Posted Oct. 20, 2021, 11:36 a.m. by Fleet Captain Fleet Captain James Sinclair (Engineering Director) (James Sinclair)
Designer: Robert Archer
HISTORY AND MISSION OVERVIEW
In 2390 Starfleet put out a notice for a new heavy shuttle to supplement the Armadillo class heavy shuttle. The requirements were straight and to the point. It had to have the same capability as the Armadillo as well as the near same size and capacity of crew. Beyond these narrow profiles design groups were given free range to design their submissions.
What later became the Opossum class shuttle in 2391 originally started life as a small and fast courier shuttle. This was born from a design group in 2390 called Group Delta. Group Delta was made up of soon to graduate engineering cadets from Starfleet Academy. Their purpose in their final year was to design specifications given by their professors, but which would likely never get submitted for actual construction. However, the class of 2390 so impressed Professor Cromwell of that year that on their behalf he submitted the Opossum design for consideration. Finding a well structured and sturdy design, yet easy to mass produce and maintain, Starfleet officially commissioned the Opossum class heavy shuttle by the dawn of 2392.
The Opossum class shuttle is suited to the following mission profiles:
Transport of crew and VIPs both inter planet/system or to other planets/systems within 2 days travel.
Transport of small scale cargo delivery both inter planet/system or to other planets/systems within 2 days travel.
STRUCTURE AND CONSTRUCTION
The Opossum class is shaped at the forefront with a narrow cone shaped nose cockpit. This raises back to a broader shuttle body shaped as an angular oval, ending at the rear in a narrow long point. Junting down on four small pylons to port and starboard are a pair of embedded hull nacelles. Similar in scope to the overall body of a Terran Opossum, the shuttle that bore its name was not necessary pretty, but it is quite functional
Similar to the Armadillo class, the Opossum shuttle is constructed from standard Tritanium and Duranium alloys split into a dual layered hull of one centimeter thick. Between each layer are Titanium foam pads and the shuttle’s internal and external service systems. The main space frame is constructed as a single piece, which is intended to reduce the power required for the SIF system. Layered atop the dual layered hull in easy to replace hull plates are Duranium sheets with ceramic plastic overlays measuring one centimeter thick.
Access to the shuttle is gained either by a large sliding cockpit hatch at the front of the shuttle’s cockpit, or at the rear of the craft by a lowered hatch. The rear hatch can also operate as an emergency docking port should the need arise.
SCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING SYSTEMS
The Opossum class shuttle makes use of a single isolinear computer core at the rear port side of the cockpit. User interface is made up of the LCARS operating system with the MAJEL interface.
The Opossum class shuttle is equipped with a Type-II sensor platform. It has a short range scan of 0.7 light years and a long range scan of 1.2 light years. During shuttle distress the system will emit a wide band energy pulse meant to act as an ‘emergency flare’ to attract allied ships. This option, in addition to the standard distress call, must be activated by the shuttle’s crew in the event of possible hostile attention as well.
Probe Launching System
The Opossum, as noted below, does not contain a torpedo launching system. However, for the purposes of scientific study it does contain a single forward firing Type-1 micro-probe launching system. The system has a maximum effective range of 175,000 kilometers and can fire a single micro-probe once every eight seconds. The shuttle is loaded with up to 12 assorted class 1-9 micro-probes before mission launch.
Warp Propulsion Systems
The Opossum is equipped with a shuttle variant Class-5 warp core. It has a maximum Mili-Cochrane rating of 20,000+. It has a maximum cruising speed for 48 hours of Warp 2.45 and a maximum sustainable speed for 48 hours of Warp 3. In an emergency the core and matter/antimatter pods are ejected out the top of the hull, behind the shuttle’s cockpit.
Impulse Propulsion Systems
The Opossum is equipped with a single impulse engine located at the bottom rear of the craft, below the aft access hatch. The shuttle has a maximum sub-light speed of .24c coupled with the RCS thruster systems along the edge of the shuttle’s hull. It can reach this speed in 20 seconds and come to a stop in that same amount of time.
The Opossum class shuttle is equipped with the Type-3 shielding system, with emitters arrayed about the hull at key points. The system has a maximum graviton load of 268 MegaWatts, and a maximum dissipation rate of 7.3 x 10^4 kiloWatts.
The Opossum is equipped with two strips of Type-V phasers aligned to port and starboard along the edges of the shuttle’s sloped embedded nacelles. The arrays have a full 180 degree arc of fire to port and starboard, and 90 degree arc forward and aft. While limited, the array coverage was felt sufficient for the shuttle’s purposes. The system has a maximum energy output of 0.3 MegaWatts, and a maximum effective range of 18,750 kilometers. Like the Armadillo the Opossum does not contain torpedo launching equipment or capability.
The Opossum is equipped with a single Transporter Pad at the rear starboard side of the cockpit, which can transport two people up to 5,000 kilometers.
Tractor Beam Systems
The Opossum has a single tractor emitter at the rear tip of the shuttle, capable of handling a load up to 1,000 metric tons out to a range of 1,000 meters.
Crew Support Systems
The Opossum contains a single replicator within the rear of the cockpit with eating facilities located within the rear of the craft by a single fold down table. Survival, medical, and engineering kits are also located here. The survival kit has enough rations for four people to survive for two days or a single person up to 16 days. An EVA suit locker containing four EVA suits and emergency RCS thruster packs are located in the floor of the cockpit.
Dimensions and Structure
Length: 9.5 meters
Beam (Width): 5.5 meters
Height: 4.0 meters
Crew Complement 1-4
Total Capacity: 10
Maximum Evacuation Limit: 15
Core: Isolinear Based Computer Core
Operating System: Starfleet Library Computer Access and Retrieval System (LCARS)
User Interface: MAJEL
Power Plant: 1x 20,000+ MiliCochrane M/ARA core feeding two nacelles
Cruising Velocity (48 Hours): Warp 2.45
Maximum Velocity (48 Hours): Warp 3.0
Full Impulse: 0.24c
Accelerate: 15 seconds
Decelerate: 20 seconds
Shield Maximum Graviton Load (Continuous): 268 MegaWatts
Shield Maximum Energy Dissipation Rate: 7.3 x 10^4 KiloWatts
Phasers: 2x Type-V Phaser Arrays
While the aging Armadillo will no doubt continue to serve in many capacities for years to come. Starfleet is confident the Opossum class shuttle will become an equally welcome addition to many starship’s and star base’s inventories.
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