Brief history of the Morales Class Survey Ship.

Tollon's picture
Tollon
November 14, 2016 - 5:17pm

I need your feedback on this.


By 10 FY, The Planetary Resource Treaty was signed. This document laid the foundation for the Survey Corp and put all further exploration of space in the hands of United Planet Federation.  The main focus of the Corp is the following:


1. All star systems and planet within UPF boundaries shall be survey for resources and map.  They will map all preexisting interstellar routes.


2. Any exploration beyond the boundaries shall be conducted by the Survey Corp.  They shall handle all first contact with alien races.

3. In times of war, they will be assigned to the UPF Military Command as scouts.

10-40 FY:  The Grand Survey to approximately 30 years to complete. During these early years, modified assault scouts were equipment with multispectrum telescopes and radar mapping equipment each planet, and moon in the UPF.  Ground base telescopes were also used to map Xagyg Dust Nebula, Lesser Morrass and White Light Neubla.  (Original SF Map)  They also conducted a survey of nearby stars  for future exploration.

40FY The Interstellar Exploration Committee (IEC) is formally created as a part of the UPF government. It came about a part of a hearing on the Survey Corps budget and goals.  It is the governmental agency which has oversight of the Survey Corp.

45FY The IEC asks for and receives money for a purpose built exploration ship.  The Contract is awarded to Pan-Galactic Corporation.

49FY Construction on the Eleanor Morales is begun.

51FY The Eleanor Morales begins space trails.

52FY The Survey Corp accepts the Eleanor Morales.  Begins survey operations.

57FY Discovers Snowball.

60FY:  The Survey Corp Academy is established.  The name was also changed to Interstellar Survey Corp (ISC).

64FY Commission established on the space worthiest and cost of the Survey Ship fleet takes place.  Order PGC to retrofit all Morales Class Ships and repair design error in the vessel.

72FY 25th Anniversary of the Liberation of Snowball System

74FY The first Gregor Dentin Class Survey Ship begins space trails.

76FY The Survey Corp accepts the Gregor Dentin.  Begins survey operations.

88FY Eleanor Morales is retried and becomes a museum ship at UPF History Museum on Gran Quivera.

108FY  The search for a new scout vessel begins...

The Contract: Cash Cow

The contract for the Morale Class Survey Ship was for a starship, that allowed a crew of between 10-20 well trained individuals to explore planets within a 50 light year range of the present borders of the UPF and return. It must be able to survey, land and conduct scientific mission on a planet as well as in space.

The initial contract also gave an order number of six vessel to be build and the company building it must support the vessel throughout it service life.

There was no surprise when Pan-Galactic Corporation (PGC) won the bidding.  They had the largest lobby in the UPF Assembly at the time.  What did surprise most people was the lack of supervision by the IEC during the design and construction phase.

Most historian seem to believe PGC's hold on the Assembly was the root cause for this.  Some even have claimed large amounts of personal loans were given to many of the IEC members during this period by one specific bank as a sign PGC was heavy influencing the Committee to turn a blind eye on the entire process.

Others have suggested, the success of the Assault Scout and other designs gave the Committee unquestioning faith in any design produced by PGC.  More claim pressure by the Assembly had something to do with it as well.  

PGC spent the next two years designing the vessel.  What they came up with shocked most experts at the time.  Most believed they would come up with a single ship that used shuttles for planetary survey mission.  What was presented was a modular system consisting of the primary starships, a lander module and a transport supply ship.

It was hailed as a Marvel of Technology.

The scout ship had it own Void drive which assure the IEC that if the Transport vessel was damaged the crew would return safety to the UPF.  There was also an escape pod built in as well.

The landers module was a fully instrumented research station which could send data back to Survey Corp Bases via an orbiting satellite equipped with a subspace radio system.  It's robotic probes could continue the mission after the ship moved on.

The Transport ship allow the Morale class and unprecedented range and allowed the survey several planets at a time without resupply.

Several experts pointed out that the dual ship system was going to make PGC a hell of a lot of money.  The pointed out the servicing for the engines would cost a pretty penny and the modules alone would keep PGC solvent during the life span of the ships.  They also claimed it was too complex for just your average Joe Spacer to work on.

It was also decided to name these vessels after famous aviators and space Captain.  Eleanor Morales was the first to chart the route between White Light and Timeon.

The transport ships were number 1-6. However, engineers unofficial began giving them names. Eleanor Morales transport ship was named Edgar.  The inside joke was that the two of the ships formed a married couple. Edward Frasier Transport ship was named Edith.  Name selection these ships were not base on real life people but on the first letter of the Survey Ship.

Space Trails: "Boys, It's not an Assaults Scout."

Test began on the first ship, the Eleanor Morales, in mid-47.  Pilots of the Survey Corp up until this point used modified Assault Scouts, the Eleanor Morales was a big change for them.

This became apparent during atmospheric reentry testing phase when the test crew saw two major flaws in the design.

The first and most important was, the ship couldn't land without the Survey Lander Module attached to the Survey Ship.  At the same time, the pilots complained it had the characteristic of flying brick and could not perform slow speed maneuvers.  It's bullet shape and atmosphere drag it caused prevented it from happening.

The second flaw was discovered when they attempted to enter the atmosphere with a lander attach.  PGC claimed the Eleanor Morales could enter like an assault scout and land just like one.   The added weight of the lander and it fixed landing gear acting like airfoils threw the center of balance off, caused stability problems.

To land an assault scout, the pilot normally would locate a landing spot, pull a stall maneuver and land the ship on its tail.  The Morale could do this without tearing the lander's legs off.  Even at slower speeds, it was difficult for the pilots to get the ship to stand on its tail before the completion of the stall.

The ship worked fine when, it enter the atmosphere on a ballistic reentry which placed the lander first, essentially flying the ship backwards.  Once this was found to be and acceptable method to land the ship, the other two flaws were overlooked.

No one disputes the pressure the Survey Corp was under at this point.  The cost of the Morales was just over 200,000 Credits, 50,000 for each lander and another for x credits for was reach a million credits per ship. This excluded consumables which were used during each mission.  So the Survey Corp accepted the Eleanor Morales in early 52 without addressing these issue and others that would later cause a major retrofit 15 years into it service life.

The rest of the ships were to be delivered in every two years. Edward Frasier was deliver before the ink was dried on the certification papers.

The Early years: "They say bad things happen in threes."

The Eleanor Morales is said to have started it when a munity occurred in the 57 FY.  This was overshadowed by the events that took place following incident and the Destruction of the Sathar base on Snowball and the liberation of Mhemne.

Second Incident took place 60FY when the Edward Frasier was landing on a planet.  One of the landing struts gave way under the weight of the ship.  Had not the pilot had his handle on the throttle, the ship would have been lost.  They managed to disengage the lander and return to orbit. It was later to be determined, a micrometeorite has struck the strut and caused it to fail.

Two years, the third involved the replacement of a solid fuel rocket used on the escape pod, on board the Beeba Harcoo.  As per PGC guidelines the rockets were to be replace once every five year, a technician was replacing one of them when he accidently trigger the rocket causing a fire and extensive damage to ship which knocked the ship out of action for two years.  The accident report blamed the Technician for not following instructions.

Three years later,  Isaac Günter suffered a similar incident when the escape pod, separated from the ship without warning prior to landing.  Through skill and luck the crew managed to rendezvous with the transport ship.  The main section was lost as it burned up in the atmosphere. The crew found it necessary to fit the escape pod to the Transport ship as a way of control the vessel.  Through their gallant effort, they returned to UPF.

The IEC had had enough and a commission was put into place to discuss the issue plaguing the Morale Class Survey Fleet.

The Commission: "You know you have a problem when a Dralasites won't work on them."

The IEC Commission of 64 FY first went to the crews for the ships for their input on the ship's performance.

They came up with several major issues,  The first dealt with the Survey Lander Module.  Crews reported, tilt as being an issue.

The weight of the ship and the module caused the ship to lean as it settled on the planet surface.  Several crews reported dealing with 10-15 degree tilts were not uncommon. Pilots reported having the same issues as the test crews. the lack of landing gear was a major concern.  Crapped working conditions and needless rooms hampered the ship.

One crew showed the Commission, how they had turned Theater in to a storage room.

Engineers complaints were mainly about the access required to get at areas of the ship.  These cramped areas on the Lab and the Engineering deck made it difficult to perform maintenance and repairs. Scientists worried about contamination as samples had to be carried up to the Lab Deck.

They brought in outside experts to review the design and give their opinion on the overall design.

First thing they discussed was the complexity of the Modular design.  Under the present configuration, there were four lander modules stack on top of each other.  This part of the design was for ease of use.  All a survey ship had to do was backup and attach itself to the module and it was plugged into the rest of the ship.  Had, at anytime, one of these connections had failed, the Survey Ship would have lost control of the Transport Ship.  They also pointed out the Transport ship was an expensive redundant system in itself due to the fact, it was a separate ship.

The Survey Landing modules a waste of material.  They had pointed out by adding landing gear to the Survey Ship, the need for the module was no longer necessary. That newer technology could build a smaller leave behind automated research center at a fraction of the cost.

The escape pod system employed by the Survey Ship was a joke.  Even if they could get off a distress call, 4 days was not enough time for a rescue team to arrive under normal circumstances.  Nor were there any provision made for the capsule to land period. Planetary landing were out of the question, even if a suitable planet was in the area to await rescue.  And finally, the rockets we too weak to launch the capsule into space, if the need had arisen.

They then explored the incidents which brought the commission into being.

The landing struts were fixed to the outer hull and unable to retract placing them in greater danger of accident damage.  They were also some concern about heat of reentry and the affect it had on them.  These weaken struts might be the cause of the tilt the crews might be experiencing but no modules were ever recovered for the commission to inspect.

Even thou, the first accident seemed to deal with procedural errors made by the Technician, there was significant similarities between  that and what happened to the Isaac Günter to suggest the rocket used might be flawed.  At the time of the Isaac Günter accident, the rockets were ending their lifespan.

The cost of the entire system and consumables was explored as well.

The Survey Lander Modules was 50,000 credits each time one was used.  Two DA-800 Airships were left behind on the planet, crews reportedly rarely using one or both, considering it was quicker to use the aircars.

Maintenance costs on both ships and the landers were close to 1 Million credits.

Consumables for the labs, food and fuel costs ran around 1 Million credits per trips.

All total, the system was running just under 3 million credits per year for just one ship.  The Survey Corp had six.  Add in crew, Maintenance and administrative costs  they program was running close to 24 million credits a year.

They then called in Pan-Galactic who basically explained or deigned everything away.  Calling the Morales Class ships one of the safety designs it had ever built and the charges of creating a 'cash cow' were just sour grapes on part of the Assembly.

Most historians who look at the transcripts of the hearing agree the PGC representative nonchalant manner in which he answered their questions, turned sour the grapes into vinegar.

Retrofit: The Repercussions

The Commission issued their report in early 67FY sighting major design flaw with the Morale Class Survey Ships.  On the surface, it appeared to be the IEC making an attempt to gain funding for a new vessel to replace them.  However, it was a skillfully play ploy to show the Assembly what they were dealing with.


 


The same PGC representative and their lobbyists made the rounds in Assembly attempting to quell the furor over the report and gain support if, a new class of vessel was to gain funding.  Many of the Assembly members, were not please by the responses given by PGC and this turn the storm in a tempest. By mid 67, they were calling for a hearing before the full Assembly. Later on that same year, the PGC representative had been replace and the lobbyists had created a comprise which fulfilled the IEC and Assembly.

PGC would pay for the retrofits at a greatly reduced cost and adhere to recommendation made by the IEC.

What shocked the Historians at this point was the modest list of demands presented to PGC by the IEC.  It was almost certain, Assembly had instructed the IEC to reduce their changes or suffer funding cuts.

The follow list what PGC was to changes:

The landers were to be reduced and equipped with auto leveling and retractable landing gear.

Escape Capsules were to be redesigned. They were to provide them with better life support and the ability to land on a planet safely.

Interiors were to be redesigned and made ergonomically friendly to both crews and maintenance teams.  Systems were to be upgraded.

In the end, it appears the IEC lost and their attempted at persuading the Assembly to react in their favor lost.

Over the next five years, the ships were retrofitted at a cost of just over 200,000 credits per ship. 

Morales B's: "Those Damn Mhemne."

In the 72FY, the Mhemne were granted full membership in the UPF.  It was also the 25th Anniversary of the Liberation of the system.  To commemorate this event, the ceremony was to be held on Clarion and the Eleanor Morales was to attend.  Medals and accolades for crews of the Morales and the Osprey were to be handed out as well.

The Mhemne ambassador shocked everyone in attendance when during the medal presentation he award Captain Greogor Dentin with his very own ship.  On the holographic projector appeared behind him, the image of a Morales Class Survey Ship.  At first everyone thought this was a joke, until they began noticing the distinctive control tower at Clarion's starport.

The Mhemne had put landing gear on the on a Morales Class Survey Ship.

Representatives from the IEC and ISC were given a tour.  It was the ship the Commission had hoped for back in 67FY.  The Mhemne wishing to impress the UPF with their ship building skills had redesigned the Morales to improve their chances at getting lucrative contracts within the UPF.  It worked.

The ISC's fleet was now in it thirtieth year and the Assembly saw a need to replace them.  The landers and its satellites were seen as a security risk, which could be use by the Sathar as insights into the technology of the UPF.  The UPF also saw this as a way to cement their relationship with the Mhemne.

PGC was not pleased with this arrangement.  They fought hard to have the deal squashed, but the Assembly had enough of the PGC Lobby and passed the bill unanimously.

In 76FY, the first ship of this new class Gregor Dentin, was commisioned that year and over the next twelve years replaced the Morales Survey ships.

The Museum:  The Grand Old Lady.

On the 10th day of the 10th month of Federation Year 84, after serving the Interstellar Survey Corp for 37 year, the Eleanor Morale landed at Gran Quivera for the first time outside the Interstellar Survey Corp Headquarters.  Her atomic engines had been strips out months ago and decontamination.  She would not rise again to explore the stars, she once touched. This was the honor bestowed on her for faithful service and partaking in the Liberations of the Mhemne.

The rest of the ships of this class and all their transport vessels were scraped and she is the last of her class.  PGC never produced another ship after the M'tal Bax'z was built to replace the Tomas Andersons.

The Dentin Class has gone on to become the ship of choice for exploration for both the government and civilian market.


 


Comments:

sevanwint's picture
sevanwint
November 14, 2016 - 6:48pm
I believe it is Eleanor Moraes.

Tollon's picture
Tollon
November 14, 2016 - 6:53pm

Yeah I know, damn spell check. :(

 


sevanwint's picture
sevanwint
November 14, 2016 - 6:56pm
I understand that way too well

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 14, 2016 - 7:08pm
I'll read it over and get back to you soon.
Joe Cabadas

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 14, 2016 - 7:34pm
It looks pretty good.  Just a couple of items.

1) The name is the Eleanor Moraes, there is no "l" in the second name.
2) The costs are a little low.  Okay, actually a lot low.  I think just the Eleanor Moraes ship alone is something like 1.2 million credits.  The landers are proably another 2 to 3 hundred thousand.  It actually makes the arguements even better as the costs are much higher.  I thought I had spec'ed out the exploration ship but I can't find it.  The Assault Scout came to 1.22 million credits and change and they are comparable.
3) Lots of minor typos and misspellings.  Easy enough to fix with a little editing.

Otherwise I thought it was great.
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Tollon's picture
Tollon
November 14, 2016 - 7:58pm
I thought the price was low as well, was going off the hull prices on page 36 of Knighthawk.  I've already corrected the Moraes mistake.   Typos and misspelling are my middle name...

Tollon's picture
Tollon
November 16, 2016 - 11:52am

I was drawing out the decks of the Eleanor Moraes.  I figure 4.5 meters per deck.  So skimming through the moduled, lo and behold the shit is 50 meters? (blink, bink)  5 decks, 10 meters each? This is how it is depicted on the back cover SK2?  It's bad enough, I'm using a 20.6 meter deck size when it says 24, but 10 meter deck hieght? (That's because it's my standard size, artistic license)

I figure this has to be a typo, 10 meters was actually 10 ft and the editor wasn't familar with metric?

Second, The engineering deck.  I want to divide into two.  A true engineering deck and an entry/air car hanger deck.  Does anyone see this as not being "in the spirit of the orginal design."  If so please let me know.

Remember, I like to throw as much realism into my designs as possible.


JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 16, 2016 - 12:10pm
Tollon wrote:

I was drawing out the decks of the Eleanor Moraes.  I figure 4.5 meters per deck.  So skimming through the moduled, lo and behold the shit is 50 meters? (blink, bink)  5 decks, 10 meters each? This is how it is depicted on the back cover SK2?  It's bad enough, I'm using a 20.6 meter deck size when it says 24, but 10 meter deck hieght? (That's because it's my standard size, artistic license)

I figure this has to be a typo, 10 meters was actually 10 ft and the editor wasn't familar with metric?

Second, The engineering deck.  I want to divide into two.  A true engineering deck and an entry/air car hanger deck.  Does anyone see this as not being "in the spirit of the orginal design."  If so please let me know.

Remember, I like to throw as much realism into my designs as possible.



Hey, I approve of a separate engineering deck and one for the entry/aircar hanger.

I haven't looked at the module for a while, but the 50 meters per deck seems like a typo. It's probably 5 meters as you said.

Anyway, one could probably assume all the extra space is for air vents, air and water tanks, plumbing and all that stuff you need to carry your own environment -- with redundancies -- in a tin can in the vacuum of space.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 16, 2016 - 1:36pm
As others have mentioned earlier, there are a few typos, but nothing that can't be cleaned up with some careful rereading and editing.

Overall, it works.
Joe Cabadas

Tollon's picture
Tollon
November 16, 2016 - 8:26pm

I'm a welder with a GED, and score low on the Grammar portion, I really need an editor :(

 


JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 16, 2016 - 9:50pm
Tollon wrote:

I'm a welder with a GED, and score low on the Grammar portion, I really need an editor :(

 



Don't run yourself down! As a welder, you probably make a lot more than me.

And you have a good imagination to come up with the storyline above.

OK, I can help with the grammer... it will just take me a bit because I need to finish some real world writing projects.

Best Regards,
Joe Cabadas

Tollon's picture
Tollon
November 16, 2016 - 10:16pm

I haven't posted the full story line yet. And on top of that, I have Deck plans for the orginal, Alpha's and Mhemne verison.  Add in the discriptions on each deck and I'll have a book. 

 


Tollon's picture
Tollon
November 17, 2016 - 5:07pm

While doing the math on my decks, I discover another typo in the game.  The Moraes isn't a Hull Size 3 but a 4.  50 meters long by 12 radius.  Either we have a combination of errors both in the Modules and KH or they really didn't cross check the game mechanics. :(

 


TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 17, 2016 - 7:46pm
It's the latter.
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Tollon's picture
Tollon
November 17, 2016 - 7:55pm
Question? that would make the ADF/MR 5 correct?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 17, 2016 - 8:06pm
The ship itself is actually only 40m long by 12m radius (according to the module) but that is still much larger than a standard HS 3.  In fact, its larger than a standard HS 5 ship by about 2%.

Looking at the diagram in the module, and assuming each deck is 5m tall (3 m for beings and 2m of machinery between decks), I'd actually say that the main body is only 35m long.  That reduces the volume to 90% of a HS 5 ship.  And taking the spherical bow into account reduces it a bit more to 76% of a HS 5 ship or 58% larger than a standard HS 4.

So yes, the numbers are way off.
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TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
November 17, 2016 - 8:13pm
HS 4 = ADF/MR of 4/4
HS 5 = ADF/MR of 3/3

I suspect what happened is that the rules say that a HS 3 ship is 50m long and 8m in diameter and that those values can vary by up to 25%. So they made it shorter (40m) and fatter (12m, which is 50% larger but okay) but then used that 12m as radius instead of diameter as is should be, effectively making the volume 4x larger that it should be and boosting it into the HS 5 range from the HS3 range.  At length 40, diameter 12, it's only 53% larger than a "standard" HS 3 with the spherical bow and if you take the 35m length that drops to only 31% bigger.

That was probably what was intended but they took the diameter for the radius.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Tollon's picture
Tollon
November 17, 2016 - 9:09pm

My math put my design of the ship at 664.4 tons that is using 10.3 radius and 4.5 deck hieght (I used different size decks for the escape capsule.)  The lander came in unloaded at 139.2 tons but has cargo space 20 tons (139.2+20 =159.2 (rounded up to 160 tons).  Grand total is 824.4 tons.  That put it about middle 4 on I got off Facebook chart.  So I rounded down.

KH rules are confusing to me.  They are not well writing at all.

thanks for the ADF/MR


ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
November 19, 2016 - 11:51pm
^Yeah, KH's ship construction rules are a PITA.  Have you considered using one of the spreadsheets?  TerlObar did a really nice one.