Monday, June 10, 2024

Establishing a New Colony - First Steps

How hard is it to set up a starport for your new settlement?

In my post about taking off and landing, I suggest that starships & pilots are used to landing at starports, with radio & radar guidance to ensure a safe landing. Starting a new colony on a new world, or just away from the existing port, landing can get tricky. It is still necessary to grow the new settlement. What else is there to do but build your own spaceport?

But what does that involve? As it turns out, not much, at least initially.

From Supplement 11, Library Data N-Z

[Starport type] “E,[is] (the worst, little more than a spot of cleared ground.)”

And we can put the fuel tanks right over there . . .

From the Traveller Wiki

In the short form of the Universal World Profile, ports are assigned a classification grade (A to E, and X) to the port facilities available in the system. This grade assigned to the port encompasses the services available in the port.

Class E: Frontier installation. Essentially a bare spot of bedrock with no fuel, facilities, or bases present.

From the unofficial supplement (MK-002) Starports! Credit to Rob Eaglestone, et al.

E. Frontier starport. With no facilities, the installation is little more than a flat expanse of bedrock and a sign. This designation effectively means there is no starport, but there have been previous landings and that location is indicated in records.

Each starport is characterized by a few basic elements: the Beacon, the Landing Pad, and the Traffic Control Facility. 
At the Class-E level, the beacon may be no more than a Continental Range communicator, perched on the roof of a shelter. The Equipment list in TTB includes communicators that operate out to Continental range of 5,000km. This range extends into Earth's exosphere. That is far enough to serve as a landing beacon. Traffic control is the job of whoever is manning the radio. A ship landing at a class E port will have the skies to itself; traffic volume will be very low.
The question of why your PCs want to set up their own starport is a topic for a post of its own. The actual cost in time, labor and equipment to set up a rudimentary port may be within the reach of most Travellers. Keeping it after it is built might be much harder. 
Have you ever seen this happen in play?  Tell about it in the comments.  

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