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Vessel Manifest, 2157 AD

Copyright © 2002 by Bob Hall, all rights reserved

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Return to After Earth

The following manifest gives details of significant space vessels within the solar system in the year 2157. LSS designates a Lunar Republic space ship. This manifest does not cover any purely autonomous vehicles; the large numbers of short range shuttles and buses; or any small mining or transport vessels with a maximum inhabitable complement of nine or less.

Despite the variety of ships in operation, certain standards have been incorporated into all legal vessels for safety and economic reasons. All ships have standardized docking ports, identifying markers, fueling connectors, and attachment points. For the most part the ships also operate with a standard atmospheric mixture, and have interchangable fittings for environmental systems. Communications gear is also required to use standard channels with certain bands reserved for emergency use.

The most common type of ship drive at present is the ion drive. The power systems for these drives include solar arrays, hydrogen cells, fission reactors, and fusion systems. The last is usually reserved for the largest ships. Most ships also include chemical thrusters for maneuvering, and a few military ships have chemical propulsion systems for rapid maneuvering. All vessels designed for surface landing use a chemical propulsion system for this purpose, although they can be launched by magnetic rail systems.

For protection against radiation, large ships are built with a shielded shelter area where the crew and passengers can take refuge. These shelters include auxiliary controls that allow some control of ship systems. Most ships now include a monitoring system that is connected to the Solar Mass Ejection Reporting Network (SMERN) controlled from the Firehawk Center on Mercury. So the crews typically have several days warning of a high radiation hazard.


Operational:  Number of ships currently in operating condition.
Length:  Maximum dimension in meters.
Mass:  Total empty mass before propellant and cargo.
Capacity:  Maximum rated slots for crew and passengers.
Duration:  Maximum rated operating period without resupply.
Propulsion:  Number and types of main drives.

Ship Models

Armstrong Class

Operational: 17
Length: 205m
Capacity: 18
Duration: 1 year
Propulsion: 1 solar/chemical powered ion drive

The ships of this class were intended as automated refueling tankers for provisioning vessels assigned to lengthy patrols. Instead they ultimately proved a disappointment due to design flaws, poor performance and heavy maintenance requirements. Most of these ships have since been modified to serve primarily as ore ships, carrying partially processed minerals from the asteroid mines to various industrial sites.

Most of the length of the ship is occupied by a double row of ore bays, attached to a central frame. There are a total of six such bays, with two columns of three bays each. The ore is kept from shifting during maneuvers by inflatable bladders within each of the bays. A robotic loading crane moves up and down the central frame, also allowing the crew to perform any servicing activities.

All crew quarters and other ship systems except the navigation beacons and maneuvering thrusters are located at the stern of the vessel. The bridge compartment is attached to a retractable arm overlooking the ore bays. On the opposite end of the arm is a greenhouse bubble containing the hydroponics farm. The pressurized crew quarters are relatively spartan, but not uncomfortable. There is also a small engineering section, living area, environmental systems, propellant tanks, a small cargo hold, observation room, and a hold for the ship's heavy maneuvering tug.

Buffalo Class

Operational: 38
Length: 155m
Capacity: 20
Duration: 15 months
Propulsion: 1 fission-powered ion plasma drives.

This flexible patrol ship is the mainstay of the Lunar Republic's military space force. The keel for the first vessel in this line was laid down in the year 2116 and since then they have been in production at the rate of one ship every eighteen months. Three different models of this class of vessel have been built, and are designated Mark I, II, and III respectively. Each variant has improved engines, sensors, durability, and flexibility over its predecessor.

The interior of the current Mark III design is intended for relatively quick changes in configuration to allow for multiple mission capability. The standard long duration patrol configuration provides comfortable facilities for the crew and plenty of storage for consumables. Alternate configurations allow the ships to be used as a fast troop transport, an escort vessel, a scientific survey ship, a resupply craft, or a torpedo boat.

The standard armament of the Buffalo class vessels is a pair of 14 megawatt pulsed plasma cannons arranged on both sides of the hull, plus a bow launch tube with a stock of eight chemical propellant nuclear capable missiles. They also carry four heavy and six light battle suits for boarding operations, plus a two person landing pod.

The fast transport, repair craft, and scientific survey configurations are generally only lightly armed with short range cannons, while the torpedo boat carries an additional twenty missiles. With full chemical propellant tanks, all of the configurations are capable of an unassisted take off or landing on the lunar surface. However they are rarely used for this purpose, as shuttles are much more efficient.

Standard on each configuration of this ship is the ion drive engine, three chemical propellant booster rockets, propellant tanks, an engineering deck, radiation shelter, command and control room, sensor array, and the aft crew quarters. The radiation shelter is disk-shaped, and the interior area rotates to serve as the crew exercise room. Much of the central portion of the ship consists of a single large cargo area that can be opened for rapid reconfiguration. For emergency escapes a life support sled is provided to which a fully suited crew can attach themselves. The sled provides enough air and water recycling ability to keep the crew alive for up to a month.

Copenhagen Class

Operational: 3
Length: 430m
Capacity: 139
Duration: 6 months
Propulsion: 3 fusion-powered ion plasma drives

Four of these fast luxury liners were completed just prior to the outbreak of the final world war, but the Jamaica was destroyed in earth orbit during the initial attack phase. Although nearly sixty years old, the Copenhagen class remains among the fastest ships in the system and all three surviving ships are still operational. They are in nearly constant use, carrying passengers and cargo on the three to six month run between lunar orbit, Phobos, and Ceres.

Each vessel is long and slender in design. They have a set of five passenger modules attached to swinging booms. To provide gravity for the passengers, during the voyage these deploy outward to form a rotating, spoked wheel arrangement. Each passenger module has three decks, with levels for first class cabins, economy class cabins, and a community deck. The last contains a recreation facility, kitchen, dining room, steward's quarters, and survival pods.

Elevators run between the passenger modules and the ship's core. At the bow of the ship is a viewing lounge, the hydroponics section, cargo area, meditation rooms, and the docking bridge. The ship stern has the fusion plant, engineering section, propellant tanks, crew cabins, life support, radiation shelter, additional cargo bays, and the main engines. Each ship has a standard crew of 19, and cabins for up to 120 paying passengers.

Crossbow Class

Operational: 2
Length: 46m
Capacity: 12
Duration: 6 months
Propulsion: 1 hydrogen cell powered cold ion plasma drive

Built over a decade before the outbreak of the final world war, this scout ship was designed with state of the art stealth technology to monitor activities in the belt region. The ship was designed to operate in near absolute zero temperatures, allowing it to be stationed in the umbra of asteroids for up to a month at a time. The propulsion system uses cold ions to minimize the radiation signature. The seamless outer hull is optimized for minimum radiation reflection, and it is cooled to the temperature of the cosmic background radiation.

When on station these ships can remain undetected for weeks at a time, positioned to intercept tightly focused transmissions between two locations of interest. Once most transmission technology switched to using masers, however, the value of the ship diminished. Instead it was modified for use as a transport craft for small, special operations teams. Both vessels are currently under the control of the Lunar Republic, and their whereabouts is unknown.

These small, cramped ships have only two main rooms. The forward chamber contains the hot swap bunks, a lavatory, shower, gear storage, supplies, water tanks, kitchen area, and airlock access. The core chamber is used for power, engine control, navigation, sensors, communications, and control systems. Access tubes in the back of the main chamber allow repairs to the engine, hull cooling system, and the propellant tanks. The ships do not have a radiation shelter, and so they normally rely on iron asteroids to shield them from this hazard.

Herschel Class

Operational: 4
Length: 275m
Capacity: 140
Duration: 2 years
Propulsion: 4 fusion-powered ion plasma drives

Consisting of the vessels Cargill, Genoa, Portland, and Budapest, these military ships of the line form the main striking force of the Lunar Republic. At least two of the ships are always kept in orbit around the moon with a minimum maintenance crew. In spite of being almost fifty years old, the ships are in good condition with state of the art ion drives, fully combat ready battle systems, and a reasonably well trained crew.

All of the ships include a central, 4.2 Gigawatt UV-C laser cannon, a ring belt of six 28 megawatt pulsed plasma cannons, four launch tubes with a stock load of thirty chemical propellant nuclear capable missiles, three surface landing capable shuttles, and a battle force of eighteen boarding robots. The armor is old style composite with nanotech self-repair capability. A reactive plasma deflection system and additional ablative sheets have been added for enhanced protection.

The fusion power plant has been recently upgraded, as has the ion drive system and the sensor array. As a result of the extensive modifications, however, the crew capacity has nearly been cut in half and much of the ship has been made fully autonomous. The habitable quarters are quite spartan and cramped, so only one ship is kept fully manned at any particular time for morale reasons. This single crewed vessel is normally sent on tours of the belt or to mars orbit in order to show the flag and maintain the authority of the republic.

Kimberley Class

Operational: 16
Length: 250m
Capacity: 28
Duration: 8 months
Propulsion: 2 fission-powered ion plasma drives

Designed from the start as an asteroid mining vessel, the Kimberley class ships are complete ore processing factories. At the prow of the ship is a set of anchor struts and the heavy drill. This piece combines diamonoid mechanical cutting bits with a plasma cutting torch for drilling through heavy obstructions. The material cut by the drill is drawn into a chemical factory that extracts various ores and substances. Nothing is wasted by the factory, and the extracted materials are stored in various holding bins and tanks near the stern of the vessel.

Once the mining vessel has dug sufficiently deeply into the asteroid, the anchor structs are removed and the ship is docked with the hole in the rock. The drill is now maneuvered to extract the highest grade material from the interior, with the head piece slowly maneuvering its way through the asteroid. Material is drawn back into the ship processing facility by a series of spinning conveyor belts deployed behind the drill head.

The ship remains in place on the asteroid until mining operations are completed. This is determined by cost accounting methods based on a preliminary survey of the asteroid. Freighters are periodically brought in to carry off the processed minerals, and to replace the crew and provisions. Once it is deemed more economical to mine a different asteroid, the ship is deployed to the new location.

The ship contains the standard facilities for a vessel of this kind. The crew quarters are somewhat spartan but adequate. Some minor recreation facilities are provided, but the vessels are kept strictly free of alcoholic beverages and illicit substances. No crew families are allowed on board except when the ships return for occasional maintenance. The ships do have some minor weaponry to deter piracy, including dual rail guns mounted in a turret in the aft and a pair of light defense robots. The ship has no on board shuttle, but does include maneuvering sleds and seven inflatable escape pods for emergency use.

Mindanao Class

Operational: 48
Length: 180m
Capacity: 15
Duration: 1 year
Propulsion: 2 fission-powered ion plasma drives

The workhorse of the space freighters, this class of robust vessels was built in large numbers by the Bayerlein shipyards, with production finally coming to an end only five years ago. Five variants were made in total, with designations -100 up through -500. However, part from the addition of a few crew ammenities and some minor improvements to the engines, control systems, and communications, there is little to distinguish these different models.

The Mindanao is relatively simple in construction, with a set of five large, airtight cargo bays joined together by a structure of lightweight trusses. The front of the ship is protected by an armored bow plate to deflect or absorb minor impacts. The relatively comfortable crew quarters are located at the very stern of the ship, along with the propellant tanks, a well-shielded fission power plant, and the dual ion engines. The crew can access the cargo compartments by means of a pair of pressurized cars that are mounted on tracks along the truss system. Each freighter comes equipped with a runabout and four emergency escape pods. However these accessories are not always properly maintained or even fully functional.

Redcliff Class

Operational: 7
Length: 130m
Capacity: 38
Duration: 1 year
Propulsion: 1 solar-powered ion plasma drive

The oldest still operating mining ships, these craft are actually transport vessels built to carry three separate drilling rigs. The rigs are placed on the surface of the asteroid by a derick mounted on the nose of the craft, then held in place by thrusters until the locking clamps can get a good bite against the surface. (This class of ships is only capable of mining fairly cohesive asteroids.) The ship then serves as crew quarters while the drills operate, ferrying the watch teams back and forth using a pair of shuttles.

The extracted asteroid ore is held inside expandable containers that are hauled away by freighters. The ship does not have a cargo hold or enough power to operate an ore processing facility, so most of the material hauled away is low grade at best. For this reason many of the ships in this class have been mothballed, and the remainder are now owned and operated by independent mining families.

The comfortable crew quarters are located inside a rotating arm that is typically spun for several hours each day to provide gravity for exercise. The remaining facilities of the ship are fairly primitive by modern standards, but more than adequate for the task. There is only a light radiation shelter, and so during the rare heavy solar storms the ship must take shelter behind an asteroid. The ships also have their own machine shops where repairs are made. Spare parts can also be manufactured using somewhat slow, older generation nanotechnology vats powered by the spare solar panels.

Individual Ships

LSS Atlantic

Length: 175m
Capacity: 22
Duration: 4 years
Propulsion: 1 fusion-powered ion plasma drive

An older model, Mark I Buffalo class patrol ship, this vessel has been heavily refitted for research and long duration travel. It now includes an advanced, highly efficient ion drive that increased the overall ship length by 20 meters. The propellant tank for this drive occupies over half the interior volume of the hull, and required the removal of the old chemical propellant thrusters and fuel tanks. Much of the old bow section has also been modified to include powerful sensor gear, a compact laboratory, a decontamination chamber, and three remotely operated recon drones.

The ship is noted for its investigation of the biohazard asteroid and the discovery of the cosmic strand on the edge of the solar system. It has completed three expeditions to the strand, and is now used to resupply the small scientific outpost establish at the site. Plans are underway to use the Atlantic for a new mission to further explore the Oort cloud, once a long duration supply ship has been completed.

LSS Coral Sea

Length: 315m
Capacity: 43
Duration: 1 year
Propulsion: 4 solar-powered ion plasma drives

One of the first ships commisioned by the fledgling Lunar Republic was this large salvage ship. It was originally envisioned as an armored recovery ship capable of retrieving foundered vessels from low earth orbit. However the ship was fifteen years in construction at the Bayerlein ship yards, and by the time it was completed the urgency of the requirement had passed. Instead the ship was modified for use in the asteroid belt to recover damaged warships. The heavy armor was removed to improve its range, and the solar panels were significantly enlarged.

This enormous ship is capable of recovering virtually any spacecraft that has yet been built. Due to the infrequent need for such a task, however, the ship is now normally manned by an all volunteer crew stationed at Ceres. Most of the time the ship is in stand down mode in orbit around the asteroid, with only annual visits to ensure the vessel remains fully operational.

The Coral Sea has comfortable crew quarters with a lounge, recreation area, and a rotating exercise wheel. There is a complete machine shop, four chemical propellant maneuvering tugs, two 12Megawatt short range cutting lasers, and various grappling gear and several huge mechanical clamps. Finally there are three old heavy lift robots that have been modified for salvage operations.

LSS Kelper

Length: 360m
Capacity: 355
Duration: 3 years
Propulsion: Six fusion-powered ion plasma drives

Completed just six years ago, the Kelper was conceived as the first in a new class of ships built as a response to the perceived threat posed by the biohazard asteroid as well as the anomaly at the edge of the solar system. In terms of firepower alone this single vessel is more powerful than the remainder of the vessels in the Lunar Republic's military fleet combined. This cruiser actually functions as a mobile battle base, providing all requirements needed to support its crew on extended voyages about the system. At present the Kelper is the flag ship of the LR space fleet.

The most notable feature of the ship is the wide, circular belt around the middle. This is actually a lengthened torus structure that rotates to provide gravity for the crew. There are a total of three decks in this torus, with sleeping quarters, mess halls, hydroponics, and showers located on the outer two decks. The inner deck holds two modern laboratories, a sick bay, an off-duty recreation area, the armories, and a 3-D vid hall. The well protected heavy fusion plant and engineering section is located in the stationary shaft within the torus.

In the aft of the ship are mounted twelve large propellant tanks, a roomy cargo bay, the auxiliary command center, four fast attack craft, and the six ion plasma drives. The heavily armored bow section holds the ship's heavy weapons, command bridge, radiation shelter, sensor array, a comfortable landing shuttle, and the ship's powerful communications gear.

In terms of weaponry the ship has a massive 85.6 Gigawatt UV-C laser, eight 36 megawatt pulsed plasma cannons, twenty 9 megawatt pulsed plasma cannons, and ten launch tubes total with four in the stern. It carries a stock of one hundred and sixty four chemical propellant nuclear capable missiles, and a battle force of twelve heavy and eight light boarding robots. The ship armor combines the latest state of the art plasma deflection system, self-repairing ablative sheets, and ten rugged damage control robots.

LSS Plato

Length: 135m
Capacity: 9
Duration: 18 months
Propulsion: 1 solar-powered ion plasma drive

This small, custom built scientific vessel served as part of a three ship flotilla dedicated to study of the outer system. It is most noted for the investigation of the biohazard asteroid in 2124, and its consequent loss due to the effects of advanced biotechnology weapons. The ship has been placed in a state of permanent quarantine until suitable technology can be developed to combat these weapons. All robots sent to investigate the vessel interior have been quickly destroyed by what have been described as various nightmarish life forms.