The entry cost to interplanetary space just got cheaper.
Stones Throw Shipyards are opening up the high frontier. By refurbishing and refitting early orbital spacecraft with modern drives to produce affordable interplanetary craft. No longer is interplanetary space the exclusive domain of government and big businesses. Now small businesses and wealthy individuals can afford to get into space.
An early Orbital Transfer Vehicle, developments in drive technology and anti-radiation-nano have made Schaffer refits capable of inter-planetary flight. Long out of production, the base design dates all the way back to the 2020s. Older variants occasionally come on the market at reasonable prices (20% of the new price as per standard TS for 'old' craft). Suitably refitted they make reasonable 'free trader' craft that can compete economically with newer, more expensive craft.
Finding customers on the fringe, such as those in the L5 "junk jungle" and trading with those in the outer system such as Silas Duncan Station on Ceres, these independents offer a service that the commercial liners wont handle and that officially doesn't exist...
This variant is fitted with 3 'Luxury' staterooms which can be used double occupancy to carry up to six living crew members and/or passengers. Infomorph SAI or cybershell crew members obviously requiring less living space. With a relatively large four workstation bridge, 3 large cabins and many wall screens the illusion of a roomy environment is important to the mental well-being of the living crew.
The drive is fusion (water) to enable long duration voyages and easy refuelling. Its acceleration is small, only 0.003 G, but it can maintain this for 33 days continuously, giving it reasonable inter-planetary transit times. Earth-Mars in just under three months fully loaded, or two months lightly loaded. Earth-Jupiter in around 8 months. The background rumble of the drive is a major feature of travel on these craft with the prolonged silence in-between acceleration and deceleration burns being a very noticeable transition.
A light laser is fitted, it's dedicated power-pack giving it nine-shots before a recharge is necessary. A minifac workshop, with 3D printer, is installed to enable owners to make their own gadgets as well as maintain the ship. A compact RTG power plant provides adequate long term power for the life support and sensors.
The internal hold is tiny measuring an inch over 8 x 8 x 12 foot in each dimension. It is capable of holding four very small cargo containers or one small container and loose cargo. It makes up for its small internal hold by carrying up to 125 tons of cargo externally.
Design: 45ft long x 22 ft wide cylinder hull (35 spaces, Light frame, Titanium Alloy), Armor cDR/cPF1/1 Titanium Alloy (1.3 inches thick).
Modules: Old Basic Bridge, Small PESA, Medium Fixed Radar (F), Very Small Ladar. (Backups: Old Unmanned controls, Very Small PESA, Small Radar.) 1 Fusion drive (water), 19 Tanks (water), 1 light laser tower (2.5 MJ), 0.5 Power Pack (9 shots), 3 Luxury Cabin, 1 small entry module, 1 Minifac Workshop, 1.6 Cargo (8 tons), 1 External Cargo Cradle (125 tons), 0.3 RTG (3 MW), 0.1 Battery (0.9 hours general backup, 50 hours life support backup)
Statistics: EMass 146, CMass 424, LMass 566, Cost M$14.6 (with all new components, about half this for a typical refurbished model)
Performance: sAccel 0.003 G, Burn Endurance 792 hours (33 days), Burn Points 8000, Delta-V 25 mps.
Trip Data: Earth-Mars/Ceres (2 AU) 86 days fully loaded, 58 days unloaded.
Earth-Jupiter (5.5 AU) 235 days fully loaded, 159 days unloaded.
Transhuman Space Index