Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Conjunction # 13 (Final)

And there you have it.  Anyway, hope you all enjoyed this little comic.  Conjunction as a setting and intellectual exercise will continue through the end of the "Building a Space Navy" series, with at least one more foray into "Space Combat in Conjunction" for good measure.  That should be out Sunday at the latest.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Building a Space Navy : VII Fleet Design

 Aaaand here we are again, RocketFans, with another installment of our series on building a Space Navy  Force that won't insult and/or make the professionals cry! 

Okay, it probably will anyway, what with all the comments I get about how un-economical mining hydrocarbons from Titan is, but what the heck - we've come this far, and as an exercise in how to build a Space Navy, the following is instructive no matter the validity of the central premise.

We're at Now, now.
For those who forgot where we were at, go here.

If you want a good summation of the entire topic, along with links to all the articles in this series, go here.

As I mentioned before, in order write this part of the series, we needed a good idea of what kinds of ships spacecraft we would needed.  These craft would have to follow certain basic assumptions and tactical considerations in order to make sense in the context of the Conjunction universe.  Now that we have that data (more or less), we can start filling the boxes on our chart again.

First of all, we have Fleet CapabilitiesThis means what our collection of spacecraft can do, are meant to do, and end up being able to do once the bean counters slash the budget.  In addition to certain design considerations, our spacecraft's capabilities have been covered pretty well, so there's no need to go into detail here.  Here's a quick outline of what we're dealing with:

Fleet Capabilities: 
  1. Mobile Fleet Tenders: These craft carry the propellant, repair facilities, most of the habitat needs, and the high specific impulse drives needed for long distance power projection. Commanded by a Mission Commander (O-8)
    1. There are three in service prior to Great Conjunction: the Gaia, Diana, and Ares. One is under construction (Zeus) and two more have been ordered (Chronos and Ouranos).
  2. Patrol Cutters: A-class patrol cutters are 70 meters long, mount one fixed laser, one turret, and can shape a Hohmann orbit one light-second in diameter or constant boost at half a g. They carry a half dozen espatiers and six drones for boarding actions. They are commanded by a Flight Commander (O-4)
  3. Uprated Patrol craft: B-class patrol cutters are 105 meters long, carry more propellant (mass ratio 6), carry 12 Espatiers and 25 spacers and carry 75 tons of kinetic kill vehicles.
  4. Gunships: Basic orbital craft found at all Space Stations. Can carry a squad of espatiers, 6 KKVs, or a 3 meter 700 nanometer laser, depending on configuration. Can also be fitted with boosters to increase delta-v. 

The next little box is Fleet Size.  Instead of calculating how many of each spacecraft I would need, I figured about how many I would realistically have  available at the start of the first interplanetary war.    This is in now way as many as needed to fill all the slots in the Order of Battle, but that's what you get when your a peacekeeping force that's forced to into a war.

 Fleet Size and Mix:
  1. Mobile Fleet Tenders: Current 3, ordered 6, under construction 3
  2. Patrol craft: Current 28, ordered 36, under construction 4
  3. Uprated Patrol craft (Under Construction): last 6 of PL Block I(B) 12 Block II
  4. Laser Stars (Planned): Ordered 12, under construction 3
  5. Gunships: Over 2,000 in service, average of 48 constructed a year.
Incidentally, one of the little tricks available to those of us who practice Hard Science Fu is that Delta-V limits can be an advantage in certain cases.   For example, the massive A-Class Patrol Rocket and the diminutive Cygnus gunship may have radically different masses, armaments, crew capacities, and weapons loads, but they have the same Delta-V.  That means that the tiny, cheap and common gunship can technically perform any mission the larger and much more expensive Patrol Craft can, just not as well.  This makes the Cygnus more versatile than a Soft SF shuttle, as we would assume that it has less "range" than a larger ship.
Hard Science Fu: Crouching Delta, Hidden V

The next part of the Chart is the Fleet Mix section, which is covered nicely above.  So...okay then.

Finally, we come to a section that again is not always covered by SF authors but is nonetheless vital in the real world planning of naval ops: Fleet Laydown.  Winchell Chung put it this way:

"Where are the parts of the fleet located? How many bases are there? How many ships are located at the bases? What mix of ship types are located at the bases?"

 Those are big questions, when you have a fleet that's supposed to police the whole solar system.

I figured it all anyway.  I've had a long time to work on it, after all:

    1. Chain of command: Based at UNHQ, Earth
      1. Secretary General –
        1. Secretary of the Security Council –
          1. Peacekeeping Forces Commander –
            1. Chiefs of staff for the Space Force and the Espatier Corps
      2. Space Force Chief of Staff -
        1. Mobile Fleet Command (METROCOM)
          1. Mission Commanders - Mobile Fleet (METROMCOM)
            1. Flight Commanders (METROFCOM)
              1. Department Heads
                • Mission Control Staff
              2. Auxiliary Spacecraft Flight Commanders (CORTFCOM)
                • Auxiliary Craft Crew
        2. Escort Command (CORTCOM)
          1. Mission Commander, Escort Squadron (CORTRONMCOM)
            1. Flight Commanders (CORTRONFCOM)
              1. Depatment Heads
              2. Mission Control Staff
            2. Commanders, Escort Craft Blue/White (FCOMBLU/WHT)
              1. Department Heads Blue/White
              2. Mission Control Staff Blue/White
            3. Auxiliary Craft
              1. Auxiliary Craft Crew
        3. Orbit Guard Command (ORCOM)
          1. Commander, Orbit Guard (ORMCOM)
            1. Assets attached to Planetary Peacekeeping Zones (see below)
        4. Laser Transport Authority Command (LASCOM)
          1. Commander, Laser Transport Authority (LASMCOM)
            1. Assets attached to Planetary Peacekeeping Zones (see below)
        5. Search and Rescue Command (SARCOM)
          1. Commander, Search and Rescue (SARMCOM)
            1. Assets attached to Planetary Peacekeeping Zones (see below)
        6. Training Command (TRAINCOM)
          1. Commadant, Training Command (CMDT)
            1. Training commands are attached to Mobile Fleet Command and Escort Command assests; See below.
        7. Planetary Peacekeeping Zone Command (PAXCOM)
          1. Mission Commanders, Space Stations (STATMCOM)
            1. Flight Commanders, Space Stations (STATFCOM)
              1. Department Heads
              2. Auxiliary Spacecraft Flight Commanders         
                • Mission Control Staff
                • Auxiliary Craft Crew
          1. Attached Assets
            1. Orbit Guard
            2. Laser Transport Authority
            3. Search and Rescue

    1. Planetary Peacekeeping Zones
      1. Zone Earth/Luna
        1. Space Elevators
          1. SS Yygrassil
          2. SS Tiānshàng tǎ
          3. SS Jacob's Ladder (PAXCOM)
        2. SS NEO
          1. SS Gateway II
          2. SS Gateway III
        3. SS Luna
          1. SS Shackleton
      2. Zone Mars
        1. SS Deimos (PAXCOM)
        2. Mars/Earth Cyclers
          1. SS Aldrin
          2. SS Odysseus
      3. Zone Jupiter
        1. SS Io
        2. SS Ganymede
        3. SS Callisto (PAXCOM)
        4. SS Greek camp Trojans
        5. SS Trojan camp Trojans
      4. Zone Saturn
        1. Mobile Fleet Diana
          1. Mission Command
          2. Blue Crews
          3. White Crews
        2. SS Titan
    2. Commercial Peacekeeping Zones (Civ-PEZ)
      1. Belt
        1. SS Ceres
        2. SS Vesta
        3. Mobile Fleets
          1. Gaia
            1. Mission Command
            2. Blue Crews
            3. White Crews
            4. Training Command
          2. Ares
            1. Mission Command
            2. Blue Crews
            3. White Crews
            4. Training Command
      2. Escort Squadrons (CORTRON)
        1. Escort Squadrons 1-20
          1. Mission Command
          2. Blue Crews
          3. White Crews
          4. Training Command
That is a lot of nonsense up there, I know.  It may not make much sense to you as it a Conjunction resource right now, but as an author's or game designer's resource, its pure gold.  Look at all those locations, all the potential for jurisdictional squabbles, places where personality conflict could mess things up.  there are dozens of sourcebooks worth of RPG material up there, and the plots of several stories as well.  And that, my dear RocektFans, was the point, wasn't it?

But don't worry, as we continue with our exploration of the Building a Space Navy chart, this will make more sense.  I hope ;)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Conjunction #11 and #12 (Because it's Been Awhile)

Today we release the penultimate Conjunction comic strip.  Because it has been so long since #11 was published back in March, I decided to include it so you wouldn't have to chase the links down.  Besides, the two read best back-to-back like this, so.

Next Wednesday will be the final Conjunction comic, unless popular demand moves me to continue.  Anyway, enjoy!

Click to Enlarge


Monday, May 11, 2015

Moving Forward...

Greetings, Rocketfans!  I'm back after a delicious vacation to get the A to Z Blog Challenge out of my system.  It was a fun month of mapping, to be sure, but an exhausting one.

Still, I learned a lot.  For one thing, I made most of those maps, each 200 combat miniature squares apiece, in a matter of hours.  This has given me the confidence that I could tackle major mapping challenges and meet them without working twelve-hour days and driving myself crazy.  I mean that literally; for all you new people, I got into this racket because a coma in 2009 left me with persistent neurological and psychological problems that make working for someone - or even being around someone - else a challenge for them and me both.  Back in 2011 and 2012 I was putting out new books of starships every month - until the self-imposed strain made further progress impossible for awhile.

Uh, I mean, bunker!
I have nothing relevant to show.  Here is a Killer Space Kitten.

Anyway, the point is, I feel better about making new products with that month of solid blogging under my belt.

In other news, I will be finishing up the Building a Space Navy series during the next few, and then that will probably be the end of my work on the Conjunction universe.  Several commenters have pointed out to me... repeatedly... that natural gas from Titan is too expensive to move with realistic or plausible tech, and without that central tenant, the whole thing kind of falls apart.   But all that aside, Conjunction is an excellent frame for the needs of an interplanetary space force, so we'll see her through to the end.

After that (or during), we will be starting a new series with a new setting idea, and explore new stuff.

As far as less-than-rock-hard-SF stuff goes, we have a couple of things in the works, a freighter I discussed in March will be ready for sale this month, and the Star Morphs project is moving forward with a slew of NPCs to populate all those maps, and random tables to guide their use.  This first Star Morphs project will be for the Open D6 system, since that's my jam, but if there is enough demand, versions for D20 Future, Traveller, and Starships & Spacemen/ White Star will be considered.  That should keep me busy for awhile...

And what about my faithful Patreons, you may wonder?  For one thing, the $5.00 group gets all that swag at no additional cost.  Since the Star Morph books will certainly cost more than five dollars upon publication, that's a good deal.  My $1.00 Patreons will still get to look at the random tables and NPC stats in advance of publication and offer input, and when any new star morph maps are made, they will be available to my Patreons a month in advance of my regular guests.

In addition to all of that, I am looking forward to writing more nano-fic and universe building.  I've read a lot of good stuff lately, from the addictive Alister Young (of course) and also by my good friend Rob Garitta who will, if he's smart, talk to Goblinoid Games about writing the first Starships & Spacemen story anthology.  I'm inspired by my peers to keep putting fingers on keys in an attempt to make something that sounds as cool as it does in my head.  The results will follow here.

Anyway, we will see one of the remaining Conjunction comics posted on Wednesday and an installment of Building a Space Navy sometime this week.  Patreons can expect some NPCs to examine and entertain, if so inclined.  Enjoy!