Spaceships are ships designed to operate in the vacuum of space. Spaceships are distinguished from starships by their inability to travel beyond the confines of a single star system.

Sections[edit | edit source]

Spaceships are made up of the following sections: Main Hull, Engine Nacelle(s), and Modular Sections.

Main Hull[edit | edit source]

This is the main body of the ship. On most ships, this is where the decks are in. Some ships may be built entirely in a solid hull. On other ships modular sections are used for the sake of versatility (or quick disposal) with atomic engines and chemical thrusters designed separate from the hull for this reason. Military ships are usually designed with sub-sections to maximize survivability. If one section is heavily damaged the rest of the ship can still function. Sub-sections are usually made up of a Forward Section, a Mid-Section (sometimes, an Upper and Lower Mid-Section), and an Aft Section.

Engine Nacelle(s)[edit | edit source]

Ion drives are safe enough to be incorporated into the main hull. Atomic engines and chemical thrusters are designed to be separate from the main hull, so they can be jettisoned in the case of an emergency. In the case of chemical thrusters, the fuel can be highly combustible and an explosion could send fragmentation into the main hull. Atomic engines don't explode as they do in novels, but when they are damaged or suffer a meltdown they must be disengaged from the hull or they will flood the decks with dangerous levels of radiation. For this reason nacelles are usually mounted on struts with demolition charges to blast them free of the rest of the ship.

It is generally assumed that a self-destructing ship triggers the explosion by causing a nuclear chain-reaction within it's own engines, but atomic engines are not built to do that. Self-destruction is actually caused by arming one or more of the ship's torpedoes, with the ship's hull contributing additional mass.

Modular Sections[edit | edit source]

Modular sections are built independently of the main hull. Modular sections facilitate the quick removal or attachment of specialized equipment and systems for the sake of versatility, quick repairs or disposal. In most cases, these are modular cargo bins used by freighters, while others allow the introduction of new or different weapons systems. As useful as these sections are, military ships generally avoid them because of their vulnerable nature. The risk of these sections is that they are prone to becoming fused into place, blown off, or cut off from the ship's power and control systems from damage. The only exception to this are the transport bins used by Assault Transports.

Decks[edit | edit source]

Unlike in most science-fiction, ships in Star Frontiers don't have a "wet-navy" layout. Instead, they have an arrangement that relies on ships' acceleration to produce artificial gravity.[1] This layout puts the "top" of the ship at the nose (fore), and the "bottom" at the stern (aft).

Not all ships share the exact-same layout, but there are typical arrangements. There will be a Bridge on the next-to uppermost deck with an Observation Dome/Deck above it (used by astrogators to plot a course). Engineering is normally the lowest deck, and decks related to various ships' functions (quarters, labs, cargo, etc) are stacked between them.

The typical deck layout (from the top to bottom) of a civilian ship:

  • Forward (upper) Decks
    • Bridge
    • Officer's Deck(s) - Quarters and Living Area
    • Main computer Deck
    • Life Support Deck
  • Mid-decks
    • Crew Deck(s) - Quarters and Living Area
    • Recreation Deck
    • typical for Spaceliners:
      • Luxury Accommodations Deck
      • Recreation Deck
      • Passenger Accommodations Deck
      • Storage Accommodations Deck
    • typical for freighters:
      • Cargo
    • typical for mining ships:
      • Intake Deck - raw material bay
      • Processing Deck - refinery
      • Outtake Deck - refined material bay
  • Aft (lower) Deck
    • Storage
    • Engineering

The typical deck layout (from the top to bottom) of a military ship:

  • Forward (upper) Decks
    • Bridge
    • Officer's Deck(s) - Quarters and Living Area
    • Main computer Deck
    • Life Support Deck
  • Mid-decks
    • Crew Deck(s) - Quarters and Living Area
    • Weapon Deck
    • Administration Deck - Security station and brig, medical bay, and weapons locker.
    • Recreation Deck
  • Aft (lower) Deck
    • Storage
    • Engineering

Crew[edit | edit source]

Unless the ship is a drone (controlled by computers) spaceships need crew to operate. The military is more regimented then the private sector, as military personnel have to deal with combat situations. Privately owned ships tend to have a more casual structure.

usually types of crew are:

Military[edit | edit source]

Command Crew

  • Captain - Acts as the Tactical Officer.
  • First Officer - Acts as the primary pilot.
  • Astrogator - Calculates course for Jump, acts as secondary Communications Officer.
  • Communications and Operations Officer - As nerve-center of the ship.
  • Gunner - Controls the ship's weapons.
  • Chief Engineer - Controls the ship's power and engine.
  • Security Officer - Leads the Marines.
  • Fighter Pilot


  • Technician - Makes repairs to the ship.
  • Marine - Deals with boarding actions.
  • Fight Crew - Makes repairs to fighters.

Civilian[edit | edit source]

  • Captain - Acts as the primary pilot. (usually the ship's owner)
  • First Mate - Acts as a secondary pilot or operations officer. (usually the a co-owner)
  • Astrogator - Also acts as a secondary operations officer. (maybe a co-owner or freelancer)
  • Engineer (maybe a co-owner)
  • Gunner (only found on armed ships)
  • Crewman - They are usually unskilled staff or specialists (almost always an employee or owner's relative)

Propulsion[edit | edit source]

There are two types of propulsion; Maneuvering Thrusters and Drives. The former orients the ship while the later propels it.

Maneuvering Thrusters[edit | edit source]

Maneuvering thrusters are small liquid-fuel rockets, ion thrusters or electromagnetic propulsion systems used to flip, rotate or roll the ship. They are installed around the ship's hull in clusters facing all directions, and are supported by gyroscopes. Damage to these thrusters would effect the ship's maneuvering.

Drives[edit | edit source]

Drives are large chemical-propellant, ion, or nuclear propulsion thrusters used to push the ship forwards.

Tactical Procedures[edit | edit source]

Combat Procedures[edit | edit source]

In combat, the crew dons spacesuits and all but key compartments are depressurized to minimize the effects of a ruptured hull.

Combat spacesuits are not fit for space walks or to take damage in personal combat, but are light and comfortable enough to work in for hours at a time (space combats being protracted affairs). Puncture damage to suits can be patched with adhesive patches (a hole in a spacesuit will not harm the wearer as long as the air supply holds-up, but an unpatched hole will quickly deplete the supply). Large rips could cause an expulsion of air, to where the wearer takes damage. Foam-spray is needed to patch-up large rips, but the wearer would need to change suits, as the suit is no longer safe to work in, especially if injured.

The rooms kept pressurized are hydroponics and the medical bay. Hydroponics hold the plants and algae needed to run the life-support systems while Medical is needed to tend to injured crew.

Damage Control[edit | edit source]

Damage control is a set of emergency procedures needed to deal with damage the ship from combat or disaster by affecting quick repairs to minimize further damage. Damage control teams consist of crew members and robots lead by an Engineer. This is dangerous work, as men are running around in paper-thin spacesuits while the ship is maneuvering violently.

See: Ship

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