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Author Topic: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]  (Read 618 times)

Retry

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Crossroad Jumpship Transit

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Note: It's been a long time since I've posted a Vela Corridor AU article here.

The short description is the Vela Corridor is a relatively light-weight alternative universe, in that it adds several semi-isolated factions between the Gum Nebula and the Vela Sheet while not causing major changes to the general trajectory of the Inner Sphere's (or Clan's) histories.  The Whittle Network focuses on the interplanetary transportation system of one of those Vela Corridor factions (The Crossroad Republic)

Some basic work on the three main factions (Crossroad Republic, Amethyst Legion, & Mechani Alliance) in the corridor has been done, from military equipment and doctrines to governments & politics, society, and foreign policy.  Further information available upon request (though I'm not sure where to put it.  Fan Fiction?

The Crossroad Republic utilizes a modified variant of a Command Circuit / "Pony Express" style Jumpship routes.

The Crossroad system has its origins in 2946, when military engineer Erin Whittle witnessed the Amethyst Legion's massive network of space stations, dropships and jumpships darting in and out of the capital complex in deep space.  Erin would bring this knowledge back with him and develop a novel concept for a modern, effective transportation network, and would start transit reforms by 2954, when he became the head of Crossroad's Department of Transportation.

Named the "Whittle Model", the basic units of a network can be visualized as 'segments' - set routes a Jumpship takes between (typically) inhabited systems, and 'nodes' - large Space Stations located at Jump Points where Jumpships arrive and depart from systems.  At least one Jumpship is assigned to a segment, which services the two associated nodes at a set schedule, but two are usually assigned and segments with more than 1 Jumpship are typically full duplex (that is, jumpship traffic goes in both directions at the same time; some jumpships jump from A to B while others jump from B to A.)  Each node consists of at least one Space Station which serves as a recharge station, loading & unloading dock for passengers and cargo, and security area.  Larger nodes with more traffic, like in the Core worlds, often have larger space stations, more stations, or auxiliary services such as spacecraft repair stations.

The Crossroad Republic began with stock jumpships to fill out the fleet, but quickly developed their own specifically to fill their needs.  The Relay series of Jumpships are little more than KF drives & docking collars attached to a cockpit; with highly limited fuel reserves, minimal consumables such as oxygen and food reserves, unusually cramped steerage space for the crew, few to no self defense armaments, and lacking even a basic Gravity Deck.

These limitations are actually intentional.  In addition to reducing the overall Jumpship's cost, their limited amenities keep the Relay series bound to Crossroad's overall jumpship network; The Jumpship depends on the Space Stations's defense assets for anti-piracy protection, the crew must refill fuel consumables at the station, the crew generally lives on the station (which has important amenities such as Grav Decks) in between jumps while recharging their jump drives, and so on.  Even if a Relay series ship were to be hijacked by a bad actor, the type simply would not be able to make 3-4 jumps before running out of a critical item, and thus would be quickly rendered useless outside its intended operating environment.

A good example of this sort of design is the Whittle class Jumpship: 75 kilotonnes & space for 2 Dropship Collars for only 470 million C-Bills, compares favorably to other common Jumpships such as the Scout class (1 Dropship Collar, 90 kton, 390 million C-bills) and Merchant class (2 Dropship collars, 120 kton, 535 million C-bills), while having much lower operating costs due to having a simple design with less parts, a correspondingly small crew complement, a standard and lightweight K-F drive, low fuel consumption, and a few other minor details.  The Whittle class is by far the most ubiquitous Jumpship in the network due to it low cost, though 160 kiloton and 460 kiloton designs are common on highly traveled segments, and specialist jumpships exist for specific applications.

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Whittle Jumpship (2960)
Mass: 75,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2960
Mass: 75,000
Battle Value: 634
Tech Rating/Availability: D/X-E-D-F
Cost: 470,325,425 C-bills
Fuel: 10 tons (100)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: 3
KF Drive Integrity: 3
Heat Sinks: 87
Structural Integrity: 1
Armor
     Nose: 8
     Fore Sides: 6/6
     Aft Sides: 5/5
     Aft: 3
Cargo
Bay 1: Cargo (Liquid) (0.455 tons) 1 Door
Bay 2: Cargo (Refrigerated) (0.435 tons) 1 Door
Bay 3: Cargo (4.5 tons) 1 Door
Dropship Capacity: 2
Grav Decks: 0
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 2
Crew: 2 officers, 8 enlisted/non-rated
Ammunition: None
Notes: Mounts 41.5 tons of standard aerospace armor.
None
Weapons: Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat SRV MRV LRV ERV Class

Code: [Select]
Starlifter Jumpship (2985)
Mass: 460,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2985
Mass: 460,000
Battle Value: 1,928
Tech Rating/Availability: D/X-E-D-F
Cost: 1,771,929,783 C-bills
Fuel: 40 tons (100)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: 6
KF Drive Integrity: 9
Heat Sinks: 150
Structural Integrity: 1
Armor
     Nose: 22
     Fore Sides: 19/19
     Aft Sides: 16/16
     Aft: 10
Cargo
Bay 1: Small Craft (2) 2 Doors
Bay 2: Cargo (Refrigerated) (8.7 tons) 1 Door
Bay 3: Cargo (Liquid) (9.1 tons) 1 Door
Bay 4: Cargo (2084.5 tons) 1 Door
Dropship Capacity: 10
Grav Decks: 0
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 10
Crew: 5 officers, 34 enlisted/non-rated, 10 bay personnel
Ammunition: None
Notes: Mounts 255.5 tons of standard aerospace armor.
None
Weapons: Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat SRV MRV LRV ERV Class

*Even more cost efficient than the Whittle, Starlifters are ever present near the Republic's core worlds facilitating bulk Dropship transportation.  Their sheer capital cost all but precludes their use near the fringes.

Each system "node" consists of at least one, but more frequently a number of different Space Stations, consisting at minimum of recharge stations and terminal stations.

Recharge stations are the key to a well-functioning Whittle-type Jump Network.  Normally, Jumpships recharge their own jump drive via solar sails.  This process takes a significant amount of time which varies by the star's power output; bright stars can recharge jump drives in up to 175 hours, while dim stars can take even longer!  The primary feature of a Recharge Station is the ability to recharge a Jumpship's jump drive via cable consistently faster, and at a speed that is independent on the star's power output: it takes only 125 hours to recharge via cable (At minimum a 40% increase in recharge speed), drastically increasing the number of jumps a Jumpship can make per year.  Whittle-type Recharge Stations also replenish the Jumpship's other consumables, accomodate the Jumpship's crews in between jumps (since the whole process only takes about an hour between undocking, jumping, and docking, crews spend most of their time on these stations), and hold supplies and spare parts for basic maintenance.  Most typical Crossroad recharge stations can service 4-6 Jumpships at a time, but the biggest ones on the core worlds can service up to 16-20.

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Helios Jump Station (2960)
Mass: 500,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2960
Mass: 500,000
Battle Value: 12,089
Tech Rating/Availability: D/X-E-D-D
Cost: 611,070,000 C-bills
Fuel: 15,000 tons (37,500)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: 6
Heat Sinks: 154
Structural Integrity: 1
Armor
     Nose: 151
     Fore Sides: 125/125
     Aft Sides: 110/110
     Aft: 69
Cargo
Bay 1: Small Craft (16) 2 Doors
Bay 2: Fighter (36) 6 Doors
Bay 3: Cargo (Refrigerated) (1740.0 tons) 2 Doors
Bay 4: Cargo (Liquid) (1820.0 tons) 2 Doors
Bay 5: Cargo (41076.5 tons) 3 Doors
Dropship Capacity: 10
Grav Decks: 2 (1500 m, 1500 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 100
Crew: 25 officers, 130 enlisted/non-rated, 152 bay personnel, 240 passengers, 50 marines
Ammunition: None
Notes: Equipped with 4 Energy Storage Battery and 1,726.5 tons of standard aerospace armor.
None
Weapons: Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat SRV MRV LRV ERV Class

*Helios Stations are the typical recharge station of a Jumpship network, capable of recharging four Jumpships at a time while also housing its crew, two wings of fighter craft for jump point security, and a variety of support personnel.  Despite generous wages and good benefits, the Republic of Crossroad often finds it difficult to hire enough personnel to fill all positions on these and other jump point stations.

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Hermes Communication Station
Mass: 4,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 2911
Mass: 4,000
Battle Value: 941
Tech Rating/Availability: E/X-F-F-F
Cost: 5,410,470,000 C-bills
Fuel: 500 tons (5,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 54
Structural Integrity: 1
Armor
     Nose: 12
     Fore Sides: 10/10
     Aft Sides: 8/8
     Aft: 5
Cargo
Bay 1: Small Craft (1) 1 Door
Bay 2: Cargo (Refrigerated) (17.4 tons) 1 Door
Bay 3: Cargo (Liquid) (18.2 tons) 1 Door
Bay 4: Cargo (915.5 tons) 1 Door
Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks: 2 (1500 m, 1500 m)
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 18
Crew: 10 officers, 46 enlisted/non-rated, 5 bay personnel, 44 marines
Ammunition: None
Notes: Equipped with 1 Mobile Hyperpulse Generators (Mobile HPG) and 66.5 tons of standard aerospace armor.
None
Weapons: Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat SRV MRV LRV ERV Class

*Relatively tiny and unnotable structures to the untrained eye, Hermes comms stations are separate from the main terminal or jump stations for security reasons.  Critical to the functioning of a healthy Whittle Network, the Hermes Station HPGs can transmit real-time data either planetside or to other jump points, depending on the configuration.

Terminals are space stations with Dropship access points, that accept and process deliveries of their freight and passengers.  These terminals are critical to the function of the Whittle Network, as they facilitate the transfer of goods between Jumpships and the planets.  Small worlds typically have these terminals near jump points, but large worlds have additional terminals that orbit the planet; in this case, large "bulk transit" dropships carry tons of cargo or passengers between the jump point terminal and planetary terminal, and smaller dropships divide the loads to proper locations.

Dropships (and to some extent, small craft) form the freight and passenger carrying backbone of Crossroad's Whittle Network.  These are divided into three general types:

Planetary Transports are small-to-medium sized Dropships and small craft that transport cargo and people between various locations on the planetary surface to the space station in orbit.  These vessels naturally have the structural design and engine strength to enter the atmosphere, but have limited "legs" (fuel), as they're typically only needed to operate between these relatively short distances.

Inter-Hub Transports are very large bulk transport dropships that carry tons of people or freight between the planetary space stations and the jump point space stations.  Though they usually cannot operate in an atmosphere and their ability to be transported via jumpship is typically limited due to their sheer size, this type is the most cost effective dropship type for carrying large quantities of cargo between the two hubs.  As the dropships are limited to about 1G acceleration due to the human factor, transit time between the two space stations is typically around 7 days.

For freight, a faster method was invented using specialized, civilianized version of military drone technology developed relatively recently (~3085) from a combination of Crossroad research and "liberated" WoB drone experiments.  These specialized Dropships (Branded "Car-Go!") use drone systems instead of human crew, enabling the Dropships to maintain 3G acceleration and cut transport time by 70%.

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Car-Go! Drone Freighter CGO-1
Type: Military Spheriod
Mass: 100,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Experimental)
Introduced: 3086
Mass: 100,000
Battle Value: 1,320
Tech Rating/Availability: E/X-X-F-X
Cost: 5,862,631,600 C-bills
Fuel: 116 tons (1,160)
Safe Thrust: 6
Maximum Thrust: 9
Heat Sinks: 514
Structural Integrity: 20
Armor
     Nose: 150
     Sides: 128/128
     Aft: 106
Cargo
Bay 1: ARTS Small Craft (16) 2 Doors
Bay 2: Cargo (42879.5 tons) 1 Door
Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 20
Crew: 5 officers, 19 enlisted/non-rated, 80 bay personnel
Ammunition: None
Notes: Mounts 72 tons of standard aerospace armor.
None
Weapons: Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat SRV MRV LRV ERV Class

*The Car-Go! brand Inter-Hub Transport posseses some amount of internal space for crew which can operate the droneship directly for repairs.  However, they cannot take advantage of the higher sustained G's for commercial transit while human crew is on board, for obvious reasons.

Jumper Transports, or simply Jumpers, are dropships that handle transportation between the Jump Point station and Jumpships.  These typically follow a set route and predictable schedule, making logistical planning easier for individuals and companies alike.
« Last Edit: 16 November 2022, 23:33:01 by Retry »

Lagrange

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #1 on: 16 November 2022, 09:12:27 »
Great to see a logistics thread!  (Mine is here.)

Some comments (a few of which may be obvious to you, apologies if so):
  • Full duplex logistics are a little bit tricky in two ways.  The first is that it's not as efficient at covering systems at the periphery.  The second is that you must divorce the timing of one direction from the other in order to be able to make a chained sequence of jumps.  That's doable, but if you are pushing recharge times it means that the jumpships in one direction usually can't switch to the other direction without staying out of the network for one cycle.
  • You need a control roll of 4 (rather than default 5) to reliably quickly recharge a jumpship without KF-drive damage.  That's probably doable with an appropriate emphasis.  I'm not sure what AToW skill corresponds to this roll---would be good to know.
  • A dropship pulling 3g transits a factor of 30.5~=1.73 times (not 32) faster than a 1g transit.
  • Minimal cost/node here seems to be Whittle + Helios = 1081M.  In the other thread, it's 560M, driven by two variations (a) the use of a space station instead of dropship for jump point<->planet and (b) the use of fuel recharging rather than battery recharging, along with the much smaller space stations that implies.
  • If you drop a collar from the Whittle and add a mobile HPG instead, you end up with something cheaper than a Hermes.  That doesn't necessarily make sense, but those are the rules. 
  • L1 jump points are extremely useful, since you can achieve surface-to-surface interstellar transport times of <1 day.  Using them reliably requires control roll 3 which might seem steep.  However, AToW lists Nav/KF as a simple-basic skill, implying a '3' requires as much training as gunnery '4'.
  • If you are using circuits there is a strong preference for all jumpships in the circuits to have the same number of collars, since the number of dropships which can travel the circuit is the minimal number of collars in the circuit.  Thus, you effectively need to have separate Starlifter and Whittle circuits.

Retry

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #2 on: 16 November 2022, 23:32:17 »
1.It is more difficult (and more capital intensive) than half-duplex Jumpship routes (and the Crossroad Republic's peripheral world whittle network nodes are effectively loss leaders), but they have their own sets of advantages.

2. A base control roll of 4 is required to successfully quick charge under normal conditions.  However, when connected to a Recharge Station via direct cable connection, the control roll receives a -2 bonus.  This effectively means a Jumpship connected via cable may freely and automatically succeed a quick-charge in 150 hours; The maximum safe quick recharge time is 175 hours otherwise, and if not using a station or your fuel reserves to quick charge, your charge speed is limited by the class of the star.  (Strat Ops pg.86-88)

In addition to cutting time and by a bit more than a day while saving fuel compared to ship-based fast charging(~17% overall charge speed increase), there's potentially even more time saved compared to Solar Sail charging, but this depends upon the "weakest" star present in the network.  Charging from an M9 star, for instance, would take a full 210 hours, which would make replacing star-powered recharging with station-based direct cable battery charging even more appealing.

3. Whoops!  That shows me for midnight posting... I'll fix that soon.

4. Helios stations are most common, but there's a few even smaller variants in service, such as a currently-unnamed 120 kton station, at 100 million C-Bills.  Only has 1 battery & significantly fewer accomodations though (ex: smaller Grav Deck).  So the theoretical per-node cost is something like 570 million.  In practice though, a tiny station like that would only be used in the booniest of boonies, and most fringe worlds would still likely have at least 1 Helios station or better.

(Technically there's freight/passenger Terminal Stations that aid with processing, but they're not posted here for brevity's sake.  Plus they're mostly cargo, so not that expensive.)

5.True.  I can't bring myself to actually do it, though.  This is one of those situations where I view the C-Bill cost more as a guideline than a hard rule precisely because of the FASAnomic silliness.

6.L1 points do seem potentially useful especially for facilitating passenger travel (making business travel and vacationing far more practical).  The difficulty in using them without breaking the Jumpship seemed rather daunting to me (and I'm also not familiar with AToW's material aside from being more RPG oriented), so I didn't do anything with them.

7.Depends on the network's topology; linear & ring based like much of BT's fiction on command circuits aren't the only options.  The Whittle Network is much closer to an ever-evolving Mesh topology.

As a simple example exclusively for demonstration purposes, imagine a capital world A, a core world B, and smaller worlds C, D, & E, arranged in such a way that AB, BC, BD, & DE are all valid segments for Jumpship travel.  Capital world A and core world B generate tons of economic activity, and need a lot of regular Dropship visits.  You might then service the AB route with a single Starlifter (well, at least 2 for back-and-forth travel, but this is a simple example), with a 10-Collar capacity.  The rural worlds C, D & E have much smaller populations and don't need nearly as many dropships to meet their import/export needs.  As such, route BC might use just 1 Whittle w/ two collars, and routes BD and BE may be a bit bigger and require 2 Whittles each.  Further, one of the worlds (say periphery world C) grows further such that they demand more Dropship traffic from core world B, it's generally a simple matter of adding another Whittle Jumpship (+ Dropships) to route BC, and perhaps also route AB if the main source of exports is the capital.

Lagrange

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #3 on: 17 November 2022, 08:37:51 »
This effectively means a Jumpship connected via cable may freely and automatically succeed a quick-charge in 150 hours;
Yep, agreed.

In addition to cutting time and by a bit more than a day while saving fuel compared to ship-based fast charging(~17% overall charge speed increase), there's potentially even more time saved compared to Solar Sail charging, but this depends upon the "weakest" star present in the network. 
Yeah, We're definitely dependent on either fuel or batteries for reliable charging, and it's only batteries that can go to shorter times. 

There's a somewhat-tough call here.  Do you pay for a station at every stop in a circuit or not? You don't benefit from faster recharge times until _every_ stop has a station.  Stations with grav decks are certainly cheaper than jumpships so it's not outrageous.  On the other hand, the natural maximum length of a ring seems to be 76 (150 hour recharge time) or 90 (175 hour recharge time) which makes it tempting to have many stops at potentially marginal worlds. 

So the theoretical per-node cost is something like 570 million. 
The 560M I mentioned included Jump point <-> planetary orbit.  Getting to the surface requires smallcraft associated with the colony---probably a minimum of 2 with a cost of ~13M more, so call it 573M for transport to the surface.
In practice though, a tiny station like that would only be used in the booniest of boonies, and most fringe worlds would still likely have at least 1 Helios station or better.
Roughly speaking, I think you are gearing towards a baseline of much greater quantities of traffic than I was thinking of.
This is one of those situations where I view the C-Bill cost more as a guideline than a hard rule precisely because of the FASAnomic silliness.
My rationalization here is that the x5 for stations is due to construction without a yard.
You might then service the AB route with a single Starlifter (well, at least 2 for back-and-forth travel, but this is a simple example), with a 10-Collar capacity.  The rural worlds C, D & E have much smaller populations and don't need nearly as many dropships to meet their import/export needs.  As such, route BC might use just 1 Whittle w/ two collars, and routes BD and BE may be a bit bigger and require 2 Whittles each. 
I could say that you have an AB ring made of starlifters, a BC ring of operating every other cycle, and BD and BE rings operating with Whittles.  A key question though is: how do you schedule your multiple rings so that they sync well?  For example is possible for someone at E to transit to A in a few hours? And vice versa?  Restated, what is the order of jumps across all 5 systems?

Retry

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #4 on: 18 November 2022, 18:23:13 »
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Yeah, We're definitely dependent on either fuel or batteries for reliable charging, and it's only batteries that can go to shorter times.

There's a somewhat-tough call here.  Do you pay for a station at every stop in a circuit or not? You don't benefit from faster recharge times until _every_ stop has a station.  Stations with grav decks are certainly cheaper than jumpships so it's not outrageous.  On the other hand, the natural maximum length of a ring seems to be 76 (150 hour recharge time) or 90 (175 hour recharge time) which makes it tempting to have many stops at potentially marginal worlds.

A station's not too much in the grand scheme of things, and it's a worthwhile investment over the long term if you're expecting traffic into the far future.  The Helios-type station is a bit more expensive because it's taking on the responsibilities Jumpships usually do for themselves (and 1500-meter gravdecks aren't cheap), but otherwise stations with multiple recharge stations can be had for the price of less than a Dropship, acting as a sort of force multiplier for interstellar shipping.

Depending on their location, they could potentially be used to more respond and deploy military warship assets in the case of an attack (or when attacking), shaving valuable days off your response time.  Could be worth over-building recharge battery capacity on your stations in that case, but at that point you're not building them for economic reasons.

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Roughly speaking, I think you are gearing towards a baseline of much greater quantities of traffic than I was thinking of.

Probably.  Assume that one of the unnamed 20-energy battery stations are not sufficient to accomodate all Jumpship traffic a core worlds.

IMO canon lowballs the Inner Sphere's Jumpship count, but even when adjusting for that the Crossroad Republic has as developed interstellar infrastructure as Inner Sphere factions, and in some cases even more (Per capita that is).  A well functioning Whittle Network (and interstellar communications network, but that's a different topic) is vital for its economy to such an extent that if the political party in charge screws it up via mismanagement they're guaranteed to be obliterated in the next election cycle.

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I could say that you have an AB ring made of starlifters, a BC ring of operating every other cycle, and BD and BE rings operating with Whittles.  A key question though is: how do you schedule your multiple rings so that they sync well?  For example is possible for someone at E to transit to A in a few hours? And vice versa?  Restated, what is the order of jumps across all 5 systems?

I may have to make another thread on Jumpship route design in general to get all my thoughts in; I don't think a few simple examples is enough to adequately cover it.

Lagrange

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #5 on: 19 November 2022, 17:10:29 »
A station's not too much in the grand scheme of things, and it's a worthwhile investment over the long term if you're expecting traffic into the far future.  The Helios-type station is a bit more expensive because it's taking on the responsibilities Jumpships usually do for themselves (and 1500-meter gravdecks aren't cheap), but otherwise stations with multiple recharge stations can be had for the price of less than a Dropship, acting as a sort of force multiplier for interstellar shipping.

Depending on their location, they could potentially be used to more respond and deploy military warship assets in the case of an attack (or when attacking), shaving valuable days off your response time.  Could be worth over-building recharge battery capacity on your stations in that case, but at that point you're not building them for economic reasons.
I couldn't convince myself it was worthwhile given:
(a) No dropship is required for Planet<->Jump point in the approach I'm looking at.
(b) Batteries only reduce recharge time by ~15%.
(c) Fuel based charging is much more capable of cheaply handling surges.

Energy Storage batteries do seem to make sense if you are using LF batteries on your jump units though.  In that case, you need half as many stations (since you can double jump) and you can charge both jumps in parallel between fuel & battery.   LF batteries don't make that much sense for commercial shipping, but they may be desirable for a military circuit.

I may have to make another thread on Jumpship route design in general to get all my thoughts in; I don't think a few simple examples is enough to adequately cover it.
Sounds interesting.

Retry

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #6 on: 20 November 2022, 16:35:11 »
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I couldn't convince myself it was worthwhile given:
(a) No dropship is required for Planet<->Jump point in the approach I'm looking at.
(b) Batteries only reduce recharge time by ~15%.
(c) Fuel based charging is much more capable of cheaply handling surges.
Could you explain (A) a bit further?  Recharge stations don't appear to be directly relevant to this point; One could substitute the Planet<->Jump Point with Sloths or another sort of transit station regardless whether or not there's a Jump station, if you're willing to accept around ~3x increase in cargo travel time.  Good enough for bulk, nonperishable raw material like high-end steels (Endo-Steel especially) if you can predict your needs well in advance, but for perishables (foodstuff mainly) and for other cases where latency is important (human transportation though perhaps that falls under "perishables", cattle transportation, most capital goods & other machinery), a faster transit method is more appropriate.  The overall effects of shipping costs also become somewhat moot if the objects being shipped are much higher in value than the cost of shipping, in which case a faster method might be picked anyways despite not being strictly necessary.



(B): That extra ~day does mean you can get by with either ~17% increased throughput out of your existing Jumpship fleet, or you can utilize a smaller number of Jumpships to get a similar throughput (though that factor is really only applicable when you have something like 7 or so Jumpships working concurrently per node.)  Gets more value out of both the Jumpships and their carried Dropships (which are weirdly expensive), though the longer circuits could actually see Jumpships outnumbering Dropships.  They're especially useful if you're limited on Jumpship construction capacity (but not necessarily Space Station capacity) and you cannot solve the issue by simply throwing more C-Bills at the problem.

The Helios is not an especially (directly) cost-effective variant due to the need of offloading defensive capabilities and all the amenities for Jumpship and other crew, and the larger ones do better in that regard; the main reason for its high cost are soft factors like massive Gravdecks.  I won't get too deep into the weeds here, but if you're using more traditional Jumpship designs to build a network (either canonical or similar designs like your Voyager), an Olympus with their repair bays stripped can yield 8 batteries for about 500 million C-Bills, as long as you don't require the extra amenities.  If you don't need a ton of Jumpships, the cheapest practical bare-bones station (exists solely to recharge your K-F drive, with no other services whatsoever) I can come up with has 1 battery and limited amenities (though no worse than a Jumpship) for under 100 million C-Bills; probably not enough to justify on single Voyager-based nodes, just enough to break even for canonical Invader-based nodes, and a no-brainer enhance canonical Monolith-based nodes or this AU's Starlifter-based nodes.  (This is all based in terms of maximum movable Dropships/(Month*Cost), but I haven't accounted for operational cost e.g. crew pay, fusion recharge consumable cost vs battery recharge, etc)



Could you also elaborate (C) as well?  My understanding is Jumpship fuel can be a rather nontrivial operational cost when used for quick-charging.  I want to say 20,000 C-Bills/ton for a Jumpship's hydrogen fuel (considering by Strat Ops engine-based quick charging consumes an extra 10 burn-days per jump (Jumpships varying from .977 tons/burn day to 3.952 depending on size), but I don't have a copy of Campaign Ops to check.

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Energy Storage batteries do seem to make sense if you are using LF batteries on your jump units though.  In that case, you need half as many stations (since you can double jump) and you can charge both jumps in parallel between fuel & battery.   LF batteries don't make that much sense for commercial shipping, but they may be desirable for a military circuit.

The batteries suck for commercial freight since the batteries multiply the K-F infrastructure costs (+ Drop Collars) by a factor of 3.  There's a handful of use cases where they can make sense even on civillian vessels, cases where drop collar capacity is not necessary.

For instance, a large-sized Jumpship can be constructed as a sort bargain-bin Yardship (think Newgrange or Faslane but 10x cheaper and specialized for Dropships & small Jumpships, <=100,000 tons); in that case adding a Li-F battery effectively doubles their coverage range (4x the coverage area) for a relatively meager cost increase (~210 million -> ~245 million)

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Sounds interesting.

Unfortunately, it won't be ready for a while, as it's a side project and I have plenty of high priority items to get done.

Lagrange

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #7 on: 20 November 2022, 22:31:17 »
Could you explain (A) a bit further?  Recharge stations don't appear to be directly relevant to this point; One could substitute the Planet<->Jump Point with Sloths or another sort of transit station regardless whether or not there's a Jump station, if you're willing to accept around ~3x increase in cargo travel time.  Good enough for bulk, nonperishable raw material like high-end steels (Endo-Steel especially) if you can predict your needs well in advance, but for perishables (foodstuff mainly) and for other cases where latency is important (human transportation though perhaps that falls under "perishables", cattle transportation, most capital goods & other machinery), a faster transit method is more appropriate. 
The Planet<->L1 Jump Point transport time is <12 hours with a Sloth, which is far superior for perishables over Zenith/Nadir based transit.  Colonies which only have a Zenith/Nadir visit do not economically merit a second Voyager jumpship, so they have a to live with ~1 month transits.  That's better than no visit at all, but you clearly aren't shipping milk.  A 1 month transits to/from colonies is not bad compared to oceanic transits centuries ago. 
The overall effects of shipping costs also become somewhat moot if the objects being shipped are much higher in value than the cost of shipping, in which case a faster method might be picked anyways despite not being strictly necessary.
Right---for specialized light cargo like people, you could of course use a long range small craft.

(B): That extra ~day does mean you can get by with either ~17% increased throughput out of your existing Jumpship fleet, or you can utilize a smaller number of Jumpships to get a similar throughput (though that factor is really only applicable when you have something like 7 or so Jumpships working concurrently per node.)  Gets more value out of both the Jumpships and their carried Dropships (which are weirdly expensive), though the longer circuits could actually see Jumpships outnumbering Dropships. 
The KPI seems to be ton-jumps per day-Cbill.  The outcome when you optimize this isn't obvious since days decrease but Cbills increase.   In particular, the minimal unit written out is Whittle+Helios/4 ~= 623M while the alternative is just the Voyager at 518M.  So, for a 20% increase in price you are getting a 17% increase in ton-jumps.  The decrease in latency is a real additional quantitative value, but the alternative of covering more systems with more jumpships a real additional qualitative value.

They're especially useful if you're limited on Jumpship construction capacity (but not necessarily Space Station capacity) and you cannot solve the issue by simply throwing more C-Bills at the problem.
I can see that.

If you don't need a ton of Jumpships, the cheapest practical bare-bones station (exists solely to recharge your K-F drive, with no other services whatsoever) I can come up with has 1 battery and limited amenities (though no worse than a Jumpship) for under 100 million C-Bills; probably not enough to justify on single Voyager-based nodes, just enough to break even for canonical Invader-based nodes, and a no-brainer enhance canonical Monolith-based nodes or this AU's Starlifter-based nodes.  (This is all based in terms of maximum movable Dropships/(Month*Cost), but I haven't accounted for operational cost e.g. crew pay, fusion recharge consumable cost vs battery recharge, etc)
Batteries do make more sense the more docking collars they are helping you move.  The difficulty with this is that you need to create circuits with much larger jumpships = much more expensive = not for a maximum span.

A 100M alternative to the Helios makes Whittle+alt a little bit better in ton-jumps/day-Cbill than just a pure Voyager network.

Could you also elaborate (C) as well?  My understanding is Jumpship fuel can be a rather nontrivial operational cost when used for quick-charging.  I want to say 20,000 C-Bills/ton for a Jumpship's hydrogen fuel (considering by Strat Ops engine-based quick charging consumes an extra 10 burn-days per jump (Jumpships varying from .977 tons/burn day to 3.952 depending on size), but I don't have a copy of Campaign Ops to check.
CO says that Hydrogen is 15K Cbills/ton, and then notes that it's free if you have access to a modest source of water.  One of the virtues of using L1 jump points is that you typically have access to water.

The H2 tons is much higher---those rates are for _station_keeping_.  Thus, you're looking about 10-40 tons/burn-day, or 100-400tons for a charge.  (...which, when you do the math is absurdly many orders of magnitude more power than what you can collect with a solar sail at a jump point...).  Thus, the 4000 tons in a Sloth or Way station can charge 40 (!) Voyagers, and there is capacious cargo for additional liquid fuel storage.

There's an additional useful element here---stations can be much smaller on a fuel basis.  By keeping everything at 100K tons or less, a Voyager yardship (much rarer) is universal.

For instance, a large-sized Jumpship can be constructed as a sort bargain-bin Yardship (think Newgrange or Faslane but 10x cheaper and specialized for Dropships & small Jumpships, <=100,000 tons); in that case adding a Li-F battery effectively doubles their coverage range (4x the coverage area) for a relatively meager cost increase (~210 million -> ~245 million)
That's an interesting observation...  It would be nice to know how fast you can put something into and out of a yard.  My present guess (there is no official guidance) is half the speed of dropshuttle bays.  That's mostly linear in vessel size and works out as ~18 hours for a 100K ton vessel.

Lagrange

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #8 on: 21 November 2022, 22:57:07 »
I think you are plausibly right about recharge stations, with a twist: the grav deck is on the jumpship.   A jumpship with some extra life support and a grav deck should be able to support the crew on a small recharge station like this:

Code: [Select]
Arc Recharge Station
Mass: 107,000 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Advanced)
Introduced: 3025
Mass: 107,000
Battle Value: 1,064
Tech Rating/Availability: D/X-E-D-D
Cost: 28,220,000 C-bills

Fuel: 500 tons (5,000)
Safe Thrust: 0
Maximum Thrust: 0
Sail Integrity: N/A
Heat Sinks: 95
Structural Integrity: 1

Armor
    Nose: 10
    Fore Sides: 10/10
    Aft Sides: 10/10
    Aft: 10

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Small Craft (1)         1 Door   
    Bay 2:  Cargo (2165.0 tons)     1 Door   

Ammunition:
None

Dropship Capacity: 1
Grav Decks: 0
Escape Pods: 6
Life Boats: 6
Crew:  12 officers, 55 enlisted/non-rated, 5 bay personnel

Notes: Equipped with
    1 Energy Storage Battery
75 tons of standard aerospace armor.

Weapons:     Capital Attack Values (Standard)
Arc (Heat) Heat  SRV     MRV     LRV      ERV    Class       
None

So, for an additional 28M cost, the jumpships can operate every 6.5 days instead of 7.5, if a control roll of 4 to avoid frying the KF-drive is doable.  Is a control roll of 4 reasonable? The relevant Time of War skill doesn't seem to be mentioned.  If it's "computers", then you need the equivalent of 'veteran' skill level.  That sounds plausibly achievable, although it's odd that this is more difficult than control roll 3 for L1 jump point calculations.  ("Computers" is a complex-advanced skill while navigation/KF is a simple-basic skill.)

Separately, I believe the calculation above about the cost of a yardship is off--it's much more expensive.

CVB

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #9 on: 21 November 2022, 23:23:45 »
Are there any rules about how long it takes to recharge one or multiple Energy Storage Batteries?
"Wars result when one side either misjudges its chances or wishes to commit suicide; and not even Masada began as a suicide attempt. In general, both warring parties expect to win. In the event, they are wrong more than half the time."
- David Drake

I'm willing to suspend my disbelief, but I'm not willing to hang it by the neck until it's dead, dead, dead!

idea weenie

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #10 on: 22 November 2022, 00:26:05 »
Are there any rules about how long it takes to recharge one or multiple Energy Storage Batteries?

From the Tactical Operations: Advanced Units & Equipment, page 118 (corrected 6th printing):
Quote from: TO:AUE p188
Energy Storage Batteries include massive power plants that can recharge their storage systems about as fast as they can be safely discharged into a
JumpShip. An Energy Storage Battery can thus prepare a new charge for a JumpShip in 100 hours (which can occur concurrently while recharging a K-F
drive). Full rules on constructing space stations are covered in Strategic Operations.

So each one is self-charging, takes 100 hours to charge, and uses no noticeable amount of fuel.  I am assuming they can charge in parallel so a fresh-assembled station with 10 Energy Storage Batteries can have all 10 recharged in 100 hours.  (Instead of the first battery being charged after 100 hours, then another 100 hours for the second battery, then another 100 hours for the third battery, all the way to 1000 hours needed to charge all ten of the ESBs.)
« Last Edit: 22 November 2022, 00:50:58 by idea weenie »

CVB

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #11 on: 22 November 2022, 05:22:23 »
Thanks. Additional question: Am I correct to assume that one fully loaded 100,000t ESB charges exactly one Jumpship drive, regardless if it's a Scout or a Leviathan?

"Wars result when one side either misjudges its chances or wishes to commit suicide; and not even Masada began as a suicide attempt. In general, both warring parties expect to win. In the event, they are wrong more than half the time."
- David Drake

I'm willing to suspend my disbelief, but I'm not willing to hang it by the neck until it's dead, dead, dead!

Lagrange

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #12 on: 22 November 2022, 07:03:43 »
Thanks. Additional question: Am I correct to assume that one fully loaded 100,000t ESB charges exactly one Jumpship drive, regardless if it's a Scout or a Leviathan?
Yes.

Retry

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #13 on: 22 November 2022, 20:55:18 »
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The Planet<->L1 Jump Point transport time is <12 hours with a Sloth, which is far superior for perishables over Zenith/Nadir based transit.  Colonies which only have a Zenith/Nadir visit do not economically merit a second Voyager jumpship, so they have a to live with ~1 month transits.  That's better than no visit at all, but you clearly aren't shipping milk.  A 1 month transits to/from colonies is not bad compared to oceanic transits centuries ago.
Ah, yeah, if you're going straight to the Lagrange point then that's the least latency and that extra transit time from the Sloth basically doesn't matter.  Reliable L1 jumping would practically revolutionize logistics.  I guess I'm just not entirely convinced it works like the way described in the Sloth article?  So i've thus far been conservative in my assumptions w.r.t. Lagrange Jumping.

My understanding of the jumping process from Strat Ops is this:
1. Recharge the K-F Drive via desired method
2. Calculate Jump Point Coordinate Stuff: Control Roll, Pass/Fail but with Margin-of-success Benefits
*logically would be done concurrently during recharge, though the copy I got says "Once a jump-capable unit is at a jump point and has a fully charged drive..." which seems... not right?
3. Program K-F Drive: Control Roll, Just affects how long the jump preparation takes.
4. Jump Initializes: 10 minute process
5. Jump Arrival: Another Control Roll, with MoS from Step 2 applied as a bonus.

My understanding from your Sloth article is that the intent is to brute force safety in Step 2 by calculating the coordinates multiple times (Rolling the Dice) with multiple Navigators and then picking the result with the best MoS so that the probability of jump failure is minimized in Step 5.  If my understanding is wrong here please skip the rest of this section and correct me.

I have a few questions about the practicality of that for a few reasons:

1. In Strat Ops on Jumping, it includes the following note: "However, routes plotted to or from other non-standard and transient points are only valid for 20 minutes."  I think L1 Lagrange points are Non-standard jump points by my understanding.  If that is the case, toiling away for 40 hrs would yield mostly solutions that are outdated for the L1 point by the time the Jumpship is fully charged.

2. Are the crew able to "pick and choose" their control rolls?  That is, do they know the relative "goodness" of each estimate they make beyond "Successful Calculation" / "Unsuccessful Calculation" results, and always able to exactly know that Ed's current calculation attempt is excellent and will guarantee a safe transit while Bob's current calculation is a bit iffy and has about a 1-in-12 chance of resulting in some KF drive damage, even though both have "successfully" calculated jump coordinates?  If they do know this, why wouldn't/couldn't they wait until they get lucky with the absolute best calculation possible (12's for maximum MoS) so they can guarantee a safe jump in these circumstances?

3. Can multiple Navigators calculate in parallel on the same ship?  The Sloth article appears to assume it can.  For nonstandard jumps, the Navigator must use a Jumpship's navigation computer.  If that single nav computer can run in parallel for multiple Navigators doing the same calculations for the same nonstandard jump point, is there a reason why that 1 Navigator couldn't also run the calculations in parallel as well for the same net result of multiple sets of calculations to choose from?

Having basically just Strat Ops to work off of, I have no idea if other sources shed more light on this.  Maybe it's a solved problem?  But the only discussions I've seen on the practicality of Zenith/Nadir->L1 Point transit are yours in the logistics threads and... well, now this thread, I guess.

Would be really nice if someone like Cray could shine some light on this...

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CO says that Hydrogen is 15K Cbills/ton, and then notes that it's free if you have access to a modest source of water.  One of the virtues of using L1 jump points is that you typically have access to water.

The H2 tons is much higher---those rates are for _station_keeping_.  Thus, you're looking about 10-40 tons/burn-day, or 100-400tons for a charge.  (...which, when you do the math is absurdly many orders of magnitude more power than what you can collect with a solar sail at a jump point...).  Thus, the 4000 tons in a Sloth or Way station can charge 40 (!) Voyagers, and there is capacious cargo for additional liquid fuel storage.

There's an additional useful element here---stations can be much smaller on a fuel basis.  By keeping everything at 100K tons or less, a Voyager yardship (much rarer) is universal.

Ah, so I wasn't too far off with my guess (this time).  So you're planning to utilize the essentially free water to split water to make hydrogen.

If I were still running campaigns, I'd probably allow a discount, but not a fully free Hydrogen, under the reasoning that though fuel costs are free, capital costs and operational costs needed for the machinery (and qualified personnel accompaniment) to split, compress, chill & safely handle hydrogen (Hydrogen Embrittlement is a bugger) from standard liquid water containers to the fuel tanks, plus technicians to run all the equipment safely (Loose hydrogen on a Jumpship may be something of a health hazard.)  In this theory, self-supplied DIY Hydrogen may be cheaper than industry-supplied but won't be free due to other non-avioidable costs.

An alternative theory is that, if capital & operation costs (in addition to free fuel) are also negligible, then the overall cost of hydrogen are also negligible for any location with a water supply.  It follows that 15,000 figure is not a natural price and must be held up that high by some sort of monopoly or cartel. The corollary that the most effective way to make money with privately-owned Dropships is to not bother with the transport business at all and act as a semi-mobile Hydrogen Synthesis Plant by a body of water Planetside- that is, until the Hydrogen market inevitably collapses... but by then it's probably a great time to re-enter the transportation business now that one of your major source of costs has just plummeted.

Anyways, yeah, if your hydrogen fuel cost is effectively free, then one of the major benefits of recharge stations is moot and the the overall value proposition of Recharge Stations is significantly reduced.  I'm still opting for the conservative approach (Theory 1) that Jumpship Fuel is a nontrivial cost of doing business, in this case 15k C-Bills/ton.

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I think you are plausibly right about recharge stations, with a twist: the grav deck is on the jumpship.   A jumpship with some extra life support and a grav deck should be able to support the crew on a small recharge station like this:

Now that's a novel approach.  Very interesting, and looks useful for your low capital cost Circuits; though I think the Whittle Networks will still use full-featured recharge stations with 1500m Gravity Decks.

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So, for an additional 28M cost, the jumpships can operate every 6.5 days instead of 7.5, if a control roll of 4 to avoid frying the KF-drive is doable.  Is a control roll of 4 reasonable? The relevant Time of War skill doesn't seem to be mentioned.

Direct connection via cable gives a -2 bonus to the roll (Strat Ops pg88); That 4 to-succeed becomes a 2 and automatically succeeds.

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Separately, I believe the calculation above about the cost of a yardship is off--it's much more expensive.

Yeah... I Erred by an order of magnitude (my test cases were actually 2.1 billion and 2.45 billion, respectively).

Still, that's far more accessible than a Newgrange.  Plus, if you're optimizing for common Dropships in the Inner Sphere rather than these custom networks with 100,000 ton Dropships, a 20kton-capacity Yardship can be had for under 750 million C-Bills (I swear this time it's right)

Let's see if I can get a few Yardships posted Thursday on a new thread; they're only tangentially related to the Whittle Network.

Lagrange

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Re: Whittle Network (assorted Civilian designs) [AU: Vela Corridor]
« Reply #14 on: 22 November 2022, 23:07:47 »
Good questions here, some of which I expect have no standard answers.

1. In Strat Ops on Jumping, it includes the following note: "However, routes plotted to or from other non-standard and transient points are only valid for 20 minutes."  I think L1 Lagrange points are Non-standard jump points by my understanding.  If that is the case, toiling away for 40 hrs would yield mostly solutions that are outdated for the L1 point by the time the Jumpship is fully charged.
My understanding is that you choose a time/space location for the jump point, and it remains valid for the 20 minutes after that time set point. 

I can't make sense of rules which work as suggested above---the calculations are much longer than 20 minutes and of variable duration, so if it's literally only valid for 20 minutes after completing the calculation then you start the calculation not even knowing which calculation you are doing.   That's extremely odd.

On the other hand, simulating a system forward by a week and targeting a jump a week from now seems quite reasonable.  As far as we know, the inputs to the calculation are all easily described in advance.  My understanding is that there are also books here where calculations are done in advance.  I'm not sure that's canonical, but again it's what makes sense.

2. Are the crew able to "pick and choose" their control rolls? 
Well, let's suppose they are not.  The default control roll in the game seems to be '5'.  If you are doing a zenith->zenith transition, then a successful jump calculation occurs:
6/21 w/ MoS 0
5/21 w/ MoS 1
4/21 w/ MoS 2
6/21 w/ MoS 3+

So the odds of KF-drive damage for a Zenith->Zenith jump are 6/21*6/36+5/21*3/36+4/21*1/36 ~= 7.3%.  KF-drive dramage makes jumps significantly more difficult and really requires a yard to fix well. Can a network survive that kinds of failure rate?  Probably not.

If your control roll is 4, this becomes 5/26 MoS 0, 6/26 MoS 1, 15/26 MoS 2+ implying ~= 1.7% chance of KF-drive damage, or about 1 in 58 jumps.  Think of it as once/year.  That's still very rough to deal with---it mean every jumpship spends time in a yard every year.

If your control roll is 3, this becomes 4/30 MoS 0, 26/30 MoS 1+ implying ~= .37% chance of KF-drive damage, or about 1 in 270 jumps.  Think of it as once every 5 years.  That is semi-functional in a high tech society with a reasonable number of yards spread across systems.  Without that (as per the later succession wars) KF-drives would have a half-life of ~5 years.

Overall, I think you need a control roll of 2 or maybe 3 to be able to do reasonably reliable zenith->zenith transportation.  That's a pretty significant requirement and a substantial deviation from the standard control rolls. 

That is, do they know the relative "goodness" of each estimate they make beyond "Successful Calculation" / "Unsuccessful Calculation" results, and always able to exactly know that Ed's current calculation attempt is excellent and will guarantee a safe transit while Bob's current calculation is a bit iffy and has about a 1-in-12 chance of resulting in some KF drive damage, even though both have "successfully" calculated jump coordinates? 
The mechanism needed to resolve the outcome is generally not the precise mechanics by which things would happen in character.  In particular, it's easy to imagine a process of refining calculations to improve MoS.
If they do know this, why wouldn't/couldn't they wait until they get lucky with the absolute best calculation possible (12's for maximum MoS) so they can guarantee a safe jump in these circumstances?
They could, but succeeding in a fixed amount of time is essential for a functioning jump circuit.
3. Can multiple Navigators calculate in parallel on the same ship?  The Sloth article appears to assume it can.  For nonstandard jumps, the Navigator must use a Jumpship's navigation computer.  If that single nav computer can run in parallel for multiple Navigators doing the same calculations for the same nonstandard jump point, is there a reason why that 1 Navigator couldn't also run the calculations in parallel as well for the same net result of multiple sets of calculations to choose from?
In lieu of any specifics, my best guess is that 'need to use the computer' is a statement about computer-aided calculation.  Computers are _much_ better at routine high precision calculations than people, so assisting one person or a half dozen really doesn't matter w.r.t. the computer's overall load.

In terms of parallel calculations, this just seems imponderable, as we don't have any specifics about how the calculation is done.
Direct connection via cable gives a -2 bonus to the roll (Strat Ops pg88); That 4 to-succeed becomes a 2 and automatically succeeds.
Exactly.  The default of 5 won't do.
Still, that's far more accessible than a Newgrange.  Plus, if you're optimizing for common Dropships in the Inner Sphere rather than these custom networks with 100,000 ton Dropships, a 20kton-capacity Yardship can be had for under 750 million C-Bills (I swear this time it's right)
Yeah, jumpship based yardships are great.  You can take them up to just over 500K tons in capacity.

 

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