Starship Terminology

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This hub-page focuses on any and all things related to spacecraft in the Course Books and associated works.

System Classifications and Categories

For simplicity, systems are placed in color-coded categories:

Blue: Primary Systems; shields, weapons, engines, power generation, big stuff.

Purple: Support Systems; life-support, power-transfer, computers, stuff that makes big stuff work.

Orange: Minor sub-systems and diagnostics, little stuff, generally low-power.

System classifications are based on numerous criteria such as complexity, importance, power-requirements, integration, etc. Waste-management, for example, would not normally be thought of as ‘primary’; but because ship’s waste is fed into the engines as fuel, waste-management is closely integrated with engines and thus a Blue system. Weapons, while not vital to the ship’s general survival, are high-energy and high-complexity and are thus Blue. Life support, while vital, is a support-system, and thus classified under ‘Purple’.

In addition to color, all ship’s systems have a primary and secondary designation, used namely during repair operations. Life support, for example, is ‘primary’, because life sucks without air. Waste management, is, of course, secondary, because you don’t need to flush the toilet in order to breathe. Power Transfer is primary because nothing else works without it; weapons are secondary because you don’t need to shoot when you can’t breathe. Shields are primary because ships can’t move very fast without them (impacting a piece of space dust at 70% light speed will kill you without deflectors). Thus, it falls to the engineers and chief petty officers to understand all this stuff and actually make the ship go.

System Lists




Super Structure

In spacecraft parlance, the term "super structure" refers to the ship's rigid skeleton(and not, as in their naval counterparts, the part above the water). Not all ships have a distinct super structure, though it is a common element on most Foundation spacecraft. In larger capital ships, the super structure will be pored from a single, contiguous piece for maximum strength. This is done in space through the use of forcefields, with artificial gravity used to compress the material as it cools.

Warship Design

Warship design doctrine follows a fairly standard layout. The outermost layer is the armor belt, which typically surrounds the entire ship except where neccessary(such as the engine inlets and outlets, weapon systems, etc). Armor follows the "all-or-nothing" approach, meaning it is uniform full-thickness or done without.

Behind the armor lies the "wetsuit", or ships systems that are exposed to the vacuum. Typically the armor belt is airtight and allows the wetsuit to be pressurized for maintenance and repairs, but under-way the area will be hard-vacuum.

All of this sits outside of the pressure hull.

Other Terms

Notable Ships