- 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.
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.
- It conveys its passengers and cargo between the mediums of a planetary atmosphere and the vacuum of near orbit.
- In combat roles, they are designed to follow targets inside or outside of an atmosphere.
Examples of Spaceplanes
No goods in Spaceplane
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
- Rocket → Aircraft → Shuttle → Spaceplane → G-Carrier → Advanced G-Carrier → Interstellar Spacecraft → Starcraft
Technological Overview of Spaceplanes
|Foundational Period: TL:1-9|
|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: TL:10-18|
|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.|