This now-ubiquitous little craft came about due to the huge explosion in demand for small warp-capable, personal transports and private cruisers. Consolidated Aerospace responded and drew up specifications for a small shuttlecraft to fulfill the need. The problem was building such a small craft with a warp engine, without compromising passenger space and comfort. To provide a solution, the engineers at Consolidated turned to the Alpha Centaurians who had for some years before us had developed the potential mass drive and were therefore slightly ahead of us in warp technology. Between the two teams, the engineers effectively 'miniaturised' the warp drive but at the expense of range. In order to extend the range so that ship had to stop less often to recharge its warp generators, a hydrogen scoop was fitted to the side of the ship so that the free gas could be collected and lessen the time between jumps.
Equipped with probably the smallest non-military warp generator available, the Sprite was launched with a blaze of publicity and immediately the next two years production runs were sold out immediately. A whole industry of third-party suppliers have sprung up to produce add-on's and extra capabilities for the Sprite, everything from colour schemes through to sensor packs for mining exploration teams. The Sprite has also been adopted as a private shuttle for small companies providing a charter service in between worlds. Some Sprites have had their warp engines removed to make space for extra fuel tanks and hence are only used to serve routes inside a solar system.
No longer a preserve of the rich and wealthy, the Sprite has helped spaceflight become more accessable to the masses and should continue to do so for many more years to come. The scene above depicts a flight of Sprites leaving a ore processing facility, one of many in the Menkalinan system carrying miners on well-deserved leave.
Civil & Commercial/Terran
Manufacturer - Consolidated Aerospace
Classification - Private Cruiser
Main Drive - Consolidated Warp Generator Mk X, McKinley Ion Drive 70,000lbs thrust
Personnel - 2 Crew, berths for 4 passengers
Defence - TTA Civil AM 6Y Defence Shield
In-service date - 2163
About this image:- June 2004, POV-Ray 3.5, Bryce 4.1, Paint Shop Pro 4.1.
All images © S. Attwood / Digital Waterfalls
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