

One or more containers could be shuttle bays for digger shuttles like the corsair hanger container that Shadow shack designed.

another container could be a lab for processing samples and you could add contianers to storing mined ore. might even have a ore processor as a double long or container. rubble left over from processing could be used as chaff against anyone trailing to closely. (write a set of KHs rules for that) giving this ship a sort of mine laying defense which might be interesting.

Require an engineer to balance the load of the various containers or the ship is limited to 1/4 or 1/2 ADF

Any flaws in my logic?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 26, 2014 - 12:11pm
What is the power source for a digger shuttle anyway? chemical, ion, or atomic?

Does it make sense to allow a digger shuttle to land on an airless moon?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 26, 2014 - 4:19pm
So the choice is the large or small freighter from the WoWL module cover- HS 5 or HS12

Cargo space will be based on HS and a container with one or more digger shuttles will eat into that cargo space as well as a container with the lab but that lab might simply be on more deck in the hanger module/container.

Im tempted to go with HS 5 but this might be too small. However an HS 5 ship can mount a grapple system so what if the ship had a modified grapple? it snares and reels in a chunk of rock and then the Hvy duty mining robots on both tethers and jet pack propulsion carve it up- no digger shuttle.

small launch is used by crew to check out asteroids and take samples.

A half container for 2 hvy duty robots and a work shop to work on them

still call it a 5 HS cargo hold

The problem being that this is unprocessed minerals and the economics of running back and forth to a processor.

Here is an oddity: I had previously thought that the comment in KHs that a ship with 10 hull points can carry a Orbital Processor should have said Hull size not points. But a little bit on is says a ship can bring back 5 tons of mineral per hull point.  Now I noticed that the HS 2 digger shuttle can carry 50 tons of mineral and since a civilian ship has 5 hp X HS that means the digger shuttle does indeed carry 50 tons of mineral. It also implies that the paragraph in question did mean hull points not size and that a HS 5 ship could indeed carry an orbital processor and then lug back 125 tons of processed minerals.

what is frustrating is that we have tons of mineral but the economics section of KHs lists prices for cargo units which equate to the hull size of the ship but that would be 25 tons/ cargo unit or HS.

so a HS 5 mining ship with a load of nickle would be able to sell to a shipper at 40,000/ cargo unit or make the trip and sell at destination for 55,000 a cargo unit. making 200,000 to 275,000 for the run.

Question is how long is a run?

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 26, 2014 - 4:28pm
New thought for ship layout:
Head of the ship is a Trans Travel container ship but the cargo boom for attaching continers is removed.

In its place is a hexagonal shaped Obrital processing lab

Attached to five sides of the OPL are hexagonal cargo containers that may be detached and transfered to a cargo container ship quickly.

In the place where the 6th cargo hold would go is the shuttle hanger.

Pilons for the ion drives are still where they are on the freighter which keeps the trailling from the OPL from interfering with them.

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 26, 2014 - 7:07pm
I was going to say you'd need the HS 12 ship if you want to take the ore processor with you but I always thought it meant hull size as well.  Now I have to go re-read that section again.
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Mother's picture
Mother
November 26, 2014 - 7:29pm
 I would think that the ability of a shuttle to land on a moon or other body would depend on the gravity, but yeah it should be able to. The digger arms would likely be electric either parabattery or hydogen cell. Any power source could be used for propulsion since atomic or ion engines could be mounted on pylons extended above the shuttle thus allowing it to land or get close to the ground.
 

Mother's picture
Mother
November 26, 2014 - 7:34pm
I think it would make sense to bring an OPL along and keep as close to the diggers as possible to minimize the mass having to be transported back to the mining ship.  In space it's easy to move your mill or "OPL" with you whereever you go.  

OT but wasn't the NOSTROMO a cargo tug hauling a mineral refinery?? 



Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
November 27, 2014 - 8:53am
The rules waffle between saying hull size, hull size points, and hull points. In the campaign book, they almost always mean hull size.

Page 7 tells us that mining ships are hull size 8–20. The hull size 5 freighter wouldn't be big enough.

Ships' hull sizes are only used to determine the carrying capacity of the processed product, not the raw ore. The Raw Material Chart on page 47 tells how many tons of ore convert to one cargo unit (hull size point). There is little point that I can see to knowing how many tons of ore you needed.

Meanwhile, page 7 says that mining operations on planets do the processing on the surface and only transport the concentrate to the ship, while mining asteroids has processing happen in the ship. In both cases the actual storage capacity is a function of cargo units and hull size.

The only unclear case is where a ship wants to haul unprocessed ore. One would need to translate tons of material into cargo units.

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
November 27, 2014 - 10:40am
Shuttles always have chemical engines, according to page 4 of the campaign book. Occupants of an atomic-powered shuttle would probably have to wear radiation suits. Furthermore, a level 6 technician can pilot one, so it's cheaper to hire a few of them (100 cr/day) than a few pilots (150 cr/day for a level 1 pilot).

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 27, 2014 - 7:50pm
Stormcrow wrote:

Page 7 tells us that mining ships are hull size 8–20. The hull size 5 freighter wouldn't be big enough.





This is sort of the point of the question, what is required for a mining ship?
A digger shuttle? If you had a ship and a digger shuttle could you not just dig some rock fill a cargo hold and transport it to a processor and if you ship was under HS 8 what would stop you from doing just that?
HS
I'm coming to an opinion that a mining ship would not require all that much. the OPL is a plus and if its inclusions is based on Hull points not hull size as most of us assumed then you could load it in a HS5 ship




I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Abub's picture
Abub
November 28, 2014 - 2:08am
The answer is profitability Jed. Unprocessed ore will most likely be so impure as to be close to worthless. 

Sure you might find the occasional naturally pure asteroid but that is probably very rare. 
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KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 28, 2014 - 2:46am
What if the pods are actually shuttles? They could be part-ship and part-container. Of course, this only works if they're mining objects in space and don't have to go through an atmosphere.

Malcadon's picture
Malcadon
November 28, 2014 - 5:19am
A mining ship could easily be a modified heavy freighter. Cargo space can be covered to hold digging and possessing equipment, as well as the shuttles.

As noted in the book, 12 HS mining ship is needed to hold an orbital possessing lab (OPL) or a surface-based mineral refinery (MR), with 14 for an OPL and digging shuttle, and 16 for MR and digging shuttle (which to setup the MR on the surface). Digger shuttles are size 2 hulls that can move a lot of ore and supplies between the ship and work site.

A mining ship does not need prospecting capability, as that can be handled with a dedicated research ship — ideally a long-range starship that is small enough to land on planet. Although, if an unexplored system needs more searching, a mining ship with shuttle capacity can mount a system-based research ship, or might mount some exploration/research equipment aboard, but these are are a heavy investment in money and limitations on ship's capacity.

A mining operation can be a big project for just one ship. If the mining operation is an independent adventure, and there is a lot of ore for just one mining ship to carry, then it might be useful to enter a partnership with the owner of a bulk freighter to aid in the operation. The bulk freighter can serve as a lifeline for the whole operation, as it can not just offload the ore to a system that takes raw materials, but it can move men, equipment and supplies between the mining site and the rest of the Frontier — ore out; relieve in. Having detachable cargo containers/equipment pods on both the mining ship and the freighter can make this passable. This is only good for long-term operations.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 28, 2014 - 5:38am
So the question is, When the book says Hull points does it mean hull points or does it mean hull size?

Hull sizes go up exponentially and does it make sense that a it takes a ship 2 hull sizes larger than 12 for a HS2 shuttle to be added? the jump in size between HS12 and 13 should have more than accomodated that.

I've always assumed that hull points in this case should have been Hull Size and that it was a misprint but having looked at this and played with some numbers I'm leaning the other way. It also has me thinking that spending hull points to add fittings to a ship might be the way to go to fix the wonkiness of KHs.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Malcadon's picture
Malcadon
November 28, 2014 - 6:35am
jedion357 wrote:
So the question is, When the book says Hull points does it mean hull points or does it mean hull size?
It sounds contextual. If they are talking about points with regards to mass or space, as in "points of hull", then its Hull Size. If its about structural or armor strength of a ship, or the yield of a ship's weapons, then its about Hull Points.

The unpublished Warship rules for Alternity uses "Hull Points" for both size (of ships and equipment) and damage capacity. One could track down a copy of Warships in order convert for the use with Star Frontiers.

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 28, 2014 - 7:49am
I think the intent in the ship equipment section when describing the mining equipment was hull size, not hull points.  I agree that adding a hull size is more than enough room for the volumne of a shuttle (or a dozen shuttles) but the system, as wonky as it is, is really based on the hull size, not the volume or mass. 

I think that the intention was that a ship with an OPL could carry 2 cargo units per shuttle bay if it left the shuttles behind (as stated in the description of the mining ship at the beginning of the book) plus 5 cargo units tucked in amoung the parts of the OPL.

For a ship with a MR, it could take 2 cargo units per shuttle bay plus 12 more cargo units in the hold where the MR was transported.

And then for every hull size above the minimum that would be an extra cargo unit of processed material that could be returned.

Using a ship to shuttle unprocessed ore would not be very efficent, even going with 10 tons x hull points.  A HS 10 ship, at 50 HP would carry 500 tons.  That means it would need to take 2 trips just to carry the ore to process the "easier" resources like gold, iron, or silver which, according to the rules, require processing 1000 tons to get 1 cargo unit of concentrate.  If you were working on tungsten or aluminum it would be 4 times as many trips and if you found a strike of diamonds, it would take 40 trips.  Unless your refinery is close, that is going to eat quickly away at your profits in fuel and salary.

I also typically have a freighter working with the mining ship.  The mining ship stays on station and the freighter shuttles ore, equipment, personnel, and supplies just as Malcadon described.  That way the mining ship doesn't have to leave the strike until it is played out, even if it contains more ore than it can fit into it's hold and it doesn't have to worry about the decision to abandon the shuttle(s).  The freighter can carry the extra.
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Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
November 30, 2014 - 9:45am
Upon further reflection, I have come to the conclusion that the rules on mining equipment in Optional Spaceship Equipment and the rules on mining procedures in Economic Activity in the Frontier were written at separate times, and do not work together. This is an error and oversight in the rules.

Since we have no rules for calculating spaceship tonnage, we must go with the rules for cargo units. Therefore, the references to mining ships hauling five or ten tons of mineral per hull size must be ignored.

The only issue, then, is to look at the different possible number of cargo units a ship can carry depending on whether it uses an orbital processing lab or a mineral refinery. In the tonnage rules, it assumed that a ship could use all the space previously occupied by the parts of the mineral refinery to carry processed minerals, and this is why a ship carrying an MR could carry twice as much mineral as one carrying an OPL. We can take the ship with the MR as the standard number of cargo units—equal to hull size—and assume that a ship with an OPL uses half the ship's cargo units just holding the OPL.

Why does an OPL get bigger when a ship gets bigger? I don't know, but it does that with the tonnage rules too; I'm just copying that.

One thing we do know: a digger shuttle must take up four cargo units. A ship with a size 10 hull can carry an OPL and a ship with a size 14 hull can carry an OPL and a digger shuttle, so those four hull size points must be the number of cargo units taken up by a digger shuttle. This is also the case when carrying an MR (12 can carry an MR; 16 can also carry a shuttle).

What if we wanted to keep an OPL at a standard size? (The equipment list in the back of the book pegs it at 1,000 cubic meters, a fixed size.) Well, if we assume that the smallest possible mining ship that can carry an OPL, hull size 10, uses half its cargo units holding the OPL, then we can conclude an OPL is five cargo units. Since the time at which any OPL processes ore is not a function of hull size, we can say that all OPLs are five cargo units, and larger mining ships can carry more processed mineral.

The same calculation can be done for an MR, leading to it taking up six cargo units.

(One wonders if [5 cargo units = 1000 cubic meters] and [6 cargo units = 2000 cubic meters] are valid data points.)

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 30, 2014 - 10:01am
I've always assumed that they were fixed size.  If you make your ship a hull size or two bigger, that would just be cargo space to carry more material back, just like you suggest.

I've always played it this way.  A HS 10 ship can carry an OPL and then when done processing can pack in 5 cargo units of ore around the OPL parts to bring back.  Every extra HS gives one more cargo unit that can be carried (like a freighter).  A HS 12 ship can carry an MR which effectively fills a 12 cargo unit hull.  Upon arrival, it is take to the planet leaving the 12 cargo unit hold empty which allows it to carry 12 cargo units of material back if the MR is left behind per the practice described in the rules.  So the OPL can be reused but you get a lower yield per trip while the MR is abandoned allowing you to bring more minerals back.

As for those being valid data points: No.  Very few of the suggested sizes make sense and many times it's completely inconsistent anyway.
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