Production Sublight Speed Record

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The Production Sublight Speed Record began in the early Fifth Age, and tracks the fastest "capability speed" for a production vehicle. It has several criteria and was used until the end of the Alliance era.


The spacecraft must make a high-speed run intersecting two points; turn, then run back through the same points. The speed is then averaged across all four data sets. This means the vessel cannot simply accelerate endlessly and provides a truer measure of it's actual capabilities.

Further criteria include: -The ship must be manned and the pilot must survive. -The ship must be a production model, with anywhere from 5 to 100 units produced.

Earlier criteria also required the vehicle be used in revenue service, but this requirement was later dropped. The revenue service requirement was created to prevent experimental spacecraft built only for speed from competing.

Record Holders

The record was first created by a company running passenger liners and wanted to promote their new 50 PSL+ starliner. It was immediately taken from the company by the Hypersled Racing community, where it bounced between different racing manufacturers. Since Hypersled Racing technically counted as revenue service, this let these purpose-build speedsters pass the proverbial hat around.

Most hypersled courses relied on Acceleration Curve rather than flat-out top speed, however individual teams were able to claim the record by specially tuning the engines. For several years the title passed back and forth between these groups, with the top speed never exceeding 61PSL.

In A.Y. 514, the Gudersnipe Foundation revealed that the recently de-commissioned Condor-class strategic reconnaissance fighter regularly achieved speeds of 70PSL+, absolutely destroying the records set by the private sector. The condor record attempt marked the last time the record would ever be held by a civilian spacecraft. At the time, the Condors had not been in official service for some 30 years, well before the record even created. An older Condor frame, kept for that time in standby ready capability but not active service, was restored to operational condition and set a then-record of 70.074 PSL. This record would stand for the entirety of the Fifth Age. The record-holding spacecraft, displayed in a museum, was among the original production run and had been used(with numerous replacement parts), for 1,150 years before setting the record.

Throughout the Fifth Age, the hypersled community tried repeatedly to break the record and numerous experimental spacecraft did indeed hit 71 PSL. However, as none were considered reliable enough to enter active production, the record remained in the hands of the Condor. The fastest production hypersled was clocked at 67PSL, with most in the era averaging 65.

In the early Sixth Age, an Alliance military unit used a then-new Reliant Robin scout ship to set a record of 72.041 PSL. They did this using a highly-tuned Tri-Star variant modified to hold three Linear ion vacuum engines. Although the Robin was a Foundation design, the model used was license-built by the Alliance. The governing body agreed to let the record stand even though it was a modified spacecraft, because the only modification was to replace one engine with the same type used in the other two cowlings.

The Gudersnipe Foundation countered this by bringing the newly commissioned Harpy fighter-bomber out to play. The Foundation would not admit whether the fighter used publicly for the speed tests was factory stock or specially tuned for the record attempt, but after some difficulty it achieved 73.91 PSL. Measuring the Harpy's top speed proved extremely challenging due to its low radar cross-section. Eventually the team had to resort to opening the bomb bay doors in order to make the craft visible.

Throughout the Succession Wars as technology improved, the record traded hands between various mill-spec ships using finely-tuned convention engines, eventually topping out at 73.99995, but never breaking the 74 barrier. A few weapons systems during the war did travel as fast as 80PSL, most notably the Harpoon Torpedo, and at least one Alliance ship was rated as 75PSL+.

Finally, in the late Sixth Age, a secret project for a blockade-runner produced a new type of engine. Called the Star Hammer, the wildly impractical prototype was pushed into full production status in order to claim the record. The Star Hammer Series IV, the first production version, set an initial record of 89.71 PSL during initial space trials, and by the time the minimum five were built had set an undisputed record of 90.11.

For good measure, a "civilian" VIP-transport model of the Star Hammer(series V) was also constructed. Though never officialy run through the testing process, it should have easily reached its mill-spec sister's rate. The Series V is best described as a Series IV with reclining seats and better carpet.