Image from Steve Bowers
A Grapeship approaches the vortex of the traversable wormhole from Arkab Prior A to Medius

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).

Grapeship 2
Image from Ron Bennett

The grapeships travel along fixed routes on a regular schedule. As they enter a system as a rule they exchange a few shuttles with the local terminal or other grapeships, and continue to the next wormhole. This maximises throughput and avoids having to dock at terminals in every system (often a slow process). Of course, delays and mishaps do occur, and many speak highly of the Negentropy Alliance where the grapeships always go on time.

wormhole 3
Image from Adam Getchell
The regions of space within a Traversable Wormhole
Note this diagram is not to scale; the Transition region extends for a distance of about 3 Astronomical units from the 'hole, while
the Throat may be only a few tens of metres in radius.

When passing through a smaller wormhole, grapeships may disassemble during transit, and each individual 'grape' will pass through in single file in order to reduce the cross-section of the ship. The maximum cross-section of the ship as it passes through is limited by tidal forces within the 'hole.

Some examples of Orion's Arm spaceships
Size comparison chart of spaceships used at various times in the Terragen Sphere (including a typical grapeship)

Related Articles
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg
Initially published on 31 October 2001.