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Old 11-09-2020, 10:30 AM   #1
jason taylor
 
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Default Landings

Not much is said about the mechanics of landing ships. Some do seem to use runways. Grav plates could probably substitute for most types of landing gear.

Water Landings are not mentioned much. But there is something to be said for that, which is that they have the same advantage they always have had. There is no need to clear space on land and there usually is water wherever there is a commercial node. Even the desert has water, and of course, cities would grow up around water sources even more there.

Furthermore water allows off-world traffic to converge with maritime or riverine and conveniently dip into the planet's resources.
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Old 11-12-2020, 07:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Landings

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Water Landings are not mentioned much. But there is something to be said for that, which is that they have the same advantage they always have had.
There are advantages, but there are a couple of clear disadvantages too. One is that to be stable in water the ship has to fall in a fairly narrow density band, the one in which it floats with its center of gravity in the right region relative to its center of buoyancy, and it needs to stay in that range (and symmetrically loaded about it too) regardless of how much fuel or cargo it takes on. The other is that water is a much, much better heat conductor than air, and freezes at a much higher temperature too, which is an issue when half your hull is full of a cryogenic fluid.
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Old 11-12-2020, 09:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Landings

Water is also corrosive and salt water even more so. Yet the locals also sometimes get upset if you pollute it.

Loading any waterbourne vehicle is also never as simple as driving the forklift up you cargo ramp.

Nope, I want something hard and flat and not overly blessed with local lifeforms.
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Old 11-13-2020, 01:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Landings

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Water is also corrosive and salt water even more so. Yet the locals also sometimes get upset if you pollute it.

Loading any waterbourne vehicle is also never as simple as driving the forklift up you cargo ramp.

Nope, I want something hard and flat and not overly blessed with local lifeforms.
Wouldn't most starports be near trade nubs anyway and likely maritime traffic which is just as pollutant?
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Old 11-13-2020, 01:34 PM   #5
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Wouldn't most starports be near trade nubs anyway and likely maritime traffic which is just as pollutant?
Why would maritime traffic play an unaltered role in a contragravity using civilization? The slow speed and constrained travel paths exact unavoidable opportunity costs. Shipping from another star system could be faster than sea travel from across a major ocean. Time is money.
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Old 11-13-2020, 01:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Landings

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Why would maritime traffic play an unaltered role in a contragravity using civilization? The slow speed and constrained travel paths exact unavoidable opportunity costs. Shipping from another star system could be faster than sea travel from across a major ocean. Time is money.
Depends on how much offworld traffic is in the area. Also depends on what can be gotten from the ocean.

In any case the reason people visit planets is that there is something worth getting. Either it will be in another part of the planet besides the starport or another part of someone else's planet besides the starport. Now it could be that it is preferable to ship in non-starships flying orbitally rather than Sea Level vehicles. The difference is without distinction as one way or another you have lots of big hulky vehicles and a starship won't add to the crowd.
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Old 11-13-2020, 01:57 PM   #7
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D. Now it could be that it is preferable to ship in non-starships flying orbitally rather than Sea Level vehicles. The difference is without distinction as one way or another you have lots of big hulky vehicles and a starship won't add to the crowd.
Did I say anything about separating on-planet and off-planet shipping? I don't think so. I just don't think maritme shipping is going to play even a significant much less a domiant role.
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Old 11-14-2020, 12:16 PM   #8
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Another issue for a setting like Traveller, where you are likely to be hitting multiple worlds, is that building a ship that can land and be loaded and unloaded reasonably easily on both land *and* water has got to be harder and involve more compromises than building one that does one or the other well. Especially given that not all the worlds you are going to go to will have a lot of, or consistent kinds of, infrastructure.

Given that the worlds are almost all human, and humans need a hard surface to walk around on, you can pretty well guarantee that your destination has a "land" surface around where the people are, and that they have the ability to move around anything you'd be delivering on land - they must be able to shift it to the point of final installation after all, right outside the cargo hatch of the delivery ship presumably isn't where they want to permanently install it - if you are going to have to pick one, you want the dry field capability.
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Old 11-14-2020, 02:26 PM   #9
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Default Re: Landings

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Another issue for a setting like Traveller, where you are likely to be hitting multiple worlds, is that building a ship that can land and be loaded and unloaded reasonably easily on both land *and* water has got to be harder and involve more compromises than building one that does one or the other well. Especially given that not all the worlds you are going to go to will have a lot of, or consistent kinds of, infrastructure.
Contragrav tech takes a lot of the work out of this. A ship should just need a relatively clear space to land or a landing strip. Contragrav would help the ship make a slower approach and aerodynamics (and stall speed) would matter less.
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Old 11-15-2020, 11:33 AM   #10
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Contragrav tech takes a lot of the work out of this. A ship should just need a relatively clear space to land or a landing strip. Contragrav would help the ship make a slower approach and aerodynamics (and stall speed) would matter less.
Contragravity (and incidentally cheap energy and automation) does all kinds of bad things to attempts to compare freight costs.

If it's cheap enough, then everything everywhere on planet ships by air and none of that stuff about water transport applies at all. I suspect if your Traveller setting allows enough automation you don't need to pay drivers, the economic way to move anything may well be autopiloted air-rafts. When energy costs are as trivial as they are in most SF settings, and you don't need to pay labor costs for delivery vehicles, the cost of intermodal transfers and breaking containers for final delivery probably dominates everything left, so you avoid it as much as possible by sending everything in small direct shipments.
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