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Rogue Spotlight: Space travel

Discussion in 'The OMG Archives' started by Ki Adi Mundi, Mar 15, 2007.

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  1. Ki Adi Mundi

    Ki Adi Mundi I decimate ninjas.

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    Rogue Spotlight: Space travel

    In this thread, we will explain interstaller travel in the World of Star Wars. To start it off, we'll define a few main categories.

    Interstellar Transit Authority

    The Interstellar Transit Authority is a permanent non-profit organization whose role is to regulate and maintain the conventions for use of stellar coordinates and mapping conventions
    regarding the use of hyperspace. The ITA was created some thousands of years ago and as always been respected by every nations and governments. The ITA is responsible for the seeding, maintenance and update of the Hyperspace beacon network covering the galaxy. It owns a fleet of Nebula-class frigate to act as engineering centers and defense platforms.

    The Interstellar Transit Authority is based on Nekor (260L), in the Neutral Zone. From there, the ITA Permanent Council and Assembly make their rulings about interstellar travel laws, and regulates the price of fuel production and distribution across known space.

    Each of the major nations (Republic, Empire, Shindaarni, Bakuran) has a permanent representative on the council, is allowed a number of votes equal to the number of star system they represents and owns a Veto right on the council’s decisions. The smaller nations (Djemsok, Sventor or groups of less than 10 star systems) are allowed a voting representative in the
    assembly, with a number of votes equal to the number of star system it represents. Rulings made by the Council and the Assembly is final and must be obeyed by every nations.


    The Hyperdrive is the only known way to travel between star systems without spending years doing it (like with sub light engines). The mechanics of faster-than-light travel are described in the stellar mapping section.

    Travel Speed & Time

    Hyperspace travel times and speeds are described in detail in the Stellar Mapping & Astrogation Chapter. The basic level of speed is called H1 (Hyperdrive level 1) and represents the “typical†speed / time used when traveling in hyperspace. Ship’s Hyperdrive can be designed and built to increase this base speed. These augmented drives are classified according to their increments of the H1 drive, from H2 to H10. Each increment in scale of the base speed will reduce required travel time.

    The Hyperdrive design is similar to the one found in GURPS Vehicles 2nd edition. Each hyperdrive motivator’s speeds are based on the number of tons that are carried across hyperspace.

    Hyperdrive Class Time Factor

    Legality Class

    H1 Standard 1

    H2 Reduced by 10% 1
    H3 Reduced by 20% 1
    H4 Reduced by 30% 1
    H5 Reduced by 40% 1

    Hyperdrive Science

    Space travel is handled through the use of Hyperspace. Hyperspace is a parallel dimension to ours. In this dimension, channels exist in which the speed of light is not the ultimate limit. With the help of the Hyperdrive motivator, spaceships “jump†through the barrier between worlds and enter those lanes. Traveling through Hyperspace is tricky, and is subject to two major laws.

    The first law is that ships must travel through the Hyperspace lanes. With the help of navigational computers and a network of beacons, the pilot can calculate the nearest lane that will propel him in his desired direction of travel. There are some very rare individuals or races that have a natural knack for hyperspace navigation: Those are highly praised as navigator and usually are worth a lot to ships captains. Jedi also have the ability to instinctively calculate hyperspace jumps by using their Force abilities. Lanes vary greatly in size and performance, with some no longer than 1 light years and others requiring weeks in transit. Traveling through
    hyperspace is defined below.

    The second law of Hyperspace travel is gravity: For some unknown reason, gravity plays a major role in the direction of travel and the capacity of a ship to enter Hyperspace. Thus, navigational computer must take account the gravitational field of stellar bodies before “jumping†the spaceship into Hyperspace. Special spaceships, called Interdictor, have been designed with large gravity generator. Those ships disrupt the lanes and can bring a traveling spaceship prematurely out of Hyperspace, or block one from jumping into hyperspace. The results of an unwanted or premature sortie out of hyperspace usually result in damage to the hyper drive system.

    Navigating With Hyperspace

    The following section describes the steps required to successfully perform a hyperspace jump. Although it seems complicated, this process is greatly assisted by Astromech droids and Navigation computers.

    The time required to perform the necessary calculations is equal to 20 minutes less success on the astrogation skill roll (minimum 5 minutes).

    1. Distance to cover between A and B.
    2. Knowledge/frequency of use of the “lane†between A and B.
    3. Consistency and occupancy of the real-space between points A and B.
    4. Speed used over the H1 base.

    The effect of the space-time continuum in hyperspace acts very differently than in our own dimension/continuum. In hyperspace, travel-time is influenced by travel-distance in a way that makes the “miles per hours†references seems faster at longer distance.

    Below 10pc 2hrs x distance in pc 6pc = 12hrs
    From 11pc to 20hrs + 1hr x distance in pc 75pc = 95hrs = 3.95days

    H6 Reduced by 50% 1
    H7 Reduced by 60% 1
    H8 Reduced by 70% 2
    H9 Reduced by 80% 2
    From 101pc to 1000pc: 120hrs + [1hr x distance in pc divided by 4]
    600pc = 270hrs = 11.25days
    Over 1001pc 370hrs + [1hr x distance in pc divided by 5000pc = 470hrs =
    50] 19.58days

    Then, the actual knowledge about the lane must be accounted for. For well-traveled lanes, the government will have seeded hyperspace beacons that relay the required information to the ship’s hyperdrive computer. On less traveled lanes or new routes, word-of-mouth information or commercial databases must be used to account for the lack of automated beacons. After that, the forehand knowledge of that lane by either pilot and/or navigator must be taken into account. Although a lane is considered uncharted, a pilot that travels it twice a week will have the edge over a first time pilot/navigator.

    The amount of elements strung along the way in real-space also influences time because of the gravity fields generated by such deep space objects:

    • For each stars crossed: Increases time by 0.5%
    • For each “anomaly†(black holes, supernova, nebula) crossed: Increases time by 1% to 5%,
    • the type of hyperdrive must be taken into account to complete the calculations for the hyperspace jump.
    Stellar Mapping

    The stellar mapping system has been in use for over a thousand years. All nations abide by the system and regularly exchange navigational data to update the maps and charts on a regular basis.

    The Interstellar Transit Authority regulates the usage of stellar coordinates and mapping conventions. The current system is represented by a series of numbers and letters, each representing certain information about the star system in question. Example:

    World Name
    Region (Core Worlds)
    Sector (Coruscant)
    System (Coruscant)
    Race (Humans)
    Star Type (MIV7)
    World map code # (088)
    Map coordinates (045G)
    Bases (S4B1)
    # planets (6)
    Code (Green, Amber, Red)


    The sequence is as follows:
    Planet Number - Planet Name – Sector Name – Galactic Coordinates – Starport type – Bases type.

    In the example, we are using Coruscant, capitol of the Galactic Republic. The code sequence means that Coruscant is planet #88 in the database, located at galactic coordinates grid #G in quadrant 45, in the Core Worlds (CW). Furthermore, Coruscant is equipped with a class-5 spaceport (top of the line orbital and ground facilities without shipyards), and is a major
    military depot for that sector.
  2. JadeHeretic

    JadeHeretic OMG Member

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    re: Rogue Spotlight: Space travel

    *cough list sources cough*

    More About Hyperspace

    Hyperspace was the alternate state of existence used by starships to achieve faster-than-light (FTL) travel. It was a phenomenon not completely understood by scientists; it was alternately described as a parallel universe, an extra 'dimension' of space and time, an alternate mode of physical existence, or simply the universe viewed traveling faster than the speed of light.

    Technical Background

    Normally, baryonic matter obeyed physical principles of relativity: they increased exponentially in mass as they approached the speed of light, requiring more and more energy to approach it, and thus always remained below this threshold. Tachyonic matter, on the other hand, existed solely above the speed of light, and could not pass below said threshold. Hyperdrive technology allowed sentients to break this barrier and allowed slower-than-light starships to leap past the barrier and reach speeds many thousands or millions of times that of light.


    This principle was first discovered by the ancient Rakata, some 50,000 standard years before the Battle of Yavin (BBY). The Rakatan Force-enabled drives allowed them to create a galaxy-spanning empire. Some of the earliest hyperspace-utilizing artifacts (such as strange arches and matter transmitters found on ruined worlds) cannot be replicated by modern hyperdrive technology. Corellians and Duros were the earliest able to create technological versions of the Force-enhanced Rakatan devices, allowing them to build the first true hyperdrives. Consequently, despite common usage, relatively little is known about the true nature of hyperspace. Popular theories say that hyperspace utilized another dimension to 'sidestep,' per se., the light 'speed limit.' Others theorize that it phased matter directly into another universe, similar to otherspace or subspace, and thus gain superlight speeds. Whatever the case, there are many complex scientific principles known to modern hyperdrive engineers which allow for myriad different uses of this faster-than-light phenomenon.

    Hyperdrive usage

    A starship utilizing a hyperdrive had to go through a fixed, routine process. After the course was plotted in the navicomputer, the ship moved to a particular bearing and activated the hyperdrive. The ship then accelerated so rapidly that the passengers within the vessel seemed to see the stars stretched into parallel lines when they made the 'jump' to hyperspace. When entering hyperspace, the starship left conventional existence, or realspace. This phenomenon, known as pseudomotion, occurred as the massive acceleration resulted in a motion which rendered conventional notions of velocity irrelevant. At hyperspeed, the entire universe was compacted into a slue-shaded 'tunnel' of high-speed blur, effectively cutting off the ship from the normal methods of scanning and detection.

    Hyperdriving of a ship (for example, the T-65 X-wing starfighter) was done by submitting coordinates to a navicomputer either manually or by being received by wireless transmissions; Rogue Squadron, among many others, used this kind of transmission so that everyone had the same coordinates during a mission. Coordinate calculation was a somewhat dangerous task, for if someone in hyperspace approached too many black holes or stars, they would be jolted out of hyperspace because of their gravitational attraction. Intrasystem hyperdriving was quite uncommon, but was sometimes used strategically to surprise the enemy.

    Because hyperspatial navigation was difficult, routes often traveled close to inhabited systems. In the event of a problem, the possibility of communicating with a nearby planet was a great help in a difficult situation. Such problems were usually mistakes in calculating the coordinates or either not having very new data—such as of dead or newly-made stars—included in old databases. Trying to find a ship that has re-entered realspace at the wrong location is a nearly impossible task, as the many who sought the legendary Katana Fleet learned.


    When moving at speeds many times the speed of light, there were many dangers. While any collision or interference at this state was potentially fatal, the effects of gravitational pull on a starship could be particularly devastating, thus a course had to be plotted outside the 'mass shadow' or gravity well of large celestial bodies. This was exploited in many ways through the ages. Hyperspace courses were often plotted using a planet's mass as a backstop, with the hyperdrive's safety systems automatically stopping the ship as it reached the farthest point of possible travel.

    Gravity generators could be used to create an artificial 'interdiction field' which stopped hyperspace travel in a particular area by mimicking the outer fringes of a celestial body's gravity, useful for both pulling ships out of hyperspace en route and preventing enemies from escaping to lightspeed during engagement. Less affluent groups, such as pirates dragged large asteroids into trade routes in lieu of the generator or starship method, providing them with both a means to stop shipping and a temporary base or shield against hostile fire.

    Black holes are a constant menace. At least a few vessels each year are destroyed by the several "wandering" black holes in real space. Their near infinite Gravity wells are catastrophic to nearby craft.

    Effects on sensors and comms

    In addition to navigational hazards, there was also the difficulty inherent in communicating with a starship traveling at hyperspeed. Since ships in hyperspace did not exist in a conventional sense, they were largely cut off from conventional radio or subspace communication, since wavelengths of any signal would be massively distorted if they even reached the vessel. Hypercomm signals could reach a vessel in hyperspace, however it was very difficult to communicate in even this fashion unless the signal was sent from one end or the other of the traveling ship's course, or between ships on the same course.
    The same difficulties presented to communication also applied to sensors; it was nearly impossible to maintain sensor lock on a vessel in hyperspace, which made escape to lightspeed a very robust retreat option in most engagements. The only option available for pursuit was generally to plot several courses along the target's last known vector, and try to guess where the ship would come out of hyperspace for course corrections. This was generally a losing strategy, of course, since most ships wishing to avoid pursuit would plot a short jump, followed by a longer one to the destination at a different vector before enemies could arrive. The best option was to locate a homing beacon on the enemy ship, but at large distances only HoloNet-equipped tracking devices were useful, and these were fantastically expensive.

    An interesting phenomenon associated with hyperspace travel was Cronau radiation. This was a short, but powerful burst of radiation which was generated when a ship entered and left hyperspace. It could be detected by properly aligned sensors from some light-seconds away, often well outside normal sensor radius. This was how the Rebel base on Hoth was able to prepare for the oncoming attack when Admiral Ozzel mistakenly took the Executor and her battle fleet out of hyperspace too close to the system, rather than approaching stealthily.


    Because of the danger of mass shadows (not to mention interdicting pirates), hyperspace courses had to be plotted with great caution. Very few beings other than powerful Jedi could react while traveling many times the speed of light, and in any case conventional sensors and communicators could not receive information faster than lightspeed. Even subspace sensors, which operate along an alternate dimension and propogate faster than light, couldn't keep up with the vast speeds of hyperspace travel. Thus, precise advance knowledge of the celestial bodies along the way was necessary, in the form of navigational computers. These devices, also known as nav comps or navicomputers by spacers, contained detailed star charts and the ability to make astronavigational calculations quickly from one point to another before a jump is taken. While pilots had to have a basic understanding of astronav skills to operate a nav computer proficiently, they didn't need to know the complex physical equations necessary for hyperspeed travel. The internal library charts had to be periodically updated, of course, as systems spiraled slowly around the galaxy, stars exploded and were born, and so on, and so a dedicated explorer and cartographer corps still existed millennia after the first star lanes were plotted. Most star travelers used preexisting, well-known trade routes. This guaranteed that interdiction by pirates and celestial bodies was kept to a minimum, help was close by in the case of a malfunction, and travel times could be reasonably predicted.


    While hyperspace travel was the primary usage of this phenomenon which bound the modern galaxy together, it was by no means the only one. Hypercomm technology sent signal packets through hyperspace at greater speeds and distances than possible with more conventional subspace transmitters, and with much greater speed than hyperdrive-equipped starships. The HoloNet increased range still further, using an interconnected network of hyperspace beacons to rebroadcast enormous tracts of data over the entire galaxy, allowing instantaneous, full-holo transmission from virtually any subscriber to any other. Under the Galactic Empire, the HoloNet was rigorously controlled, and even under the New Republic, the network was fantastically expensive to maintain, and so direct two-way connection was usually limited to government personnel and the wealthy. News, entertainment, and other wide-reaching broadcasts were transmitted throughout the galaxy and repeated on local sector-based subspace networks, however, so every level of galactic society was touched by this communications tool, not simply those with expensive hypercomm systems.

    sources; Wookiepedia, StarWars.com Databank

    Discussion thread for this topic is here.
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