Early Deep Space Vehicle "Michael Collins"

A speculative design for the most famous historical spacecraft in the setting


Probably the most famous spacecraft of the 21st century the Michael Collins Deep Space Operations Vehicle was in the right place at the right time to make history.

Designed for prospecting the deep beyond indefinitely this Plasma Sail craft was in the vanguard of the US exploration of the outer system. A destiny that would eventually lead to the Helium-3 facility on Saturn. For now it was one of many deep space explorers with specific mission parameters to explore Jupiter's icy moons - including Europa.

The chosen mission profile was triply practical. Icy moons were considered ripe environments to find evidence of non-terrestrial life, they were also potential sites for future manned habitat and last, but by no means least, the Lander could refuel the main craft with hydrogen cracked from the moons ice.

A variant of the Tenzan Heavy Industries "Phoenix" the main craft consists of a 60ft by 30ft cylinder and the Lander a 30ft sphere carried in a cradle on the front of the ship.

As with many craft of the time the craft was designed to be multi-functional. It had a multi-purpose hold that it used on its maiden voyage to transport station building equipment and supplies from Earth Orbit to Deimos. The hold was then to be converted to additional quarters and laboratory and to take robotic surveying equipment originally used on Mars for its mission to Jupiter's moons.

The Ares conspirators used this hold space to best advantage to change its mission profile significantly. The hold was converted to makeshift quarters by the installation of life support equipment it was already carrying to Deimos. Agonising choices had to be made about which equipment they could afford to leave behind. Then on the voyage the conspirators had to sleep wherever they could find room - sleeping over, under and on the key equipment.


Design: Michael Collins interplanetary craft

Design: 60ft x 30ft Cylinder (86.4 spaces, Metal Matrix, Extra-Light frame); cDr/cPF 1/1FSB (Metal Matrix armor); Hull Radiators: 2.2 ksf

Modules: Old Cockpit, Small (250 miles) PESA, Small (250 miles) Fixed Radar[F], 10 Plasma Sail, 46 Ultra-Light fuel tank (Hydrogen), 14 improvised bunk room, 1 Cabin, 6 remaining cargo hold (30 tons), Large entry module, External Cradle (carrying 41.6 ton MC2 Lander), 43 500 man days provisions, 2.2 Old RTG (11 MW), 0.05 battery

Statistics: LMass 338.98, CMass 315.98, Dry Mass 292.98, EMass 172.08, Payload mass 120.9, Fuel Mass 46, Cost M$ 59.28, cHP 27, Size Modifier [hull] 7/5, Maintenance interval 2.6 hours (36.9 hours per day)

Performance: Realistic sAccel 0.00031 G (Book 0.00032 G), Loaded sAccel 0.0003 G, Dry sAccel 0.00034 G, Empty sAccel 0.00058 G, Cruising velocity 68 days per AU (0.0146 AU per day), Burn Endurance 4600 hours, Burn Points 5299, Realistic DeltaV (with turnover) 15.75 mps (Book 16.19 mps)

Payload: Crew 1, Passengers 57, Cargo 30 tons, Provisions 43500 man days

Trip Data: Trip Distance 1 AU, Duration 165 days, Costs: Fuel M$ 0.0161, Provisions M$ 0.261


Design: MC2 small moon Lander

The MC2 Lander is fitted with a high thrust low endurance fission drive (water). This enables it to land on small moons and refuel from surface ice. It carries exploratory cybershells, typically a snakebot and a techspider, and other mission specific items in its small hold. It can also support up to two human crew for up to a week but is capable of totally independent operation. Its performance enables it to land and take off from Europa with empty hydrogen tanks.

It is able to fill its hydrogen tanks and refill the main water fuel tank in around 4 days. Two round trips are required to completely fill the main crafts tanks.

Design: 30ft Sphere (27 spaces, Metal Matrix, Light frame); cDr/cPF 0.2/1FSB (Metal Matrix armor)

Modules: Old Cockpit, Very Small PESA, Very Small Radar, 0.25 Fission Drive (water), 1.5 Ultra-Light fuel tank, 0.5 cabin, small entry module, 0.5 hold (2.5 tons), 23 Ultra-Light hydrogen tank, 0.5 Fuel Electrolysis (60 tons of water per day), 0.2 Refinery (60 tons of water per day), 0.08 Battery (200 hours backup)

Statistics*: LMass 41.59, CMass 30.34, Dry Mass 19.09, EMass 16.47, Payload mass 2.62, Fuel Mass 22.5, Cost M$ 4.91, cHP 21, Size Modifier [hull] 5/5, Maintenance interval 9.03 hours (10.6 hours per day)

Performance*: Realistic sAccel 0.69 G (Book 0.67 G), Loaded sAccel 0.49 G, Dry sAccel 1.06 G, Empty sAccel 1.23 G, Burn Endurance 6 minutes 20 seconds, Burn Points 255, Realistic DeltaV (without turnover) 1.62 mps

* Note Statistics and Perfomance shown here are with an empty hydrogen tank (normal operation).

Payload: Crew 1, Cargo 2.5 tons, Provisions 20 man days


Transhuman Space Index