Robotic Exploration Probes

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 19, 2017 - 6:35am
these came up in this thread:
http://www.starfrontiers.us/node/9896

I seem to remember something about Volturnus first being explored by an unmanned probe

I think that a HS 1 hull with an astrogation package, an intended as single use atomic drive- I say single use but that is for this mission- basically its a type A atomic drive with multiple fuel pellets that the robotic AI will use to void jump to the system then land on a planet, despite not getting an overhaul the engine might be used to lift off and land on another planet in the same system.

to continue using existing game tech the probe is controled by a level 5 robotic brain the 1980's envisioned ansewr for AI.

it will have atmo probes and a landing probe (maybe)

it has energy sensors (scanners)

the equiv of the environmentalist tool kit built into it so that little sample collecting robots will bring back samples for testing

finally it will have a subspace radio that it uses to send back data.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!
Comments:

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 4, 2017 - 7:52am
Unless the suggestion is to incorporate the beacons as part of a space station then they might as well be Alabama back road stop signs.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 4, 2017 - 2:47pm
TerlObar wrote:
I like the idea but the way subspace radios are defined in the game, they are a directional, beamed transmission.  So unless they were beaming at all the uninhabited systems, you wouldn't dected a signal. 


If you have a fix on it's position you could beam a signal at it and it could beam one back. A bit like an IFF transponder.

As for power, perhaps a solar array.

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 4, 2017 - 2:50pm
Shadow Shack wrote:
Unless the suggestion is to incorporate the beacons as part of a space station then they might as well be Alabama back road stop signs.


My idea wasn't that they had to be part of a space station, but that could be one place where a beacon is fixed.

As for the stop sign thing, I'm not American and thus don't get the analogy Wink

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 4, 2017 - 8:42pm
The problem with basing a beacon at a space station is that not every system has a world with an orbital station, at least not by canon standards anyways.

The stop sign anaology is that the implied beacon is sitting out in the middle of nowhere (i.e. deep space).
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 4, 2017 - 10:00pm
Actually stop signs on Alabama back roads are famous for being shot at. You see alot of them with bullet and shotgun pellet holes from hunters who did not have much luck but did have a few beers.

Problem with basing beacons on space stations is that the stations are around planets inside the gravity well. If the starship was trying to lock in on it then they would leave the void to close to the planet to stop in time before they overshot the planet.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 7, 2017 - 2:29pm
Well, the beacons aren't in the middle of nowhere, as such. As they're strung along established routes, traffic along said routes would be fairly busy.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 7, 2017 - 3:45pm
Again I go to Clarion Station. If a ship is arriving about every 100 to 200 minutes then it leads to the conclusion they are leaving and arriving at other planets at about the same rate. At least the planets closest to Clarion. You could add in a few more since some ships will not stop at Clarion and are just in the system on their way to another system.

How much traffic a beacon would need to deal with can be determined from this. Of course it will also depend on how common space travel is in your SF campaign. Boucne the numbers around.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 7, 2017 - 10:23pm
A beacon on a space station doesn't necessarily mean that ships have to drop out of the Void pretty much on top of it. The beacon just flags a location along a route. A ship could aim for that system but make sure that it drops out of the Void somewhere within it, and ensure that it doesn't hit any gravity wells. I'm assuming those lengthy calculations enough enough accuracy in such a way that an astrogator can pick where the ship ends up in any given system after a jump.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 10, 2017 - 9:11am
rattraveller wrote:
Again I go to Clarion Station. If a ship is arriving about every 100 to 200 minutes then it leads to the conclusion they are leaving and arriving at other planets at about the same rate.

Not really, Clarion is a high population world so it will get more traffic than a moderate or low populated world. Also noteworthy, as mentioned in the module text every mega-corp has an office on Clarion Station, which adds to the traffic. As such I would postulate that Clarion gets more traffic than the "Hub of the Frontier" (Gran Quivera). They certainly get more traffic than worlds lacking a space station.

Speaking of which, going by canon (and I use the term loosely when referring to Zeb's, however since KH only lists the armed/military stations rather than any/all stations and Zeb's goes into greater detail in that regard...so be it, take a screen shot because it's a Kodak moment when I source Zeb's), there are twelve systems that lack any orbital station of any kind at all --- three of those systems are listed in AD/KH, and lest we forget the Zeb's specs are set half a century+ into the future of the boxed sets. With no stations there's a LOT less traffic, more so considering the limited types of craft that can make planetfall let alone the types of ships that can carry such craft.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 10, 2017 - 5:55pm
I will do some research when I get a chance but I am willing to bet that populations of planets do not exactly match up with the star routes. 

Another thing is that I do not believe all the Megacorps having offices have as much an effect on star traffic. Think of the Megacorps production facilities. Raw materials must flow in and product must flow out. Synth Foods might make most of their products on Inner Dramune but they need to ship it to all parts of the Frontier. I do think they get stuff from each planet in the Frontier though.

Trans Travel on the other hand, which makes everything from hovercycles to star ships, will need alot of things moved around. Raw materials to parts plants. Parts to assembly plants. Product to showrooms and/or customers. Seriously doubt all this is located on one planet.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 11, 2017 - 5:37pm
It's quite simple, really...systems like White Light & Prenglar have four (or five as is the case with the latter) star routes connecting them. Meanwhile you have big population systems like Theseus and small to outpost popualtions like Scree Fron that have only one way in or out...or Truane's Star which has two routes both originating from outpost systems (at least in AD/KH Zebulon is an outpost system). That translates to Prenglar routing all of Truane's Star traffic each way (via Dixon's Star), along with any traffic bound for/inbound from Cassidine, Athor, Gruna Garu, Timeon, and what little actually originates from/stops in Dixon's Star as well...not to mention all the traffic heading to "hub of the Frontier" Prenglar. The same can be said for White Light: all of Theseus' traffic flows through that system be it in or out, along with K'tsa-Kar, Madderly's Star, and Timeon (not to mention all the inbound Clarion traffic). To equate the traffic in Truane's Star or Theseus with either White Light or Prenglar is no comparison...it's like comparing the traffic in your downtown area to the outer fringes of town.

Also noteworthy, SF as written is centered on the mega-corps --- they are the be all/end all source of economic activity in the game --- so having one of each office on your station certainly adds to that boon in traffic. Let's face it, the mega-corps are far more defined in either/both rule sets than the barely mentioned UPF. With Prenglar hailed as the "hub" it's safe to say they have all the players in their station as well (much like Clarion Station). Meanwhile Truane's Star probably only hosts the big boys: PGC, CDC, and of course homegrown Streel at the minimum...Streel-allied MerCo is probable, but the rest would be a crap shoot at best. With the prominence of mega-corps in both versions of the rules (boxed sets and Zeb's), you'd better believe they have an impact on travel through the systems they are posted in. The more you have posted at a particular locale the higher the resulting traffic because, well...they are massive business generators and as such they need both equipment and staff constantly coming in and going out. More mega-corp presences result in even more traffic.

Now put them both together: multiple routes in & out and a heavy mutli-megacorp presence? That is a recipe for high traffic that systems with far less of either could even fantasize about.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 11, 2017 - 5:52pm
I still need to look into the routes and populations and trade items. Just because their are four star routes into a system does not mean it will have more traffic. Trade routes are driven by profit and nothing else. If it is more profitable to go a longer route than merchants will do that.

You seem to doubt me. Than answer me this. If distance and route is the determining factor why is so much made in China and sold in the US? If distance and route was the determining factor than alot more would be made in the US, Canada and Mexico and sold there than in China.

Clarion is specifically listed as an exception in that despite high tariffs there is enough profit to be made to encourage the all the Megacorps to sell there.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 12, 2017 - 6:48am
Back to the problem of bouy's

Question what/how does the bouy use to communicate with ships? videocom or subspace radio?

what is the range of the videocom so to effectivelystring bouy's between systems you would need how many? can ships detect videocom while void jumping?
this would be improbable to imposssible to do.

if subspace then how do the bouy's align their directional beams to communicate with a ship?
again not likely

Could a system set up a series of bouys transmitting videocom signal that aids a ship in lining up a void jump? yes but the benefit would be to the megacorps (as shadow rightly pointed out) and expense to the owning system government. and a ship would still need an astrogator to ensure that  the ship is still lined up exact lest a 1% deviation through them off on a journey measured in light year.

the mega corps already have the expense of an astrogator on board each ship why will they pony up the even greater expense of bouys and their maintenance? and how will they equitably divide the expense of such between them?

In a situation of a mega corp owned system this could be a possibility but only that company's ships will be able to use said bouy's.

what I do see system governments doing is sensor platforms stooging in the outer system to detect arriving ships so that they can route the militia to instercept and inspect.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 12, 2017 - 7:21am
Here's a couple of ideas and no reason both cannot be in play at the same time.

In UPF monitored systems the bouys send out a continous stream of information updated regularly. Sort of like the radio weather channel. This way a starship would "tune in" and be able to work their calculations from this information. This is a free service but since this would require a great deal of power and personnel to maintain the system and update the information (yes star system info doesn't change hourly like the weather but updates would still be needed) there might be taxes or tariffs imposed on ships to help pay for it or maybe the cost is paid for by the planet into a fund monitored by the UPF.

Next is one used in Frontier Space where the beacons are set up in the destination system and the starship sends a message to the beacon and then is charged a fee for the information. This fee is variable and set by the governing body of the destination planet. Since there are several different multi-planet governments in Frontier Space it is not always the planet which sets the fees.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 13, 2017 - 9:04am
rattraveller wrote:
I still need to look into the routes and populations and trade items. Just because their are four star routes into a system does not mean it will have more traffic. Trade routes are driven by profit and nothing else. If it is more profitable to go a longer route than merchants will do that.

Possibly...a recipient might pay more for a particular good in Scree-Fron than they would in Prenglar or White Light, but you'd damned well better be sure of that before making the trip. If the plan is to haul a randomly acquired cargo and beat the docks at the destination, you're better off doing so in Prenglar or White Light. If you have a contracted route (i.e. government charter or mega-corp agreement) then the longer route will certainly pay off.

Quote:
You seem to doubt me. Than answer me this. If distance and route is the determining factor why is so much made in China and sold in the US? If distance and route was the determining factor than alot more would be made in the US, Canada and Mexico and sold there than in China.

First off the doubt stems from a claim that "all systems have similar traffic". I merely countered that with a couple of examples. I just don't see remote Truane's Star (megacorp presence or otherwise) or Scree-Fron having the same 100-200 minute arrival/departure rates that White Light and (most likely) Prenglar enjoy. There was also the debate about megacorp contributions relating to traffic flow, to which I see that --- as written --- makes a rather decent impact.

As far as China goes...well, we dug our own graves with that one. So have a lot of other countries. As long as the population on the whole is content with the frequent replacement of disposable-by-design goods (I am obviously in the minority here) and government interests are in place to provide continued support, then China will always thrive with that model.

Let me give an example as to how sneaky China can be: Back around 2003 or thereabouts Honda went into contract with Sundiro Motors in China to produce Chinese made CMX250 Rebel motorcycles rebadged as "Sundiro Spirit"...much like Chevrolet did with their Geo line in the 90's (i.e. the Prizm was a US made Toyota Corolla, the Metro was a US made Suzuki Swift, etc). What enticed Honda into this agreement was the fact that small bore motorcycles (250cc and less) were very prominent in southeast Asian commuter traffic, and what better way to get a vehicle into a local market than have the local market produce the exact same thing at a lower price --- all the while collecting a royalty yet doing absolutely nothing.

It was a great idea, on paper anyways. The reality of the situation is once the contract was signed, Sundiro cloesed their doors. Mysteriously (if you really want to call it that), a few months later...no fewer than half a dozen other Chinese motorcycle manufacturers started belting out Chinese made Rebel clones. Now I don't know exactly how long it takes to tool or retool a production line, but I'd wager it takes a lot more time than the small window we're talking about here in order to get product on the market as quickly as they did. Then, in the midst of all this, Sundiro-Honda Motorcycle Co. surfaced and started belting out the Spirit.

Anyways, it's painfully obvious that "somehow" those legally obtained blueprints ended up in other hands, and after a few more years there were at least a dozen Chinese outfits belting out the bikes...with subcontracters belting out parts (such as Locin Motors along with half a dozen other outfits made the engines). Yamaha fell into the same trap a few years later with their XV250 Virago courtesy of a company called "Tank Motors", but those bikes were short lived under Chinese production mostly due to the fact that the original design was quite catankerous to work with as a mechanic...the Rebel is a far more simpler machine that can make even the most aspiring amateur hack mechanic feel like a seasoned pro. 

Now here's the catch...with the Honda selling for $3K (and rising as the yen overpowered the dollar in later years, not to mention the not-recession our government went out of their way to deny the existence of) while the China-clones sold for a full grand less than the Rebel's MSRP. The Rebel is a bullet-proof design, I own four of them and I'm here to tell you they are nigh impossible to kill...I once owned one (a 1986 model) that had worn rings and/or valves and it ran like a champ. I never changed the oil in that bike, merely replacing it as it burned away. I beat the snot out of that bike for years and transferred ownership of it to a friend who enjoyed the bulletproof reliability for a while as well (right up until it got stolen anyways, no doubt someone else is currently enjoying it). 

Naturally that bullet-proof nature didn't carry over with the China-clones. If there's one thing China is good at, it's taking something pure and making it pure crap. Apparently their recycled pot metal didn't hold up to the OEM tolerances Honda established with the Rebel and you were lucky to keep one running inside a year of new-bike purchase. You were even luckier if the place that sold it to you was still in business when it stopped running and came time to honor their factory warranty.

Like I said: disposable. My 1985 Rebel turns 33 next year, it's the oldest vehicle I own, and it runs like clockwork. If it ever stops I have a wide variety of access points for replacement parts. Try to even find a Chinese clone that runs today, China's landfills are full of them and so are ours. If you do happen to find that sole surviving China-clone (I found one last month for $600 in not-running condition and thought it was overpriced), the next big challenge is finding a parts source for it. Sure, you can opt for actual Rebel parts but then you're better off buying the whole Rebel powerplant. You'll probably also want to get an OEM Rebel wiring harness to replace that substandard bulk wiring that came with the clone. But now you've spent close to a grand in cash, and at that point you have a wide variety of used Rebels to choose from that don't need the swapped parts...you get the motor, the wiring harness, and the rest of the bike too with no assembly required

Alas, folks are perfectly happy with that ideal, from their lowly electronic gadgets all the way up to their vehicle options. THAT is the reason why China propsers and American production suffers. Oh, and then there's the unions...but that's another topic for another time.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 13, 2017 - 9:15am
jedion357 wrote:
Back to the problem of bouy's

Question what/how does the bouy use to communicate with ships? videocom or subspace radio?

Subspace transmitter, not radio. It broadcasts a signal rahter than a voice message, much like modern aircarft use with FAA navigation stations spread across the nation(s).

Quote:
what is the range of the videocom so to effectivelystring bouy's between systems you would need how many? can ships detect videocom while void jumping?
this would be improbable to imposssible to do.

Again, subspace transmission, not videocom. IIRC there is a stipulation as to just how "instant" this is, i.e. there is a delay for the signal that is measured in minutes to receive depending on distance. I'd have to dig that up for more commentary though.

Like the FAA stations, you'd probably need more than one...although for game purposes (i.e. simplicity) it could be one nav-buoy in the general vicinity of each star route's entry/exit point. That way the astrogator could belt out the calculations according to the signals from both biuoys --- the insystem unit as well as the one in the desired arrival system.

Quote:
if subspace then how do the bouy's align their directional beams to communicate with a ship?
again not likely

It broadcasts in an outward/circular ripple effect rather than as a straight line. It is only sending out a signal (such as a beeping tone, or more aptly a digitized code), not a complicated voice recording.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 13, 2017 - 11:51am
Yes, this sort of system is not beyond the technology of SF. As to cost, they could covered by taxation via the UPF. After all, they would be an essential system so I doubt that anyone would begrudge that. WRT the signal, it could be as simple as pinging the bouy that's closest to your point in space, which then pings you back. It's not really very much different to aircraft transponders.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 13, 2017 - 2:18pm
The ping might work but the one question is how much do the races of the Frontier understand about the Void and is any of the transmitted information dealing with the Void?
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 14, 2017 - 10:07am
I don't think the Void would come into play, seeing as per the standard rules time in the Void is very brief. The pinging could happen before/after that part of the trip.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 14, 2017 - 2:49pm
Time in the Void is brief as seen from the outside. Not sure how time works in the Void. Star Trek ignored time in the transporter for a few seasons but eventually did quite a few episodes where time in the transporter was examined and fun things happened.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 14, 2017 - 3:11pm
It's shame that the technology behind subspace can't somehow be applied to interstallar travel. It'd be much faster Wink

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 14, 2017 - 7:30pm
KRingway wrote:
It's shame that the technology behind subspace can't somehow be applied to interstallar travel. It'd be much faster Wink

True, but it's still a far cry better than Traveller where, while jumping takes about the same amount of time, messages are CARRIED by ships rather than transmitted across vast distances. ;)
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

iggy's picture
iggy
December 14, 2017 - 8:20pm
OK, I've been away all week in Malaysia where we moved our manufacturing after previoulsy manufactuing in China years ago.  China is getting too expensive.  We get better quality and price out of Malaysia.  And why are we here and why are the prices better here?  Simple, all the source materials are close by so the shipping costs are keeping the material costs down.  Why are the source material here and not in the US?  Again simple, we have regulated our resources into oblivion.  Anyway, I have been crafting a response to the beacon question and it has grown pretty long because I wrote it off line, reread it, wrote, reread, etc.  Here is my beacon post.

Some thoughts about beacons have been floating around in my head for many days.  A beacon is not a two way communication.  Also beacons do not need more power to handle more ships receiving their signals.  The beacon signal is beamed out for everyone to hear out to the distance that the signal strength fades.  Receivers do not draw power from the beacon signal.

If you are expecting ships coming from every direction then you do not use a focused beamed subspace signal so it will take more power to cover more area.  If you expect ships coming from specific directions then you focus the signal down to a beam and aim it in the direction of the expected ships.  If there are more than one expected direction then you set up extra antennas and beam in the extra directions.  The benefit of the beam is lower power usage for a given range or greater range if you bump up the power to match the range attained by the omnidirectional antenna beacon signal.  I would venture that the frontier uses beamed beacon signals aimed at each planet to establish the star routes.  Then there is an omnidirectional subspace beacon with a range out one light year as a safety measure for ships that miss-jump.  They don’t use omnidirectional for everything for two reasons.  One, the required power goes up vastly to beyond economic and engineering capabilities.  Two, a very long range omnidirectional subspace signal is an advertisement to the Sathar or other dangerous species of where you are.

Now, an economical reason for beamed beacon signals.  Every planet in the Frontier likely has a two way subspace communication link with other nearby planets.  This link is used for all kinds of communication.  This same link will naturally be aimed along the star route to the neighboring systems.  Beacon packets could easily be included in the communications so that ships could use this subspace communications link as the default beacon for the system.  This beacon would be natural and would speed up astrogation only in that it quickly points the astrogator in the right direction to get his ship going to the desired planet.

The beacon only helps you get the direction much like a lighthouse lets you know that rocks are ahead or a compass tells you how to get to the North Pole.  The beacon just points you at the target, it doesn’t navigate around the obstacles or account for “wind and Drop”, it is just a direction.  Here is how a beacon assisted jump works.  The pilot points the ship in the direction of the beacon adjusting the ships vector until the beacon signal received is maximum strength.  This could easily be done by automated ship systems as it is much like a laser guided missile and how it flies to its target.  However, the truth about beamed signals is that they spread out over distance.  Much effort is going to be placed on the broadcasting antenna to get it to be a tight as possible, even collimated like an ideal laser, but in reality nothing ever reaches the ideal and at distances of light years the beam will have spread out significantly.  There is also a use case reason why the beam would need to diverge to aid in navigation.  If the beam was ideal and perfectly collimated then any ship in the system the beacon is aimed at would not see it until they were exactly in the path of the beam.  Then they would have to be traveling in the same direction as the beam, towards or away, to continue seeing it.  If the ship drifted away or just flew through the beam from the side, they would lose sight of it.  Having to fly down onto the figurative beacon highway would be a big time adder to many ships in a system that are not close to the beacon highway.  However, if the beacon broadcasting antenna is designed to allow the beacon signal to spread out to match the width of the star system it is aimed at then any ship in the system will see it and be able to adjust its vector to have peak signal reception and start its jump from wherever it is in the system.

Finally, just because the ship is now pointed at the system beaming its beacon signal at it and the ship has adjusted itself to get maximum signal reception by fine tuning its vector, it is still not exactly pointed at the destination system.  The range of vector alignment available to the ship is going to be wide because of the divergence of the beam so there would have to be the optical astrogation alignment done to fine tune the aim of the ship before the trigger is pulled on the jump.  This is where astrogation gets back to being a bit like marksmanship on steroids.  The pilot aims the ship in the general direction of the destination using the beacon as an aid while getting the ship speed up to just under jump velocity.  Then the astgrogator, much like a sniper, does all the fine tuning, accounts for astronomical factors analogous to drop, wind age, etc. and when everything is checked out by the simulations and astrogation calculations, he pulls the trigger and bang!  The ship then is shot into the void and there is nothing that can be done to change the direction after that.  The astrogator only gets to trigger the drop from the void by applying deceleration thrust.  If he misses the system is due to how well he aimed and took into account the galactic environment and void environment effects between the two stars.  Whether he came up short or over shot the star is due to how well he timed the drop from the void.

All of this still outweighs the time savings that the beacon provides.

Another beacon option would be to use two subspace beacons, one that diverges to cover the system and one that is collimated to establish the highway.  Given that the engineering has advanced enough to build a tuned beam that is close enough to ideal collimation to appear collimated.  However, this still does not speed things up because the ships still have to navigate onto the collimated beacon highway.  Also, the collimated beacon still has to be significantly wide to be found.  Think of beam widths like an astronomical unit and fractions thereof.  But once the beam is found it is still not going to help because the wave front of such a wide beam is flat and thus hides the directional component that a divergent beam provides.  No longer can adjusting the vector of the ship help in peaking the signal so both the beacons would have to be active or the ship would easily wander to the edges of the collimated beam before getting correction to its vector by losing signal.  The flight would be like a photon down a fiber optic cable, flying straight until it hits the edge then adjusting course and flying until it hits another edge of the beam.  This does not work for an effective jump because you don’t know how much your vector is off so again optical astrogation still needs to follow beacon use.

Now, if there were a series of collimated beacon beams all inside each other so that the ship could walk itself down to the tight beam in the center that is about the diameter of a ship then the jump can happen with automated systems much better.  The optical alignment and timing will still have to be done as this is interstellar cannon marksmanship.  But the beacon highway has now become a one way train route.  Each ship is a bullet train engine that is fired on this beacon railway and everyone has to take turns to prevent collisions.  The jumping ship must get onto the railway only when it is at the moment of jump and get off the railway right after the jump.  If you stay on the railway you risk being in the bullet train path of another ship jumping along the beacon railway.  You never know how long or short a ship is going to come out of the void on the beacon railway.

I like beacons as a navigational aid but cannot get the engineering to replace the rest of the astrogation that would be required.  My next course if research would be into what the equivalent of a global positioning system would be for the frontier.  After all, GPS is really just a bunch of satellite beacons orbiting the Earth broadcasting wide un-collimated signals blindly onto the Earth.  The GPS receivers do all of the triangulation.  GPS is what has enabled automated navigation of ships, planes, missiles, and some of the automobile advances we are making.  The big question is, can the Frontier economically afford and does it have the manufacturing infrastructure to build and maintain the many millions of beacons needed to GPS the entire Frontier?
-iggy

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
December 14, 2017 - 10:23pm
Another issue with the bullet train railway is that it tells the pirates right where to hang out. The militia know where to patrol as well but space is still big and they can't be everywhere at once but you've increased the density of targets.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 15, 2017 - 7:53am
Don't be too proud of this techniclogical marvel you've envisioned. The ability to beam subspace beacon signals is insignificant next to the power of astrogators to compute a void jump.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 15, 2017 - 11:00am
"Don't try to frighten us with your astrogational ways, Lord Jedion. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you to conjure up the stolen star routes, nor has it given you clairvoyance enough to find the pirates' hidden b---ACKCKCKCKCK!!!"
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 15, 2017 - 11:15am
"I find your lack of Zebulon's Guidance disturbing."
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

iggy's picture
iggy
December 15, 2017 - 2:24pm
"Enough of this!  Jedion, release him!"
-iggy

jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 15, 2017 - 2:36pm
ROFL
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!