Red (Tau Ceti Colony Ship)
Red (Tau Ceti Shuttle)
Image from Anders Sandberg
Launched from the TerraNova Project Docks in Earth orbit September 6 484 a.t. (2453 c.e., the colony ship Red was the first manned vessel to arrive at a world orbiting another star, at Tau Ceti II (Nova Terra) in 596 a.t

The first successful manned interstellar mission (the Tsiolkovsky) was launched in 365 a.t.arriving at Tau Ceti in 488. A few years before it arrived the first shuttle colony ship, Red, was completed and launched. This ship survives and is preserved in a pristine condition using ultratech. It is one of the oldest surviving spacecraft in the Terragens bubble.

The total length of the Red is 1443 meters. The bow is protected by the seven ice shields/tanks, containing water ice for use as reaction mass and radiation shielding. Behind the tanks are the cylindrical main section, containing life support, habitat modules, cryosystems and biological storage. On both sides external cargo sections have been attached, and two of the shuttle bays are visible at the top as well as the long-range transceiver which was used for Earth-ship communication during the trip. Most of the hull is covered with grey and brown radiation insulating foam. The main fusion systems and thrusters are located at the stern.

The other three Nova colony shuttles, Yellow, Green and Blue were constructed along similar lines, with minor differences mainly in the crew compartments and equipment sections. Yellow was unfortunately contaminated with nanogoo before departure from the Solar System and was dismantled during decontamination on arrival. Despite this setback the basic design proved reliable and was used (with some upgrading) by later colonisation efforts such as the mission to Dante in 1380 a.t.

red2 Tau Ceti Shuttle
Image from Anders Sandberg
Stern view of Red. Here the four main thrusters are visible, as well as the cooling boxes of the fusion reactors

The Red is currently a museum in Oakmann Orbit, operated by the TerraNova Colonial Foundation. Opening times are weekdays 9:00-16:00, weekends 7:00-16:00. Tours of the exterior are done every hour. On Arrival Day special showings and celebrations are held, tickets have to be pre-ordered well in time.

Infomercial Sponsored by the Nova Tourism Consortium
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg; adapted by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 03 July 2008.