AAT181 'Dump Truck' (circa 2063-present)
This scene covers the updated AAT181 which was modified in 2063. The updated versions utilise Berger gravity-resist modules to assist its ascent/decent capabiliy. Though the generators are not powerful enough to allow a complete VTOL, the booster rockets can be despensed with for take-off and the decent is more controlled as opposed to the free-fall of the early versions.
These modules can can be seen in pairs on the top and bottom part of the front command module. The main engines have also received an increase in power, so that the booster rocket packs do not have to be used on take-off, the gravity-resist modules do the 'lifting' job instead. The AAT181 can transport up to two of the centre modules at once, from surface to space and vice-versa.
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. This particular AAT181 is depicted skimming past the asteroid Toutatis, en route back to its base just outside the asteroid belt.
Civil & Commercial/Terran
Manufacturer - Avery Astronautics
Classification - Short-range surface to space transport
Main Drive - Avery Type 19A chemical thrust engines, 6 units 950,000 lbs thrust each
Personnel - 8 human crew
Defence - Plastisteel armour 10cm thick
In-service date - 2063
About this image:- October 2005, POV-Ray 3.5, Bryce 4.1, Photoshop 5.5.
All images © S. Attwood / Digital Waterfalls
Book covers are © their respective owners
Images may not be reproduced without permission