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CA23 Platypus

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The Platypus shuttlecraft was specifically designed for the Explorer and entered service shortly before it. The craft provided the facility to provide access to environments the larger ship couldn't. Able to carry up to 20 passengers, it was capable of limited entry into an atmosphere, though only at high altitudes as the protective armour was not capable of withstanding the extremes of full atmospheric re-entry.

Propulsion was provided by four chemical thrust engines and four ion-drive engines. This provided a good compromise with thrust acceleration and long-range cruising. The craft proved to be highly versatile and an adaptable platform for close survey work, in conjunction with the Explorers. Extra sensor equipment was attached to the outside of the ship, for example planetary mapping or atmosphere skimming. It was on one of these surveys that the Platypus proved its worth as a lifeboat.

Whilst surveying the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan in June 2031, the shuttle TR3385 'Lincoln Flyer' suffered a freak meteorite hit that caused the shuttle to crash-land on the moon's surface. Not only did the 8 crew survive, but the hull's integrity had not been breached either. Enough life-support remained to keep the crew alive for a rescue mission to be mounted and get the crew of the crashed shuttle back to their Explorer ship.

The basic design of the Platypus has been so successful, it has been updated over the years and its descendants are in use today, the most recent being the CA2320 Armadillo.

The scene depicts two Platypus shuttles operating in the asteroid belt in December 2035.


Civil & Commercial/Terran
Manufacturer - Consolidated Aerospace
Classification - Short-range Shuttlecraft
Main Drive - Consolidated Nova II chemical thrust engines, 4 units 75,000lbs thrust each.
McInley Ion Ultradrive, 4 units 10,000lbs thrust each
Secondary Drive - Standard pattern correction thrusters
Personnel - 2 crew, up to 20 passengers or equivalent cargo
Defence - Duralloy armour 5cm thick
In-service date - 2026

About this image:- December 2008, Bryce 6.1, AC3D 6.4

All images © S. Attwood / Digital Waterfalls
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