Lurking Grue said:
The Vrusk said:
Atomic drives tend to have a nasty side effect.
Well, nearly every relatively powerful reaction drive has nasty side effects.
Antimatter plasma rockets and torches, fusion rockets and torches, super fusion torches, and all fusion pulse drives produce plenty of heat and hard radiation behind the spacecraft! Although the drives can be operated safely, environmentally conscious authorities are very likely restrict their operation near populated orbits or habitable worlds. This could either result in a total ban from use in inhabited areas, or it might just limit them to operations in out-of-the-way deserts, oceans, or high orbit. [...]
Antimatter pion and antimatter pion torch engines, and (probably) total conversion and super conversion torches will produce directional and highly lethal energy beams. Their danger zone may extend for hundreds or even thousands of miles behind the vessel! Such engines are likely to banned from operation anywhere near a settled planet's space. Spaceports may be placed on distant asteroids, or ships may require the equivalent of tug boats to boost them out far enough that they can safely use drives. [...]
Nuclear saltwater rockets and external pulsed plasma engines produce continuous or pulsed nuclear explosions outside the ship. If you take off from the ground with one of these drives, you'll be leaving behind a big radioactive crater . . . [...]
Ramscoops generate magnetic fields at lethal intensities in front of the vessel, likely covering hundreds or thousands of miles. [...]
Space drives not listed above aren't free of hazard, but if properly operated aren't likely to raise the hackles of local spaceport authorities. However, there may be specific regulations ("make sure a mass driver uses very fine dust!"
) but these are likely to apply to any spaceship operations. Superscience reactionless drives and stardrive engines may be perfectly safe or have nasty side effects, at the GM's discretion. [...]