Science Fiction Art by David C. Mueller / dcmstarships

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Star Vessels Project

Introduction

The Star Vessels setting takes place in a fictional era centuries in the future where Humans have achieved a moderate level of star-faring technology with a noticeable variety of shapes for their spaceships. In the Star Vessels fictional environment, Human starships have been around for about 200 years.

The Star Vessels setting is one of my more romantic science fiction universes, especially in its use of whimsical spaceship hull forms. Other features that set this family of projects apart from my other project families are smaller ship sizes, smaller crews supplemented by lots of robots, more colorful color schemes for the vessels, and almost all designs being landable on planetary surfaces. I have deliberately used a more “illustration” type rendering style for the Star Vessels project.

The major inspirations for the Star Vessels projects are spaceship illustrations from the late 1970’s / early 1980’s by Jim Burns, David Egge, Peter Elson, Chris Foss, Colin Hay, Paul Jacquays, Angus McKie, Chris Moore, and Tony Roberts. There is also a bit of the computer game Homeworld thrown in.

Exploratory Starships

Adventurous Class Star Surveyor

The Adventurous class Star Surveyor is one of the smallest and most numerous Human starships currently in service. It has proven to be robust and versatile. This popular vessel has been adapted for use as a warp-jump capable ambulance, light freighter, and light patrol ship, in addition to its primary role as survey ship. Adventurous class ships operate both alone and as support vessels for larger exploration and commercial starships. Originally outfitted with first generation Tech Level 6 propulsion, most surviving vessels have been upgraded to second or third generation technology. An example boasting third generation Tech Level 6 drive and its accompanying statistics are depicted here.

Date Entered Service: 439 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 40.5 meters
Width: 22.2 meters
Height: 9.9 meters
Crew: 8
Passengers: 2
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.23 c
Maximum: Hyperspace Speed: 7.8 light years per day
Weapons: 1 Vibration Beam Emitter
Smallcraft Carried: 0-2 survey drones
Primary Design Influence: Moon Cargo Ship by Richard Jeferies

Star Surveyor Vanguard

The Vanguard class Star Surveyor is one of the smaller Human starships currently in service. Unlike the older Adventurous class, The Vanguard class has been designed solely for survey work. An unusual feature of this diminutive vessel is that it is not landable on planetary surfaces, depending instead upon its shuttle for such missions. Vanguard class ships were the first vessels with second generation Tech Level 6 propulsion. Their crews often consist of one or two families. Most Vanguard  class vessels operate alone.

Date Entered Service: 458 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 28.5 meters
Width: 36.6 meters
Height: 12.9 meters
Crew: 8
Passengers: 2
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.20 c
Maximum: Hyperspace Speed: 6.0 light years per day
Weapons: 2 vibration beam emitters
Smallcraft Carried: 1 large exploration shuttle, 3 survey drones, 2 repair drone
Primary Design Influence: Original design by David C. Mueller from 1985

Star Investigator Inquisitive

The Inquisitive class Star Investigator is the newest Human exploration vessel currently in service. This advanced starship includes the latest tweaks to third generation Tech Level 6 warp-jump systems. The Inquisitive class is used for short-term and mid-term exploration missions lasting from weeks to months in duration.

Date Entered Service: 498 (Radiant Era)
Length: 102.6 meters
Width: 49.6 meters
Height: 32.9 meters
Crew: 40
Passengers: 20
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.24 c
Maximum: Hyperspace Speed: 8.1 light years per day
Weapons: 2 vibration beam emitters
Smallcraft Carried: 2 large exploration shuttles, 10 survey drones, 2 repair drones
Primary Design Influence: Original design by David C. Mueller from 1985

Star Investigator Outreach

The Outreach class Star Investigator is one of the first Human starships with third generation Tech Level 6 propulsion. This class is replacing many older exploration vessels and is set to become the primary exploration class for years to come. The Outreach class is used for missions lasting from months to years. While capable of landing on planetary surfaces, this class usually relies upon its complement of smallcraft for such duties.

Date Entered Service: 489 (Radiant Era)
Length: 133.3 meters
Width: 55.6 meters
Height: 43.5 meters
Crew: 50
Passengers: 30
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.23 c
Maximum: Hyperspace Speed: 8.0 light years per day
Weapons: 3 vibration beam emitters
Smallcraft Carried: 4 small exploration shuttles, 10 survey drones, 2 repair drones
Primary Design Influence: A starship design by Chris Foss from 21st Century Foss (c) 1978

Star Investigator Sojourner

The Sojourner class Star Investigator is the largest Human exploration ship currently in service. It once formed to core of the Human exploration fleet and a replacement class is now under construction. The Sojourner class is a second generation Tech Level 6 ship and is used for exploration missions lasting from months to years. It is capable of towing two large cargo containers to assist in its duties.

Date Entered Service: 463 (Radiant Era)
Length: 187.4 meters
Width: 58.3 meters
Height: 23.4 meters
Crew: 100
Passengers: 60
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.19 c
Maximum: Hyperspace Speed: 6.0 light years per day
Weapons: 7 vibration beam emitters
Smallcraft Carried: 3 small exploration shuttles, 12 large exploration shuttles, 28 survey drones, 6 repair drones, 6 patrol drones
Primary Design Influence: A large space carrier design used as cover art for the tactical starship combat board game Starfire II

Star Investigator Patience

The Patience class Star Investigator was the largest and most advanced Tech Level 5 ship in the Human exploration fleet. Existing in an era where the total number of Human starships was only a few hundred vessels, it served at the outer edge of the expanding sphere of the Human presence in interstellar space.

Date Entered Service: 374 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 162.8 meters
Width: 121.3 meters
Height: 28.0 meters
Crew: 25
Passengers: 15
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.15 c
Maximum: Hyperspace Speed: 0.8 light years per day
Weapons: 4 force beam emitters
Smallcraft Carried: 4 large exploration shuttles
Primary Design Influence: A UFO design by Brick Price for the 1970’s TV series Project UFO

Military Starships

Star Patroller Steadfast

The Steadfast class Star Patroller is the most common Human military ship currently in service. It is usually used as an escort vessel for groups of commercial or military vessels. Steadfast class ships that operate alone normally stay near Human settled star systems. Carrying no shuttles of its own, the Steadfast class is designed to land on planetary surfaces on a regular basis. It is also used for search-and-rescue mission. A light freighter version of the second generation Tech Level 6 Steadfast class also exists.

Date Entered Service: 460 (Radiant Era)
Length: 50.7 meters
Width: 32.2 meters
Height: 12.4 meters
Crew: 15
Passengers: 5
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.20 c
Maximum: Hyperspace Speed: 6.1 light years per day
Weapons: 3 Vibration Beam Emitters and 1 Medium Plasma Bolt Launcher
Smallcraft Carried: 2 repair drones, 4 patrol drones
Primary Design Influence: Battle Cruiser Rirga by David Egge from concept art for unmade science fiction film Monument (c) 1979

Star Patroller Resolution

The Resolution class Star Patroller is the third generation Tech Level 6 replacement for the Steadfast class Star Patroller. The Resolution class is noticeably larger, better armed, and capable of longer-term missions than the Steadfast class. Like its predecessor, the Resolution class does not carry any shuttles, makes frequent landings on planetary surfaces, and has a light freighter variant.

Date Entered Service : 490 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 84.5 meters
Width: 46.6 meters
Height: 18.6 meters
Crew: 20
Passengers: 10
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.25 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 8.1 light years per day
Weapons: 2 Energy Beam Projectors, 4 Vibration Beam Emitters, and 1 Medium Plasma Bolt Launcher
Smallcraft Carried: 2 repair drones, 6 patrol drones
Primary Design Influence: Original design by David C. Mueller from 1985

Star Defender Aspiration

The Aspiration class Star Defender is the newest Human military ship currently in service. As a third generation Tech Level 6 design, it is replacing the Guardian class Star Defender as the core vessel of squadrons of military vessels. It also operates singly on long-term patrol missions.

Date Entered Service : 492 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 154.4 meters
Width: 88.6 meters
Height: 29.0 meters
Crew: 120
Passengers: 80
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.24 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 8.1 light years per day
Weapons: 2 Energy Beam Projectors, 8 Vibration Beam Emitters, and 1 Heavy Plasma Bolt Launcher
Smallcraft Carried: 2 personnel shuttles, 2 cargo shuttles, 4 survey drones, 6 repair drones, 28 patrol drones
Primary Design Influence: A starship design by Chris Moore from Space Wars Worlds and Weapons (c) 1979

Star Defender Guardian

The Guardian class Star Defender has formed the core of the Human military fleet for four decades. It operates both in squadrons and singly on a wide variety of military missions. Only the Illustrious class Star Champions are larger and more heavily armed. The Guardian class vessel is a second generation Tech Level 6 design that is now being replaced by the Aspiration class. It is capable of towing two large cargo containers to assist in its duties.

Date Entered Service : 463 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 201.0 meters
Width: 71.2 meters
Height: 16.6 meters
Crew: 100
Passengers: 60
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.19 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 6.1 light years per day
Weapons: 2 Energy Beam Projectors, 8 Vibration Beam Emitters, and 2 Heavy Plasma Bolt Launchers
Smallcraft Carried: 4 personnel shuttles, 2 cargo shuttles, 4 survey drones, 12 repair drones, 30 patrol drones
Primary Design Influences: Atlantic Class Cruiser by Paul Jacquays from Traveller Role Playing Game Supplement 9 Fighting Ships (c) 1981 and Hilgarian Cruiser from computer game Homeworld

Star Champion Illustrious

The Illustrious class Star Champion is the largest and most heavily armed Human military ship currently in service. It carries twice the armament of the Guardian class Star Defender. The second generation Tech Level 6 Illustrious class starships have also proven very useful for disaster relief operations and a replacement class is currently under construction. The Illustrious class is capable of towing four large cargo containers to assist in its duties.

Date Entered Service : 473 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 242.0 meters
Width: 152.0 meters
Height: 32.4 meters
Crew: 200
Passengers: 100
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.19 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 6.1 light years per day
Weapons: 4 Energy Beam Projectors, 14 Vibration Beam Emitters, and 4 Heavy Plasma Bolt Launchers
Smallcraft Carried: 8 personnel shuttles, 8 cargo shuttles, 16 survey drones, 16 repair drones, 72 patrol drones
Primary Design Influence: The Newbold Revel Defense Force 1000-Series Dreadnought (c) 1983 by fellow speculative spaceship designer Graden Elliott

Commercial Starships

Star Tugger Forbearance

The Forbearance class Star Tugger is the most common Human heavy tug currently in service. It can tow up to twelve large cargo containers unaided. That number can be increased up to forty-eight when warp-jump booster modules are employed. This second generation Tech Level 6 design has proven rugged and reliable.

Date Entered Service : 469 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 105.7 meters
Width: 81.3 meters
Height: 34.9 meters
Crew: 30
Passengers: 10
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.17 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 5.5 light years per day fully loaded
Weapons: None
Smallcraft Carried: 13 repair drones
Primary Design Influence: The Newbold Revel Defense Force 1000-Series Dreadnought (c) 1983 by fellow speculative spaceship designer Graden Elliott

Star Hauler Useful

The Useful class Star Hauler is the most common Human medium cargo ship currently in service. It can tow two large cargo containers in addition to internally stowed freight. The main cargo bay can be accessed from both the front and rear of the vessel. A small complement of passengers can be accommodated along with the cargo. This stalwart second generation Tech Level 6 design has also been produced in survey ship and small hospital ship variants.

Date Entered Service : 464 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 100.9 meters
Width: 55.7 meters
Height: 38.8 meters
Crew: 40
Passengers: 20
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.19 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 5.9 light years per day fully loaded
Weapons: None
Smallcraft Carried: 2 cargo shuttles, 11 repair drones
Primary Design Influence: Spaceship Murray Leinster from the Italian 1978 science fantasy film Star Crash

Star Hauler Bounteous

The Bounteous class Star Hauler is the most common Human large cargo ship currently in service. It can tow seven large cargo containers in addition to internally stowed freight. Cargo is stowed in two large cargo bays located the forward hull and two small cargo bays in the two lower connecting hulls. Passenger quarters are located in the upper connecting hull. Variants of this second generation Tech Level 6 design include a freighter with the forward hull extended all the way back to the engineering hull and a large hospital ship.

Date Entered Service : 466 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 200.5 meters
Width: 80.5 meters
Height: 31.7 meters
Crew: 50
Passengers: 30
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.18 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 5.5 light years per day fully loaded
Weapons: None
Primary Design Influence: A model rocket design called the Trident from the 1970’s

Star Hauler Capacious

The Capacious class Star Hauler is the most common Human container ship currently in service. It can tow up to twenty-eight large cargo containers (50 meters long, 20 meters wide, 20 meters high.) Smaller sized loose cargo is carried in holds located in the lower sections of the engineering hulls. As with most Human long-range freighters, the Capacious class accommodates a small complement of passengers. While capable of landing on planetary surfaces, Capacious class vessels normally carry a couple of cargo container shuttles to ferry containers to and from orbit. This saves wear and tear on the open space-frame that forms the bulk of this second generation Tech Level 6 design.

Date Entered Service : 467 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 210.2 meters
Width: 90.4 meters
Height: 57.9 meters
Crew: 60
Passengers: 40
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.15 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 5.0 light years per day fully loaded
Weapons: None
Smallcraft Carried: 2 personnel shuttles, 2 cargo container shuttles, 14 repair drones
Primary Design Influence: Original design by David C. Mueller from 1985

Star Liner Benevolence

The Benevolence class Star Liner is the largest and most luxurious Human passenger ship currently in service. This third generation Tech Level 6 design entered service just a few years ago and quickly became the most popular liner in use. The design includes a number of large interior spaces including a garden bay, a watersports bay, a live performance bay, and a virtual reality bay. An extra degree of safety is provided by the sizable deep space lifeboats.

Date Entered Service : 494 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 225.5 meters
Width: 74.5 meters
Height: 31.1 meters
Crew: 100
Passengers: 300
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.24 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 8.0 light years per day
Weapons: None
Smallcraft Carried: 4 touring shuttles, 16 large lifeboats, 12 repair drones
Primary Design Influence: Battlestar Galactica from original Battlestar Galactica TV series in the 1970’s

Star Miner Industrious

The Industrious class Star Miner is the most massive Human starship currently in service. This titanic second generation Tech Level 6 design consists of three specialized mining modules attached to a central hull. The most common types of modules are gas-giant miner, asteroid miner, nebula miner, and plasma miner. Some examples of the Industrious class are outfitted with all three modules being the same type while others have a mix of types. Processed materials are loaded into cargo containers that dock along side the giant vessel. Containers awaiting transport are attached to the underside of the central hull. Most surviving Industrious class ships have been retrofitted with third generation Tech Level 6 propulsion systems.

Date Entered Service : 475 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 175.0 meters
Width: 169.0 meters
Height: 131.0 meters
Crew: 90
Passengers: 30
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.21 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 7.5 light years per day fully loaded
Weapons: None
Small Starships Carried: 3 Adventurous class Star Surveyors
Smallcraft Carried: 7 survey drones, 14 repair drones
Primary Design Influence: Original design by David C. Mueller from 1985

Miscellaneous Starships

Star Healer Mercy

The Mercy class Star Healer is the most common Human hospital ship currently in service. This second generation Tech Level 6 design is unusual in that it is much taller than it is long or wide. The Mercy class was built specifically as a medical vessel rather than being a variant on a cargo ship. It is constantly being refitted as advances occur in Human medical technology.

Date Entered Service : 470 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 50.0 meters
Width: 50.0 meter
Height: 150.5 meters
Crew: 50
Passengers: 100
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.19 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 6.0 light years per day
Weapons: None
Smallcraft Carried: 8 ambulance shuttles, 16 repair drones
Primary Design Influence: Spaceship design seen on a Space Mission puzzle from the early 1970’s

Star Plunderer Partisan

The Partisan class Star Plunderer is one of the few starship designs built specifically for pirate activities. Most other pirate vessels are either converted freighters or obsolete military ships obtained illegally. The Partisan class is the largest second generation Tech Level 6 custom-built pirate design yet encountered. Usually armed with vibration beam emitters and a sizable complement of armed drones, it can stand up to any Star Patroller but usually runs at the sight of a Star Defender. A few have been spotted using plasma bolt launchers but most pirate captains prefer not to lose the valuable cargo hold space they replace. One example has been reported to mount a Star Defender-grade energy beam. Many Partisan class vessels include advanced electronic countermeasures in addition to the the standard suite of sensors and navigational deflectors.

Date First Encountered : 471 RE (Radiant Era)
Length: 125.5 meters
Width: 63.6 meters
Height: 16.8 meters
Crew: 35-60
Passengers: 0-25
Maximum Sublight Speed: 0.21 c
Maximum Warp-Jump Performance: 6.0 light years per day
Weapons: 4 Vibration Beam Emitters
Smallcraft Carried: 4 survey drones, 4 repair drones, 14 patrol drones
Primary Design Influence: Klingon D7 Battle Cruiser from Star Trek

Smallcraft

Type: Large Exploration Shuttle
Length: 21.9 meters
Width: 8.8 meters
Height: 6.0 m
Crew: 6
Passengers: 6
Maximum Speed: 0.22 c
Weapons: None

Type: Small Exploration Shuttle
Length: 15.3 meters
Width: 6.5 meters
Height: 6.2 m
Crew: 4
Passengers: 4
Maximum Speed: 0.22 c
Weapons: None

Type: Personnel Shuttle
Length: 19.1 meters
Width: 8.7 meters
Height: 4.8 m
Crew: 1
Passengers: 16
Maximum Speed: 0.21 c
Weapons: None

Type: Touring Shuttle
Length: 20.1 meters
Width: 9.0 meters
Height: 6.0 m
Crew: 3
Passengers: 16
Maximum Speed: 0.21 c
Weapons: None

Type: Ambulance Shuttle
Length: 15.3 meters
Width: 5.6 meters
Height: 5.5 m
Crew: 4
Passengers: 4
Maximum Speed: 0.22 c
Weapons: None

Type: Star Liner Lifeboat
Length: 18.5 meters
Width: 9.7 meters
Height: 6.5 m
Crew: 1
Passengers: 24
Maximum Speed: 0.20 c
Weapons: None

Type: Cargo Shuttle
Length: 19.7 meters
Width: 10.7 meters
Height: 6.1 m
Crew: 2
Passengers: 0-36
Maximum Speed: 0.19 c
Weapons: None

Type: Cargo Container Shuttle
Length: 26.3 meters
Width: 15.5 meters
Height: 5.5 m
Crew: 2
Passengers: 0-10
Maximum Speed: 0.21 c
Weapons: None
Type: Typical Drone
Length: 3.8 meters
Width: 2.7 meters
Height: 1.9 m
Maximum Speed: 0.29 c
Weapons: Varies

Space Station

Star Station Munificent

The Munificent class Star Station is the largest Human Tech Level 6 space station design currently in use. Only Human space habitats are bigger than this colossal facility. The huge modules at either end of the station house gigantic garden and recreation spaces. The eight docking pillars have a total of thirty-two starship docking ports. The great majority of Human ships currently in service can fit into the centrally located drydock. Munificent class Star Stations can be found in most major Human settled star systems; usually in orbit of an earth-type planet.

Date Entered Service : 460 RE (Radiant Era)Length: 1664 meters
Width: 528 meters
Height: 275 meters
Population: 20000
Passengers: 5000
Weapons: 40 Energy Beam Projectors, 120 Vibration Beam Emitters, and 12 Super Plasma Bolt Launchers
Smallcraft Carried: 50 ambulance shuttles, 100 personnel shuttles, 100 cargo shuttles, 30 cargo container shuttles, 50 large exploration shuttles, 50 small exploration shuttles, 30 touring shuttles, 1000 deep space lifeboats, 200 repair drones, 200 survey drones, 800 patrol drones
Primary Design Influences: Starship Manufacturing Complex Tokyo and K-14 Type Starbase by David C. Mueller from 1979

Star-Faring Technology of the Star Vessels Science-Fiction Setting

Mid to High Tech Level 6

Command and Control – non-sentient computer systems
Hull Construction – Metal spaceframe clad in metallic-ceramic hull plating
Power Generation – Mass Energy Converter
Matter Fuel Collection – Matter Accumulator
Slower-Than-Light Propulsion – Sublight Impeller (Gravitic Technology)
Faster-Than-Light Propulsion – Warp-Jump Generator
Faster-Than-Light Communications – Tachyon Transmitter
Defensive Systems – Navigational Deflector and Force Shell Generator
Weapons Systems – Vibration Beam Emitter, Energy Beam Projector and Plasma Bolt Launcher

 

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