ù APAGear Vol. 5, No. 5 - J. Kemppi

APAGear - Volume 5, Number 5 - August 2003

Interstellar Travel Times

Janne Kemppi

Interstellar travelling is exceedingly rare in Heavy Gear gaming universe. It is usually carried out by military units carrying out special operations missions (such as Black Talons) or invasions (Colonial Expeditionary Force). A lot of civilian vessels support existing military missions by transporting vital supplies and other cargo.

Pure civilian traffic was quite rare before CEF invasions (a single Capricean interstellar craft flew perhaps once a decade to Terra Nova) but inclusion of Sol to Caprice has created a slow but steady stream of commercial traffic between Sol and Caprice systems. This is -however- still quite small compared to traffic in interstellar exploration era.

Tannhauser Gates are a natural phenomena that is used to fly through into another system. Most of the known gates are large but a number of smaller difficult-to-find gates are also available. These gates require technology that is currently only in NEC hands but colonials are busy trying to catch up. Large gates require less energy (in relative terms) to get larger objects through and are therefor mainstay of interstellar travel. Smaller gates have so far been delegated to sneaking small reconnaissance units but there is no fundamental reason why it wouldn't be possible to send full invasion fleet through.

Interstellar travel through Tannhauser Gate is almost instaneous in nature. The major problem lies that these gates seem to appear at long ranges from the star of each system. Therefor the trips from inhabited planets to gate points tend to be long term affairs. A typical example is Terra Nova system where trip to gate is some 1 to 3 months long. Typical trip time from inner parts of system to gate can therefor expected to be some 2 months long on average. Usually similar time is required on the other side of gate as vessel travels across the destination system to its inner parts. A travel across a system from one gate point to another depends on system in question but usual average is 3 to 4 months (within 2 to 6 months) as travel across the inner parts of system is often necessary maintain the vessel and replenish stores.

Following table shows a number of jumps necessary to move from one system to another. Travel times can be calculated to be: Number of Jumps to Reach System x 2 months = travel time in months. Only inhabited systems are included with the addition of Portal due its importance to CEF in Sol system defence strategy. The trip to Terra Nova follows the shortest route possible, which takes only one jump. The longer route reguires 4 jumps.

Jump Table

Start Sol Portal Caprice Terra Nova Utopia Botany Bay Jotenheim Atlantis Home Eden New Jerusalem
Sol --- 1 2 3 5 7 8 4 5 7 8
Portal 1 --- 1 2 4 6 7 3 4 6 7
Caprice 2 1 --- 1 3 5 6 2 3 5 6
Terra Nova 3 2 1 --- 4 6 7 3 4 6 7
Utopia 5 4 3 4 --- 2 3 5 6 8 9
Botany Bay 7 6 5 6 2 --- 5 7 8 10 11
Jotenheim 8 7 6 7 3 5 --- 8 9 11 12
Atlantis 4 3 2 3 5 7 8 --- 1 3 4
Home 5 4 3 4 6 8 9 1 --- 4 3
Eden 7 6 5 6 8 10 11 3 4 --- 7
New Jerusalem 8 7 6 7 9 11 12 4 3 7 ---

These travel times can be cut considerably when vessels are fueled and replenished en-route with a use of tender and docking vessels. Fuel tankers can be used to refuel and therefor allow considerably daring consumption of reaction mass and thus reach for higher velocities. These kinds of maneuvers are usually complex and carried out by military units for specific needs such as rapid strike across a system or rapid cargo to reinforce unit in need. So far only CEF appears to have any real experience and skills in these kinds of maneuvers but colonials are busily studying and experimenting these concepts too.