Sleeper Ship

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A K-class Sleeper Ship is a Starship, usually using sublight NAFAL propulsion, that uses one crew put into a state of suspended animation, while automation of some sort steers the ship.

  • They are considered to be K-class Expedition Ships.
  • Since civilizations that use such ships generally have limited means and technology for producing NAFAL starships, most are used for colonization purposes.
  • The term also applies to ships where a small living crew stays awake while the rest (...the majority of those aboard) stay in suspended animation. Most examples of Sleeper Ships with FTL propulsion use this arrangement. [1]
  • There are tales of nanotech approaches that stock a ship with seeds and machines in order to build a civilization at the destination. If there actually were any ships like this, they would technically not be Sleeper Ships, as there would be nobody sleeping on the ship, but most of the details would be otherwise identical. [2]
Technical Data.jpg

Library Data Referral Tree[edit]

Please refer to the following AAB Library Data for more information:
Interstellar Colonization:

Description (Specifications)[edit]

A ship containing a full complement of personnel intended to make a (usually sub-light) journey across space.

  • Since such journeys take years, or even decades, the passengers, and sometimes the crew are put into hibernation in Low Berths for the duration of the journey.
  • Such ships are smaller (and thus more affordable, and thus more common) than Generation Ships, where the passengers and crew live full lives during the journey.
  • The two terms Sleeper Ship and Generation Ship are often, incorrectly, interchanged and used to refer to either type of ship.

Image Repository[edit]

No information yet available.

Generation vs. Sleeper Ships[edit]

Generation Ships are sometimes referred to, incorrectly, as Sleeper Ships, which are similar, except that the majority or all of the passengers and crew are put into low berth hibernation for the duration of the journey. [3]

Technical Discernment[edit]

In cases where a small portion of those aboard are awake, it is often common to be awake in shifts. For instance, the complement might include 5 crews, each of which handles 1/5th of the voyage then wakes up the next crew before sleeping out the rest of the trip. If the voyage takes 40 years, the crews will only have aged 8 years each, and remain available to participate in the new colony's early years. This also provides backup capability if something goes wrong, similar to the Frozen Watch but on a longer time scale. [4]

There are also cases where the voyage will only take a few years (sometimes a few weeks), and while the colonists may have skills useful at the colony most of them are not useful aboard ship. The colonists hibernate to reduce life support costs, and to facilitate use of smaller ships, while the crew remains awake for the entire voyage. In these cases, the crew - who are adjusted to shipboard life among the stars, and thus might make poor colonists - may continue flying the ship (possibly returning to where the colonists came from) after their cargo is delivered. [5]

This is sometimes used to build a colony up in stages with smaller ships. As an extreme example, a ship might carry only 1,000 colonists and their equipment at a time, to a colony 1 week-long jump away from the colonists' origin, building up to 1,000,000 colonists over 100 back-and-forth trips over the span of 40-50 years (2,000 weeks, plus time to load and unload 1,000 times each). These same ships are typically capable of much longer journeys; only the logistics of scheduling multiple trips in a reasonable time span limits their range for such operations. [6]

Strategy & Tactics (Doctrine)[edit]

Like most civilian vessels, Expedition Ships are not designed for combat and should run whenever possible when facing marauders or pirate vessels. Many are equipped with light armament and defensive suites nevertheless.

Supraclass Roles[edit]

Expedition Ships typically serve the following roles:
Largecraft & Bigcraft:

T-class Transport & Tanker Supraclass Archetypes
Archetype Type Code
Sleeper Ship (KCS)

Size-Class Roles for Expedition Vessels[edit]

  1. Expeditionary Smallcraft (UK) (1 to 99 tons)
  2. Very Light Expedition Ship (KVL) (100 to 2,499 tons)
  3. Light Expedition Ship (KL) (2,500 to 99,999 tons)
  4. Medium Expedition Ship (KM) (100,000 to 249,999 tons)
  5. Heavy Expedition Ship (KH) (250,000 to 499,999 tons)
  6. Superheavy Expedition Ship (KS) (500,000 to 999,999 tons)
  7. Ultraheavy Expedition Ship (KU) (1,000,000 or more tons)

Civilian Subcraft[edit]

Civilian subcraft (...both smallcraft and bigcraft) are carried by some of these vessels:

  1. Barge (WB)
  2. Utility Craft (U)

Supraclass Archetypal Roles[edit]

These vessels typically serve the following archetypal roles:

K-class Expedition Ship Supraclass Archetypes
Archetype Type Code/s Exemplar Remarks
Expedition Ship K Leaping Snowcat class Safari Ship Type-K Expedition Ships are tasked to go on extended trips whether for recreation (safari), exploration (colonization), diplomacy (first contact), or other tasks requiring purposeful travelling across vast distances. [7]
  • K = Kiswahili (Name of Terran language used in an area where many significant safari expeditions occurred. Also known as Swahili)
Colony Ship KC C-Jammer class Settlement Transport Colony ships, settlement transports, star arks, and the like bring a population of colonists across great distances to establish new mainworlds. Such vessels are often quite large, needing to bring all the necessities of life to the new world. [8]
  • C = Colony
NOTES: There is semantic overlap between many of the classes and codes. Some codes organize by mission or capability, others by size and tonnage, and yet others by other characteristics.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Colony Ships establish colonies on new worlds, settlements to sustain life and provide socioeconomic commerce.

The Phoenix 2800 was one famous FTL sleeper ship, taking 5 years to complete its multi-sector voyage.

Polity Users of This Technology[edit]

The following species are known to use, have used, or posses the technology to manufacture sleeper ships:

Selected Variant Types & Classes[edit]

Civilian Ship - Largecraft - Expedition Ship:
Type K class Expedition Ship

  1. Type KC class Colony Ship
    1. C-Jammer class Settlement Transport
    2. Jump Conveyor class Settlement Ship
    3. Vrad class Generation Ship
    4. Xeng Kirr class Space Ark

Ship Summary List[edit]

Some of the most commonly used vessels in this role or these roles include:

0 Representative Expeditionary Sleeper Ship (KCS) Classes
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References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.
  1. An unpublished factoid written by Adrian Tymes
  2. An unpublished factoid written by Adrian Tymes
  3. An unpublished factoid written by Adrian Tymes
  4. An unpublished factoid written by Adrian Tymes
  5. An unpublished factoid written by Adrian Tymes
  6. An unpublished factoid written by Adrian Tymes
  7. An unpublished factoid written by Maksim-Smelchak
  8. An unpublished factoid written by Maksim-Smelchak