Space-Based Weapons

Hellbore2
Image from Steve Bowers

Space-based weapons are those designed for use in orbital, interplanetary, and interstellar space. A very large proportion of modern weaponry is space based since the majority of Terragen civilizations lives in space in one form or another, from large habitats, to orwood trees, to open space complexes designed for the comfort of vecs and vac-adapted humans.

Space-based weapons may employ kinetic strike, beamed energy, or various types of explosion to perform their function and can often operate over distances that would dwarf any merely planetary scale weapons system.

 
Articles
  • Archangel Corvette  - Text by Darren Ryding
    One of a million transapient corvettes in the Archosaurian Empire, noted for the eerie cyan glow of their heat deflection armour.
  • Aron Tech VX12 Trans-atmospheric Fighter  - Text by Thorbjørn Steen
    Popular nanotech fighter first created by Aron Tech.
  • Autowar  - Text by Bill White; modified by M. Alan Kazlev
    A type of automated, self-replicating cybernetic warship.
  • AW (AutoWar seed)  - Text by Thorbjørn Steen
    An AW or AutoWar seed is a missile launched into an opponent's solar system, often without eir knowledge. The emergence of the autowars is sometimes aligned with the arrival of an extra-stellar invasion fleet, but especially against foes of lower tech level autowars are quite capable of taking over or eradicating a system entirely on their own.
  • Biowar  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An organic warship, a sentient, self-contained, evolutionary, self-replicating superbright bio-autowar. Like autowars, biowars can form long-lived populations and make regions of space hazardous long after the original conflict is over.
  • Biowar Egg  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Unlike autowars, that reproduce by mechanically constructing an identical ship, biowars replicate organically. Biowar eggs can drift, passive and undetected, for centuries before being activated through the proximity of raw resources. Because some types of biowar may lay literally millions of eggs, it becomes extremely difficult to control their populations. The illustration shows hatching biowar eggs in the asteroid belts of the Triumphant Fate system, 5985. The standard Biovirate template involved a plant-like growth on carbonaceous asteroids, feeding a spherical "egg" that eventually detaches and frees itself from the cocooning growth. Eggs hatch after 10-20 months, birthing a biowar. The shell contains secondary seeds, which will drift to other asteroids to plant the growth.
  • Biphase Charged Particle Cannon  - Text by John B
    Often called a beekpeek or a beekpek, from its acronym. A particle beam weapon for ships or installations that fires relativistic electrons and positrons in rapid succession.
  • Boombooster  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Modified application of ACER technology used to rapidly launch or redirect automated weapons or other devices.
  • Boostbomb  - Text by Todd Drashner and Adam Getchell
    Total conversion bomb.
  • Capital Ship - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A term used by the Terran Federation, the Laughter Hegemony states, and a number of other polities to refer to an interstellar warship of the first rank in size and armament. Examples include the System Control Ship, the Dreadnought and Superdreadnought, the Stardestroyer and finally the Pocketstar and the Battlestars (although some would define these latter as ISOs rather than ships).
  • Ceres Astrospace Delta  - Text by Grant Thomas
    One-man long-range exoatmospheric fighter used for planetary and orbital defense. Designed and built by Ceres Astrospace and later manufactured under license.
  • Chillers  - Text by John B
    Chillers are a family of technologies used to reduce ship temperature (and, hence, IR radiation) to the background level.
  • Combat Carrier  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Class of relativistic warship designed to transport and support smaller combat craft over interstellar distances.
  • Corvette - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A military warship of fairly small size, cheaper and more lightly armed than a destroyer, usually used for fleet or convoy escort, or for showing the flag or gunboat diplomacy in a smaller polity. The term is given different connotations and specifications in different empires; Dominion corvettes generally mass around 10,000 tonnes (most of that the drive core) and are about 80 meters in length. Terran Federation corvettes are about twice that size, more equivalent to a Dominion Light Fleet Escort ship.
  • Crescent Class Cruiser  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and 'Total Annihilation'
    A 15th to 17th century combat spaceship of dramatic and eccentric design. It is long obsolete but is popular in the present era among wealthy historical weapons enthusiasts.
  • Cruiser - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A large (generally, over 100,000 tonnes), fast, heavily armed reactionless drive warship capable of both independent operations and of support of the main line of battle. Cruisers are intended to fulfill two diverse missions - in battle, they support and reinforce the Dreadnaughts, Autowars, and Battleships which are present and which form the main line of battle, generally from the flanks. They can also perform separate operations, often acting as the centre of task forces which have no other capital ship. Because of their size, Cruisers are only able to pass through the largest stargates; for this reason they are equipped for long periods of relativistic travel.
  • Disassembler  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, updated by Steve Bowers
    A system of nanomachines able to take an object apart a few atoms at a time, while recording its structure at the molecular level. Often employed as a swarm or part of a swarm. This could be used for uploading, copying objects (when used with an assembler system), a dissolving agent or a weapon.
  • Dominator Class Ship  - Text by Darren Ryding
    One of the capital ships of the Archosaurian Empire, recognised by its dark, broad mothlike 500 metre wide form.
  • Exoatmospheric Fighter - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A small planet- ship- or orbital- based hybrid air- and space-craft, usually short- to very short range and armed with lasers and automatic cannon. Crew may include one or two bionts and several dedicated ai, or the whole vessel may be ai controlled. Propulsion is via jet or nanobank turbine for dense or slow atmospheric flight, ramjet or scramjet for hypersonic flight, and chemical, fusion or amat rocket for vacuum propulsion.
  • Gauss Gun - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for kinetic weapon that uses a magnetic charge to accelerate a projectile. Hand-held models tend to use a simple small calibre (usually 2 to 4 mm) high density solid ferrous slug which is accelerated to hypersonic velocity. Some variants use a combination of explosive and magnetic accelerant. These weapons rely on a very high rate of fire to make them effective. Large vehicle or ship-mounted gauss guns with open barrels are called rail guns.
  • Ghostlight  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Godtech level weapon believed to operate by using mutually annihilating beams of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) to focus large amounts of gamma frequency radiation on a target without regard to any intervening matter.
  • Goo, Grey  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, with additions by Steve Bowers
    Self-replicating nanomachines spreading uncontrollably, building copies of themselves using all available material.
  • Hellbore  - Text by Adam Getchell
    An advanced plasma weapon that fires a bolt of monopole-contained plasma at near fusion temperatures.
  • Implosion Weapon  - Text by Adam Getchell with additions by Todd Drashner
    Near-mythical godtech weapon system that is believed to operate by altering the dimensionality of space-time.
  • Laser Weapons  - Text by Luke Campbell; additions by Steve Bowers
    Laser weapons come in many varieties.
  • Leviathan Class  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    These MPA capital ships were the largest warships of the Version War, and the largest vessels to see combat in the Inner Sphere.
  • Military Strategy in the Posthuman Era  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Introductory notes for Virch Course Environment EA3880: History of Interstellar Warfare and Strategy, University of Corona.
  • Mother of Machines  - Text by Anders Sandberg and M. Alan Kazlev
    Self-emergent autowar clade, recently embarked on migration to the galactic core.
  • Nuisances  - Text by Liam Jones
    Nuisance and Annoyance warships of the Sagittarius Preservers
  • Optical Phased Arrays  - Text by Luke Campbell and Steve Bowers
    An optical phased array (OPA) uses phase technology to produce a wide range of optical images and emissions.
  • Particle Beam Weapons  - Text by Luke Campbell
    Particle beam weapons fire a stream of relativistic atoms or subatomic particles, causing damage both through direct heating and severe radiation exposure. They require long and bulky accelerators, limiting their use to large vehicles or fixed installations. The particle beams pose a radiation hazard to all bionts and non-radiation hardened electronics in the vicinity of the beam's point of incidence and, in atmosphere, near the path of the beam itself.
  • Plasma Weapons  - Text by Adam Getchell
    Plasma weaponry becomes practical with the advent of controlled nuclear fusion, and is distinguished from other high energy weapons by the use of fusion-grade fuel.
  • Railgun  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A ship or vehicular mounted kinetic weapon that uses magnetic fields to accelerate a shell at very high velocity (in some cases relativistic). Often employed in batteries in capital ships and starfortresses, which have sufficiently power reactors to provide a power source. Small ship, fighter, vehicular, mecha, and handheld versions have less velocity and may also require an additional power source.
  • Relativistic Kinetic Kill System (RKKS)  - Text by Todd Drashner, with additional material by Luke Campbell
    RKKS (pronounced rocks) are relativistic weapons system consisting of an unmanned launch vehicle and dense projectiles.
  • Restriction Swarm  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A nanoswarm designed to keep a planet off-limits from outsiders (or space from people inside).
  • Sensors for use in Space Combat and Defence  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Active and Passive sensors for space warfare and defence.
  • System Control Ship  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Massive relativistic warship used for controlling or occupation of colonies or solar systems at interstellar distances.
  • USS Randolph CSGN-04   - Text by Aaron Hamilton
    The USS Randolph was the first of a class of powerful (for the time) interplanetary cruisers built by the declining United States of North America.
  • Yi Sun-Sin (System Control Ship)  - Text by Aaron Hamilton, adapted by Steve Bowers
    The Eridanus League used System Control ships like the Yi Sun Sin in an ultimately futile attempt to maintain order and cohesion over worlds many tens of light years apart.
 
Related Topics
 
Development Notes
Text by Todd Drashner

Initially published on 31 December 2007.