Still thinking about the starship that the characters in my possibly-never-to-happen campaign will have.
The broad outlines are fine – I want an oldish survey vessel; decommissioned from the Royal Navy and being used by the Royal Society for xenology and survey purposes.
The original concept wasn’t quite working because of the habitat modules and the need to have two landers – I think it would be very dangerous to only have a single lander to access unknown worlds, but the hangarage for two was taking up too much of the ship. Having two spin modules forced an inconvenient split in accommodation and working space which was very unergonomic.
There was also an issue with quarantine – watching lots of SG-1 reinforced my belief that any ground crew would need to be segregated on return for several days or weeks in case they infected the entire rest of the ship – so there needed to be a whole quarantine area, which is more space.
Plus there seemed to be a need to duplicate laboratory space in the main ship, but also in modules that could be landed on the surface, which then led to modular shuttles and lots of interface trips, which are very fuel intensive in 2300AD.
The design of the new Marseilles class liner gave me a great idea. Rather than having a lander ferrying people to the surface, put all the scientists, laboratories and ATVs in two large interface landers, each massing 100 tons displacement and capable of interface travel. In orbit these then dock at the ends of two arms via a top clamp, forming the spin modules for the scientists to live in and conduct research in orbit. These then detach and land on the surface, where they are used as ground stations. And when they return, they are self contained quarantine zones as well.
So the stats for the Explorer class landers are:
Hull: 100 dT streamline airframe self-sealing hull
0.5 MW New Commercial MHD power-plant with 100% radiators
0.01 MW closed loop recycling Fuel Cell backup power-plant, with Solar Panels
Air-breathing fusion thrusters, max acceleration 2G, max speed 2,000 km/h
344 m3 fuel
2 man cockpit
6 full size staterooms
56 m3 of cargo hold
bay for a standard 15 dT Explorer class ATV