Liner operations with the Eichberger Drive

spaceships
faster-than-light
transport-economics

#1

I’m about to start investigating liner operations and interstellar transport costs in Flat Black. This is going to involve committing to facts and numbers about the Eichberger drive and the things liners have to do to use it, beyond the existing¹ “it goes about 1,000 times lightspeed, and is dearer than surface ships but cheaper than air liners”. There is going to be a bit of fiddling around to do, assumptions to experiment with and alter. If you notice anything about the specification below that might have implications that I haven’t thought of, please let me know about them and I’ll try to nip the problems in the bud.

This is mostly a set-up to (a) writing what manœuvre drives liners and warships have to effect their evolutions on the pre-FTL and post-FTL legs of any trips, (b) writing a description of what a liner journey is like for PC passengers, and © writing a statement of typical fares and freight rates. I’m fiddling around with GURPS Spaceships rules as a starting-point, but I feel free to change things if I don’t like the results, and no obligation to be compatible with the GURPS Spaceships approach.

Starting assumptions:

  1. The Eichberger Drive is used by ships in space, thousands of kilometres from any atmosphere. If for no other reason, this is because if it used in/near an atmosphere it causes all the elements from hydrogen to about xenon within a large distance to undergo fusion at room temperature.
  2. For its drive to function as a drive (rather than a type of fusion warhead) the ship has to be not gravitationally bound to the solar system² it’s in, which means that it has to be travelling at above the escape velocity for the joint gravitational field of the planet and star at its origin. In the case of Earth/Sol that’s about 17 kilometres per second, towards which orbital speed around Earth contributes if you choose the right direction — liners head east from the night side. (Earth’s orbital speed is already taken into account in that 17 km/s figure. You can make the requirement more demanding by heading in the wrong direction if you want to.)
  3. The drive functions as what GURPS Spaceships calls a “hyperdrive”, i.e. the ship travels at finite speed and cannot interact with intervening objects (including detecting them), but it does not involve being in a “hyperspace” that is shared in any way with other ships. Essentially a ship in drive is temporarily in a pocket universe.
  4. The speed of the ship in drive is about 1,000c. That’s reasonably close to the 1 parsec-per-day suggested by GURPS Spaceships for FTL-1, but that’s coincidence and I’d certainly be happy to change it if I needed to. This is a situation like the use of “quantum I hyperdrive” and “quantum II hyperdrive” in Larry Niven’s Known Space. That is, all ships travel at the same speed; bigger drives don’t give you greater speed.
  5. When the ship arrives it is at rest with respect to the barycentre of its destination system, so it needs delta-vee equal to the orbital velocity of its destination planet minus low-orbit velocity around its destination planet.
  6. Energy is conserved in the following way: upon the arrival of a ship its excess energy is released in a violent convulsion heralding its arrival, and producing gravitational waves and a brief flash of black-body radiation with temperature characteristics related to the ship’s energy and drive size.
  7. The mass of the drive required is 5% of ship mass. This is a GURPSism, I may change it, and may have drive size diminishing with increasing tech level.
  8. The cost of Eichberger drives is as given in GURPS Space for stardrive systems. I will very likely alter this assumption to tune the results. Very likely the cost of Eichberger drives will diminish with increasing technology.
  9. Eichberger drives require no fuel and are not high-energy systems in GURPS Spaceships terms. However, they do require periodic maintenance to replenish consumables and replace fatigues parts. I’ll start with an assumption that overhauls cost 1% of drive cost per 1,000 engine hours.

¹ Previous versions of Flat Black had various specifications of the Eichberger Drive, which differed from each other and from what I’m about to specify now. The first few were instantaneous. Their quirks produced features that I didn’t like, so if you remember them from previous versions please disregard those recollections. We have always been at war with Eastasia.
² But not to the Galaxy. The physics is complicated and a classified. You are not cleared to hear the engineer explain it, and not cleared to be able to understand it if he did. Report to the food vat.


#2

I thought of running a campaign about a spaceliner a while back, though it wouldn’t have been rigorously modeled economically. I was looking at using Big Eyes Small Mouth to run it—including writing up the ship—and of setting it in the Firefly 'verse. There would have been ship’s officers and crew; entertainers and shopkeepers in a somewhat entrepreneurial role; and passengers, some of whom would have been sources of trouble. But my players didn’t go for that one. . . .


#3

I’ve run some adventures on liners in transit, including two murder mysteries, an espionage story, and some onshen-episode.


#4

So, about costs. Let’s assume

  • amortisation: 5% of ship cost per year

  • depreciation: 2% of ship cost per year (these ships suffer much less fatigue than aircraft)

  • hull & machinery insurance: 1% of ship cost per year

  • maintenance, repairs, & overhaul of reaction engines: 1% of engine cost per 300 engine hours

  • maintenance, repairs, & overhaul of stardrives: 1% of engine cost per 1,000 engine hours

  • propellant per GURPS Spaceships

  • wages per GURPS Spaceships

  • docking fees, traffic-control charges etc. are outside the bounds of the analysis.

  • Ships run on a three-shift system, so each workspace requires 3 crew @ G$5.6k.month, i.e. G$200k per year. High automation eliminates workspaces at G$1.111 million each, which at 8% is G$89k per year. Liners will be highly automated. But total automation eliminates workspaces at G$5 million each i.e. G$400k per year— they won’t be totally automated.

  • Ships may be SM+9 or under to have an engine room and no workspaces or SM+12 or larger to have high automation. Check both.

And for operations, say that ships are under way 75% of the time. Load factors are outside the bounds of the analysis.

Does that seem good? Have I missed something?


#5

How do you get all that delta-V? Conventional space drives?


#6

It’s going to have to be. If that turns out to be impractical, drawing-board time again.

It’s what? 17 km/s to escape Earth-Sun minus 8 km/s low orbit speed, plus 30 km/s to catch up with not-Earth plus 8 km/s low orbit speed. 37 km/s. 23 mi/sec. A fusion torch (TL10^) will do that on a tank and a half of hydrogen in a little over two engine-hours.


#7

If the arrival is precise enough, you can aerobrake, but fuel is cheap.


#8

Some side notes which may affect demand:

  • Why do people travel? (In sufficient numbers to make liners viable at all.) What can’t you get at world A which you can at world B, and why aren’t you importing it instead? (I could see a tendency for people to move from backward worlds to more advanced and higher-population ones in search of more life options, but one is likely to arrive poor.)
  • What sort of communications do you have? Anything faster than putting data aboard a ship?

#9

When I write “liners”, I include cargo liners as well as passenger liners.

People travel in order to migrate. People from poor worlds go to rich ones believing that they will find opportunity there, and that to live even as a poor member of a rich society will be better to live in the circumstances that their society affords them. People from rich worlds go to poor ones because they believe that the skills and wealth they have, which offer them only few opportunities at home, will afford them status and opportunity and a chance to make a worthwhile contribution among the poor. People from rigid societies escape to free ones, people from violent societies flee to peaceful ones. Members of persecuted and defeated groups become refugees and exiles. Sometimes there are “job rushes”, in which people from societies with persistent unemployment among the skilled learn that some other society is developing rapidly and lacks skilled workers. Migrants often have a low value of time in transit and are prepared to travel bunk class or even hibersleep.

People travel to effect trade. Purchasing agents and sales agents, merchandising executives and marketing executives, negotiators to close deals, business administrators to run local offices, also engineers to develop mines, establish plantations, set up manufacturing facilities. For these people time is often money, and if it isn’t for them it is for the employers who pay their fares and salaries. But they tend to like couchette or stateroom class.

People travel to work for NGOs either as organisers or as field professionals: physicians, surgeons, nurses, agronomists, civil engineers, electrical engineers, art appraisers, historians, clandestine operators.

People travel to proselytise. Not often for frank religions, but often for crank political and economic sects.

Consultants with very particular set of skills travel to find and carry out commissions.

People travel to work for the Empire. They often travel standby, but they get assigned in order of rank and seniority to the best cabins vacant. Sometimes you share a bunkroom with a major in the Imperial marines. Other times a probationary investigation in the ICfJ travels first class and rubs elbows with kings.

Students travel to advanced economies to study, or anywhere they can afford for an exchange experience. Anthropologists, gastronomists, historians etc. travel to backward societies to do research.

Writers, adventure documentary vloggers, anthropological vloggers, art vloggers, architecture vloggers, memoirists, journalists and so on travel to gather material. The writers in particular can work while they are in a liner in transit, so their BVOT can be very low.

The rich travel to enjoy their wealth, to accumulate distinguishing experiences, also to receive services that they cannot have at home. For example the ruling class of Navabharata travel to Simanta and Tau Ceti to be trained as professionals and turned into gods. The rich like luxury suite travel, but sometimes settle for staterooms.

As for fast communications, there is no FTL radio or telegraph; interstellar message traffic goes aboard ships.


#10

Ship specs for the freight rate and fares estimates

So let’s see. I’m pretty convinced that a liner will need a fusion torch drive and that that is so clear that there’s no point in even examining anything else. The drive time is only a few hours out of a trip of several days of which the duration is determined by the stardrive and not by the reaction drive so, adding extra reaction drives can’t possibly pay for itself. Indeed it would probably be economical to split it down to a third of a system. I’m not going to look into that this time, though, because this exercise doesn’t justify dealing with high automation on an SM+11 drive system.

The back-of envelope in post #5 above suggested that two tanks would be sufficient for and Earth-clone to Earth-clone trip, but I guess that some routes might not need the second tank and some might need a third, which is something I’m going to have to investigate.

Each ship is going to need a control room.

The SM+9 model will need an engine room, I think.

Each ship will need a stardrive.

Each ship will need a habitat system for crew quarters, which I think will be grossly superadequate. It will be significant as extra staterooms or as steerage cargo, or split to provide extra tankage. Or is could be split with a smaller drive, though I don’t want to go there.

It looks as though all the workings of the ship will fit into the Aft section plus perhaps Aft Core.

Everything else is payload. In cargo liners it will be negligible cost: a couple of open decks to stack cargo containers on. In passenger liners it will be habitats: rent on the habitats and wages for the stewards and corporals will be pro-rated and added to the freight rate to give the fare.


TL10^ 3,000-ton interstellar liner

System cost work spaces provides
stardrive engine G$ 30M FTL-1
reaction engine, fusion torch G$ 30M 0.5 gee acceleration
fuel tanks, x @ G$ 1M @ 150 tons hydrogen
engine room G$ 1M 2 1 control station
control room G$ 6M 6 control stations, comm/sensor 8
habitat G$ 3M 20 cabins for crew quarters
cargo spaces, 15-x @ 150 tons cargo, or 20 cabins for G$ 3M

Total cost: G$ 71M plus G$ 1M per fuel tank

  • minus G$ 200k for 4 uninstalled control stations?
  • plus G$ 300k for a spin section (passenger versions)

Shift: bridge officer, engineer, 2 technicians. Crew: 12 + captain


TL10^ 100,000-ton interstellar liner

System cost base work spaces automated work spaces cost of automation provides
stardrive engine G$ 1B 10 1 G$ 10M FTL-1
reaction engine, fusion torch G$ 1B 10 1 G$ 10M 0.5 gee acceleration
fuel tanks, x @ G$ 30M @ 5,000 tons hydrogen
control room G$ 200M 10 1 G$ 10M 20 control stations, comm/sensor 11
habitat G$ 100M 600 cabins for crew quarters
cargo spaces, 16-x @ 5,000 tons cargo, or 600 cabins for G$ 100M

Total cost: G$ 2.36B plus G$ 30M per fuel tank

  • minus G$ 850k for 17 uninstalled control stations?
  • plus G$ 10M for a spin section (passenger versions)

Shift: bridge officer, engineer, 3 technicians. Crew: 15 + captain


#11

Given that the cost of each ship is basically stardrive + fusion torch + noise, I think the split systems are worth considering.

Your fusion torch drops from (SM9) 30M to 10M, and (SM12) 1B to 300M. Base workspaces in the latter case would be 3, so $3M for high automation. ⅙ gee acceleration of course.

Smaller Habitats get you 6 cabins in the SM9 case (12 crew doubling up, 24 in bunkrooms) and 200 in SM12, so there’s plenty of room for crew.

The third slot could be an engine room in the SM9 case; or a smaller control room (1 point penalty to Hnd and SR, may or may not be worth it), some spare fuel tankage or steerage cargo.

Side note: I know that we’ve previously talked about excessive armour in published Spaceships designs, but if you’re doing orbital-type speeds what is your answer to débris?


#12

Same as they use on real spacecraft. It was invented in 1946.

People keep forgetting that I mention this, because Fred Whipple has a funny name, and they think I’m joking. But it’s real and it works.

I guess it could be modelled as 1/3 of a system of organic or light alloy armour on small vessels, but that is probably way too massive for a large vessel.

I have sometimes described the installation on ships in Flat Black as feathers, but a few layers of mylar spaced several metres apart on fibreglass spacers, a layer of aramid cloth, and say 1.6mm of aluminium alloy is probably fine. And I stack 2,000 to 70,000 tons of containerised cargo on the top deck and insure it.

Whipple shield.


#13

So you think it’s okay to highly-automate an SM+11 system? Should I round 0.3 of a workspce up to one, or crew it one shift in three?

The rules fluff text says bunkrooms are for migrants and enlisted crew, so I won’t go that far. Should I be satisfied with the implicit galleys and dining spaces in the cabins, or add a facility for a mess room and a facility for a gym, and a cabin of steerage cargo for food supplies. Sick bay with autodoc? Office for the captain’s day cabin? Cargo ships sometime have a few spare cabins for occasional passengers, company employees travelling deadhead, etc. Why not, right?

I figure a control station for piloting, one for communications, one for the engineer, and uninstall all the rest. Seem okay?

I should check the effects of a smaller control room and the handling/SR requirements of commercial operations.

You’re not going to ask for a shuttle bay, cargo-handling arm, or escape pods?


#14

Spaceships 5 says débris impacts at max(10mps, ship speed], and 1d per 10mps, so even a single steel armour system would do the job on the SM9. In the SM12, yes, a smaller system would be reasonable.

Oh, I see what you’re getting at - “high automation is available for vessels of SM+12 or larger”. Frankly that feels like a campaign-specific setting.

Cabins “have sanitary, galley, and dining facilities appropriate to their size and quality” which seems as though, by definition, it should be enough; but one might add recreation spaces and such. What does a ship crew usually do at the end of a trip, stay on board, go down to the planet?

For a civilian ship in civilised space I’d have thought that ought to be enough control stations. If you’re going where there isn’t space traffic control, I’d want a dedicated sensor operator.

I’m assuming that this is the baseline ship going from a civilised place to another civilised place, so cargo-handling arms and such like are things that the destination has. A ship which carries those with it isn’t carrying as much paying cargo – but it can go to places where the normal ship can’t.* In an ideal world, these are modular things that you can fit to the ship when you’re planning a trip into that sort of place.

* some years ago I hit GURPS Vehicles with a stick until it produced similar results: dedicated specialised ships are more profitable, but they can’t pick up cargo from the surface of a planet where there’s no shuttle facility.


#15

Fred Whipple pointed out in 1946 that armour is a bad way to protect spacecraft against debris, and invented a form of protection that works far better and is a lot lighter. It has been in regular use on spacecraft for fifty years already. Whipple was given awards for it. They named a crater on the moon, a comet, an astronomical observatory in Arizona, a science museum at Harvard, and a science prize after him. I cannot understand why everyone I discuss GURPS Spaceships with wants to tell me over and over about armour, which is heavy and expensive and doesn’t work well, while ignoring my repeated explanations of Whipple shields. Is it that “Whipple shield” sounds like half-hearted technobabble?

SM+9 steel armour is an inch of steel: 195 kg per square metre. A Whipple shield is more like 2×1.6mm of aluminium and a few layers of plastic film and fibreglass cloth. Maybe 10 kg per square metre. It is useless against beam weapons or proximity detonations, but against hypervelocity impacts by small objects it is the bee’s knees. Light, cheap, effective.

This is a system in which the mass and cost of the structural support for the cargo containers is negligible. We’re ignoring the cargo deck and the frames that support it. I’m really quite happy to gloss over the cost and mass of Whipple plating.

It avoids fractional workspaces. I’m going to round up.

At a world with Type N spaceport, but where a shuttle is landing, they maybe hitch a ride on a shuttle down to the surface and back if it’s a planet they haven’t seen before, to stroll around the landing area for an hour or so and wish they hadn’t bothered.

At a world with Type G spaceport they maybe hitch a ride on a shuttle down to the surface and back if it’s a planet they haven’t seen before, to stroll around the ground port until the ship is about to leave or maybe quickly take in some local colour at the nearest settlement.

At a world with a Type O spaceport, where the ship is likely to stay for a while for servicing and major unloading and loading operations, they hit the fleshpots of the up-port and often take a shuttle to the surface for a day or two. Some will get rotated out of the ship for R&R and join a different ship after a holiday or training.

At a world with a tower facility, where the ship is likely to stay for a while for servicing and major unloading and loading operations, they hit the fleshpots of the up-port and complain about how slow and expensive it is to get to the surface from GSO. Some will get rotated out of the ship for R&R and join a different ship after a holiday or training.

My thought was that where you need dedicated sensors work you don’t need dedicated comms.

Good, that’s is indeed what I intended. Where there is an orbital port you just need cargo space. Where there is a G facility you need a cargo arm. Where there is N facility you need a shuttle bay, shuttle parts and fuel, a shuttle crew, and maybe even a shuttle.

I eventually get to estimate fares and freight rates as though they were modular.

This is all part of what makes building a spaceport economic, if you get enough traffic to amortise it. Cheaper freight and fares make up for the spaceport costs.


#16

I’m quite aware of the Whipple approach, but Spaceships doesn’t account for it separately from armour. So in effect this is a campaign switch - “competently-designed spaceships don’t need to worry about débris in normal situations”.

The reason I asked how long the crew stays on board was to get a feel for how much lack of facilities they’ll put up with. If they can stretch their legs outside the ship every week or two, they quite possibly don’t mind being in their cabins with good books / games / VR porn / etc. the rest of the time.

If you’re in an “every ship its own space traffic controller” region then you need both to be aware of where the other ships are (position/velocity) and to talk with them to arrive at mutually agreeable compromises. I don’t know how commonly this happens in Flat Black, which would affect whether ships are set up to cope with it.

The end of the economy I was looking at in that other game was specifically ship costs and profits. The big ships are driving the small traders out of business, which is a setting trope - but the small traders can still profit in specialised niches. A megahauler with its own atmospheric entry craft, or indeed with separate jump-drive / normal space drive sections, can get economies of scale even in primitive places that don’t have local services for this stuff, but only at scale; if one end of the trade link is an economy small enough that it doesn’t get a constant flow of megahaulers, and you want to trade there now rather than next year at the cost of a lower profit margin, well, you hire PCs with their quaint old-fashioned ships that go all the way from surface to hyperspace (and some of them are so brute-force they don’t need runways).


#17

Fair enough. I’ll modify that to “competently-designed spaceships that aren’t built to enter atmosphere don’t need to worry about débris in normal situations”. Unfortunately the very thing that makes a Whipple shield effective against hypervelocity impacts (low material strength and lack of support) makes it incapable of withstanding the aerodymic forces of launch or re-entry.

Consider it switched.

Understood.

Good point. It will probably turn out that where there is no space traffic control there is almost never any other traffic to talk with. I’ll count this as the “queen of the spacelanes” model, and add another control station to the ugly tramps if the first cut indicates that they exist.


#18

Does anyone remember what handling/SR and comms rating were recommended for commercial spacecraft for docking manœuvres?


#19

Specs for commercial liners on the main space lanes

With @RogerBW’s help I have cut the cost of these ships significantly while adding only a few hours to each trip of many days.

TL10^ 3,000-ton interstellar liner

System work spaces cost fit-out provides
stardrive engine G$ 30M FTL-1
engine room 2 G$ 1M 1 control station
split system SM+8 reaction engine, fusion torch G$ 10M 0.17 gee acceleration
SM+8 control room G$ 2M 4 control stations, comm/sensor 7, CR8 computer, Hnd/CR -3/3
SM+8 fuel tank G$ 0.3M 50 tons H₂, 5 mi/sec Δv
habitat G$ 3M G$ 600k 1 bunkroom, 12 standard cabins, 1 luxury cabin (2), 1 facility (gymnasium) (2), 1 sickbay with automed, minifac food synthesiser, 5 tons steerage cargo
fuel tanks, x G$ 1M each @ 150 tons H₂, @ 15 mi/sec Δv
cargo holds, 16-x @ 150 tons cargo, or 20 cabins for G$ 3M

Total cost : G$ 47.9M plus G$ 1M per fuel tank

  • plus G$ 3M per habitat section (20 cabins) replacing cargo
  • plus G$ 300k for a spin section (passenger versions)

Control stations: 5 (command, comms, sensor, manœuvring, engineer)

Shift : watch officer, engineer, 2 technicians. Crew : 12 + master

Note: I am making up the minifac food factory to represent a soft-tech food-producing air plant. If you don’t like it I’ll fall back on stored food: per Spaceships p. 47, 5 tons is 2,500 person-days, enough to feed the crew for 192 days without re-stocking.
Note: The crew quarters can carry four passengers in addition to the crew.

TL10^ 100,000-ton interstellar liner

System base work spaces work spaces after automation cost cost of automation & fit-out provides
stardrive engine 10 1 G$ 1B G$ 10M FTL-1
split system SM+11 reaction engine, fusion torch 3 1 G$ 300M G$ 3M 0.17 gee acceleration
SM+11 fuel tank G$ 10M 1,500 tons H₂, 4.5 mi/sec Δv
split system SM+10 control room 1 1 G$ 20M minus (G$ 250k) 5 control stations (5 not installed), comm/sensor 9, C9 computer, Hnd/CR -5/2
SM+10 habitat 1 1 G$ 100M G$ 600k 2 bunkrooms, 20 standard cabins, 1 luxury cabin (2), facility (gymnasium) (2), 1 sickbay with automed, minifac food synthesiser, 140 tons steerage cargo (28)
SM+10 cargo hold 500 tons cargo
fuel tanks, x @ G$ 30M @ 5,000 tons H₂, 15 mi/sec Δv
cargo holds, 18-x @ 5,000 tons cargo, or 600 cabins for G$ 100M

Total cost : G$ 1,473.35M plus G$ 30M per fuel tank

  • plus G$ 100M per habitat sections (600 cabins) replacing cargo
  • plus G$ 10M for a spin section (passenger versions)

Control stations: 5 (command, comms, sensor, manœuvring, engineer)

Shift : watch officer, engineer, 4 technicians. Crew : 18 + master

Note: I am making up the minifac food factory to represent a soft-tech food-producing air plant. If you don’t like it I’ll fall back on stored food: per Spaceships p. 47, 5 tons is 2,500 person-days, enough to feed the crew for 131 days without re-stocking.
Note: The crew quarters can carry ten passengers in addition to the crew.

Edited to add

I’m concerned that the handling and stability rating of the SM+12 design with the SM+10 control system might be so poor that it is not safely or reliably able to dock — I don’t have any feel for the heft of GURPS’ Hnd/SR statistics. The following might be a better design. Informed opinions?

TL10^ 100,000-ton interstellar liner that does not steer like a cow

System base work spaces work spaces after automation cost cost of automation & fit-out provides
stardrive engine 10 1 G$ 1B G$ 10M FTL-1
split system SM+11 reaction engine, fusion torch 3 1 G$ 300M G$ 3M 0.17 gee acceleration
SM+11 control room 3 1 G$ 60M G$ 2.5M 5 control stations (10 not installed), comm/sensor 10, C9 computer, Hnd/CR -4/3
split system SM+10 habitat 1 1 G$ 100M G$ 600k 2 bunkrooms, 20 standard cabins, 1 luxury cabin (2), facility (gymnasium) (2), 1 sickbay with automed, minifac food synthesiser, 140 tons steerage cargo (28)
SM+10 fuel tank G$ 3M 500 tons H₂, 1.5 mi/sec Δv
SM+10 fuel tank G$ 3M 500 tons H₂, 1.5 mi/sec Δv
fuel tanks, x @ G$ 30M @ 5,000 tons H₂, 15 mi/sec Δv
cargo holds, 18-x @ 5,000 tons cargo, or 600 cabins for G$ 100M

Total cost : G$ 1,482.1M plus G$ 30M per fuel tank

  • plus G$ 100M per habitat sections (600 cabins) replacing cargo
  • plus G$ 10M for a spin section (passenger versions)

Control stations: 5 (command, comms, sensor, manœuvring, engineer)

Shift : watch officer, engineer, 4 technicians. Crew : 18 + master

Note: I am making up the minifac food factory to represent a soft-tech food-producing air plant. If you don’t like it I’ll fall back on stored food: per Spaceships p. 47, 5 tons is 2,500 person-days, enough to feed the crew for 131 days without re-stocking.
Note: The crew quarters can carry ten passengers in addition to the crew.


#20

Ooh, you can do org-mode-like tables now. Neat!

Pyramid #3/120 p. 11 has useful (and frankly long-awaited) narrative descriptions of Hnd and SR, which suggest that you’d typically be looking at a Hnd no worse than -2 and SR about 5.

I don’t think I’ve seen a recommended Hnd and SR anywhere; certainly it’s not in Spaceships 1-2. But there’s very little one can do to improve either in the Spaceships system: make it smaller and give it more thrust, and that’s it.