The Beagle class is named after the ship on which Charles Darwin sailed. The discoveries made by this ship, its crew, and Darwin radically and fundamentally reshaped Terran biological science and philosophical thought, and laid the foundations of modern evolutionary biology. It is fitting, given the missions envisioned by the IISS for these ships, that they bear the name of that distinguished vessel. Individual ship names for the class are suggested to be drawn from the names of great exploration vessels of the past: Salyut, Columbia, the Long Reach, or Rashuusin are examples.
The hull is designed for acceleration forces of up to 4 gravities, leaving a large amount of hull capacity for upgrades to the maneuver drives over the expected lifespan of the ship. Also, with lower drive capabilities, the hull and internal structures will be much less subject to wear, even under extreme conditions.
The crew quarters are standard small staterooms for each crew member, with large staterooms provided for the command crew (Captain, Pilot) as well as a large stateroom for each of the expected mission specialist crew. The latter staterooms also contain full workstations connected to the auxiliary science computer system. Crew accomodations are extended by the addition of two large common rooms (8 dTons each) providing meeting/mess hall/recreational facilities.
A roomy 10 DTon small craft hangar provides room for an auxiliary vehicle, such as a GravAPC, typically armed with one or two high ROF light CPR guns, as well as external ordinance mounts configurable as the mission requires, which would provide groundside security and extraction capabilities, as well as hostile environment transport if necessary. Additional small craft, such as Air/raft(s) or ground ATVs can be stowed in the additional cargo space provided in the hold, providing additional transport facilities.
Full machine shop facilities are provided for repair and construction of equipment, both onboard and research systems. Given the generalist nature of most missions, it is expected that at least one member of the engineering crew have high Machinist skills, and this shop will support such a specialist.
The three laboratory facilities are all modular in construction, with instrumentation systems connected to the Science computer system, with limited networking to the main ships computers as well, and for a typical mission could be configured for virtually any discipline (Biology, Xenobiology, Archaeology, Geology, Chemistry, etc.) In addition the sick bay (two beds) has considerable instrumentation facilities, and can be converted to a Class III biocontainment surgical ward if needed.
Emergency low berth facilities are included for the entire crew complement.
Ample cargo space is provided to allow for considerable future enhancement and expansion of the Beagle class, allowing additional lab and mission specialist facilities, heavier aramament, or increased maneuver drive capability (but not necessarily limited to those uses).
For instance, vastly superior PEMS sensor capability can be added to this ship by installing a Tethered Synthetic Aperture Array. This system consists of a centrifugally stabilized array of EMS sensors linked by superdense cables, which can be extended out from a central control unit. With current superdense cable fabrication technology, arrays of up to 1.3 km in length can be deployed. The current production TSAA-1 system consists of three 0.75 km arrays, with 6 wide band 10 m folding antennae, radially deployed around the central comm unit, which has a high speed, dedicated maser comm channel to the controlling computer systems on board the main vessel. With the dedicated workstation, hold space for the undeployed TSAA, and additional comm equipment, a full TSAA installation will take 30-40 dTons of hold space. Since the TSAA-1 is currently only in advanced prototype development, it's full capabilities are yet to be determined, but a conservative estimate places the system's sensitivity at 10-50 times the sensitivity of ship-mounted PEMS arrays.
Although the TSAA is not usable under combat or rapid deployment conditions, long range PEMS surveys are easily handled by this system. Placed in a system's outer orbits, a TSAA can provide detailed EMS signature mapping to a relatively fine grain of the entire system. Placed in orbit over an inhabited planet, incredible weak signals can be detected, and with a reasonable time baseline for detection, located to a degree of accuracy.
Deployment of multiple TSAA-1 units provide very precise spatial location of signals. Tests with experimental arrays placed in orbit around an inhabited planet indicated that specific signals could be located to within a few wavelengths of the traced signal...in the case of certain microwave transmissions, this means a spatial resolution of a few centimeters.
Displacement: 500 Tons
Volume 7000 cu m.
Cost 154 mCr (incl QDS discount) +3 mCr*
Cargo: 73 dTons
Structure: 16 (Slab Streamlined)
Controls: Std. Mil TL 12
Fire Cont. 4
1 Civ. High Power laser 2,0,0,0
1 Missile Turret 2 missiles
Sand Casters 1 (30)
Sensors 10A 4P 10J
(*additional TL 12 st computer, per FFS, p 49: 0.8 mW power usage, 0.6 dTons, 3 mCr additional cost, included in the cost above. This is the Science computer system)
(Cost does NOT include the cost of auxilary craft. Based on the prices in T4, the G-carrier (aka GravAPC) is 0.1 Mcr, while the air/rafts, which I envision as pickup truck type vehicles, are 0.06 mCr each. The cost of auxiliary craft as described above is then an additional 0.22 mCr)
(A 4 gravities acceleration version of this ship could be constructed, at the additional cost of 42 mCr in drive and additional powerplant expenditures, with corresponding reduction in final cargo capacity.)