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Spaceflight is a term for any flight outside of a planet's atmosphere in the vacuum. In most cases, it means flight within a star system.

Library Data Referral Tree[edit]

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

  • Speed of Travel

  • Description (Specifications)[edit]

    Flight within a star system is typically conducted with a maneuver drive. Due to the efficiencies of the reactionless M-drive system and the abundant energy supplied by fusion power plants, ships are capable of constant acceleration [1] . In-system travel between two worlds typically involves departure from orbit around the starting world, acceleration to the mid-point of the journey, a "rollover" maneuver to turn the thrusters toward the destination, followed by deceleration into orbit around the destination world. The course for such a journey is planned by an astrogator who takes into account the relative positions and orbital velocities of the two worlds when plotting the maneuver. [2]

    Interface from orbit to surface may be through launch and landing of the ship, or through the use of auxiliary small craft.

    Travel Formulae[edit]

    Travelling in Charted Space: The travel formulae and diagram used by the Imperial Navy and Scout Service show a typical interplanetary journey, and equations which can determine time required (if distance and acceleration are known), acceleration required (if distance and time are known), and distance travelled (if time and acceleration are known]. All of the formulae use the MKS (meters, kilograms, seconds) unit system, and assume that the ship is undertaking a journey from rest, that it accelerates continuously to midpoint of the trip, and then decelerates to rest again. [3]


    History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

    Most sophont species discover spaceflight when an alien ship arrives in orbit around their homeworld. Those that remain uncontacted until TL-6, and have a sufficient industrial base, will often experiment with chemical rockets. Between TL-6 and TL-8, such devices are capable of sending both crewed and robotic probes around a single system, though at a significant cost in resources. Rockets capable of reaching even nearby planets require thousands of tons of fuel and huge dedicated launch facilities, furthermore they are quite dangerous. [4]

    Rocketry progresses until the discovery of gravity control technology. Gravitic lifters can move payloads from a planetary surface to orbit much more safely and efficiently. The Gravitic Drive is an outgrowth of gravitic lifters, and civilizations that develop the technology make a significant leap in their interplanetary capability. [5]

    As gravitics become less expensive, spaceflight goes from being the exclusive purview of governments, to the business of corporations, and ultimately to individuals. By TL-10 it is not unusual for an individual sophont to own a personal grav vehicle capable of reaching orbit or even reaching a nearby moon. Larger shuttles are capable of sustained journeys, even to the outer solar system using a Gravitic drive, though they are not as efficient outside of a gravity well, they still outperform chemical rockets in every category. By this tech level it is typical for a civilization to have multiple outposts throughout their star system. [6]

    At TL-11, thruster tech becomes the most efficient means of interplanetary travel. These drives provide efficient reactionless thrust out to 1000 diameters from any large body. [7]Civilizations that develop thrusters can routinely travel outside of their star’s gravity well, and can establish colonies on suitable worlds within both their inner and outer system. Further gravitic research undertaken in the outer system may lead to the discovery of the jump drive. [8]

    This is the typical course of a civilization’s space exploration, but there are exceptions. The Zhodani made their first space journeys using psionic teleportation.[9] The K’Kree eschewed rocketry and never bothered to take to space until they had developed gravitics to lift vessels large enough to carry them. [10]

    Expected Technological Progression of Spacecraft Development[edit]

    References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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