Sci-Can class Laboratory Ship

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Sci-Can class Laboratory Ship
Terran Confederation Logo Small.gif
A large can of SCIENCE!
Type: LS Laboratory Ship
Category ACS
Size 300 Tons
Hull Configuration Cylinder Hull
Streamlining Streamlined Hull
Tech Level TL–11
Computer Model/2
Jump J-2
Maneuver 2 G
Hardpoints 2
Staterooms 6
Crew 6
    Enlisted 6
High/Mid Passengers 0
Cargo 76.1 Tons
Fuel tank 0 Tons
Origin Terran Confederation
Manufacturer various
Year Operational -2358
End of Service Examples still operate post-Collapse
Cost MCr118.665. MCr106.7985 in quantity.
Architect fee Adrian Tymes
Quick Ship Profile LS-CS22
Blueprint Yes
Illustration No
Also see Science Vessel, Sci-Eye class Observatory Ship
Canon Published, fan design
Era Interstellar Wars
Designed with Mongoose Traveller High Guard rules, but portable to other versions.

The Sci-Can class Laboratory Ship is a civilian science starship.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

With the landing gear retracted and all hatches shut (the usual configuration when in flight) a Sci-Can is very cylindrically shaped, evoking imagery of cans. The name "Sci-Can" resulted from that and the pun potential of "s-can" (scanning being one of the main tasks the starship was designed to undertake).

External looks aside, the ship is quite capable as a basic science vessel. With three laboratories and extensive additional facilities, a Sci-Can can be configured to support most kinds of science missions. Although superceded by more modern science vessels such as the Type L class Laboratory Ship, the Sci-Can was popular in its day and continues to be used in certain corners of Charted Space as of 1105. Its generous cargo allowance (just over 25% of its displacement), originally intended as storage for the many distinct types of equipment to support many distinct types of science expeditions, has sometimes seen Sci-Cans used as far traders, though they are less efficient in this role than most purpose-built tramp vessels. This cargo space can also carry a substantial load of spare parts and supplies, which - in concert with the biosphere, workshop, and fuel processor - can support missions far longer than one month before reporting back to a starport.

A Sci-Can carries a single air raft with enough space for all the crew, though it is common to carry grav belts and/or grav bikes loose in the deck 4 cargo space, then haul them up (the grav bike being carried vertically to fit through the transit shaft) to deploy and recover via the deck 5 repair drone hangar. This is especially used when employing the "GravGek" docking program that lets a Sci-Can "land" on a sheer vertical or upside-down surface, such as the underside of a large overhang. In this mode, the maneuver drive counters local gravity and applies a little more - typically 0.125 G, to stick to a convenient solid surface - and the crew is advised to only enter or exit via gravcraft. Critics have derided GravGek as a special case of hovering, as it requires the maneuver drive to continually operate, but it is a special case that has proven useful in making some of the observations that a Sci-Can is intended to make.

(Most famously, on many worlds this legally counts as having "landed" but not on the ground, local laws not having an exception for - or considered the possibility of - this mode, which is useful where a location of interest has some legal status that prevents landing on or hovering over the ground itself but there is no law preventing "landing" on a nearby wall or cliff. Sometimes this has resulted in such a law being passed in a hurry, though by the time it was passed the Sci-Can had collected its data and left, then a century or two later people wondered why there was a law specifically addressing landing on a wall. There is at least one documented instance of a later generation repealing such a law thinking it unnecessary, only for another Sci-Can to visit, resulting in the law's restoration.)

In practice, the various hangars - for the air raft, repair drones, and probe drones - and the cargo bay hatch are more often used for personal entry and exit than the dedicated airlocks on the top and bottom decks. The top airlock is more of a convenient emergency escape (and, unfortunately, easy entrance to the bridge for boarders - except for being right in the line of sight of two sandcaster turrets), while the bottom airlock can extend by up to 1 deck's height (that being the ground clearance the landing gear give when extended) to provide an elevator into the ship.

There was a certain famous-at-the-time incident in -2361 where some would-be boarders tried to gain access to a Sci-Can through its lower airlock. The Sci-Can's crew retracted the airlock elevator, then retracted the landing gear, crushing the boarding party (including the best combat armor available at the time) under the Sci-Can's full weight. Those who are aware of said incident are statistically more likely to favor entrance and exit through the hatches on the Sci-Can's sides.

Image Repository[edit]

Not available at this time.

General Description & Deck Plans[edit]

  1. Deck Plans for this vessel.
    Sci-Can deckplans.png

Basic Ship Characteristics[edit]

Following the Imperial Navy and IISS Universal Ship Profile and data, additional information is presented in the format shown here. [1]

Basic Ship Characteristics [2]
No. Category Remarks
1. Tonnage / Hull Tonnage: 300 tons (standard). 4200 cubic meters. Streamlined Cylinder Hull.
  • Dimensions: Cylinder, 17 meters diameter by 20 meters tall.
2. Crew Crew: 1 Pilot, 1 Astrogator, 1 Engineer, 1 Medic, 2 Gunners. At least half are expected to be Scientists as well. The Medic and Gunners are generally viewed as optional, and Astrogator duties are sometimes shared by one of the other crew, potentially reducing the crew to 2. Usually either the Pilot or Astrogator doubles as Captain on the official records, though the chain of command can be quite informal.
3. Performance Acceleration: 2-G maneuver drive installed.
  • Jump: 2.
4. Electronics Model/2 ship computer.
5. Hardpoints 2 hardpoints, with potential to add 1 more.
6. Armament 2 turrets with a beam laser each.
7. Defenses The same 2 turrets also each have a sandcaster.
8. Craft One air raft. Vacc suits required for most EVA (extra-vehicle activity). Rescue Balls for crew escape normally carried.
9. Fuel Treatment It is typically equipped with a fuel purification plant and fuel scoops.
10. Cost MCr118.665 (no architect's fees, those having long since been paid off). MCr106.7985 in quantity.
11. Construction Time 4 months standard, 3 in quantity.
12. Remarks A basic science vessel, configurable for many varieties of missions.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

The Sci-Can started off as an offshoot of the Sci-Eye class Observatory Ship, when it was pointed out that an "incomplete" construction would still be quite useful for many kinds of science, at just over half the cost. There was initial doubt about public acceptance of the lesser version, but the design proved quite popular, always-limited science budgets and practicality winning out over pride. The two designs were released simultaneously, and in the first five years more Sci-Cans were ordered than Sci-Eyes, though this does not account for Sci-Cans that were upgraded after construction.

By the time the Interstellar Wars concluded and the Rule of Man began, higher technology had rendered the Sci-Can and Sci-Eye somewhat obsolete, though the designs being easier to maintain in less-developed areas (where there was often more field science to be done) kept production from ceasing entirely. That honor would fall to the Long Night, so far as surviving records can demonstrate.

As with many starship designs that were recovered, once the Third Imperium restored capability for and interest in building starships, these designs were put back into production where they made sense - but once again, they were seen as somewhat obsolete. The fact that "Sci" can easily be misheard as "Psi" made the designs even less popular in the Third Imperium after the Psionic Suppressions, making new construction of either design rare as of 1105.

Class Naming Practice/s & Peculiarities[edit]

Ship Interior Details: The Sci-Can is a tailsitter design, with maneuver drives on the "bottom". It consists of six cylindrical decks arranged around a central "transit shaft": an elevator (with emergency ladder rungs) that transits all six decks. There is a second transit shaft to one side, which can be collapsed upward (removed from deck 2, decks 2 and 3, or decks 2-4) if needed to make room for particularly bulky objects.

Likewise, the floors of the cargo space on decks 3 and 4 can be retracted to make room for large cargoes, though this is not intended as standard practice. It is said that the designers intentionally wove jump drive emitters into the hull of deck 2 just under deck 3's cargo hatch in a pattern that makes it difficult to widen the cargo hatch to cover both decks, to discourage routine acceptance of cargo that is more than one deck tall. (It is possible the designers did this because widening the cargo hatch makes it more difficult to eventually convert a Sci-Can to a Sci-Eye.)

Being a tailsitter, the direction of forward motion is often "up" relative to ship's gravity, but there is still a need to designate "fore", "aft", and other horizontal directions on each deck. It is customary to designate the air raft hangar on deck 4 as "aft", as this matches with tradition on certain other ship classes, and orient the rest of the ship accordingly (e.g., deck 6's medical bay is also "aft", while the workshop is "fore").

The Sci-Can design makes significant use of drones. There are the usual probe drones used by many science vessels, as well as repair drones (especially useful for maintaining the sensors, which are buried behind fuel tanks so they can only be accessed externally to the ship). Even the cargo cranes are essentially drones (small gravcraft that can attach to rails above all the cargo spaces and intended only to operate within the ship). These drones are largely autonomous: the limited ship's computer can either handle a jump, operate the repair drones, or run its science support software at any given time.

Deck 1 is an engineering deck. Decks 2 and 3 are mainly storage, with a hatch on deck 3 that is only intended to be opened when in safe atmosphere (such as at a starport). Deck 4 contains the crew commons and food-generating biosphere. The commons are split in two, to be arranged at the crew's preference; a typical arrangement is for one side to be galley and dining area, with appliances (such as washer/dryer) and cupboard on the other side. Deck 5 is dominated by three laboratories, to be fitted out depending on the scientists' skills, with a studio space for science-support activities (sometimes viewed as an excuse space to let one non-scientist, non-engineer on the crew feel useful). Deck 6 is operations: bridge, two turrets, medical bay, and a workshop for two designed to allow fabrication of spare parts, sandcaster barrels, and other small objects as needed to support the mission.

Staterooms are split between decks 4 and 5, with one bed, one desk, and one fresher each. The desks and beds share a common mounting, allowing a desk and bed to be swapped between rooms. It is common for married or cohabitating crew, when present, to do just this with an adjacent pair of staterooms on deck 5, so they can sleep together in one room and, if one of them must work late into the designated sleep cycle, do so at their desk across the hall so as not to disturb their partner. In this case, the stateroom with 2 desks often gets used for small storage as well, accumulating objects of significance to the crew pair. The appearance of a hammock in the desk room signifies short-term trouble in such pairings, which most captains hope the duo can work out. Long-term trouble in such couplings is typically handled the way it is on most ships: one or both partners are left at the next major port (or any port, if the trouble is especially severe or threatens the ship).

The twin turrets are usually kept folded into the hull, as the ship is not a warship and is intended to act as if it is unarmed in most cases. They are more often operated from the bridge than from their dedicated workstations. While each turret has a beam laser in case of need, the turrets are intended more as tools than weapons: each one also possesses a laser drill and a sandcaster. The laser drills are intended for collection of samples, or to penetrate ruined structures or caves; the beam laser can contribute in an "overcharge" mode that delivers up to 125% output in exchange for 200% power. (Ship's power is insufficient to run all systems at once - e.g., full maneuver drive power, all lasers firing at full intensity, as well as the fuel processor, medical bay, sensors, and ship's systems all operating at full power is unsustainable. A version of jump dimming is needed in such a situation. Further, it is intended that the maneuver drive be completely shut down while operating the jump drive, as even jump dimming to safe levels does not by itself free up the necessary power.) The sandcasters are capable of their usual anti-laser role, but are typically used to distribute custom payloads (using custom sandcaster barrels) manufactured in the workshop to assist with the mission (such as seeing how the environment reacts when large amounts of certain chemicals are added to certain places). When the turrets are deployed, the sandcaster ammunition stays within the hull (save for whichever barrel is currently loaded) in magazines at the aft end of each turret.

Class Naming Practice/s: Sci-Cans are named for notable scientists, scientific expeditions, and/or science installations from the culture of the shipyard they are constructed at, preferably from the world if it has been inhabited long enough with a large enough population to have had notable scientists, scientific expeditions, and/or science installations. "Notable" is in the eyes of whoever funds construction, as they almost always pick the name.

Selected Variant Types & Classes[edit]

13 Representative Laboratory Ship (LS) Classes[edit]

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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