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AAT181 (circa 2013-2063)



This section concentrates on the original Avery Loader, the updated version is covered in the Spacecraft 2100-2200AD part of the website. The AAT181 loading tug is one of the longest-serving spacecraft designs ever produced. Originally conceived as a surface to space transport to supply the TTA Colonial II freighter, the Avery Loader has been upgraded and refitted over the years to keep pace with new electronics, launch and spacecraft systems.

When it was decided to replace the TTA Colonial I, a completely different mode of operation was required. Whereas the Colonial I required huge amounts of fuel to escape Earths gravity, the Colonial II was to operate entirely in space, just on the edges of the atmosphere. However the problem remained how to get the cargo and passengers from Earth to orbit. Avery Astronautics stepped in to provide the solution: a reusable surface to space transporter with a high degree of flexability. The AAT181 was born in August 2013, six months before the first Colonial II became operational.

These early loaders were launched into space with the aid of disposable booster rockets fitted to the sides of the ship, the ship's upward trajectory aided with a 'skÔ-jump' to help the ship's ascent. Once in orbit, the centre passenger pod/cargo section could be delivered to the Colonial II, allowing the rear engine section and front command module to detach and re-join together. The ship then glides back, its decent slowed by retro rockets, through the atmosphere to a landing site. The centre modules, in part to the fore-sightedness of Avery's designers, can be linked together to form habitable structures and space bases. Many of these structures can still be seen in orbit around a large number of systems in the Federation.

Over the years the AAT181 has earned itself a number of nicknames, mainly due to its limited manuverability in atmospheric decent and its prolific lifting ability: 'Dump Truck', 'Magic Bus' and the 'Flying Brick' are amongst the most popular. AAT181's also provided an easy way for passengers to reach first the lunar and Mars bases by piggybacking onto a Colonial II, the passengers then transferring to the transport for the long journey from Earth. This early passenger system is covered in more depth in the TTA Colonial II section.

The AAT181 found itself invaluable during the Proxima Wars providing the heavy lift capability when the TTA Colonial III and IV entered service and should see some years more service before it is replaced. This particular illustration shows an AAT181 with the four booster rockets fitted carrying two cargo pods, leaving Alpha II's surface in 2047, just before the outbreak of the Proxima Wars.



Specification

Civil & Commercial/Terran
Manufacturer - Avery Astronautics
Classification - short-range surface to space transport
Main Drive - Avery Type 15A chemical thrust engines, 6 units 750,000 lbs thrust each
Auxiliary Drive - Avery 'Snubnose' chemical thrust engines, 4 units 250,000 lbs thrust each
Personnel - 8 human crew
Defence - Duralloy armour 6cm thick
In-service date - 2013


About this image:- November 2005, POV-Ray 3.5, Bryce 4.1, Photoshop 5.5.

All images © S. Attwood / Digital Waterfalls
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