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Neither reliable jumpdrives nor the fabled (and nonexistent WARP) drives have been invented in the Furscape universe. The most widely used technics for ship propulsion are described in this article for your convenience.

Chemical Rockets

These are used for take-off, as well as atmospheric, orbital, and emergency maneuvering. Their strength is unrivaled, but their fuel efficiency leaves very much to be desired. They are typically dual-mode, burning liquid hydrogen, and are capable of using atmospheric oxygen as an oxidizer in the lower atmosphere of planets such as Oceania and Annyrion, and utilizing a small store of liquid oxygen for higher altitudes.

Spacecraft designed to be transatmospheric generally carry enough fuel and oxidizer to climb the gravity well of an Earth-sized planet, but are generally not capable of traveling in deep space on their own. Fuel/oxidizer storage takes up the vast majority of any single-stage-to-orbit vehicle.

(Note: Think of transatmospheric shuttles as updated versions of the real-world Skylon spaceplane proposed by Reaction Engines Limited. For purposes of game mechanics, these engines are “free” to use for lift-off and maneuvering within a single LITE sector of space, but cannot be used for moving a ship from sector to sector. - Hagalaz)

IEC Plasma Exhaust Drives

Most spaceships use IEC fusion for both power and propulsion: hot plasma from the reactor is used as reaction exhaust. When operating a ship with IEC engines, think of “fuel” as reaction mass used to create plasma for movement. IEC engines are not as powerful as chemical rockets, but they are much more efficient, and unlike chemical rockets, are capable of propelling starships across vast distances.

Solar Sails

Somewhat antiquated and now considered somewhat preppy even, solar sailers use the constant stream of particles emitted by the suns of most solar systems to push the spaceship forward. A major disadvantage is the fragile nature of the huge foils used as sails, as well as the difficulty of cruising directly against the solar wind, towards the inner planets. (For purposes of game mechanics, Furscape does not have actual solar sail modules for installation on ships.)

Plasma Sails

Similar to solar sails, these use huge field loops to generate a magnetic field to contain ionized hydrogen gas in a huge bubble around the ship. This miniaturized 'magnetosphere' acts as a giant sail, catching the solar wind's charged particles and accelerating the vessel (to a maximum practical speed of 240 kilometers per second). A craft under plasma sail is enveloped in a wispy blue-white nebula of ionized gas that leaves a short, comet-like trail. The plasma sail does 'leak' hydrogen, so this vehicle does technically burn fuel. The field loop array forms a physical bubble around the ship's primary hull that is approximately ten times the length of the actual primary hull, and approximately 8 times the diameter. Generally, spacecraft using plasma sails are 'sailed' in regattas similar to wet-hull sailing ships. (like solar sails, Furscape does not have actual plasma sail engine modules for installation on ships).

starship_propulsion.txt · Last modified: 2011/08/16 09:11 by hagalaz