Void Camera class Deep Space Scout

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Void Camera class Deep Space Scout
Wiki Navy.png
Finding Things In The Nothing
Type: SF Deep Space Scout
Agility 0
Also see Void - Jump Bridge
Architect Adrian Tymes
Blueprint Yes
Canon No. Unpublished, non-canon fan starship design.
Cargo 0.2 Tons
Cost MCr188.95. MCr170.055 in quantity.
Crew 6
Enlisted 5
Officers 1
EOS Examples still operate post-Collapse
Era Third Imperium
Hardpoints 2
Hull Sphere Hull
Illustration No
IOC 871
Jump J-3
Maneuver 9 G
Manufacturer Probable Technologies
Marines 0
Model Model/6 with a Model/5 secondary
Origin Boötean Federation
Passengers 0 High/Med 0 Low
QSP SF-BS93
Reference EXTERNAL LINK: MGT Forums
Size 200 Tons
Size-cat ACS
Streamlining Streamlined Hull
Tech Level TL–15
USP SF-F2893S-DL
Designed with Mongoose Traveller High Guard rules, but portable to other versions.

The Void Camera class Deep Space Scout is scouting starship.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Empty parsecs, with extremely sparse resources compared to even uninhabitable star systems, are often ignored, or at most treated as barriers to be jumped over. But sometimes a minor polity will find itself unable to overcome said barriers, or be interested in setting up supply caches away from the star systems their enemies know the locations of. Rarely are said polities able to do something about it (and major ones are usually too large to have such worries), but Charted Space is full of exceptions to most any law of sophont behavior. The Void Camera is one such exception.

Thus, a Void Camera's mission: to explore vast empty parsecs, to seek out new resources and new ice, to map out spots for Deep Space Fuel Caches where no one has gone before.

Whether connecting adjoining jump-1 mains for use by less capable merchants, or enabling the crossing of great rifts, the procedure for each square parsec remains much the same:

  • Jump into the center of the area,
  • Take a "gravitic snapshot" to find any clusters of matter within 1/10 of a parsec of the middle (there are always some),
  • Jump to the most promising,
  • Spend 1-5 weeks prospecting (possibly including a week to jump to a second cluster if the first does not pan out), and
  • Jump back with the results for someone else to build a depot with.

Working with a well-supplied Construction Vessel in this way, a bridge across a rift can be laid down, growing by one parsec every 1-2 months (after an initial 1-2 months to start the process). A Void Camera has enough engine and fuel to Jump 3 twice, but will usually only explore up to 2 parsecs out and back, using the remaining 2 parsecs' worth of fuel for in-parsec jumps (as listed above). ("Well-supplied" is often an understatement, typically requiring significant manufacturing capacity either at one end of the jump bridge or delivering its products there, though there is at least one known case of a Legionary class Corvette manufacturing and depositing Icepick class Fuel/Ice Harvesting Drones and related drones.)

Up to four scientists can crew the gravitational analysis suite; at least one of them must be rather experienced (with more talent per scientist needed if there are three or fewer scientists, so the official recommended crew is four). Given the fields of science required, the Void Camera's designers assumed that at least one of the scientists will be able to astrogate as well, and so made no separate accommodation for a dedicated astrogator. Traditionally, the astrogator-scientist is also the captain, though sometimes the pilot or engineer takes this role (especially if they are the astrogator instead).

While the secondary computer on a Void Camera is officially a backup, both will often be in use at once while prospecting.

Image Repository[edit]

Not available at this time.

General Description & Deck Plans[edit]

  1. Deck Plans for this vessel.
    1 void camera 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: 200 tons (standard). 2800 cubic meters. Streamlined Sphere Hull (technically egg-shaped).
  • Dimensions: maximum 32 meters long by 15 meters wide by 7 meters tall.
2. Crew Crew: 1 Pilot, 1 Engineer, 4 Scientists. 1 Astrogator, who is one of the other crew - usually one of the Scientists - and is also the captain.
3. Performance Acceleration: 9-G maneuver drive installed.
  • Jump: 3.
4. Electronics Model/6 ship computer, with a Model/5 secondary.
5. Hardpoints 2 hardpoints, unused.
6. Armament None.
7. Defenses None, aside from typically operating where no other starships are expected to be.
8. Craft None. Vacc suits required for 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 MCr188.95 standard (no architect's fees, having been amortized long ago). MCr170.055 in quantity.
11. Construction Time 6 months standard, 4 in quantity.
12. Remarks A Deep Space Scout designed to find resources where most ships only see empty parsecs.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

It is suspected that Probable Technologies developed the Void Camera for its home polity, the Boötean Federation, at some point in the 700s to explore the many large empty regions of space (essentially, miniature rifts) nearby. However, official records do not admit its existence until just after the creation of the Solomani Confederation in 871, at which point the design was officially for sale to the other polities that made up the Confederation, as well as to nearby unaligned pocket empires. Technically the design was also for sale to the Third Imperium, even during and after the Solomani Rim War, but there have been few such purchases (save for transport and resale to pocket empires far from the Solomani Sphere).

Similar ships have been invented elsewhere. The most extreme known example of this is that the Solomani Preserve and Pirian Domain, far off on the other side of Charted Space, field a virtually identical (to the limited level of detail this database has on it) ship class, which they also call the "Void Camera". Sociologists have noted similar cultural traditions fulfilling similar missions; less studious (and typically non-Solomani) students just write it off as Solomani being Solomani.

That said, Void Cameras are fairly rare, usually only appearing in small polities dominated by Solomani, Vargr, or certain minor races (and usually only those that achieve at least TL-15, so as to maintain them). Vilani ship builders tend to object in principle to the very idea of going off into empty parsecs on purpose, hoping to discover resources, while the other major races find J-3, J-4, or even J-5 bridges more practical (and more controllable).

Even in said pocket empires, the polity will typically run out of nearby empty parsecs to survey well before the ship's mortgage is paid off, let alone before the ship's useful lifetime ends, even if it only buys a single Void Camera. Jump bridges are often too expensive for a pocket empire to create, removing much of the reason to survey nearby empty parsecs in the first place.

A Void Camera will more than suffice for belt prospecting in a star system, or can be pressed into service surveying worlds (with the gravitational analysis suite replaced by more standard laboratories and additional probe drones). Ironically, it can more often be found doing one of those tasks than its official purpose. It is somewhat expensive for such roles, usually only employed for them to justify its original purpose after the target empty parsecs have been surveyed.

Class Naming Practice/s & Peculiarities[edit]

Ship Interior Details (Peculiarities): The Void Camera's shell is distinctly egg-shaped, the most noticeable irregularity being the crew airlock's exterior. While there is a second airlock on the dorsal side, this is normally reserved for the recoverable probe drones, which are designed to allow the crew to conduct multiple simultaneous surveys.

Crew endurance can limit a Void Camera's deployment more than its fuel, as the limited staterooms force double-occupancy, and a Void Camera's crew deck is cramped to a greater degree than many starships. For instance, the cargo and commons are a single, shared area that also sees quite a bit of traffic, with three iris hatches, two interior doors, and two corridor entrances surrounding it. Jogging through the lone corridor (and part of the cargo/commons area) is a common form of exercise, but care must be taken that no one else is in the corridor at the time. Multiple crew typically jog together, while non-jogging crew keep to the bridge or the gravity analytics room for the duration, though knowing they are staying inside to avoid an accident can make them feel more confined.

The bridge's three stations are for the pilot, engineer, and astrogator. That the astrogator (if one of the scientists) must do that job from the bridge means the other scientists are left with light duty (usually securing any returning probe drones and making certain all scans are complete) while a jump is being plotted, which some crews have reported as feeling like it was taking away from scanning time (as the sensor suite is still receiving data until the moment of jump).

Class Naming Practice/s: Void Cameras are named for famous observatories, cameras, and sometimes empty regions of space (especially if they were originally commissioned to explore said regions).

Selected Variant Types & Classes[edit]

Paramilitary Vessel - Scout Vessel - Fleet Scout:

  1. Type SF class Fleet Scout
    1. Dart class Scoutship
    2. Dewclaw class Fleet Scout
    3. Duke class Fleet Scout
    4. Dunkle class Fleet Scout
    5. Inquiring Mind class Fleet Scout
    6. Logos Minos class Fleet Scout
    7. Pathfinder class Fleet Scout
    8. Pukharra class Fast Scout
    9. SH02A class Fleet Scout
    10. Void Camera class Deep Space Scout
    11. Wasp class Fleet Scout

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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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.

  1. Timothy B. Brown. Fighting Ships (Game Designers Workshop, 1981), 10.
  2. Timothy B. Brown. Fighting Ships (Game Designers Workshop, 1981), 10.