This Space for Rent

How I wasted my winter (a picture is worth about 10,000 pieces) pt. 2

It's only a model

In the laughably unrealistic backstory I've made for this lego spaceship, jump drives exist, as do ridiculously efficient nuclear rockets, but there is no magic gravity. This makes the spaceship look a bit unusual compared to the regular crop of lego spaceships. How unusual, you might ask? Let's take a tour of the ship and I'll show you:

From the outside, it doesn't look like much. If it was a classical lego spaceship, one of the sides with the big red windows would be the front. But it's not a classic lego spaceship, so the prow of the ship is that big spire sticking up in the middle. The spire isn't just decoration; the hemisphere at the tip covers the aiming mechanism for a fairly substantial communications and debris-clearing laser. (The designed use for the laser is to maintain a slow-speed signalling channel back to Earth, so if the ship gets destroyed telemetry will exist that might give some clues about what happened. Since Earth can be quite a long ways away, the laser needs to be fairly powerful so that beam attenuation over 10s or 100s of light years won't completely destroy the signal. And this much power means that it's really good at zapping small chunks of incoming pebbly kinetic death.)

Since there's a lot of water in the universe, the ship doesn't have to return to Earth to get more fuel. It has a small refinery tucked under the yellow platform on the hull, and if it needs to pick up more hydrogen for the rockets, it merely bellies up to an icy asteroid (or small moon; the drives are rated to produce 3.5m/sec2 thrust, so it can land and launch from a planet or moon with a gravity of < 1/3rd g) and sends the crew out to mine ice and feed it into the refinery.

The two hatches on the center spine protect an array of sensors and a few little probe rockets. The radio dishes on the front of the ship are not quite so fragile, and can be repaired if kinetic death swats one of them.

There are three airlocks on the ship; one on each of the long sides, and one opening onto the front of the ship so that the crew can get out onto the front of the ship when it's under thrust (the two side airlocks are for egress when the ship is in freefall; they're a ENSI standard interconnect, and should mate with most of the other spaceships that come from Earth.)

The quarterdeck is fairly spartan; aside from the three airlocks, it contains the control terminal for the refinery and hooks for hanging spacesuits. Having a good deal of open space is intentional; since there is really nowhere for the crew to go when the ship is on a mission, public spaces are carved out wherever they can be. Giving the crew a chance to get away from it all is designed to hopefully keep them from going stir-crazy.

the ladder down from the quarterdeck leads into a passageway between the boat deck and the bridge deck. The boat deck is, hopefully, self-explanatory;


There are not very many rooms attached to the boat deck. There's an enclosed staircase leading up to the control tower and a doorway leading into a small machine shop. The control tower is where flight and landing orders are given to departing and returning launches and waldoed workboats, and the machine room is where parts can be fabricated and repaired.

There are also two access hatches in the boat deck; one of them is for getting large and dangerous specimens into one of the labs without having to navigate it through the ship, and the other (at the bridge deck end of the boat deck) is for getting large chunks of machinery into and out of the engine room.

The bridge deck is also officers country. Officers quarters and the wardroom separate the boat deck from the bridge; there are rooms for eight officers, two cadets, and a large spare room that's used for housing VIPs who desire transport on this ship.

The wardroom has a table for six officers and a little bar area (with a steward) where off-duty officers can relax. Food is brought up from the galley via a little dumbwaiter (the wardroom on this ship shares the food that's prepared for the rest of the crew) and there's a little hotplate (not modelled yet) where light meals can be warmed up.

The compartments are arranged according to rank. The captains (two of them, because the bears want their guys to both be captains) have the largest compartments, with private water closets; the next two officers (executive officer & first mate) have private compartments, and the remaining 4 officers share two compartments. The cadets get the dubious luxury of having private closets to sleep in.

You'll notice that only the captains, the XO, and the first mate's quarters have computers in them. This is tradition, not practicality; the officers wear wireless wrist computers and can talk to the ship from almost everywhere inside it. But when the first intrasystem exploration ships were launched from earth, people still used desktop computers and the only members of the early exploration ships who could justify the weight of private computers were the officers. So it became traditional to use up a square meter of desk for a big flat panel and a keyboard, even though these days they're only used to viewing lab data.

Since the spaceship accellerated up from the reference frame of the crew, it's not really useful to have windows in the bridge. The "view" from the bridge is a projection in a holographic tank with a small bank of controls nearby. But if it's necessary to actually look out, a small flying bridge (still unpopulated) is placed on top of the bridgeroom, so someone can grab a sextant and shoot the stars if they want.

(details of the lower deck will follow soon, but my arms are getting tired. Here are the photos of the lower deck to whet your appetite...)



Wow. You put an amazing amount of work into that, long-term project looks pretty lame now in comparison

simskatie Mon May 28 10:41:03 2007

They should seriously make each Congressman and Senator take part of the year to build a custom space ship like this. We should see some real creativity then!

btw - That’s awesome! I’m a big lego fan myself.

Adron Sun Jun 3 23:15:33 2007

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