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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.