Written and adapted by and posted here with his permission.

Next to last set... These are all aerospace vehicles - two types of zeppelins (slow but low-cost & low-maintenance - very popular with colonists & long-duration expeditions) and the Hypersonic Transport. Any of you familiar with NASA''s X-33 program (a single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane, to replace the aging space shuttles) will notice the scramjet's pedigree; if you remember reading about the "Tokyo Express" - a plane that was capable of reaching Tokyo from the US in a couple of hours or so, this is it - only useful for both atmospheric flights as well as a shuttle-type vehicle.

Hypersonic Transport (Scramjet)

Cost 350,000 Cr* (no rental available)
Passengers: 40 plus 6 crew (passenger airliner) or 4 crew (cargo carrier)or 40 passengers plus 5,000 kg(airliner)
Top / Cruise Speed: mach 20 (approx. 21,200 km / hr) / Mach 12 (approx. 12,720 km / hr)
Cargo Limit:  15,000 kg / 180 cubic meters (cargo carrier), / 30 cubic meters cargo

Length: 40 meters
Cargo / Passenger Bay: 12 meters by 5 meters
Wingspan: 35 meters
Takeoff Mass: 150,000 kg
Maximum Altitude: 50 km
Fuel: Semi-liquid ("slush") hydrogen (equivalent to chemical rocket fuel - see Knighthawks); consumes 2,000 Cr worth of fuel per flight.
Runway required: 2,500 meters

*Price assumes purchase at a Class I Construction Center; at Class II Centers increase to 395,000 Cr and at Class III Centers increase to 625,000 Cr. Scramjets are slightly cheaper than typical shuttles of their size and type due to a standardized design by Trans-Travel which has been copied across the Frontier.

Scramjets are suborbital transports intermediate between aircraft and shuttles. Designed with "air-breathing" rocket engines which oxidize hydrogen, they travel at hypersonic speeds at altitudes which graze the edge of space. These vehicles are the fastest transport available for shuttling passengers and cargo across the planets of the Frontier.

Typically operated by planetside airline companies, many are also owned by governments and the megacorps for their own use. On smaller planets (Light or Outpost population code), they are sometimes owned and operated by Trans-Travel (the megacorp) or by individual entrepreneurs (usually former spacers). Although scramjet flights are usually between 2 points on a planet's surface and just graze the edge of space, they are capable of acting as normal shuttles if necessary.

Hypersonic transports are coated with a reflective heat shielding material which is equivalent in all respects to a Reflective Hull; they also include Astrogation Equipment (Shuttle) (KH), an Intercom Panel (in the cockpit) and 2 Intercom  speakers/ Microphones (in the cargo / passenger compartment) (both from KH), a Life Support System (36-60 supported) (KH), a Radar Unit (KH), a Subspace Radio, and 2 Videocom Radios (1 in the cockpit and 1 in a booth in the passenger / cargo area) (KH). All hypersonic transports have 6 Portholes (forming a continuous wraparound window for the cockpit) (KH), and passenger airliners will have an additional 24 Portholes (12 to a side) lining the passenger compartment. The cockpit area hatch and each of the two computers on a scramjet are secured by Level 5 Baton Locks (ZG).

Government or megacorp-owned scramjets can be equipped with up to 2 Decoys (at an extra 20,000 Cr each) (KH) and / or 2 Escape Pods (at an extra 30,000 Cr each) (KH); if either or both of these options are mounted, passenger capacity drops to 10 and cargo capacity to 1,000 kg (also reduce the craft's cargo capacity by 4 cubic meters per Decoy and 16 cubic meters per Escape Pod).


All scramjets are equipped with a main computer (Level 2, 18 FP) including a Level 2 Alarm Program (2 Function Points), Level 1 Astrogation Program (Shuttle Type, 3 Function Points), Level 3 Computer Lockout Program (2 Function Points), Level 2 Damage Control Program (4 Function Points), a Level 1 Drive Program (Chemical Type, Size A, 3 Function Points), and a Level 1 Life Support Program (4 Function Points). A secondary computer (Level 2, 11 FP) includes a Level 1 Commerce Program (3 Function Points), Level 1 Communication Program (3 Function Points), Level 1 Installation Security Program (3 Function Points) and a Level 1 Maintenance Program (2 Function Points). Both computers are individually encased in Strongboxes (ZG) with 5 layers of armor. In truly desperate circumstances, a scramjet can mount a single Assault Rocket.

KnightHawks Statistics Hull Size 3 Shuttle ADF: 1 MR: 4 Hatches: 1 Engines: 2 DCR: 80 Hull Points: 10

Zeppelin, Civilian

Cost: 30,000 Cr (rental - 100 Cr plus 75 Cr / day)
Top / Cruise Speed: 145 kph (240 m / turn) / 75 kph (125 m / turn)
Passengers: 12 (human-sized) or 4 (Vrusk-sized)
Cargo Limit: 500 kg / 2 cubic meters with full passenger load, 1500 kg / 10 cubic meters with no passengers aboard

Length: 243 ft (73 meters)
Total Mass: 6000 kg Net Mass (inflated): 600 kg (propellers provide lift)

Zeppelins are semi-rigid airships supported by internal struts of composite materials, unlike blimps which are simple inflated gasbags. They are powered by 2 Type 3 Parabatteries which drive a pair of propellers; the propellers can swivel and serve as secondary steering (in addition to the rudders) for the craft. A zeppelin can take off and land either vertically (like a copter) or on an ascending angle (like an airplane), and require no runway. Although not popular on Core planets zeppelins are very useful on colonies, low-tech planets, and for explorers due to their low maintenance, low cost, and good handling (a zeppelin can rotate in place and hover much like a helicopter). The zeppelin's gas bags (called "cells") are inflated with helium, making it non-flammable. Due to their similar sizes, there have been cases where camouflaged airships have been used as decoys for landed Hull Size 4 ships by smugglers and pirates; use of a zeppelin in this way to evade pursuit by law enforcement officers is a felony on all UPF member planets and is vigorously prosecuted.

Zeppelin Vehicle Data:

Accel (m/turn): 20
Decel (m/turn): 20
Top Speed (m/turn): 240


For aerial combat modifiers and the results table, use the jetcopter entries (SF:AD, p. 33) for zeppelins; they can increase or decrease altitude by 20 meters / turn and are capable of hovering as do aircars and jetcopters. If a zeppelin is damaged in a high-wind storm, add +5 per 50kph of the storm's wind speed to rolls made on the Flying Vehicle Damage Table (SF:AD, p.33).

In combat, a zeppelin (gasbag and gondola combined) has structural points equal to a heavy vehicle (100+d100); if only the gondola or the gasbag is targeted, treat the individual components as equivalent to a light vehicle's structural points (50+2d10). If using the vehicle armor rules from SF:ZG (p. 83), a maximum of two layers of armor can be applied to a zeppelin (any more and it could not take off); in addition to the speed penalties listed in ZG, armored zeppelins lose the capacity for 3 passengers or 500 kg of cargo per layer of armor added. In addition to regular armor layers, it is possible to add a coating of reflective paint to the gasbag and gondola; this adds 2,000 Cr to the vehicle's cost ad makes it impossible to conceal. A maximum of 3 swivel mounts can be added to the gondola (1 in the nose and 1 to each side) for weapons; see SF:ZG (p. 83) for costs and restrictions.

Zeppelin, Survey (from SFKH2: Mutiny on the Eleanor Moraes)

Cost: 10,000 Cr (rental not available)
Top / Cruise Speed: 100 kph / 50 kph
Passengers: 20 Cargo Limit: 1000 kg in 100 cubic meters
Range: 20,000 km; multi-fuel turbine engine

These semi-rigid lighter-than-air vehicles are used primarily for survey and colonization. Their economical operation, high cargo capacity, extensive range, and low-tech design make them useful and versatile. Gondolas are custom-designed for specific applications. Survey robots act as tugboats for the assembly, inflation, mooring, and remote landing of these airships.

Reprinted with permission

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