Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

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PsiTraveller
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:16 pm

How old a version of Traveller are we talking? The 1985 HighGuard from GDW has the following. (pg 27)

"Disposable fuel tanks may be added to the ship to increase its range. These
L-Hyd Tanks are fitted to the outside of the ship, and drop away before jump. The
result is more interior space available for cargo and passengers. Such tanks must
be replaced each time they are used, so they are practical only on runs to civilized
areas, or to increase fuel capacity to allow several jumps. L-Hyd tanks are installed
outside the hull, and increase the total tonnage of the ship; drives are reduced in
their efficiency based on the total tonnage of the ship. With tanks retained, efficiency
is decreased, and jump capability is reduced; when the tanks drop away,
tonnage is reduced, and the drive efficiency is increased. L-Hyd Tanks cost
Cr10,000, plus Cr1,000 per ton of fuel carried."

Now granted this does not help in my current example, it is more Drop Tankish in design, but it shows the interest 30 years back in increasing endurance.

Since my last post a couple of hours ago I have been playing around with a redesign of the Armstrong ship. The Core ship is 650 tons. this is the Power plant, M Drives, j Drive, fuel for 32 weeks and 1 Jump 3, bridge and staterooms. Cargo is not included in this list.

So this leaves 350 tons to get fuel for a reduced tonnage Jump and cargo to the 2nd Jump destination.
So Suppose we cut the ship to 800 tons with 200 tons of external cargo mounts. This reduces weapons by 2 hardpoints, basic energy down to 160. We might save a ton of Power Plant or 2.


An 800 ton ship Jumping 3 needs 240 tons of fuel, down to 204 tons dues to the efficient Jump engines. We could re-design the interior to have 120 Tons of Bladder, taking up 120 tons of space when full and 1.2 tons when empty. 30 tons of cargo would be available inside the ship. Outside the ship would be the 65 tons of cargo formerly in the cargo hold. Also on the cargo mounts would be the collapsible containers of fuel, 84 tons worth.

On the second trip the fuel bladder would empty 120 tons into the fuel tank (Since a ship only needs one fuel tank to get into Jump.) The external fuel is then drained into the fuel tank and the collapsing shipping containers brought in and stacked inside the cargo hold in the 120 tons of space. Even if you said it was 30 percent efficient you would need only 30 tons of interior space.
The rest of the cargo could be brought inside as well.

This save 41 tons of fuel for the second Jump, 41 tons of internal space. Yes, there is more moving of material around.
The great thing about this design is that if you were in settled space you could load up to 200 extra tons of cargo outside and move a lot more gear forward. When you got to a Rift you have to leave some behind, but enjoy the logistical flexibility while you can.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby phavoc » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:02 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:16 pm
How old a version of Traveller are we talking? The 1985 HighGuard from GDW has the following. (pg 27)

"Disposable fuel tanks may be added to the ship to increase its range. These
L-Hyd Tanks are fitted to the outside of the ship, and drop away before jump. The
result is more interior space available for cargo and passengers. Such tanks must
be replaced each time they are used, so they are practical only on runs to civilized
areas, or to increase fuel capacity to allow several jumps. L-Hyd tanks are installed
outside the hull, and increase the total tonnage of the ship; drives are reduced in
their efficiency based on the total tonnage of the ship. With tanks retained, efficiency
is decreased, and jump capability is reduced; when the tanks drop away,
tonnage is reduced, and the drive efficiency is increased. L-Hyd Tanks cost
Cr10,000, plus Cr1,000 per ton of fuel carried."

Now granted this does not help in my current example, it is more Drop Tankish in design, but it shows the interest 30 years back in increasing endurance.

Since my last post a couple of hours ago I have been playing around with a redesign of the Armstrong ship. The Core ship is 650 tons. this is the Power plant, M Drives, j Drive, fuel for 32 weeks and 1 Jump 3, bridge and staterooms. Cargo is not included in this list.

So this leaves 350 tons to get fuel for a reduced tonnage Jump and cargo to the 2nd Jump destination.
So Suppose we cut the ship to 800 tons with 200 tons of external cargo mounts. This reduces weapons by 2 hardpoints, basic energy down to 160. We might save a ton of Power Plant or 2.


An 800 ton ship Jumping 3 needs 240 tons of fuel, down to 204 tons dues to the efficient Jump engines. We could re-design the interior to have 120 Tons of Bladder, taking up 120 tons of space when full and 1.2 tons when empty. 30 tons of cargo would be available inside the ship. Outside the ship would be the 65 tons of cargo formerly in the cargo hold. Also on the cargo mounts would be the collapsible containers of fuel, 84 tons worth.

On the second trip the fuel bladder would empty 120 tons into the fuel tank (Since a ship only needs one fuel tank to get into Jump.) The external fuel is then drained into the fuel tank and the collapsing shipping containers brought in and stacked inside the cargo hold in the 120 tons of space. Even if you said it was 30 percent efficient you would need only 30 tons of interior space.
The rest of the cargo could be brought inside as well.

This save 41 tons of fuel for the second Jump, 41 tons of internal space. Yes, there is more moving of material around.
The great thing about this design is that if you were in settled space you could load up to 200 extra tons of cargo outside and move a lot more gear forward. When you got to a Rift you have to leave some behind, but enjoy the logistical flexibility while you can.
I'm going back to the original black books. While the idea of drop tanks has been around for a very long time, aside from a handful of instances, I don't recall them ever being promoted on mainline ship designs. They only people that seem to use them are the min-max crowd. The 'classic' free trader that has been around for a very long time has never utilized them. The rules clearly allow them. The rules back then and rules today have diverged.
PsiTraveller
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:08 pm

I've looked at a lot of the old material, and old designs and think it is time for the elements in the books to actually be used. Hence my Jump Station product that uses Drop tanks and external cargo mounts to actually turn a profit in shipping. Or my Seed of Doubt that upgrades the ship of the players at the expense of paranoia for the rest of the campaign. Heck, even the Vulcan production ship uses the mnaterial from the new high guard in a mobile way.

There are 40 years worth of ideas and nobody wants to change anything from the classic books. I find that odd.

Take the Free Trader you mentioned. Totally ripe for an upgrade. Add in 2.5 tons of Jump Drive and a Jump Net, or 100 tons of external cargo mount and you more than double carrying capacity. You could convert the cargo hold into more staterooms if you wanted to get more passenger income. 15 tons of upgrades (power plant, an extra ton of M Drive and the jump drive and the fuel tank expansion) and you have a completely different economic model, and one that is a lot more profitable.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:28 pm

The reason there is no extensive commercial exploitation of drop tanks, is that there are few technological level fourteen commercial starships.
PsiTraveller
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:08 pm

Yup, you would have to bring your tech along with you to support the TL 14/15 technology. Do your own maintenance, bring your own spares. A high tech starport out in the wilds is a good anchor point. Make sure your ship has a workshop.

Or rent warehouse space on each planet and plunk an autofab there with raw materials.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:34 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:08 pm
I've looked at a lot of the old material, and old designs and think it is time for the elements in the books to actually be used. Hence my Jump Station product that uses Drop tanks and external cargo mounts to actually turn a profit in shipping. Or my Seed of Doubt that upgrades the ship of the players at the expense of paranoia for the rest of the campaign. Heck, even the Vulcan production ship uses the mnaterial from the new high guard in a mobile way.

There are 40 years worth of ideas and nobody wants to change anything from the classic books. I find that odd.

Take the Free Trader you mentioned. Totally ripe for an upgrade. Add in 2.5 tons of Jump Drive and a Jump Net, or 100 tons of external cargo mount and you more than double carrying capacity. You could convert the cargo hold into more staterooms if you wanted to get more passenger income. 15 tons of upgrades (power plant, an extra ton of M Drive and the jump drive and the fuel tank expansion) and you have a completely different economic model, and one that is a lot more profitable.
One issue about the free trader is that it's supposed to be a tramp freighter working the backwaters of the Imperium. Which is perfect for players trying to establish themselves. Plus the free trader model would be built at TL12, since it's supposed to operate everywhere.

I suppose one could spec a TL-15 free trader with all the latest bells and whistles. I don't see it as a reluctance to actually make changes. New ships would be able to easily adapt to such things, but I also think a lot of people don't actually include these changes in their ships. Lots of players use the classic designs. And the game itself has generally presented only a single version of a ship.

I like how Middenface, when he has published some of the classic designs under his Moon Toad publishing, has shown variants. That's probably the best way to address some of this.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:48 pm

No TL 15 tech needed. Keep everything cheap and readily fixed.

Add in 100 tons of External cargo mounts to double your freight capacity. Or you can use a Jump Net, maybe a tow cable if the GM wants to get persnickety.

To move the 300 tons of ship and cargo you need another 2.5 tons of Jump Drive, 10 more tons of Fuel and 1 ton of M Drives. To be on the safe side add in an extra ton of Power Plant This reduces interior cargo space by 14.5 tons, and gives you 100 more tons of cargo capacity. Nothing fancy or high tech, just doing more with the ship you have.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby steve98052 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:14 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:08 pm
Yup, you would have to bring your tech along with you to support the TL 14/15 technology. Do your own maintenance, bring your own spares. . . .
My design philosophy for advanced ships that operate in technological backwaters is to build the primary systems of the ship with the advanced technology, but include backup systems that can be fixed in a backwater shipyard to get the ship working well enough to get to a more advanced shipyard.

For example, build everything at TL14, except for TL12 life support, since you want to be able to repair life support anywhere. Add a TL12 crowded backup bridge to control TL12 backup systems, and a TL12 power plant and Jump-1 drive, both with no maintenance access. (That's an option that roughly halves the size of the system, but maintenance is only possible through external access, so the ship isn't functional during maintenance -- OK because you're mostly working with the TL14 main systems.) Note that backup systems go back to the classic High Guard; it's not a new idea. The no maintenance access is a more recent option, but defensible in a backup system.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby phavoc » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:34 am

steve98052 wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:14 pm
PsiTraveller wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:08 pm
Yup, you would have to bring your tech along with you to support the TL 14/15 technology. Do your own maintenance, bring your own spares. . . .
My design philosophy for advanced ships that operate in technological backwaters is to build the primary systems of the ship with the advanced technology, but include backup systems that can be fixed in a backwater shipyard to get the ship working well enough to get to a more advanced shipyard.

For example, build everything at TL14, except for TL12 life support, since you want to be able to repair life support anywhere. Add a TL12 crowded backup bridge to control TL12 backup systems, and a TL12 power plant and Jump-1 drive, both with no maintenance access. (That's an option that roughly halves the size of the system, but maintenance is only possible through external access, so the ship isn't functional during maintenance -- OK because you're mostly working with the TL14 main systems.) Note that backup systems go back to the classic High Guard; it's not a new idea. The no maintenance access is a more recent option, but defensible in a backup system.
A question to ask is exactly what is improving between TL's? For example, we've got copper pipes today in TL7 ships, but the technology for pipes hasn't changed much since their invention. So would your TL12 life support system be radically (or any?) different than a TL15 one? Air filters are air filters are air filters. And at some point recycling water isn't any more efficient than what they use on the ISS today. The assumption (and rules) is that higher TL is better, smaller, cheaper. But that's not always the case.

I would posit that TL12 life support tech is not really that much different than TL11 or TL15. Notice how the rules assume a TL9 stateroom supports the same number of people as a TL15 one does. SOME systems (power generation, M-drives, weapons, sensors) would benefit from increased TL. And maybe even the internal anti-grav systems would be able to handle additional G's as the TL increases. But most other stuff is the same across TL's. Super conductor wiring for transferring energy from a TL10 or TL15 power plant is probably going to be the same. The life support equipment is probably going to be the same. Basic sub-systems (like airlock machinery and decontamination equipment) would most likely be the same.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby Condottiere » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:51 am

Mongoose seems to cap technological advancement at three levels from default.

I'd say carbon fibres take over from copper.

Life support sciences may have access to materials and processes not available earlier, so the default gets reset, even if you categorize it as advanced life support.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:21 pm

There is a difference between what the rules say is possible and what happens in the setting.

In '79 High Guard drop tanks require a TL12 high capacity accumulator installed for the jump drive at a cost of MCr.0.8, this requirement was dropped from '80 High Guard.

Now if you look at the Third Imperium setting the early issues of JTAS had TAS news bulletins that among other things made clear:
merchant shipping in Imperial core sectors have used drop tanks for a dozen years by 1105 (made possible by the high capacity accumulator development/declassification for civilian use).
drop tank manufacture is to begin within the Spinward Marches 'soon' (the drop tank manufacturing plants begin to suffer sabotage in later bulletins)
there is a very suspicious 'accident' involving a liner with drop tanks exploding due to faulty tanks (sabotage again?)
drop tanks are going to be used to upgrade the x-boat network to jump 6.

Now you don't have to be a genius to realise that a jump 6 x-boat network will allow for greater Imperial control of the Marches - something the brave freedom fighters of the Ine Givar would rather not have happen - hence the sabotage. I can't prove it canonically but I suspect Oberlindes lines is also behind some of the skulduggery since they would lose out big style to Imperial shipping lines gaining in prominence, hence the accidental destruction of the Bloodwell at the hands of the IN.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Oct 29, 2017 8:29 pm

Sigtrygg wrote: drop tank manufacture is to begin within the Spinward Marches 'soon' (the drop tank manufacturing plants begin to suffer sabotage in later bulletins) ...
Not quite:
¶ Officials of the General Shipyards on Regina announced that it has completed negotiations with Tukera Lines to locally manufacture L-Hyd drop tanks for use on high-capacity commercial vessels. General will assemble components at its more modern facilities on Pixie (Spinward Marches 1903). The first production examples are expected to be available within six months, at which time Tukera Lines will begin high capacity service from the interior. Component assembly will be carried out at General's more modern facilities on Pixie.
...
¶The joint press release concluded by stating that local manufacture of L-Hyd drop tanks marks the dawn of a new era of commerce and prosperity in the Regina subsector. Following the announcement, common stock in Oberlindes Lines plummeted 27 points on the Regina exchange before trading was suspended. Officials of Oberlindes Lines were not available for comment. Ω
This is a corporate press release, puffery is expected. This only really says that General Shipyards will start to produce drop tanks for Tukera. It says nothing about any other manufacturers or users. It says nothing about the rest of the sector. It does not say that this is the first use or manufacture of drop tanks in the sector, or even subsector.

We also know that the Clan Severn yard at Rhylanor built drop tank equipped Gazelles in the 1080s, so drop tanks are not unknown in the Spinward Marches before 1105.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:19 pm

Try reading more bulletins :)
L-Hyd drop ships have only been in service for the last dozen years in the
interior, being made possible by recent advances in the field of capacitor
engineering
, a joint press release explained. Commercial vessels equipped with the
new generation of long-storage jump capacitors carry jump fuel in specially
designed L-Hyd drop tanks in excess of their rated tonnage. Upon conversion of the
fuel to the massive energy required for jump, the drop tanks are explosively
jettisoned through the use of break-away connections and explosive bolts. Jump is
executed when the remains of the tanks are a safe distance from the vessel.
Close on the heels of the joint announcement by General Shipyards and
Tukera Lines that L-Hyd drop tanks would soon be manufactured in the Regina
subsector, came word by express boat from the Imperial core that a decision has
been made to deploy Jump-6 L-Hyd drop tank express boats on all major express
routes. Initial feasibility studies indicate that such a system could average jump5.5
per week by executing maximum jumps where possible, and leaving current xboat
units to disseminate information between the new major relay points. The system
is expected to cut communication time to the lmperial hub to under 25 weeks.
The Initial System Deployment Schedule indicates that the Regina subsector can
expect to be fully integrated into the network within a decade.
Last night a series of explosions ripped through Vehicle Assembly Building
W3 of the General Shipyards facility on Pixie. Both company and military
investigators on the scene report that the damage was almost certainly the work of
saboteurs.
General Shipyard's Vehicle Assembly Building NO3 housed the main assembly
line for the production of L-Hyd drop tanks. The L-Hyd drop tank project,
undertaken in conjunction with the Tukera Line (of VlandIVland), is expected to
open up the Regina subsector to high capacity commercial access from the interior.
A spokesperson for the company reported that the explosions probably set the
project back by at least three months.
Public attention had been riveted on the investigation since it was revealed
that the explosions had seriously set back the production of L-Hyd drop tanks,
equipment necessary to the opening of the high capacity commercial service between
the Regina subsector and the Interior.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:47 pm

Nothing in the news snippets you quoted even hints at anything else. Note that they say nothing about the Spinward Marches, just the Regina subsector.

Image
20 years before 1105 drop tanks were used in the Spinward Marches.


Built in 1037 at Mora, the Lisiani is now beginning to show its age, ...
In addition, previous design prototypes of this kind of ship had played with L Hyd tank fittings in order to produce a high jump capable Fleet Courier. Those existing hull specifications were easily used when this ship was designed.
So, even 70 years before 1105 drop tanks were known in the Spinward Marches.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby Sigtrygg » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:02 am

On military ships yes, the key is this bit:
L-Hyd drop ships have only been in service for the last dozen years in the
interior
, being made possible by recent advances in the field of capacitor
engineering, a joint press release explained. Commercial vessels equipped with the
new generation of long-storage jump capacitors
carry jump fuel in specially
designed L-Hyd drop tanks in excess of their rated tonnage.
So in the Third Imperium setting civilian shipping in the interior sectors of the Imperium have been using drop tank technology since 1093ish, military vessels have been using them a lot longer.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby baithammer » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:18 am

If your going for exterior mounted fuel use the drop tanks, if your willing to trade short term cargo than the bladder makes sense.

Bladders have a limitation, they can't directly feed into a jump drive, so you have to have an internal fuel tank of sufficient displacement to hold the transferred fuel.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby phavoc » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:59 am

Condottiere wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:51 am
Mongoose seems to cap technological advancement at three levels from default.

I'd say carbon fibres take over from copper.

Life support sciences may have access to materials and processes not available earlier, so the default gets reset, even if you categorize it as advanced life support.
It's not universal. Sand is a TL6 item, missiles are TL 8( or 7).

There's no inherent advantage to carbon fiber pipes over copper. Reparing carbon fiber is a pain in the ass, and it takes autoclaves to make it. Copper is cheap, easy to modify, easy to bend, easy to cut, etc. If there is enough damage to penetrate the hull, that is most likely able to destroy any basic piping, be it carbon fiber or copper tubing.

Sometimes the most basic material works just as well as anything else. Good ol dirt makes great armor. You can make very cheap and effective blast walls just by filling a 40' container with dirt. No concrete or reinforced steel needed. Reinforced concrete has a higher strength to it, and you would be able to build a thinner wall (not a whole lot), but dirt doesn't crack or shatter. While I wouldn't recommend using dirt as starship armor.. but in some situations it is superior, or at least an equivalent.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby Linwood » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:48 am

There are any number of plastics that may be more cost-effective than copper or carbon fiber for low-pressure piping (not to mention aluminum). At high pressures steel or stainless steel are competitive alternatives. Eventually I think we’ll see some interesting new materials as 3D printing continues to evolve but right now for those applications materials that are easy to form and easy to repair have the edge.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:07 am

Sigtrygg wrote: On military ships yes, the key is this bit:
...
So in the Third Imperium setting civilian shipping in the interior sectors of the Imperium have been using drop tank technology since 1093ish, military vessels have been using them a lot longer.
So, drop tanks have been made and used in the Spinward Marches for a long time (for military and speciality use). A tech breakthrough has recently made it practical for mainstream commercial use, and is now in use in "the interior". A new manufacturing plant is to be opened in the Regina subsector, to supply Tukera in the Regina subsector.

⑆ Regina (Spinward Marches 1910), Date: 201-1105, TNS Staff Writer wrote:The L-Hyd drop tank project, undertaken in conjunction with the Tukera Lines (of Vland (Vland 1717)), is expected to open up the Regina Subsector to high capacity commercial access from the interior.
Not between Spinward Marches sector and interior sectors, but Regina subsector and "the interior", presumably the interior is something close enough for trade, but not a border province like Regina, e.g. Rhylanor or the interior of Deneb (through Rhylanor).

Nothing is said about the rest of the Spinward Marches. I would not presume that a relative backwater like Regina would be ahead of the big, hi-tech yards of Mora, Glisten, Trin, and nearby Rhylanor.

A commercial drop tank route would need to be provided with drop tanks at both ends, so for Regina to be connected to "somewhere", then "somewhere" must already have drop tank capability. The nearest major trade hub is Rhylanor, which would be "the interior" as seen from Regina.

Note that:
⑆ Regina (Spinward Marches 1910), Date: 097-1105, TNS Staff Writer wrote:¶ A spokesman for General Shipyards explained that local yards are not yet capable of manufacturing the long-storage capacitors required for the process, but that production of the drop tanks is possible, thus allowing the high capacity starships of the Tukera Lines to begin service to the Regina subsector.
So apparently "local yards" already know how to make drop tanks, just not the capacitors that make them practical for mainstream commercial use.
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Re: Redesign for Armstrong class exploration ship

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:36 pm

The advance in capacitor might be copied out in the Borderlands in places like Tech-World, or Falcon if you want Drop Tank technology available in the Drinax area. That was my rationale for my Jump Station product. You can justify an advancement somehow if you want Drop Tank technology in the game.

For the upcoming Rift product, having a Drop Tank would give a nice boost in fuel supply, letting a ship cross more empty hexes before refueling is needed. Throw in the origami ship and you could get 9 hexes of travel before you need to refill the tank.

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