From Acw

Spacegoing vessels of the 24th Century are a hugely varied type of vehicle, but they can be broadly categorised into four types, according to use:


FTL Ships

FTL ships are set apart by their massive expense and by the design constraints placed upon them by their main component: the Krasnikov generator and its supporting reactor. The first FTL ships were the research vessles of the 2130s and 2140s, which were small and frail beasts, often unmanned and not designed with any longevity in mind. Developed as it was in response to the Migration Crises, FTL technology first made its way into the Colony Ships of the late 22nd Century. Colony ships were massive beasts, with small conventional engines, a massive reactor to power their early Krasnikov generators (themselves incredibly bulky and delicate machines) and a module roughly equivalent in size, dedicated to the storage and transportation of the colonists, their supplies and life support systems, and the terraforming equipment needed to make an entire planet habitable. Bulky, unwieldy and too specific a design for any other use, these ships were all dismantled in orbit after terraforming was complete.

Another development in FTL travel occurred in the late 2140s, when the Russians completed the Alexander Nevsky. This ship was revolutionary in all of its design aspects, but mounted the first successfully miniaturised Krasnikov generator, designed to take that ship and only that ship through a Tunnel. This was an incredibly uneconomical way to move a vessel at FTL speeds, but was perfect for the Nevsky's purpose - to get decisive resources somewhere very quickly.

Broadly speaking today there are two subdivisions of FTL ships, which owe their origins respectively to the first FTL Colony Ships and the Alexander Nevsky.

Tunnelships or Coreships

Tunnel or Coreships are designed for one purpose - to create and sustain a Krasnikov Tunnel long enough for as large as possible a group of ships to make their way through it. Krasnikov generators and their reactors are massive and complex devices that require incredible amounts of energy to run and huge numbers of safety systems in case of failure. Designed as they are to open tunnels much larger than necessary for just their own bulk, Coreships are massive in size and expensive to produce. Though the size and design of the Krasnikov Generator has changed a lot in the 200 years since FTL travel was developed, they draw many of their design cues from the first FTL Colony Ships built by the major powers in the mid 2100s.

Tunnelship Size: The smallest Tunnelship is almosst 3 kilometers in length, and almost that high, and it can only sustain a Tunnel for a small fleet. They get as large as the largest Battlecruisers, over 20 kilometres in length, but are substantially taller. Typically an undersized set of engines strapped onto the bottom of the bulbous reactor housing, Tunnelships can be recognised by the protruding arms of the generator heads that extend outward from above the bridge.

Tunnelship Crew: Tunnelships usually have a crew of over 1000, with the majority being in the engineering sections. Most tunnelships have three shifts of engineers to minimise the chances of human error due to fatigue.

Small FTL craft

Some FTL ships are designed to only take themselves through the Tunnel they create. These fall into two categories: special military vessels and diplomatic vessels. As yet no private owners of Krasnikov generators exist. Partially this is due to the astronomical costs of running one, but the supply is also incredibly limited. Even if a buyer could dispose of the capital (and only a few buyers in the universe could do so, if they chose), what few are produced every year go immediately to military, government and large industrial concerns.

Commercial Ships


Private or Government Vessels

Military Ships

Military spacecraft operate almost exclusively in fleets, generally based around a Coreship or (most often in the Red Fleets) Combat Dropship. In fact, the name 'Coreship' comes from the usual tactical fleet deployment, and the tunnelship's central position. Within the fleet there are many distinctions and sub-distinctions.

Spaceborne combat

Spaceborne combat is a terrifying affair, as the twin roles of protection from harm and protection from environmental duress are less happily-married in a spacesuit as it would first appear. The need for a spacesuit to remain flexible and not overly inhibit movement (especially in the models of suit worn during de-pressurised combat readiness) usually leaves a multitude of weak spots where a comparatively low-energy projectile could cause a fatal rupture.

What is true of the spacesuit is true of the spaceship. For most military crew, explosive decompression and a messy death is only moments away. Spacecraft usually sport little armour, and most weapons designed for use against other spaceships are pinpoint, low-energy penetrators.


Armour is relatively useless in a vacuum, as the pressure on the inside of the armour is so much larger than that on the outside, and decompression happens very quickly. Even the smallest pinprick in its airtight skin can thus render a spacecraft inoperable by killing its crew. Projectiles are also more dangerous, as they travel farther and do not lose velocity through drag. It is easy to hit a spaceship with any sort of weapon, and easy to cut through its skin ifyou hit. As a result, spaceship designers tend to put less armour on a ship than would be on a comparative vehicle for use in atmosphere, because often it is just deadweight. The designers of the Alexander Nevsky pioneered the practise of placing the crew in spacesuits and de-pressurising the cabin (except for vital areas for the crew to retreat to during combat, such as the medical bay). Essential components such as reactors and engines are often still armoured. Space vessels use several types of armour.


Projectile weapons are particularly dangerous in space, as the projectiles travel in an uninterrupted line and do not slow down. A good computer guidance system will hit its target every time. A number of different weapons systems are used on spacecraft.

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