With the advent of jump-3 drives the new frontier became wide open. The immediate application to survey scouts was obvious and fundamental. A new ship design was commissioned.
The jump-2, 4-parsec-range Frontier-class scout had proved a success so that was suggested as the starting point for the new design. However even with the new technology, fitting in the capacity for two consecutive jump-3s in a 200-ton hull was a problem that was to challenge the architects for some time. The initial design with 6-parsec range fell too far short of the mission parameters even by Terran compromise standards.
Eventually they settled on a jump-3 scout with 5-parsec-range. This had most of the benefits of the original specification in that it could jump across 3-parsec rift and if no fuel was available there then do another jump-2 to a system where there should be fuel available. The only problem was it couldn't immediately jump back across the 3-parsec rift to a known location of fuel. It was a risk, but an acceptable one.
Even with that concession the ship was still more cramped than a Frontier-class survey scout and more corners were cut to get everything in. It carries only a single subcraft, the hold is smaller and it takes longer to refuel than a Frontier. The small hold meant that supplies had to be stored in staterooms, corridors and common areas until used. At the start of missions it was not uncommon for one or two of the staterooms to be completely given over to storage and crew would be forced to double up. In practice though one crew member would then sleep in the subcraft and there was usually at least one couple on board who wanted to share a room, so morale and psychological issues were rare.
A tiny 5-ton Shard-2-class stealth shuttle is carried as a subcraft. This is capable of putting a team of six down on a world and can act as a temporary base of operations. Its small size and stealth means it is useful for covert operation missions on inhabited worlds.
Hull: 200-ton Needle/Wedge Airframe Hull, dDR 10 armor, Stealth
Systems: 7.5 Maneuver Drive, 8 Jump Drive, 100 Fuel Tank, 2 Fuel Processors (12.5 hours to fill tank), Standard Bridge, Model-5 Sensors (Scan 22), 11.5 Fusion Power (230 MW), 10 Staterooms, Sickbay, 5 Cargo, 1 Workshop, 2 Laboratories, 1 Survey Module, 2 Light Turrets (beam laser, missile rack, sand-caster), 1 five-ton capacity vehicle bays (5-ton Shard-2-class stealth shuttle).
Statistics: Emass 360, Lmass 520, Cost M$ 120, SM 8, ASig 1, Hull dHP 36, Life Support 20 (+6 in shuttle), sAccel 2.9 G (4.2G empty), Jump-3 (5 parsec range), Top Air Speed 2800 mph
Crew 6-9 core + 4 specialists: Captain, Pilot x 2, Navigator, Engineer, Sensor operator, Gunner/Medic, 4 scientists. Typically the captain is also the second pilot and a single gunner/medic/steward is carried (both turrets are slaved to a single control station). Multiple overlapping skill sets are mandatory. Scientists with shipboard skills, preferably ex-military are routinely chosen.