Design a Realistic Space Ship!

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Minibit, Feb 6, 2014.

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  1. Space: The final frontier! It's an exciting premise for any story; full of the unknown and open to any possibility you can imagine, and what better way to travel such a wonderful setting than in an amazing spaceship!

    So, how do we design a believable spaceship without ripping off Star Trek/Wars?

    Well, we have to keep a few things in mind; these points should stand regardless of how advanced your world's civilization is; your audience needs to connect it to space travel, so there should be SOME connection to how space travel works in the here and now, at least enough that the story isn't completely disconnected from reality

    • Space conservation:Every crewman getting their own quarters would take up far too much space on any craft. Officers may get their own rooms (ROOM, not sitting room, bathroom, and bedroom!) but regular workers and crewmen should bunk up together, either in a few large group rooms, or in divisions of 4-6 people per room.

      Having whole rooms devoted to recreation or luxuries is equally space-inefficient; even Voyager's Hydroponics Bay wasn't in the original design, it was converted after it became apparent that the stocked food sources would not hold out. Most recreation would happen in the mess room, where people can sit together and eat and bring any entertainment they would like to enjoy with them. The only ships that would have rooms specifically for entertainment would be luxury vessels

    • Engines
      A spaceship of the size featured in most science fiction couldn't be structured like a car, with one spot at either the front or the back that powers the entire structure; the engine would require constant maintenance, and would have to distribute power everywhere, meaning there would have to be more than one room from which power originates.

      The majority of the crew should at least be trained in regular engine maintenance, even if it isn't their main duty. The engine should also be accessible from many places on the ship, for repair and maintenance purposes. Strongly consider having various systems run on independent power; especially things like atmosphere, lighting, the medical provisions, and life support systems. Such crucial functions should not be dependant on only one source of power.

    • Decoration
      Do you have any idea, even in a futuristic world, how much building a sizeable space craft would cost? Any luxuries like decorations or musical entertainment should have been brought on by the crew. On military or commercial vessels, these would probably also be confined to personal quarters.

    • Back on size conservation, ships should be designed as small as possible, to save fuel, energy, and material costs.
    OK, that turned into a list of DON'Ts. Here's some stuff you should DEFINITELY include in your spaceship!

    • A galley! The crew all need a place to eat; an officer's mess is optional, and should be reserved only for luxury/flagship type vessels. The galley doubles as an entertainment room; crewmen can bring games or music to enjoy themselves here.

    • Quarters. These are the most compressible parts of the ship, so don't feel bad about cramming as many crewmen as possible into one room.

    • Engine rooms. Yes rooms; plural. for one single area to be responsible for all of the engine's main functions is impractical; It's more realistic for large vessels to have seperated engine sections, and for crucial functions to have one or more backup power sources. Also remember that one kind of power might not work for everything; you can't run a refrigerator on gasoline, and you can't run a car from an electrical socket (at least, not a beefy one!), so having a variety of power sources or at least adaptive systems is something to keep in mind.

    • Supplies. These should be scattered through the ship; otherwise if someone needs something and have to walk all the way across the ship to get it, it's terribly inefficient. Try to avoid having ONE weapons locker, ONE food storage, etcetera. Remember that doors can be locked; having a food storage near the crew quarters doesn't mean everyone will be sneaking midnight snacks!

    • The Bridge. This can have a variety of functions, and can act as the Navigation room, Scanner/sensors room, weapons room, and communications room. You can have the sections separated like office cubicles, or all together. Of course the commands issued from the bridge may be carried out in other parts of the ship, but there's no need for there to be a separate room for the head of each function.
    With all this in mind, try designing a realistic spacecraft! You can draw a picture, or write a description, or use the form below if you're really stuck.

    Ship Name:
    Ship's Purpose:
    Ship's Size:
    Was it built privately, on a tight budget, or extravagantly?
    How many crewmen aboard?
    What kinds of training are needed to work on this vessel?
    Is it outfitted for long-term missions or trips of a few days/weeks?
    Does it land on various planets, or a predictable few, or just one?
    What rooms/sections does it contain (Describe what happens in each room)
    Is it a multilayered ship, or does it only contain one deck?
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  2. Ship's Name: The XEC-III; designation 'Swallow'

    Ship's Purpose: The Swallow was originally intended as a transportation of goods and occasional passenger runs, as was evident of the XEC-I model. Model II added a larger crew compartment to make for a suitable command vehicle on planet-bound operations until model III was fully dedicated to transporting soldiers and acting as mobile command centers in both airless space and in 'atmo.

    Ship's Size: 10.5m x 7m (9 with engines accounted) x 5.5m

    Building Specifics: The Swallow, all iterations of the model, have been built by a private company. No extra expenses were tacked on to its manufacture, making it one of the most reliable transports in terms of cost effectiveness and efficiency. Often times wrecked Swallows would not be scrapped, rather several such wrecks would be fitted into one working model with the average exchange rate being four or five wrecks to one recycled ship. When space combat became more and more prevalent, the average Swallow could be rebuilt with as little as two clean hulks.

    Crew Size: Official crew only rests at a maximum of five permanent crew. In older models, this could be increased to a total of seven if modifications were made to the holding bay. The current model can hold five permanent residents in addition to fifteen soldiers and gear for an operation lasting about one week of normal combat operations.

    Training Required: The Swallow as it currently stands requires two dedicated pilots, a mechanic, a gunner, and a commander or other military leader. These are the official army regulations, with the civilian-owned models often consisting of whatever skill set is necessary to operate their sort of work. Often, by the end of basic training on a Swallow, all crew members are familiar with all the ins and outs of the machine they operate. As it is exclusively used for command units and transporting the best and brightest soldiers, the crew must be able to operate with as little as three members. Most crews, even constricted to three active members, are able to operate at only a marginal difference in efficiency, if not exactly in comfort.

    General Outfit: A Swallow's normal mission runs two to three weeks at most. It is not unheard of one crew lasting longer, but that is off of rationing and other non-orthodox methods. Depending on the specifics of the mission, it may be able to run as long as three months without a chain of supply or as little as three days in planet-bound engagements, all depending on the stand of the crew and its cargo. However, none of these missions would be classified as overtly 'long term.'

    Landing Capabilities: The most valuable asset to the Swallow is its ubiquitous nature. The original design was intended to operate on all planet types with equal effectiveness. Granted, the XEC-I and II models could operate in all atmospheres, entering them was a different story entirely - the shielding would be weakened after three or four reentries, an unforeseen risk. As such, several of the models were recalled and refitted to fix the issue with a more resilient shielding akin to those found on freighters and more rugged craft nearly twice its size. All crew compartments also contain their own oxygen containers that are stored in-flight should the 'atmo generator be damaged or oxygen otherwise be knocked out on planets yet to be terraformed.

    Rooms: There are two 'dugouts' underneath the main bridge compartment that run about six feet deep, each containing a bunk bed to fit four crew in total. The main pilot's chair can fold out into a bed for extended missions and to conserve space. One bathroom - consisting of a toilet and chem sink - dots the main hallway leading from the rear cargo hold/troop bay to the bridge. Opposite this room is the mess, which can sit a total of ten people at a time. The interior hallway is purposefully skewed to the right to allow this room to fit, causing the craft to extend in a more box-like shape to the left. A ladder in the main hallway leads down to the command center, a single module held in the interior of the craft with its own escape system to preserve the commanding officer. Beneath the right side of the craft lies the main storage bay for ammunition, food, and water; it is accessed from the main cargo bay by another descending ladder. Four engine access ports dot the ship: one in the command center, two in the hallway, and one in the main bridge. The engines themselves are as outward as possible as to conserve internal space, with the access ports leading to fuel lines and other vital electronic systems.

    Layers: The Swallow is at most a two-layered ship, with one main floor and two rooms nestled beneath the main cabin. Its design makes it an incredibly slim target comparatively to other models of its purpose, and thirty years of design have made it one of the most efficient carriers any armed force could ask for.
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  3. Ship Name: Phantasmagoria class carrier - HAS Siberia

    Ship's Purpose: Fleet Carrier

    The Phantasmagoria line of ships, consisting of four such ships (HAS Phantasmagoria, HAS Siberia, HAS Kola, HAS Kamchatka) was designed to be the center pieces of deep space fleets. Capable of maintaining the fleet around it, the Siberia is a massive ship.
    The ship will essentially serve as the space station of the fleet, by increasing its size the rest of the ships could have been made smaller, allowing for bigger fleets.
    However this left the fleet more voulnerable in case the Fleet Carrier were to be destroyed, because of this the carrier has been armed with the most advanced and powerful weaponry.

    Ship's Size
    3.5km long, 750 meters wide, 500 meters tall.
    The immense size of this ship may seem exaggerated, however every centimeter of space on this ship is tightly packed with quarters, storage, hangar space, or engines. In fact the ship is equipped with a whopping 450 engines located all over its hull.

    Was it built privately, on a tight budget, or extravagantly?
    The Siberia was constructed as a part of the deep space fleet armament project, and while its budget was plentiful nothing was wasted, the ship's construction costed 54.6 bilion credits, which totals to over 210 bilion credits for all four ships of its class.
    To compare, the production costs of a far smaller Ural class Cruiser are 60 milion credits, and the entire ship class consists of 2500 ships. Which totals to merely 15 bilions.

    How many crewmen aboard?
    Considering the Siberia is supposed to service its entire fleet that counts 750 ships, the crew is plentiful in numbers to say the least, operational peronnel, keeping track of the ship's systems count 550 men, engineering personnel count 700 men, marines and security personnel count 1000 men, science and medical personnel count 250 men, flight deck and docking procedure technicians count 600 men, the vessel also has 700 pilots for strike craft onboard, finally we have 300 service staff, which are mostly cooks for the kitchen. This totals up to 4100 men, with the number increasing when the fleet's frigates and corvettes remain docked.

    What kinds of training are needed to work on this vessel?
    Being the largest ship in the Human alliance, working onboard the Siberia takes above average results in the main specialization of the crew, but also extremely high scores on tests that determine how well somone handles the depth of space and long term expeditions far away from habitable worlds.

    Is it outfitted for long-term missions or trips of a few days/weeks?
    The Siberia itself carries enough supplies to support its fleet in non-combat conditions for two years, with refining facilities onboard to enable mid-expedition resupplying from easily accessible asteroid fields, nebulae and natural satellites.
    In combat conditions the Siberia may support its fleet with ammo and repair materials for 4-6 months, depending on the intensity of conflict.

    Does it land on various planets, or a predictable few, or just one?
    The Siberia itself cannot handle gravitational effects from planets, and would be destroyed by the tidal forces upon approaching one. Being constructed in the Perseids shipyards, in the lagrange point near Jupiter the ship never had to experience larger gravitational fields, the ship is equipped with smaller drone craft however, mining and shuttle craft capable of landing on planets and all sorts of objects.
    The ship itself also cannot dock to space stations, as it easily outsizes them.

    What rooms/sections does it contain (Describe what happens in each room)
    The ship has several key structures, these are the Bridge, the Command Center, the Hangar bays and the Refinery center. Other noteable features are the quarters, various ship maintanance compartments and fusion core sections. The ship also features several mess halls for its crew.
    The Bridge of the Siberia is located in the frontal section of the ship, overlooking Hangar bay 1. Unlike most ships the Bridge is not located on the outside hull of the ship, but rather on the inside. This is a large square shaped room from which most of the ship orders are given.
    The room is extruded from the Hangar wall, giving a view of the massive hangar through three glass walls, and the wall is solid only where the bridge connects with the rest of the ship.
    The bridge staff counts 25 people, each has their own semi-separated cubicle which allows them to preform tasks with maximum concentration, the captain of the vessel sits on a raised platform and has an advanced holographic screen to issue orders and recieve reports.
    Because of the mass and sluggishnes of the vessel, no visual data is required to control it, and the navigator uses a 3D display of the fleet to confirm the ship's location
    The Command center is a room very much alike the bridge in function, it is located in the center of the ship, protected by layers of metal shielding. This is where the fleet is commanded from, in the prior fleet structure, the commander of the flagship was the commander of the fleet, however due to the immense size of the Phantasmagoria class and the numerous tasks its captain has to look out for, the fleet has a separate admiral.
    The command center has no windows whatsoever, it is a large and circular room with consoles placed in a concentric order, with the outermost one being the lowest and the height increasing with each row, on top is a holographic display of the fleet and its surrounding area, it is a custom for the admiral not to have a dedicated seat.
    The Hangar bays of the Siberia are its main features, three of these huge rooms are in the vessel, and each hosts 400 strike craft, 50 shuttles and 25 mining drones. The hangar bays themselves are large square voids in the ship structure, its walls are lined with small terraces hosting strike craft and other vessels, hangar bay 2 also features an access to the ship's refining facility, acting as a drop off point for the mining drones.
    The hangar bays have 3 entrances on the starboard section of the ship and 3 exits on the port side. These holes are covered in forcefields that are calibrated to prevent gas leakage, but still allow solid objects to exit.
    The refinery center is what separates the Phantasmagoria class from other currently deployed Fleet carriers. This structure is located along the outside hull of section 2, and directly borders Hangar bay 2, it is obvious on the outside due to the numerous small and large smokestacks it has. The refinery center is capable of refining most ores into useable metals and alloys, and produce replacement parts for all ships in the fleet, besides that the refinery center is capable of converting hydrogen to deuterium, producing fuel for the fleet.
    The crew quarters differentiate depending on who occupies the room, quarters of the admiral and captain of the ship are naturally qutie luxurious, featuring a separate bedroom, bathroom and living room, there is five such rooms on the ships, three in case of VIP guests. After them come the officer quarters, these slightly larger then usual rooms feature a separate bathroom, however there is no separate bedroom, and the room itself is not even half the size of the largest quarters. After the officer quarters come the pilot quarters, these rooms also have their own bathrooms, however two people share each room. The remaining quarters are the small and average crew quarters, these rooms are the size of the officer or pilot's quarters, but house six people and have no dedicated bathroom. The furniture in these quarters also ranges from luxurious wooden furniture in the VIP quarters to metal bunkbeds in the crew quarters.
    Ship maintenance compartments.
    The Siberia has a lot of engines, and as such a dedicated engineering does not exist, each section has its own engineering from which system engineers are dispatched to repair various malfunctions or bugs on the ship, these rooms are mostly highly functional, featuring only sytem displays for the local area and numerous tool storage lockers.
    Fusion core compartments.
    The Siberia gets is power from 25 fusion cores located on various locations of the ship, each comparment has 8 fusion cores, with the refinery facility also featuring its dedicated core.
    The fusion cores are spherical in shape, massive magnetic coils supress the nuclear fire within them. These cores are shut down every 8 days for maintenance, an alternating system makes sure that at least 7 cores are online in each section at all times. Most of the core maintenance takes place from local ship maintenace compartments, remotely.
    Mess halls.
    The Siberia has a lot of crew, as such letting them each have their own kitchen would be very pointless, because of this there is over 50 mess halls distrubuted around the ship, where the crew can get their breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Because the Siberia operates in space only conditions, not all crew has their meals at the same time, some people have shifts when other people are asleep, because of this the kitchen personnel has to work around the clock, in three shifts.
    Food for the Siberia is supplied from TR-34 class food supply ships, which are vessels dedicated to harboring hydroponics bays.

    Is it a multilayered ship, or does it only contain one deck?
    Each deck on the Siberia, counting in various inter deck sytems is 8 meters tall, this leads to the ship having 62 decks, this number varies in the areas where the ship gets narrower, or in areas where the Hangar bay takes most of the internal area of the ship.
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  4. Class Name: Settler Class Colonization Vessel
    Class's Purpose: Colony establishment.
    Size: The Settler is designed to be a 100 m long vessel with an cylindrical profile with a 10 m radius and resembles a submarine.

    The Settler Class is a government mass-build starship for establishing or expanding off-world colonies. It is crewed by two pairs of pilots and two pairs of weapons officers (the weapon carrying version). It has a capacity for a thousand humans on board for colonization purposes. The simplicity of the control system of the Settler requires minimal training, it is as easy as driving a bike with training wheels. Settler Class starships are loaded with provisions for a few months for a thousand people to allow colonies to set up hydroponic centers and become independent from brought food and materials. But the ship itself is not meant to operate longer then a week in space. The Settler class usually lands only once trough if needed it can be outfitted with booster rockets and refiled with atmospheric entry fuel and sent to space again. Except for the small cockpit and crew cabin with only basic living necessaries most of the Settler if made out of large sleeping areas for colonists and warehouses. The source of power is a fusion generator located in the end section of the ship near the energy-demanding engines. The ship has three decks.
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  5. Ship Name: S.S.S Longboat Cruiser

    Ship's Purpose: Medium-sized transport and living quarters for the average space explorer and friends

    Ship's Size: roughly 214 metres square

    Was it built privately, on a tight budget, or extravagantly?
    : The main ship was won in a game of poker, and it was adapted via the purchase of modules that fitted on.

    How many crewmen aboard?: 4 - one pilot, one mechanic, the technician, and the captain.

    What kinds of training are needed to work on this vessel?: None, apart from one pilot. As long as the captain likes you. It's just an adventurer's lair, and if you're onboard, you're along for the ride.

    Is it outfitted for long-term missions or trips of a few days/weeks?: Long-lasting oxygen synthesisers and fuel system that is capable of flying incredibly far without breaking down. Also has suits to pressurise anyone should the systems fail.

    Does it land on various planets, or a predictable few, or just one?: Every one the pilot can safely land upon. Seriously, he's a mental. The ship can take a slight beating anyway.

    What rooms/sections does it contain (Describe what happens in each room):
    • Main corridor - connects all the rooms togther
    • Bridge - consists of a pilot's chair and a captain's chair, along with various monitors
    • Port Cargo Bay - used for storage
    • Starboard Cargo Bay - also used for storage
    • Rear Observation Deck - holds a medical robo-surgeon, plus big windows
    • Gunner - holds a single photon cannon, affectionately named Gillian
    • Quarters - includes "kitchen" and two bunk beds
    Is it a multilayered ship, or does it only contain one deck?: A single layer, although the ceilings are around ten metres high.
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