Megafreighters

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
baithammer
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby baithammer » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:30 am

For a few low population systems a Galoof fleet could work, but if you look at the scale of the Imperium it's not going to scale very well.
Reynard
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Reynard » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:57 am

When was the last time there were any references of more than one starport (not spaceport) serving each system? There might be space stations that act as part of the system's port network or the world may have minor facilities for specific local needs for space stations but, at least in the OTU, One Starport rules them all.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby AnotherDilbert » Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:40 pm

Reynard wrote: When was the last time there were any references of more than one starport (not spaceport) serving each system?
Terra (the world) alone has at least three starports: LaGrange, Phoenix, and AECO (Invasion Earth).

Few other major worlds have been detailed to this level, so we don't really know if a single or several starports are common.

I would consider it normal for major worlds, balkanised systems, and balkanised worlds to have several starports.

Note that a starport can only serve a world or possibly a system of moons. Worlds in different orbits would require separate starports.
Moppy
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Moppy » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:01 pm

baithammer wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:30 am
For a few low population systems a Galoof fleet could work, but if you look at the scale of the Imperium it's not going to scale very well.

What's "a galoof fleet"?

re: the other thing, I've always assumed "starport facilities" could be dispersed about the system.
Annatar Giftbringer
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Annatar Giftbringer » Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:58 pm

Moppy wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:01 pm
baithammer wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:30 am
For a few low population systems a Galoof fleet could work, but if you look at the scale of the Imperium it's not going to scale very well.

What's "a galoof fleet"?

re: the other thing, I've always assumed "starport facilities" could be dispersed about the system.
The Galoof class megafreighter is a 30k dton ship from pirates of Drinax (book 3, p.48).
Old School
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Old School » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:28 pm

The imperium has a rule of one official starport for system. For the actual flow of freight, I would expect many downports on high population worlds. A ship could clear customs, if you will, at the highport, and then land at the downport (official starport or not) that made sense for its freight. Or the load could be split in space with shuttles going to various locations. There may be one main, offficial downport that is part of the starport, but for systems with significant highports (a minority of systems, but a majority of freight traffic), having all freight funnel through one downport doesnt make sense.

If the downport is the only starport facility, then yes, I would think all ships would be required to go through that facility for security and customs. At least in the Imperium. That’s how they’ve set it up to keep control.

Even this is bending the efficiencies of freight movement to meet the OTU canon, however. How many places can people and freight legally enter the United States, for example? I dunno, but I would expect it to be in the hundreds. It really doesnt make sense for all freight to go through one location for an entire planet. Unless that planet is subject to the whims of an Imperial overlord who wants to keep a tight control on things coming and going, while encouraging trade at the same time.
phavoc
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby phavoc » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:39 pm

Reynard wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:57 am
When was the last time there were any references of more than one starport (not spaceport) serving each system? There might be space stations that act as part of the system's port network or the world may have minor facilities for specific local needs for space stations but, at least in the OTU, One Starport rules them all.
A single starport serving a world seems a bit odd. Since the Imperium is supposed to be held together by trade, a world would be served by multiple starports. Now this goes against another basic idea that there is only "one" starport (e.g. the Imperial one) in a star system that handles the traffic. This flies against common sense and reality. Though let's be honest, it's not the first time we've seen a game rule or mechanic that cannot survive the light of common sense.

Starport/spaceport differences would be, by definition, minor. Starports service extra-solar traffic and spaceports service intra-solar. I think it would be far more likely that the main starport of a system is the Imperial one, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the busiest, or especially, the only one.

Ships could pass through customs in orbit, transmitting manifests and passenger lists to customs control. A customs craft could do an inspection in orbit, or a ship would clear customs only after landing or docking.
Condottiere
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Condottiere » Thu Dec 20, 2018 4:29 pm

Terra is a Confederation world, and it's not clear whether extraterritoriality is practiced for starports.

Currently, it might all be consolidated under one starport, under Imperium administration.
Linwood
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Linwood » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:52 am

I like that thought. One primary starport where starport admin and oversight is concentrated (including traffic control). This could include immigration, customs, security, etc. Other spaceports and/or starports could be placed wherever it makes sense and outfitted with satellite offices for all standard services, but may kick you back to the primary for specific things - handling military or hazardous cargoes, resolving certain issues, recertifications and licenses, etc.

Note that “satellite offices” could range from a full department to a single employee to a remote terminal that puts your request into the message queue with a reply time based on communications lags, how busy the home office is, and whether it’s a local weekend or holiday...
Condottiere
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Condottiere » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:45 pm

I think it's more traffic control and keeping an eye on new arrivals.
steve98052
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby steve98052 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 6:14 am

On the matter of jump efficiency over longer, but still busy routes -- Mora to Glisten, maybe -- I would think that the shipping is optimized by having several carriers that relay cargo barges along the route.

Suppose there's a route that consists of jumps of 1, 3, 2, 3, 2, 4, and 1, between worlds A, B, C, D, F, and F. The Jump-4 segment is expensive, compared to the others. It would make sense to have a specialized fleet for the route:
- Four jump carriers for each of Jump-1, -2, and -3, and two for Jump-4, all built to haul 10k dtons of cargo,
- Two tankers for each jump carrier, built as breakaway sections,
- One cargo module carrying 10k dtons of cargo for each jump carrier, built as breakaway sections, plus two extras.

Standard operating procedure would be for a cargo module and a tanker to fly to the Jump-1 carrier in system A, hook up, and the assembly jump. At system B, the cargo module flies to the Jump-3 carrier from system C, and the Jump-3 carrier's cargo module flies to the Jump-1 carrier. The empty tanker modules fly from the carriers to fuel depots, while loaded tankers fly to the carriers. Each carrier jumps when its cargo and tanker modules are both attached. The process repeats until cargo modules reach system F, where they're exchanged for cargo modules bound for system A. Cargo modules never visit worlds other than A and F, and jump carriers never visit worlds except for annual maintenance.
baithammer
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby baithammer » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:44 pm

Jump 4 is not only expensive but is less efficient then a lower jump setup, also for anything lower than Jump 4 would be a waste.

Further, Commercial ships are TL12 so the maximum Jump drive is a Jump 3.

The more complex the ship is, the more crew are required to run it which leads to more room needed for lodging.
Reynard
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Reynard » Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:55 pm

Noticed the Starship Automation section in the new Traveller Companion. Need to see if those rules might fit well with the megafreighter.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Dec 22, 2018 1:11 pm

steve98052 wrote: Suppose there's a route that consists of jumps of 1, 3, 2, 3, 2, 4, and 1, between worlds A, B, C, D, F, and F. The Jump-4 segment is expensive, compared to the others. It would make sense to have a specialized fleet for the route:
- Four jump carriers for each of Jump-1, -2, and -3, and two for Jump-4, all built to haul 10k dtons of cargo,
- Two tankers for each jump carrier, built as breakaway sections,
- One cargo module carrying 10k dtons of cargo for each jump carrier, built as breakaway sections, plus two extras.
While I agree that this is how major trade routes should work, breakaway designs are perhaps not the best way. A breakaway hull can add 30% to the cost of a simple freighter.

I think we can make the concept work more cheaply, perhaps with docking clamps and drop tanks?

I tried to make something similar: viewtopic.php?f=89&t=118716
Linwood
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Linwood » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:15 pm

Would it be cheaper to set up a jump-2 waypoint on the jump-4 routes? Use a steady supply of tankers to ship fuel and supplies there?

Or, thinking bigger - imagine something like a battle rider carrier dropping in with several comets or enormous fuel tanks on a semi-annual basis.

I don’t have a good feel for how the economics would work out. And I doubt a typical far trader could afford the refueling costs in most cases. But maybe someone here could run the numbers?
Condottiere
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Condottiere » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:31 pm

Set up a gas station at the system's outermost gas giant, to avoid jump shadows.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:18 pm

Linwood wrote: Would it be cheaper to set up a jump-2 waypoint on the jump-4 routes? Use a steady supply of tankers to ship fuel and supplies there?
Since we have to transport in the fuel, it is basically the same as using J-2 ships with fuel for two jumps.

Each 4 Pc leg takes twice as long with J-2 ships, so we need twice as many ships to transport the same amount of cargo per year.

Roughly we need:
a single J-4 ship (26.5 kDt, MCr 6292, 10 kDt cargo),
or two J-2 × 2 ships (2 × 22 kDt, MCr 3665, 10 kDt cargo) [=MCr 7330].

Since operating costs are basically proportional to the cost of the ship, one J-4 ship is cheaper than two J-2 ships.

This is of course only a very rough estimate of the economics, but I believe it's enough.


The difference is not all that great, and if we have to jump the TL-13 J-4 ship away for annual maintenance, the difference might reverse?
Condottiere
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Condottiere » Sat Dec 22, 2018 5:04 pm

More dependent on average trade tonnage in a month, which you could then calculate and divide on how many carriers you want to operate.
Reynard
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Reynard » Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:56 am

Looking for information on another topic and needed to browse High Guard 1e and... oh my. Stuck in the back of the ship listings is an official superfrieghter. I looked in all the other supplements for large freighter examples. It's definitely a different monster than my concept. Now converting it to HG2e though it's going to need a HUGE computer for the software.
Moppy
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Re: Megafreighters

Postby Moppy » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:35 pm

Reynard wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 11:56 am
Looking for information on another topic and needed to browse High Guard 1e and... oh my. Stuck in the back of the ship listings is an official superfrieghter.
What is its cargo volume and jump range?

edit: Having now had time to think about this, I made some preliminary spreadsheets. Seems that the efficiency of the ship doesn't matter much beyond cargo volume vs time spent in jump. What will determine ship size is how easily you can stand down capacity in the event of a slump, or if you can re-route based on expected cargo volumes which is hard because of jump-speed communications. So even a regular line may have to speculate a lot on where it needs its ships to be, or have capacity idle, and this can reward using a higher number of smaller vessels than would be expected.

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