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Gas Giant Refueling/Refining Platform and Lighter

This article originally appeared in the January 2012 issue of the downloadable magazine

Gas Giant Refining Platform  (GGRP)           TL-13
50,000 ton                      dispersed structure
Maneuver Drive (6)       6-G  (Agil 1/Emerg agil 6)
Power Plant (7)                            EP= 3500
Fuel       = 3500 tons                  Cargo= 1915
Computer   = Model 6fib        (CPU-15/ Storage-35)
Vehicles   =   20 Fueling Lighters
                3 Shuttles (Personnel)
                3 Shuttles (Cargo)
Weapons    =    0
Staterooms =  550
Low Berths =  100
Emerg Low  =    0
Crew       =  547

Bulk Fuel Capacity: 20,000 tons (refined)
                     5,000 tons (unrefined)

Docking Facilities for Refueling:
Ships (refined only):   25000dt in 500dt increments
Small Craft (either):   50 stations
Incoming Pump Stations  20

Crew Detail:

Captain/Manager   Engineering     120
Pilots    2       Fueling Crew    150
Navigator 2       Service         150
Commo     2       Flight Crews    100*
                  Medical Section  20
*Flight Crews includes Ground Crew and extra Pilots to aid refueling operations.

The GGRP is a maneuverable refinery for processing L-Hyd fuel from Gas Giant atmospheres and acting as a refueling station for ship traffic with that refined fuel. The platform’s carried Fueling Lighters operate on a round-the-clock schedule maintained by the GGRP’s computers scooping raw fuel and returning it to the incoming pump stations where it is transferred for processing. Processing begins with storage in the 5000 ton raw tankage storage, from there it is refined and transferred to the refined fuel tankage. As adjustments to the schedule are needed based on demand the computer makes those adjustments in the Lighter schedules.

Starships can refuel at the standard prices for refined fuel at any of the 50 docking stations, but size will dictate priority. Each station can accommodate up to 500 tons of ship, so a 5000 ton ship would require 10 stations to dock and fuel.

Small craft refueling stations can pump either refined or raw fuel depending on the customer’s needs, though small craft can use raw fuel without the ill effects it has on jump drives.

The GGRP has massive 6G maneuver drives to help it maintain position over the gas giant’s powerful gravity well. The GGRP can also use the drives to move to any orbit in its system to help deliver fuel should the need arise. When the GGRP is under acceleration to a different orbit it cannot perform refueling operations except by launching and recovering its own Fueling Lighters.

Fueling Lighter            55 MCr            TL-12
600 ton                    streamlined wedge
                           w/scoops and processors
Maneuver Drive (C)      1-G  (Agil 1/Emerg agil 1)
Power Plant (C)
Fuel       =    10 tons    Cargo = 500 tons (fuel)
                                    38 tons (dry) 
Computer   =    Model 1bis      (CPU-4/ Storage-0)
Staterooms = 4

Crew:  Captain/Pilot
       2 Engineers
       (Second engineer helps w/fueling operations)

The standard in-system refueling craft is the 600 ton Fueling Lighter. The ship is used to supplement refueling operations for starports by servicing ships not capable of atmospheric re-entry, for scooping and ferrying raw fuel to Gas Giant Refueling Platforms (GGRP), and sometimes carried onboard bulk carriers to allow them to scoop and refine raw fuel.

Because of the craft’s unfortunate official designation crews often call this type of lighter a “Zippo”, “Torch”, or similar nickname. The official Ramship LIC (the primary builder) record shows, however, that there is no greater incidence of onboard fires or explosions than in any similar craft. Instead, the term “lighter” merely comes from the long tradition of designating ships and craft after wet naval terms. Lighters were small craft that serviced ships too large to dock for refueling and resupply.