Spaceplane

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A Spaceplane is an Interfacecraft, a craft designed to operate well in both an atmosphere and in the vacuum.

  • It is a kind of vehicle that is both an aircraft and spacecraft rolled into one.
  • Many smallcraft perform the same function, but are very differently built.
  • Advanced Gravcraft eventually supplant and replace the spaceplane.
  • It is a type of flying vehicle.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

An Interfacecraft is a kind of vehicle or technological device, intended to convey sophonts from one location to another. Spaceplanes have Lifting Body Hulls or airfoil surfaces such as wings, giving them atmospheric performance beyond that provided by simple thrust or any onboard gravitic systems.

Image Repository[edit]

A selection of spaceplanes from Charted and Uncharted Space:

  1. An Aurora class Light Patrol Fighter combatant spaceplane.
    J0 19 Ton Fighter.jpg
  2. A Colossus class Heavy Lander spaceplane.
    J0 1200dT Heavy Lander.jpg
  3. A Daytona class Orbital Fighter/Interceptor combatant spaceplane.
    Daytona class Orbital Fighter-Interceptor.jpg
  4. A Fearless class Assault Transport spaceplane.
    J0 300dT Assault Transport.jpg
  5. An Omicron class Heavy Lander spaceplane.
    J0 400dT Interface Lander.jpg

Selected Spaceplanes[edit]

Some more noted spaceplanes used throughout Charted Space include:
Spaceplanes:

  1. Arvan class Fighter
  2. Colossus class Heavy Lander
  3. Daytona class Orbital Fighter/Interceptor
  4. Fearless class Assault Transport
  5. Kaufman class Dual Environment Fighter
  6. Kestrel class Interface Fighter
  7. Melbourne class Hypersonic Suborbital Liner
  8. Nimian class Dual Environment Interceptor
  9. Omicron class Heavy Lander
  10. Reno class Hypersonic Fighter/Interceptor
  11. Tobruk class Interface Interceptor

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Many technologists do not consider spaceplanes viable until the TL:7-9 technological epoch, and even then it can be dicey. Other technologists claim that prototype spaceplanes may be possible within the TL:4-6 tech epoch.

Expected Technological Progression of Spaceplane Development[edit]

Technological Overview of Spaceplanes[edit]

A variety of spaceplanes with gradually increasing technological capabilities are expected to become available through the first two tech periods of a sophont society.

Foundational Period[edit]

Foundational Period: TL:1-9
Tech Epoch Remarks
TL:1-3 Technological flight is generally consider extremely rare or near impossible during this tech epoch.
TL:4-6 While rockets are generally possible within this tech epoch, Spaceplanes are generally too dangerous and unreliable at this stage.
TL:7-9 Most sophont societies first reach space using multiple stage rockets and the idea of SSTO (Single Stage to Orbit or a Spaceplane) spaceflight remains an elusive goal for many TL:7-9 sophont societies. Early prototype gravcraft simply lack the performance to achieve orbital breakout on all but the smallest of planets. And the efficiencies of transatmospheric flight using multiple stage launches is hard to beat with period engineering.

Interstellar Period[edit]

Interstellar Period: TL:10-18
Tech Epoch Remarks
TL:10-12 By the TL:10-12 tech epoch, gravitics enables and complicates the spaceplane's construction. It also blurs the pictures as air/rafts and G-carriers can achieve the same thing (air-space performance) although often with lesser performance envelopes.
TL:13-15 By the TL:13-15 tech epoch, the performance of Z-Drives, advanced speeders, high performance G-Carriers, and more capable technology effectively makes all craft capable spaceplanes. The difference between planetary atmospheric and orbital vacuum flight becomes moot and the term begins to disappear from vocabularies and textbooks.
TL:16-18 It is projected that nearly all vehicles and crafts will have spaceplane capabilities in this technological epoch. Many estimate that Gravitic Control Technology will be relatively cheap and widely available by this time.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.