HS 3 ships

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 1, 2015 - 6:24am
Apart from the Assault Scout, are there any other examples of HS3 ships? Also, would it possible for an HS 3 ship to carry a shuttle externally? I ask as I am currently mulling over ideas for an adventure. My RPG group is planning on playing Star Frontiers for the first time since the late 1980s, and I was wondering whether some sort of HS 3 ship design might be out there. At some point they may be able to use such a ship, being a small group, and possibly by using a slightly militarised civilian example.
Comments:

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
March 1, 2015 - 8:14am
I think the only other HS 3 ship detailed in the rules is the exploration ship Elanor Moraes in SFKH2.  Otherwise I think all the other ships are bigger.

As for mounting a shuttle externally, if it is a small HS 1 shuttle, I don't see why not.
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KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 1, 2015 - 12:33pm
Thanks! I thought that there might be a 'gap in the market' in terms of HS 3 ship designs. I forgot about the Eleanor Moraes - I'll have to dig out my old copy. Having an attached shuttle seemed to me to be a better way of getting on and off planets, rather than putting a nuclear-engined ship on land.

Sargonarhes's picture
Sargonarhes
March 1, 2015 - 12:57pm
But that is the whole point of HS3 being the smallest nuclear powered ships able to land on a planet. It's pretty much assumed most shuttles are HS3 as well, is it not. Although this opens up the possibility for more HS2 shuttles which would be more like a light dropship then I guess.
In every age, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same.

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 1, 2015 - 2:12pm
The problem generally is contamination from the nuclear engines. A spaceport on a planet that can handle landings by HS 3 ships is rapidly going to be an irradiated hell hole. It seems to me that it would be more sensible for ships to carry shuttles to get to and from a planets' surface, but actually landing with atomic engines is a sort of last resort.

As for the HS of shuttles, I'm not sure what they are. I'm guessing they're bigger than fighters and have more internal space (because of their chemical drives). But even then it's not really clear how they work. If their engines ran on hydrogen, things might be easier - as long as you have a fuel source planetside.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 1, 2015 - 3:28pm
Well, you could use a HS 5 ship as a shuttle. After all, while the rules say HS 3 is the largest atomic powered vessel to take off and land they also say up to HS 5 vessels can take off and land. Also you should remember the Eleanor Mores had an attached lander that it left behind on planet so if you could attach a lander unit to an HS 3 ship then why not a HS 1 shuttle/runabout? Personally I think we should just agree that atomic drives are not that bad and that they developed tech that makes them "clean" (97%) .
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 1, 2015 - 4:15pm
I think I'm going to go with an older HS 4 ship that's been slightly 'tweaked' by Star Law. An HS 1 shuttle is pretty small - an HS 2 shuttle is pretty much the same size as the Space Shuttle, and would have to be mostly fuel with very efficient chemical (hydrogen) drives. Or otherwise you'd have an HS 1 shuttle that's the same size as the Virgin Galactic - well, maybe a bit bigger.

As for atomic drives, canon points out more than once that their radiation is a problem. If they are relatively clean then there's no need for them to be mounted on pylons, for example.

In general I think we have to do a lot of hand waving to make things work for various types of craft. Half the tme I think it'd just be easier to make things like Traveller or Star Wars Wink

Malcadon's picture
Malcadon
March 1, 2015 - 4:39pm
As noted, there is the unarmed exploration ship, the Elanor Moraes, from the Knight Hawks modules. Dragon Magazine featured the Rim-Song-class yacht, which is basically a striped-down version of the iconic Stiletto-class Assault Scout (stats as Assault Scout, but: DCR at 29, ADF 4, MR 3, and no Assault Rockets).

I seen fan-made variations of the Assault Scout on a number of websites and the two major SF e-zines. For example, a guy known as "Ragnarr", who make a number of great HS2 scoutships also made some HS3 ships: a civilian assault scout called the SS Icarus, the Byule Fuel-class prototype scoutship called the ISS Eaglefire, and the Hercules-class shuttle.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 1, 2015 - 4:52pm
I was going to suggest a Hercules Class hvy lift orbital hopper in the HS5 range with chem drive. Minimum crew of 1 (to fly it) but typically 3-4.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 1, 2015 - 5:06pm
That sounds like a Saturn 5 Wink

RanulfC's picture
RanulfC
March 1, 2015 - 5:33pm
KRingway wrote:
As for atomic drives, canon points out more than once that their radiation is a problem. If they are relatively clean then there's no need for them to be mounted on pylons, for example.

"Radiation" is supposed to be a problem within an operating drive IIRC but the main reason the engines are mounted on pylons is that if an atomic drive malfunctions or is to damaged you eject the DRIVE not the crew from the ship. The ship has all that nice life support and other functions that keep people alive so you want to stay with the ship and get rid of a drive pod rather than have life pods all over space :)

And actually if radiation WAS a serious problem you don't want to put the drives on pylons because it increases not decreases your exposure angles from stray radiation. Shadow shields are pretty much impossible on a pylon mounted drive so you'd have to heavily shield the whole ship rather than only the "drive" section in that case.

"Fighter" atomic drives are supposed to have radiation issues due to the size of the hull AND mounting a drive right near the pilot without enough space for radiation shielding. Hence the pilot needs to wear a "radiation proof" suit. ("Technically" a lot of the radiation problems can be hand waved away with the use of various "fields" available in SF along with radiation sheilding but Gamma Ray photons are tough to stop)

One of the things I realized about SF is that a "freeze field" works both ways. It can just about stop molecular motion with very little power then it should be able to increase molecular motion to the point where you have "chemical" engines you feed some hydrogen to and turn it into a plasma and then mix it with a heavy, dense, "reaction mass" to produce coupious amounts of thrust in a small rather clean package. I figured "nuclear" and "ion" engines were variations with different fuel sources and reaction mass injection rates.

Randy

RanulfC's picture
RanulfC
March 1, 2015 - 5:36pm
We've seen this one right>

Randy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 1, 2015 - 5:58pm


At FRontier Explorer we've been aware of this artist and have actually used his stuff.
Thurman is awesome and not only gave us permission to use his stuff but even let us come back at him with specific request.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
March 1, 2015 - 5:58pm
Yes.  Jay did that one after a discussion on this site.  Every now and then he does another ship and posts here on the site.  We love Jay.
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 1, 2015 - 6:25pm
Question: Does a ship intended for ground to orbit to ground use need astrogation euqipment?
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

RanulfC's picture
RanulfC
March 1, 2015 - 8:20pm
jedion357 wrote:
Question: Does a ship intended for ground to orbit to ground use need astrogation euqipment?

"Technically" no it should only need some basic sensors (radar) and comms to get from the surface to a desired orbit. Has to have planetary navigaton of some type to assure its on track for the desired inclination and altitude. Once "near" the destination (ship, station, or specific orbit) it would use the radar and ground track information (if available, if the world doesn't have any traffic control more work for the pilot/crew of the ship but still doable) to get close enough to rendezvous with the target. Such a ship could fly between the surface and a nearby moon but interplanetary travel would require some astrogation equipment and computer space.

Randy

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 2, 2015 - 1:00am
KRingway wrote:
Apart from the Assault Scout, are there any other examples of HS3 ships?

Check the Deck Plans project for my merchant scout.

Quote:
Also, would it possible for an HS 3 ship to carry a shuttle externally?

Possible, but not necessary. Since any HS:3 ship can be designed for aerodynamic/atmospheric landings, it's an unnecessary and more expensive procedure.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 2, 2015 - 1:04am
jedion357 wrote:
Question: Does a ship intended for ground to orbit to ground use need astrogation euqipment?

Goingby canon rules I'd say it requires the shuttle astrogation package, the smallest/minimal package available.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 2, 2015 - 4:22am
Shadow Shack wrote:
jedion357 wrote:
Question: Does a ship intended for ground to orbit to ground use need astrogation euqipment?

Goingby canon rules I'd say it requires the shuttle astrogation package, the smallest/minimal package available.


Thanks, I should have looked that up but it was late.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 2, 2015 - 7:37am
"Radiation" is supposed to be a problem within an operating drive IIRC but the main reason the engines are mounted on pylons is that if an atomic drive malfunctions or is to damaged you eject the DRIVE not the crew from the ship. The ship has all that nice life support and other functions that keep people alive so you want to stay with the ship and get rid of a drive pod rather than have life pods all over space :)

And actually if radiation WAS a serious problem you don't want to put the drives on pylons because it increases not decreases your exposure angles from stray radiation. Shadow shields are pretty much impossible on a pylon mounted drive so you'd have to heavily shield the whole ship rather than only the "drive" section in that case.

KH states that 'Atomic engines are mounted on struts that keep them away from the ship's hull. This is because these drives are a source of dangerous radioactivity, and must be isolated from the crew and living quarters of a ship'.

That said, it's not clear if they are dangerous because of potential radiation problems or instead radiation is released at dangerous levels during normal operation.

I agree with you about shadow shields. It also seems more sensible to me to have the engines at the furthest end of the ship, with shields, and not on struts. Maybe the KH designers partly had Star Trek in mind?

I like your idea stemming from freeze fields also. Ion and nuclear drives seem a bit clunky.

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 2, 2015 - 7:41am
Shadow Shack wrote:
Possible, but not necessary. Since any HS:3 ship can be designed for aerodynamic/atmospheric landings, it's an unnecessary and more expensive procedure.


But then again, landing a relatively large ship instead of a small one may draw unecessary attention...

Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
March 2, 2015 - 8:32am
RanulfC wrote:
KRingway wrote:
...
One of the things I realized about SF is that a "freeze field" works both ways. It can just about stop molecular motion with very little power then it should be able to increase molecular motion to the point where you have "chemical" engines you feed some hydrogen to and turn it into a plasma and then mix it with a heavy, dense, "reaction mass" to produce coupious amounts of thrust in a small rather clean package. I figured "nuclear" and "ion" engines were variations with different fuel sources and reaction mass injection rates.

Randy

There was an article on a fourth type of engine "plasma drive". It was a version of an Ion drive but, the listed ADF/MR for the Hull Size was one-half. Also, the Plasma drive was jump capable.

Ex: 
HS: 4 freighter with Ion Drives (ADF: 1 MR: 4)
HS: 4 freighter with Plasma Drives (ADF: 2 MR: 2)

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 2, 2015 - 11:21am
KRingway wrote:
Shadow Shack wrote:
Possible, but not necessary. Since any HS:3 ship can be designed for aerodynamic/atmospheric landings, it's an unnecessary and more expensive procedure.


But then again, landing a relatively large ship instead of a small one may draw unecessary attention...

We're talking a 50 meter long hull versus a 30 meter long hull, conspicuity really isn't an issue here. Unless your shuttle is HS:1 --- which isn't much of a shuttle, more like a personal transport, at that point you might as well use a launch...which is perfectly within the rules.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 2, 2015 - 12:51pm
Launches can't get to and from planets, AFAIK. Are there stats anywhere for shuttles?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 2, 2015 - 2:08pm
I think you just stat at a hs 1-3 hull with chem rockets and declare it a shuttle.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

RanulfC's picture
RanulfC
March 2, 2015 - 5:02pm
KRingway wrote:
KH states that 'Atomic engines are mounted on struts that keep them away from the ship's hull. This is because these drives are a source of dangerous radioactivity, and must be isolated from the crew and living quarters of a ship'.

That said, it's not clear if they are dangerous because of potential radiation problems or instead radiation is released at dangerous levels during normal operation.

I agree with you about shadow shields. It also seems more sensible to me to have the engines at the furthest end of the ship, with shields, and not on struts. Maybe the KH designers partly had Star Trek in mind?

The KH designers probably didn't have a clue as to HOW 'radiation' actually worked and were "assuming" that (like many did at the time) ST-TOS mounted the engines at a distance from the hull to substitute "distance" for shielding. That only works over a LARGE distances and a point is trying to reduce the number of angles that the radiation can come from. Putting the engines on pylons helps this not at all as it put the engines AWAY from the hull, but not far enough to help and exposes more of the hull to the "radiation" danger :) More radiation, and more exposure angles means greatly increased shielding mass and cost so its the worst of both worlds unless the reason is more subtle. Given the "self-destruct" for a drive amounts to an unstoppable chain reaction that ends up blowing up the ship I don't see the "radiation" danger holding much water over the far GREATER danger of an engine blowing up while attached to your ship.
Quote:
I like your idea stemming from freeze fields also. Ion and nuclear drives seem a bit clunky.

None or the drives operate or even resemble their "names" enough for me to see them being "real" drives of that type. Specifically a real "nuclear" engine run-away chain reaction causes a melt down, never an explosion and Ion drives don't have anywhere near the thurst cited, oh there are dozens of reasons to suspect the "names" are not related to what's really going on :)

Randy

KRingway's picture
KRingway
March 3, 2015 - 1:25am
So maybe the rules need rewriting?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
March 3, 2015 - 4:45am
KRingway wrote:
So maybe the rules need rewriting?


Revising. Everything dealing with science or a projection of the future needs revising every ten years.
The book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" has been revised every 10 years since first published to reflect the latest discoveries in neuro science and better teaching techniques discovered by the author during the intervening decade.

Jules Verne's book "Paris in 1986" while an interesting read for his prediction of fax machines is badly out of date and inaccurate.

I'd say write an article with the latest scientific thinking on star ship drives and submit it to the fan zine. Present it as an option for dropping the old drive and substituting the new ones. We can probably keep the chem drive but they might need a revision. and there should be 2 more: a military prefered drive and a more economical commercial prefered drive.

This project might be a good place to hash this out:
http://www.starfrontiers.us/node/4880
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

RanulfC's picture
RanulfC
March 3, 2015 - 5:35am
Jaxon wrote:
There was an article on a fourth type of engine "plasma drive". It was a version of an Ion drive but, the listed ADF/MR for the Hull Size was one-half. Also, the Plasma drive was jump capable.

Ex: 
HS: 4 freighter with Ion Drives (ADF: 1 MR: 4)
HS: 4 freighter with Plasma Drives (ADF: 2 MR: 2)

Going to bet someone saw articles about the VASMIR plasma drive and wanted to port it over SF. Unfortunatly, a "plasma" is an ionized gas and while most materials they make plasmas out of are NOT what they use in ion drives the basic engine principles are the same. (Hydrogen for plasma for example and Mercury or Zenon for ion thrusters) Ionize a substance (or turn it to a plasma) use electromagnets to accellerate it and toss it out of the ship and the ship goes the other way. Nice, neat, efficent, but really low thrust.

Inject some additional "propellant" into a plasma stream to increase your exhaust mass and it should increase your thrust. In theory :)

"Intermixing" is the main problem with the concept but again, the fact that they can control molecular motion and in a specific area helps a lot. Plasma is a very hot, but very defuse gas that expands (and cools) rapidly once out of the generator/engine. Mixing it into a stream of propellant is tough but if you can do it and continue to heat/expand/accellerate the exhaust steam you've got a dandy reaction drive rocket engine.

Somewhere along the line you'd want to diferentiate between the various "types" or drives so we can assume that "atomic," "ion," and "chemical" came from that need.

And probably not get that deep into it and just say its a game from the start :)

Randy

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
March 3, 2015 - 4:26pm
KRingway wrote:
Launches can't get to and from planets, AFAIK.

True, the rules don't spell that out...they're inferred to be space-only vehicles by the opening description although there's really nothing stating they can't make planetfall.

Still, your proposal is basically suggesting a 15 foot boat as a dingy towed behind a 25 foot boat. For what you're spending on construction and operational costs, for a fraction more you might as well make the smaller ship interstellar capable and call it a fleet maneuver. Unless of course you plan on making your shuttle a HS:1 craft, in which case it really is a rowboat that can be used as a dingy behind the 25 footer.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

RanulfC's picture
RanulfC
March 3, 2015 - 5:32pm
Shadow Shack wrote:
KRingway wrote:
Launches can't get to and from planets, AFAIK.

True, the rules don't spell that out...they're inferred to be space-only vehicles by the opening description although there's really nothing stating they can't make planetfall.

Still, your proposal is basically suggesting a 15 foot boat as a dingy towed behind a 25 foot boat. For what you're spending on construction and operational costs, for a fraction more you might as well make the smaller ship interstellar capable and call it a fleet maneuver. Unless of course you plan on making your shuttle a HS:1 craft, in which case it really is a rowboat that can be used as a dingy behind the 25 footer.

Wasn't the launch bascily "open-topped?" I'd call that a problem with doing reentry :)

Randy