Interstellar transport technologies include all those technologies related to the movement of cargo and passengers between star systems, distances of half a light year or more: true relativistic interstellar ships capable of making the entire voyage on their own, shorter range vessels made to travel via wormhole link that have a range measured in mere light hours or weeks rather than years, the network of traversable wormholes, the beamrider network, and all of the systems that power, support, or propel interstellar traffic.
Arterial - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Major wormhole gate designed for particularly high volumes of interstellar traffic. As the name indicates, the arterials allow the flow of the lifeblood of interstellar civilization. Arterial wormholes tend to be very large - at least 3 km in diameter, to allow the enormous volume of traffic that passes through.
Beamrider Network - Text by Todd Drashner Interstellar mass beam propulsion network first conceived in the late 20th and early 21st centuries C.E. Today there are more beamrider routes than wormholes in the galaxy as a whole.
Bioship - Text by Steve Bowers Bioships are either grown partially or entirely using biotechnology or by a close analogue to biological growth: they can be very similar in final composition to other ships but often look distinctively 'organic' in form.
Boostbeam - Text by Todd Drashner Mass-beam based system used to accelerate or decelerate spacecraft without the use of onboard reaction mass.
Caretaker Seed - Text by Anders Sandberg Caretaker God ISOs are known to replicate quasi-neumann fashion. This is perhaps the reason why seemingly unconnected Caretakers have been able to appear across wide swathes of space, often in time to fortuitously snatch a unique world or solar system from the grasp of a local development polity or corporation. Here we see a Caretaker colonization "seed" with drive sail observed near the Triangulum Expanse. The seed, housed in a protective housing, is approximately 4 meters long, the sail 20 meters in diameter. The Penrose rhomboid patterning is a common identifier among Caretakers, with different Caretakers using subtly different patterns. This form of identification has spread to the Zoeific Biopolity and other bioist clades.
Catapult, Interstellar - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Large, sometimes megascale electromagnetic mass driver which uses a magnetic charge to accelerate cargo to high velocity. Much cheaper than a magmatter catapult and widely used by interplanetary polities that are not connected to the wormhole nexus. Sometimes used to accelerate shuttles to assist in rendezvous with an interstellar cycler. For fast catapults, the use of ordinary electromagnetism rather than magmatter acceleration means that only sturdy cargo that can survive the crushing g-forces can be conveyed by all but the largest (and hence lowest acceleration) catapults.
Civilization Ship - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A massive ship holding vast amounts of data; originally designed as a protection against the collapse of civilisation.
Colony Ships - Text by Steve Bowers Terragens, and in the past some xenosophonts, have used a number of different kinds of strategies to establish colonies across interstellar distances. The resulting ships range from gigantic and slow generation ships to much smaller data-only ships.
Combat Carrier - Text by Todd Drashner Class of relativistic warship designed to transport and support smaller combat craft over interstellar distances.
Conversion Drive - Text by Adam Getchell, Todd Drashner, Mark Mcamuk, and Chris Shaeffer Conversion drives (or monopole catalyzed fusion drives, as they are more formally called) use magnetic monopoles to increase the efficiency of a standard fusion drive up to nearly 100% if so desired. These systems were developed by First Singularity transapients. They are currently the most commonly used drive for interplanetary or interstellar travel.
Creihtership - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, modified from original concept by Kevin Self Slang term for Vedokiklek interstellar sub-relativistic (rarely relativistic) freighters (Klhkkteskkdv in the Vedokiklek language.
Cycler - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A ship or habitat that travels along an orbit or route in such a way that it rendezvous with other stations, orbitals, planets, or stars along the way. Cyclers may be small or large, sparse or luxurious, slow or fast, interplanetary (also called an Aldrin Cycler) or interstellar (also called a Schroeder Cycler), completely passive (simple ballistic orbit) or with course correction drive units. Depending on the route and speed, a single cycle may take anywhere from a few months to many millennia.
Dragonfly Class ship - Text by Steve Bowers Interplanetary and interstellar spacecraft developed in Solsys during the First Federation; it was used as a pursuit ship in anti-piracy operations, as a System Control Ship in the Eridanus League, and on occasion as an interstellar craft for journeys of twenty light years or less.
Einstein Bridge - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Wormhole linking Sol System and Tau Ceti. It is the oldest macroscopic wormhole still in operation and, apart from a period during the Version War when it was shut down, it has been in continuous operation since the middle Expansion Age.
Explorer Class - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Long range, rugged and reliable self-repairing amat-powered exploration vessel used during the First Federation period. Some remained in service as late as the Empires age, and even today Explorer Class vessels little different from the original design are popular among many minor and independent clades, especially in the outer volumes.
FTL - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Despite remaining a dream of mindkind since time immemorial, faster than light travel (warp drive, hyperspace, etc) remains as elusive now as it ever was. The oft-repeated assertion among some FTL proponents that traversable wormholes provide a form of FTL is incorrect. Wormholes do not constitute real FTL, but rather a local curvature in space-time, allowing an object to move between two distant points at normal (slower than light) velocity.
Grapeship Ownership - Text by M. Alan KazlevAnders Sandberg and Steve Bowers Grapeship ownership varies according to polity, situation, and local laws and regulations. There are big transport and passenger corporations, as well as ships run by clades and their organisations. Private ships fill in the gaps and run the odd errands and tourist lines.
Grapeships - Text by Anders Sandberg Grapeships are the most common wormhole nexus passenger and cargo liners in the Inner Sphere and along the main wormhole routes. The ship consists of a "stem" onto which bulbous shuttles are attached (giving them their name due to their similarity to grape bunches).
Halo Drive - Text by Todd Drashner, Adam Getchell At Singularity level:5 Void Bubbles can be coupled to the craft using gravity and magnetic forces, and a halo of void bubbles can be established at the front of the ship, essentially dragging the vessel along behind it in real space.
Herders - Text by Steve Bowers and Juan Ochoa Small or ultrasmall automated ships which accompany mass streams of neumanns and other valuable commodities through space to their destination.
Juggernaut Class - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; additions by Steve Bowers Excluding the Keterist battle-moons (which are more ISO than Capital Ship), these are the largest warships ever built in Terragen history. The approach of a Juggernaut Class vessel is an awesome sight: a cylinder some 280 kilometres in length and twenty five kilometres in diameter, accompanied by a swarm of giant autowars that are dwarfed to apparent mote-size by their parent vessel.
Kepler Arc - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Important wormhole connecting Djed and Kepleria.
Kuranaba Gate - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Originally 75 meter, now 150 meter gauge Wormhole connecting Kuranaba and Big Tor. There is talk of this being further upgraded to 250 meters.
Laser Sail, Maser Sail - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Very thin ultra-light multi-square-kilometer (up to several 100 km in diameter) sail-based propulsion system used to reflect beamed laser or maser energy (up to thousands of terawatts of energy), allowing a reasonable rate of acceleration with no on-board reaction mass.
Linelayer - Text by Steve Bowers Specialised spacecraft used to transport wormhole mouths to distant locations
Nanostasis - Text by Steve Bowers with comments by John B A means of preserving biological life in suspended animation over long journeys or in unsatisfactory environments.
Podship - Text by Thorbjørn Steen A passenger spaceship that emphasizes short transit times at all costs; the engine is the fastest that the technology of the maker allows and passengers travel as inactive data to save mass.
Relay001 - Text by Todd Drashner The first major wormhole plexus and relay system built in the Inner Sphere. Became the model for later Relay systems.
Scout Ship - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A small, long-range relativistic exploration vessel, almost always conversion or reactionless drive propelled, equipped and designed for extended relativistic travel, with excellent shielding, and generally some measure of self-repair (but not self-replication) faculties.
Seedship - Text by Steve Bowers Interstellar vessel carrying embryos, gametes or digitised DNA in order to raise humans or other modosophonts on arrival using robotic parents.
Solar and Microwave Passive Propulsion - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Microwave and optical laser and solar sails have the attractiveness of providing a virtually engineless and fueless craft; photons simply provide the momentum necessary to send the spacecraft to its proper destination. But as with every form of space ship propulsion these, too, have their share of disadvantages: pointing accuracy of laser-driven probes, dependence on ground infrastructure for laser or maser launched and propelled ships, low intensity of solar light outside the solar system for solar sails, ultra-low payload mass (which makes them perfect for nanoprobes but very inefficient at larger scales), vulnerability of the huge sails (hundreds of square kilometers) to accumulative micrometeoriod damage, etc.
Spacetime Catapult - Text by Anders Sandberg Large, even megascale structure which uses magmatter accelerators to launch cargo to relativistic or near-relativistic velocity. The cost of construction and maintenance is extremely high, meaning only fairly developed and rich systems that are not part of the nexus can afford them.
Starlark, The - Text by Steve Bowers One of a numerous class of ships built after the Great Expulsion, as the population of Earth sought refuge in the worlds and habitats of the Solar System and among the stars.
Subrelativistic - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Pertains to any interstellar ship, fleet, cargo pellet, or other object travelling at a reasonably slow rate (say 0.01 to 0.1 c) so that time-dilation and other relativistic effects do not become evident. Subrelativistic vessels may take centuries to bridge the gap between even nearby stars.