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Old 06-25-2020, 08:48 PM   #1
thrash
 
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Default [Heresy] Tanks for the space!

By their nature, Traveller starships spend most of their time with empty jump fuel tanks. Assuming one day on each end maneuvering to and from the 100D limit, the fraction is almost 90%. Any reasonably competent design could isolate power plant fuel and fuel for subsequent jumps (if any) in their own tanks, leaving big chunks (10% per jump number) of the interior empty and dry except at the very beginning of a voyage.

So, what's to prevent designing the jump tanks with this fact in mind, and using the space for something else? Of course, many existing Traveller deck plans are not well adapted for this approach, but there's nothing to prevent it in theory. Prepping the tanks is mostly a matter of venting any residual hydrogen to vacuum or jumpspace, allowing the bulkheads to warm up, filling the space with breathable air, and opening the maintenance hatches.

NASA originally conceived of Skylab in similar terms, called the "wet workshop" approach. It was eventually shelved in favor of "dry workshop" designs, mostly due to the difficulty in adding components to the tank after departure. This constraint would also limit the uses of an empty fuel tank to those with limited and mobile infrastructure requirements. Some thoughts:
  • Exercise room. Collapsible frame for body weight exercises (pull-ups, etc.), wheeled rack of (possibly water-filled) free weights, treadmill or stationary bicycle, and independent control of the gravitics would provide all the components needed for a physical fitness regime, without having to take space out of the galley or common room.
  • Shooting range. Ever wondered how one practices gun skills on shipboard? Probably uses blanks or pneumatic recoil simulators and laser scoring rather than paper targets and bullet traps, but Traveller hulls are proof against small arms if the tank shares a wall with the exterior.
  • Dōjō, boxing/MMA ring, or piste. Same goes for melee weapons or hand-to-hand.
  • Sport court. Handball, racket ball, basketball, triad/pyramid, etc. -- as long as it involves a big box, a ball, and maybe paddles or a net.
  • Microgravity trainer. Cut off the gravitics and hand out the barf bags. Might be combined with exotic sports (above). Good for crew drills, too.
  • Sundeck. Oversized lamps, folding chairs and tables. AstroTurf (!) rug and inflatable palm trees optional.
  • Ballroom. Popular on subsidized liners. Mirrored ball, fog machine, and low-power lasers optional.
  • Theater/auditorium. Racks of folding chairs and an audio/visual system make for a collective break from individual entertainments.
  • Sand table. Hang a projector from the overhead, and one can wargame for pleasure or serious training/mission prep (if a military/mercenary ship).
This would, in part, also relieve some of the space restrictions inherent in my mass vs. displacement tons heresy.
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Old 06-26-2020, 04:45 AM   #2
Mike Wightman
 
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Default Re: [Heresy] Tanks for the space!

I want to make sure I am understanding this.

You are suggesting that the now empty jump fuel tanks can be used for the week in jump space and journey to destination world for other purposes?

I think this is the first time anyone has suggested this that I can recall and it is a brilliant idea.
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Heresy] Tanks for the space!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wightman View Post
You are suggesting that the now empty jump fuel tanks can be used for the week in jump space and journey to destination world for other purposes?
Yes, that's it. I don't recall ever seeing it discussed, though there are depths to the Traveller Mailing List or Citizens of the Imperium that I have yet to plumb.
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Old 06-26-2020, 09:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Heresy] Tanks for the space!

But what about the next trip, when the tanks will be filled again with refined (unsoiled) liquid hydrogen?
Would it really be a good idea to scratch or pollute a tank that has to be cleaner than a intensive care unit?

I think the engineers would scream bloody murder about this. :-)
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Old 06-26-2020, 11:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Heresy] Tanks for the space!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Beckenstein View Post
B

I think the engineers would scream bloody murder about this. :-)
Traveller engineers already seem to lack "normal" concerns about long-term storage of liquid hydrogen. To be specific, early 21st century Terra can't store LH2 for long periods of time. We have to make new LH2 before the current stock finishes leaking away. A human-sized door into the tanks would probably make that worse.

The real issue might be "Why do this?". Traveller ships are not at all cramped. I live in a 20 dTon house (16 if you use realistic ceiling heights). Yet I do have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths besides a living room, kitchen, dining room and laundry.

So that 200 dTon Free Trader that everyone thinks is just like the Miillenium Falcon has the interior space of good-sized mansion. 10,000 sq ft or 8000 after you take out the fuel tanks. I wouldn't go to a lot of trouble to temporaily reclaim that 2000 sq ft.
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Old 06-28-2020, 08:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Heresy] Tanks for the space!

Ah, forum glitches. Three days of posts gone, likely never to return. Let's see what I can reconstruct:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Beckenstein View Post
Would it really be a good idea to scratch or pollute a tank that has to be cleaner than a intensive care unit?
Traveller ships use the same tanks to hold raw gas giant atmosphere and filtered sea water (i.e., unrefined fuel) prior to processing, so this is clearly not an issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Traveller ships are not at all cramped. I live in a 20 dTon house... Yet I do have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths besides a living room, kitchen, dining room and laundry.
Having five adults (one per 4 ton stateroom), three of whom are strangers (passengers), confined in the same volume for 9-10 days at a stretch might make it seem less spacious.

Quote:
So that 200 dTon Free Trader ... has the interior space of good-sized mansion. 10,000 sq ft or 8000 after you take out the fuel tanks. I wouldn't go to a lot of trouble to temporaily reclaim that 2000 sq ft.
A free trader is mostly equipment (engineering, bridge, computer, fire control, low berths), cargo hold (which you want to be as full as possible), and fuel tanks. Of the remaining 40 tons, half are dedicated to individual staterooms, leaving 20 tons for corridors and common areas. Recovering the 20 tons of fuel tank that sits empty for 90% of the trip would more than double the available common area.

There was one additional response by Fred, where he essentially missed this part of my original post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by thrash View Post
Of course, many existing Traveller deck plans are not well adapted for this approach, but there's nothing to prevent it in theory.
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Old 06-28-2020, 09:57 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Heresy] Tanks for the space!

I did a detailed post about how the 100 dton Scout and the 200 dton Beowulf in the core book do show fuel tanks by the baffles or anti-slosh partitions. Unlabeled in the core book, but identified in the separate Deck Plans.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Heresy] Tanks for the space!

The collapsible fuel bladder was one old canon approach to the concept. Rather than thinking of the fuel tank being mostly repurposed as some other space, they were thinking of cargo space that was temporarily a fuel tank. Of course, turning the temporary fuel space into cargo space after jump isn't terribly helpful. But the bladders could be useful for more cargo on J1 trips while still having the ability to do a J2 at need. You could declare the same big space a "ballroom" or "gym" for additional recreational space. But you can't take on extra passengers any more than you can take on extra cargo; you're just making the existing passenger's trip more luxurious. (Or profitable, when you set the up the casino for entertainment :)) A military transport vessel might really pack in the troops at launch and hot-bunk for those first few days getting to the jump point, then set up cots in the empty fuel tank, or briefing / training / exercise rooms.

Of course, you also have to assume that all that jump fuel is consumed instantly at the moment jump starts. Canon's mixed on that; sometimes it's getting bled out over the course of the jump, or powering the jump drives over the course of the week. So rather than being able to convert one big space, you'd have to have more of a continuously movable wall, like a piston, that gets you more and more space as the week of jump progresses.

Ships with aerodynamics, or even curved shapes that aren't convenient for the boxes of rooms humans are used to living in like the Broadsword, will normally have a lot of their fuel volume distributed in conformal spaces around the hull that might not be terrible useful for anything else.

Last edited by Anaraxes; 06-29-2020 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Heresy] Tanks for the space!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post

Of course, you also have to assume that all that jump fuel is consumed instantly at the moment jump starts. Canon's mixed on that;
When canon remembers the Gazelle and its' drop tanks it finds itself fairly sharply constrained. The fuel provided by te drop tanks has to be used in the 20 minute process of setting up Jump so the drop tanks can be left behind.

I'm okay about forgetting the Gazelle.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Heresy] Tanks for the space!

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
I'm okay about forgetting the Gazelle.
Not so easy to forget about Book 5 (1980), p. 27. MT (Refs Manual, p. 83), TNE (Brilliant Lances, p. 12), T4 (FF&S 2, p. 16), and T5 (Book 2, p. 117) all have drop tanks. T4 (ibid., p. 12) and T5 (ibid., p. 115) explicitly state that fuel for a jump is consumed prior to entering jump space, so I infer that was always the intent.
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