Colony Ship Manifest

Inigo Montoya's picture
Inigo Montoya
September 11, 2019 - 5:36pm

I would like some help filling out a colony ship (ark type) cargo manifest. This ship is a desperate Hail Mary type of gambit. The human race is coming to a close on Earth and a special ark is prepared to take 500 select individual (in stasis) to the most likely planet able to host a colony. 


This ship of course has a complete sampling of remaining Earth creatures in embryonic stage as well as complete seed banks. There is also a complete cultural, technical and medical library. The ship itself is designed to break down into three system ships (for mining resources), a small space station and a prefabbed colony hub for the surface.


I appreciate obvious and general suggestions but I am also looking for detailed and "who would ‘a thought" ideas.


jedion357's picture
September 12, 2019 - 3:19pm
Good read for this is Colony Fleet although the book focuses on the societal changes going on for generations on a colony ship.

only 500 select individual? thats a bit low

Also all Earth life in embrionic stages? That is a lot- thoughsands upon thoughsands of vertibrates and forget the invertibrates science still hasn't identified all of them.

I would make the "habitat ring" the space station- it rotates for simulated gravity both during the journey and upon arrival.

support ships? perhaps a colony ship might bring along support ships- small mining ship that harvests ice from comets or other objects in a the outer system- perhaps not just water but methane ice and other exotics that can exist on some of these objects.

seems like this sort of colony would want a scout ship to thoroughly scout the new system. it would be a shame to miss an important exploitable asset by focusing on the new planet. this scout ship would double as a lander for the main colony.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Inigo Montoya's picture
Inigo Montoya
September 12, 2019 - 6:01pm

I am comfortable with a population of 500 mature colonists in cryo. One source that I found suggests that through careful planning, as few as 80 people can provide enough genetic diversity for a colony. In light of potential catastrophes, there would of course be human embryos on board.

 As far as "all" Earth life, there will not be every variation of the species. I should not have used the phrase, “complete sampling”. For instance there are just over 200 different varieties of Owls and at least 300+ officially recognized dog breeds. Biologists will have compiled lists of “types” to bring. These would be developed in labs in the new colony and they would count on mutation to fill out the additional varieties of the species. Some species of course would be brought along in large quantities based on need, such as food sources and labor/service. Another consideration is that while mankind is fleeing his nativity, a large amount of what was, is no longer. To this end all information about extinct species and their DNA sequencing would be brought along. I do realize that even paring down the number of species will still leave a tremendous about of material begin brought along. However, that is the entire purpose of this ship.

 The habitation ring of the ship really isn’t that necessary for the ship itself since the crew will spend majority of the trip in storage. However, at the end of the journey the entire ship is designed to be broken down into usable material. “Some assembly required”. The colony ship itself is actually comprised of 3 separate ships that will serve as “support ships” once they arrive. They will be used to harvest gasses, liquids and solids from the system. The ship will have several support crafts to serve as shuttles and landers. There will be plenty of options for exploring and exploiting.

 My problem is that I would pack everything but the kitchen sink. As you can see, this venture already has an amazing large mass. I would like help in knowing what types of resources the colony should bring along to kick start everything. What items would they need to bring to support science labs (biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology…)? I’m not looking really for types of lab equipment, but resources. What would they stock for construction endeavors. (maybe equipment would be helpful here though too.) What medical resources would be needed? What Energy related items (for finding and developing sources) should they include. Basically, what building blocks do they need to bring with them to make building blocks of their own once they get there? With the right tools, they can build other tools once they are there. But they have to bring the right one along. No running back to the hardware store on this one.

KRingway's picture
September 12, 2019 - 11:15pm
Sperm and eggs would probably allow for a lot more diversity - for humans as well as animals. This is more akin to seed bank. How much does the project know about the destination world? That would probably mean that they could better tailor their future needs and what resources they need to bring to it.

Inigo Montoya's picture
Inigo Montoya
September 13, 2019 - 1:22am

They do not know much at all. There is a target list of worlds in the computer. While everyone is in stasis, the ship will take itself to the target system and wake up the bridge crew. After they reach orbit they will study the situation and determine the possibility of colonizing the world. If the world is not acceptable, they begin the journey to the next world and go back into the freezer. This is why I referred to this as a Hail Mary mission. Their intent is to find an earth-like home in regards to life supporting elements and resources. However they cannot guarantee the resources. They may choose a world that seems great but then discover that there is little to no petroleum. They will need to come up with alternatives to fossil fuels and petroleum based items. Of course their tech would already have alternative energy sources but oil is just so darn easy and efficient. Iron is high on their priority list, but it may not be as abundant as they hope. These are just some examples of what they have to think about when bringing resources.

jedion357's picture
September 13, 2019 - 6:14am
Lots of stores- raw metal and plastics that can be fabricated into what is needed. tool and die shop, tools to make tools, the colony plan might be to rely on broght supplies for 5 years till local resources can be exploited. looms, spinning wheels, etc.

Recently saw a meme that said "Without Farms you would be nake, hungry and sober." so I imagine you will have instant farms ie Green houses to produce food in case the new environment is a problem or the weather doesn't cooperate so green houses will be super important but large scale agriculture will be the ground work for food, clothing, bio fuel (corn oil in a diesel like engine although you likely will need fuel heater to preheat the bio fuel prior to ignition).

someone will make a still but why would not a colony expedition pre plan for beer, wine or spirit production? Sure some early colonist in America did use most of their crop to brew beer and let their families starve and this is always a temptation but we are talking about smart educated individuals being selected for this so perhaps the planners think they are above acting like a drunk "I would never". Perhaps one of the planners/founders is the owner of a major brewery or vinyard. He made his money in tech but began to dabble in craft brewing or wine making before eventually buying and building a brewery or vinyard. So whatever is requrired for that.

and of course spirits of high alcohol content have a use too.

aggriculture production just cant help but be important.

one might also imagine Amish being recruited for such an endeavor - perhaps Neo-Luddish a sort of luddite fusion with Amish but lacking the religious sensibilities of the Amish- these would farmers that would tackle the job with low tech ingenuity and could be worth their weight in gold to such an expedition.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
September 14, 2019 - 12:44pm
Hmm, I've tried tackling this idea -- partially. If I may, let me share a idea or two if it helps... or ignore it if it doesn't.

Vermillion Bird Class Colonial Ship:These were gigantic vessels (approximately hull size 30) that carried up tofive colonial landers. They were used during Humanity’s settlement of theFrontier until communications with the Human’s homeworld ceased. No workingmodels of this class of ship remain in operation in the Frontier. 

The Vermillion Bird Class Colony Ship can carry up to five HS size "system ships" -- i.e. Lotus Landers or the like, which is why it is the equivalent of a HS 30 vessel.

The anti-missile laser system is basically similar to the Knight Hawks anti-missile system, except it's laser based and doesn't run out of ammo. I can imagine the UPF Spacefleet might develop something like this during the Second Sathar War. But, when overtaxed, the anti-missile laser interceptors can start "running hot," greatly reducing their operating efficiency.

And, the idea for that system comes from Babylon 5 with the station's laser "interceptors."

A colony ship would have been escorted by at least a frigate-sized vessel and accompanied by a HS 18 equivalent frieghter carrying additional supplies for a colony.

While a size class 30 vessel should have 150 hull points (5 points x size class), this ancient craft only has 90 hull points. It's basically a big tug/carrier for the landing craft. If it is fired on and is loaded with landers, the landers probably get hit 40 percent of the time. And, someone could target the landers separately from the Vermillion Bird.

When it is not carrying landers, the ship's performance really doesn't improve very much. Probably a +1 ADF rating while the MR remais the same. It's just a big vessel that can't get out of its own way, so to speak. It's not a warship even if it has defensive weapons.

So, what are my Terran "Heavy Bolt Lasers" -- large, short range laser cannons designed to scare off any potential attackers. So, instead of the traditional KH firing arcs -- i.e. FF for forward firing only, while lasers usually have a 360 degree firing arc -- I'd say that the heavy bolt lasers have Star Fleet Battles type firing arcs. One will shoot to the front-right and right, one shoots front-left and left, and one laser covers the rear arc. If needed, I can find a SFB firing arc diagram and post it.

These lasers use power from the gravitic drive (which would be much larger and more advanced than the Frontier's atomic engines, hence why the Vermillion Bird only needs three engines). When it powers these weapons up, the ship cannot accelerate, decelerate or turn... a bit of a drawback, but it's not a warship.

So, the damage would be 3d10, maximum range of 10 and yes it suffers from range diffusion like other KH lasers. And, no, the Frontier can't replicate it at this time... though maybe by 111 FY. 

The maximum jump range of a Vermillion Bird is 50 light years.

Lotusarcology landers would have had chemical rockets for a controlled descent plus enough fuel toland and takeoff twice. Any extra fuel would have been used to power thearchology’s generators until alternative sources were built/found – such as theconstruction of a nuclear power plant.

Each lander had varioussections that would unfold, creating additional space for any colonists whowould live inside. Typically, the hibernating colonists would be awaken at intervalsdetermined by the colonial leader. For example, the first 1,000 colonists – inaddition to the lander’s crew – would establish the initial settlement. Anothergroup of 500 to 1,000 might be awakened within a month to help conduct surveys,clear land for farming and/or begin mining operations. More and more colonistswould be awakened over time to build satellite communities.

Such Terran coloniesshould have been supported with follow-up missions bringing supplies andadditional colonists.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
September 14, 2019 - 12:46pm
jedion357 wrote:
Lots of stores- raw metal and plastics that can be fabricated into what is needed. tool and die shop, tools to make tools, the colony plan might be to rely on broght supplies for 5 years till local resources can be exploited. looms, spinning wheels, etc....

Good ideas.
Joe Cabadas