Friday, 11 July 2014

Heavy puller, CF type

This is the first post about those unsung heroes of every space game out there. The cargo ships. The interplanetary shipping lanes are the irreplaceable veins where the freight, machinery and people flow and help colonies flourish. Without the haulers, pushers, pullers, barges, trampers and blockade runners, the universe as we know it would come to a standstill.

The type 56 'Chris Foss' block 22 heavy puller is a rather unusual member of the type 40-60 Luzhou/Guarapuava family. Instead of its buff bow, it has forward separate fusion engines. Most of the ships with a need for retro-boosters use a rotating fusion-chamber with separate nozzles, in effect removing the need for a separate set of engines. Alas, the CF type was built before such rotating chambers where wildly available on the market, so it has to carry at all times the extra mass of the secondary engine set.

This cargo ships' favorite shipping lanes are the ones needing last minute maneuvers, such as asteroid or debris heavy areas. Other ships must slowly rotate their entire bulk to maneuver or brake, and thus can damage their cargo or strain their structure. The CF can do much of that without breaking a sweat.

Unfortunately, the high inert mass and high operating costs of the CF are bound to make it disappear from the lanes in the next century or so, as it is being replaced by smaller and more versatile vessels.

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