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Old January 14 2013, 05:30 AM   #1279
Vektor
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Location: Spokane, WA, USA
Re: Star Ship Polaris

If you mean the latest ship sketch, by all means, post wherever you like. Just make sure to note it's a work in progress.

As for the artificial gravity/deck orientation question, my feeling is that Polaris' decks are arranged the way they are mainly because it has the ability to land. Probably a lot of smaller ship classes have similar arrangements and for the same reasons. For bigger ships, they can orient their gravity and their decks however they want, and even vary them from one section to another. Even on Polaris, I have the gravity in the lander modules oriented perpendicular to the rest of the ship, and the access corridors leading to them actually transition from one orientation to the other like a skateboard ramp.

Regarding the drive "sails," I've given quite a bit of thought to the rationale for them. By way of an analogy, I liken them to the fletchings on an arrow. When a ship makes an FTL jump, the effect is similar to firing an arrow from a bow. Without the fletchings, there is nothing to stabilize the arrow's trajectory and it is likely to go wildly off-target.

I imagine that FTL jump drives in this universe have effectively unlimited range, but any jump longer than, say, a dozen light years is impractical because the accuracy diminishes exponentially with distance. Beyond a certain point, the FTL trajectory can actually skew beyond the dimensional limits of this universe, making longer jumps exceptionally risky.

Polaris' drive sails were a design innovation intended to stabilize the FTL trajectory much like the arrow fletchings. They succeeded, giving Polaris pinpoint accuracy for short jumps and a much greater effective range for longer ones, but the sails themselves were relatively fragile and vulnerable to misalignment problems. Only two or three ship classes were ever fitted with the technology and only a handful of each were ever produced. Within a few years, the external sails were superseded by somewhat less efficient but far more durable internal components.

Anyway, that's my unofficial explanation for the drive sails and why they aren't used on any other ships in this production besides Polaris. It also ties in with certain plot points, which I will not reveal here.

For what it's worth.
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