BattleTech - The Board Game of Armored Combat

BattleTech Game Systems => General BattleTech Discussion => Topic started by: rogueranger1993 on 12 February 2019, 18:31:58

Title: Satellites Discussion
Post by: rogueranger1993 on 12 February 2019, 18:31:58
Now that I'm finally running a BattleTech RPG game after nearly four years of having literally NO ONE to play ANY games with, I'm finding myself wanting to explore some aspects of the BTU more deeply than I have before, and it's really quite a thrilling experience for me - especially since I've already learned quite a lot from my question about DropShip life.  :)

In any case, this is the first of three threads I'm starting, to discuss satellites, recharging stations, and high ports/trade stations. This post will focus on discussing satellites.

So, the main question is, how common are satellites in the Inner Sphere? I'm aware that there are a multitude of roles they can fulfill - the Taurians use microwave satellites to power cities, for instance - but I'm less focused on those unique power/spy satellites. What I'm really interested in are details about communications, mapping, GPS, and early warning satellites.

It seems to me that three types of satellite - Communications, GPS, and Mapping - would tend to be rather common on the majority of planets, even during the Succession Wars. Satellites are generally easy to launch even for low-tech worlds - either deploy them with a simple one-use rocket, or deploy them with a handy DropShip. In addition, having satellites to extend communications range and to provide GPS navigation service is EXTREMELY useful for any military force, especially invading ones. As such, it seems sensible (to me, at least), that invading forces during the early Succession Wars would probably avoid destroying local satellite networks - while the enemy can use them to aid their defense of the planet, the benefits they provide to your forces seems to more than outweigh such a concern. The only case I can reasonably see satellites being destroyed in, is when a world is being totally wasted so that the enemy can't claim even a Pyrrhic victory (and can I just mention how much this makes the Great Houses seem like a bunch of toddlers throwing temper tantrums because they didn't get what they wanted? Geez...)

The fourth type of satellite I wanted to learn a bit about, the early warning type, is something I see as being relatively extinct during the Succession Wars, though it might see some resurgence during later periods. Basically, when I use the term 'early warning' I'm thinking of a satellite that you stick in space to detect and identify JumpShip arrivals/departures and incoming DropShips. I can see these satellites being destroyed, or at least disabled, by hostile forces prior to or during a military operation, especially during the early first two Succession Wars. These satellites provide no benefit to the invading force, and in fact they can hinder them even, so there's no value in keeping them around - might as well blast 'em into tiny chunks of space trash, right?

So, any thoughts, comments, ideas? I'm very excited to hear what people have to say on this topic!  ;D
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 12 February 2019, 18:35:41
A couple of books address them in a combat environment- specifically one ground force hoarded their ASF just to use them to knock down any satellites sent up by the other side.  Having just re-read Wolves on the Border, Jaime reveals he cheated by having stealthy spy sats to track the Ryuken so its been in the fiction almost from the start.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: AlphaMirage on 12 February 2019, 18:40:35
There are special rules for Satellite assistance as well (I believe in TacOps) using all of the types you mentioned.  It's something that I really wish was dealt with more in game. As is most anything of greater strategic depth than the death match at close range that this game almost entirely consists of.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 12 February 2019, 18:42:18
There are special rules for Satellite assistance as well (I believe in TacOps) using all of the types you mentioned.  It's something that I really wish was dealt with more in game. As is most anything of greater strategic depth than the death match at close range that this game almost entirely consists of.

Its not all the game has to be, you just have to find the folks who want to play more than the pick up Last Mech Standing action.  I prefer the wargame approach myself, and thus why I love Campaign Ops.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: AlphaMirage on 12 February 2019, 18:45:36
I still miss the old Mercs rules, those really captured the Battletech feel in a way that Is think SO and CO fail to do (easily)
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: rogueranger1993 on 12 February 2019, 19:31:21
I really prefer the wargame approach as well, which is why Campaign Ops was the first BattleTech book in a long while  that I picked up in print - I really want to expand my collection of books in print, but alas, it's going to be a long process due to my poor wallet not having near enough money for my discretionary spending desires...  :'(

I fully intend to utilize the more advanced rules covering satellites in combat, and that's part of why I want to try and learn about satellite networks in the Inner Sphere - I want to gain at least some kind of general understanding of what kinds of satellites might already be available in a system, and how commonly you might encounter pre-existing satellite networks, in particular the communications, GPS/mapping, and weather satellites that could reasonably be assumed to be relatively common for most worlds.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: AdmiralObvious on 12 February 2019, 22:15:49
I mean, there are two ways to handle satellites.

On the ground, where a unit with communication equipment uses it to gain a tactical advantage.

Or, there's the aerospace part of it where fighters and other craft might consider taking them out for those specific tactical advantages, whether they be on the ground or not.

Then there's the intended purpose of the satellite, which as mentioned before can be anything from a boring old weather satellite, to a key component of a planetary communications network (military or not). The last one is pertinent to the actual people on the ground.

It really depends on how you want to look at them.

I think there's even "personal habitats" which qualify as satellites, but those are usually from the star leauge and probably don't exist since the succession wars as anything other than abandoned derilicts.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: R.Tempest on 13 February 2019, 00:37:10
 Remember how communication technology has changed since the game setting was first devised. Comm satellites were owned by governments or large corporations. The average civilian access was for telephones & television. GPS systems were unknown. Radar satellites gave you weather images. So for civilians loss of satellites gives you mid-20th century levels of technology and that's not too bad. Many worlds in the game exist at this level of technology use.
 But look at today. People rely on GPS. I know of young people who have trouble with reading a paper map. Radar sats are still pretty much the same for civilians (more detail perhaps). You can now have live video chats with people almost anywhere on the planet thanks to communication satellites. And be aware of what your friends and family are doing all of the time.
 In game, think of the effects on the civilian population when your invading troops knock out all the communication satellites. Look what happens today if even part of World Wide Web goes down.
 On a related note (sort of) think about Hunter/Killer satellites. Launch them in orbit on your way in and let them take care of the planets satellites.
 
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 13 February 2019, 03:46:24
I don't think satellites is going to depend on the planet. Some planets, those highly populated or strategically important, will have more satellites than others. Some like Trellwall with a single city probably won't have any. Others like Avalon will have lots. I also don't think they're as widely used for military uses as they could be. If they were the Ryuken would have used their own against the Dragoons. Kurita also would have used them against the Rebels and Grey Death Legion on Verthandi and Marik/Comstar would have used them against the Grey Death on Helm.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: guardiandashi on 13 February 2019, 04:16:30
as a long time battletech person here is my view on satellites.

yes satellites should be pretty common, but in universe they are pretty rare.
The reason they are rare is because of tech loss issues, not that they are hard to deploy, but most planets basically got frustrated with having to replace them over and over so the sheeple gave up and just did without.
if you have a heavily industrialized, and well protected planet like New Avalon likely has extensive satellite networks.

now taking a step back, yes satellite networks should be almost everywhere but, officially they aren't because basic satellites are too easy to kill, an aerospace fighter could cruise around in orbit and blow all our satellites to scrap, likely in a couple hours or less.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Elmoth on 13 February 2019, 04:25:27
Trellwan has at least 2 cities, but yes, few satellites. however, they are aware of jumpships at the jump point from the get go, so land based detection systems must be capable.

I would not consider verthandi as a good example. In Verthandi the Kuritas are clearly an operetta enemy. They are so evil and so incompetent as to make them unworthy enemies. Eeach time they have an advantage they screw it for no apparent reason, just because. this happens in trellwan as well in the final battle and in the spaceport, but not as blatantly (well, in the spaceport is as blatant, but hey).

In Helm the Mariks use satellites and orbiting comms dropships to map the whole area and keep track of enemy movements. It is one of the things that Grayson uses to pinpoint the cache, the difference between a map that is 3 days (IIRC) old and a 300 year old map he has in a pendrive.


So I think satellites are used for intel gathering on a regular basis in most planets that are no donkey-powered when it comes to tech level.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 13 February 2019, 11:13:23
Except, as guardian said taking out all sats on the way in is SOP.  So your borders that get raided frequently will just stop putting them up- its a expenditure that will not pay for itself.  Instead they will go with buried landlines or re-trans stations if most the settlements are close together (Colony-ville topic), By Blood Betrayed has the national force mercs transmitting orders and then sending secret ones by buried land line to get the raiders off balance.

One other thing to consider is that you could have a re-trans site on a moon (or moons) which also gets your sensors out beyond the atmo though I would expect this from more developed worlds.  Its also more likely to be left intact since a raider/invader COULD capture it to gain the advantage.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: boilerman on 14 February 2019, 00:28:50
BattleTech satellites are very cheap. A comm sat with 1 ton of communications gear can be built for less than a ton of LRM missiles cost. Deployment is cheap, even a light aerospace fighter can haul up the small satellites, even if only one at a time.

I honestly believe just about any planet can afford a satellite network, even if they don't own any other aerospace assets. Buy in bulk, a few dozen at a time and hire a passing free trader DropShip passing through to dump a few in orbit as they leave the system.  Even if free trader DropShip only comes through the system once every couple years satellites can last decades in orbit no problem.

I think satellite networks will be very critical for the low population worlds, more so than high population planets. Ground based communications networks are expensive to construct. I think the best real world analog would be a microwave tower network - one tower every 20 miles or so. I can see the investment in a communications satellite network costing a fraction of ground based one when a a dozen or two sats can cover an entire planet.

I think the only communications network more cost effective than a satellite system for a low population world might be high altitude loitering aerostats or drones and I doubt even they would be.

Utility type for weather observation, GPS would be just as invaluable and relatively cheap.

Are satellites vulnerable? Of course, but when they are as cheap as the ammunition you use you can afford to stock pile them.


One planetary invasion scenario that goes through my mind:
1. invasion force targets enemy satellite network
2. invasion force dumps literally disposable mini satellites in orbit by the hundreds as they reach orbit
3. defending force deploys their own disposable mini satellite network

Can you imagine how difficult it would be to wipe a cloud mini cube sats in low orbit if they're only 1 cubic foot in size and cheap enough to dump in orbit by the hundreds?

Just my 2 cents worth.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: guardiandashi on 14 February 2019, 02:28:06
BattleTech satellites are very cheap. A comm sat with 1 ton of communications gear can be built for less than a ton of LRM missiles cost. Deployment is cheap, even a light aerospace fighter can haul up the small satellites, even if only one at a time.

I honestly believe just about any planet can afford a satellite network, even if they don't own any other aerospace assets. Buy in bulk, a few dozen at a time and hire a passing free trader DropShip passing through to dump a few in orbit as they leave the system.  Even if free trader DropShip only comes through the system once every couple years satellites can last decades in orbit no problem.

I think satellite networks will be very critical for the low population worlds, more so than high population planets. Ground based communications networks are expensive to construct. I think the best real world analog would be a microwave tower network - one tower every 20 miles or so. I can see the investment in a communications satellite network costing a fraction of ground based one when a a dozen or two sats can cover an entire planet.

I think the only communications network more cost effective than a satellite system for a low population world might be high altitude loitering aerostats or drones and I doubt even they would be.

Utility type for weather observation, GPS would be just as invaluable and relatively cheap.

Are satellites vulnerable? Of course, but when they are as cheap as the ammunition you use you can afford to stock pile them.


One planetary invasion scenario that goes through my mind:
1. invasion force targets enemy satellite network
2. invasion force dumps literally disposable mini satellites in orbit by the hundreds as they reach orbit
3. defending force deploys their own disposable mini satellite network

Can you imagine how difficult it would be to wipe a cloud mini cube sats in low orbit if they're only 1 cubic foot in size and cheap enough to dump in orbit by the hundreds?

Just my 2 cents worth.
you aren't wrong, I said that.  realistically they should be essentially everywhere, but according to canon they aren't as I said.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: AdmiralObvious on 14 February 2019, 02:46:41
I don't think tech slipped too far back to current era levels.

I'm not sure whether or not you'd have the current generation "microlites" that we're just starting to deploy. If you're deploying larger satellites, they'd probably be less common. If you're deploying tiny less than one ton satellites, then you're probably going to see them everywhere.

Based on how heavy comms equipment is however, I'm pretty sure satellites are pretty massive as a result of the loss of tech.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Kidd on 14 February 2019, 02:52:24
I subscribe to @boilerman's ideal

In the planetary struggle I envision aerospace forces of both sides constantly battling for recon information to support the ground ops and putting up and destroying mini-sats is part of that.

But I lean more towards a higher-tech treatment of BT yeah, so it may not suit the taste of Madmax purists...
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 14 February 2019, 04:31:38
Just looked and Trellwan has 3 principle settlements. I don't think they'd need com. satellites. In Price of Glory. Marik and Grayson use satellites against Laio in the beginning of the book. After that there's old satellite images, Boomerang Spotter Planes, presumption of satellites, and an infrared photo that looks like a satellite photo but could be from the Boomerang.  So use of satellites on Helm could go either way.  But I don't think they were used all the time. When used against Laio they had aerospace superiority. That allowed them to use satellites. Without that Laio would be shooting them down as fast as they're deployed.


Com Sats are going to be over a ton each. Destroying them can disrupt planetary communications. A land based system wouldn't be so easily destroyed. Some planets may not need a planetary network. Trellwan for example. Other more heavily populated planets would.

You would also want more than just Com. Sats. though. You want Cameras and Imagers to find the enemy. Cameras are relatively cheap but imagers get expensive and they would be targets for the enemy. They'd also deploy their own if they have aerospace superiority. Aerospace is also in short supply in many areas making deployment a problem for the planet. Sure you could hire a dropship to do it but that's expensive and it could be a while before a friendly dropship arrives. Launching them on Rockets is also out since we don't have Rockets.

Even for incoming forces deploying satellites will be a problem. You either have to sacrifice a Bay to deploy the satellite or spend a lot of time to unload the satellite as cargo. You're also sacrificing cargo that could be used for ammo and parts. Why not just bring a spotter plane, or better yet, put a camera pod on a fighter?



Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Kidd on 14 February 2019, 06:52:47

Why not just bring a spotter plane, or better yet, put a camera pod on a fighter?
Satellites give real time data and don't eat up precious ASF assets
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: klarg1 on 14 February 2019, 11:11:35
My assumption has always been that the orbital space over many worlds in the Inner Sphere are badly choked with assorted debris. This would be especially true for border worlds.

Routine destruction of local satellites, not to mention debris from space battles would make navigation of any planet's orbital space amazingly hazardous for anything not armored like a military aerospace fighter or dropship. It wouldn't surprise me if attackers launched cheap, lightly armored satellites to get a picture of the ground fully expecting them to be torn to shreds by whirling scrap after just a few hours or a few days.

It would certainly make maintaining a stable civilian network challenging over the long term, unless new satellites were heavily armored to compensate. Of course, armored satellites generate even more debris when they eventually succumb. Honestly, the Inner Sphere is probably one giant poster child for Kessler Syndrome.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 14 February 2019, 11:22:09
Even for incoming forces deploying satellites will be a problem. You either have to sacrifice a Bay to deploy the satellite or spend a lot of time to unload the satellite as cargo. You're also sacrificing cargo that could be used for ammo and parts. Why not just bring a spotter plane, or better yet, put a camera pod on a fighter?

Well, some books do have a force keeping a DS in orbit to act as a recon and C&C platform.

I do not buy the micro-sats since BT has not even edged to the shrinking of materials.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: boilerman on 14 February 2019, 23:23:07
I do not buy the micro-sats since BT has not even edged to the shrinking of materials.
Well how about aluminum foil then?

In the 1960s the USA experimented with tiny copper needles in orbit to act as reflectors for radio communications. I heard about this one years ago. Link below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_West_Ford (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_West_Ford)

Not quite Window but close enough.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 15 February 2019, 00:03:17
Satellites give real time data and don't eat up precious ASF assets


Satellites are targets waitimy to be hit. That forces defenders to use precious  ASF to defend them. You're also not using a bay that could go to ASF or turning you dropship into a target while it unloads cargo.


Well, some books do have a force keeping a DS in orbit to act as a recon and C&C platform.

I do not buy the micro-sats since BT has not even edged to the shrinking of materials.

Some books, yes but not all. Satellite use does happen. I just don't think it happens on every planet to the extent it does now.

I don't believe in the micro satellite either. Just the weight of thevcom equipment precludes them.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: boilerman on 15 February 2019, 00:48:40
If they exist in BT micro sats are going to be very basic IMO; nothing more than repeater stations doing wide angle rebroadcast.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Kidd on 15 February 2019, 02:59:05
Satellites are targets waitimy to be hit. That forces defenders to use precious  ASF to defend them. You're also not using a bay that could go to ASF or turning you dropship into a target while it unloads cargo.
Satellites are more expendable than ASF. A lone ASF on a recon op is also asking to be bounced and so needs escorting as well. Better in my mind to send up a sat, and then wait to attack what the enemy sends up to attack the sat.

Quote
Some books, yes but not all. Satellite use does happen. I just don't think it happens on every planet to the extent it does now.
Not in 3025 no.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 15 February 2019, 11:29:14

Satellites are targets waitimy to be hit. That forces defenders to use precious  ASF to defend them. You're also not using a bay that could go to ASF or turning you dropship into a target while it unloads cargo.


Some books, yes but not all. Satellite use does happen. I just don't think it happens on every planet to the extent it does now.

I don't believe in the micro satellite either. Just the weight of thevcom equipment precludes them.

The Sat is cargo, ASF launches for BARCAP during insertion and the crew transfers preps and launches the Sat . . . or its loaded as external cargo on a fighter in place of bombs.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Kovax on 15 February 2019, 11:55:42
I vaguely recall that there was a mention of deploying a satellite in one of the BT video games, and you only had information for a few short minutes before it would inevitably be knocked down.  That basically confirms my own view that sending up satellites and knocking the enemy's down is an ongoing race, and standard procedure.  You send them up and EXPECT to lose them only minutes later when either an ASF or ground-based laser system converts them to space dust or orbital debris.

Inbound on a raid or assault, you routinely take out every satellite you can find.  It's inevitably going to be used by the enemy's military otherwise, and is easily replaced.  If you've got the advantage in ASF capability, you deploy a few of your own, but STILL expect to lose most/all to ground-based fire in a fairly short span of time.  Anything that's seen in modern/futuristic warfare is as good as dead, it's just a question of how long it takes to get the weapons or fired projectiles to where they need to be, and it's even more difficult to hide something in orbit.  Whoever wins on the ground then puts up a few more to restore the communications networks, surveillance, and mapping services.

Unlike modern communications satellites, where the staggering cost of launching something into orbit makes the price of the satellite itself seem absolutely trivial, you can simply release them from ASFs or Dropships during routine operations.  The actual costs of the communications and surveillance equipment are the biggest expenses, and those are fairly cheap in the 31st Century.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 15 February 2019, 14:38:54
Satellites are more expendable than ASF. A lone ASF on a recon op is also asking to be bounced and so needs escorting as well. Better in my mind to send up a sat, and then wait to attack what the enemy sends up to attack the sat.

Not in 3025 no.

Any lone ASF is asking to be bounced, unless one has air superiority. Then there wouldn't be a problem using them but we don't see it.

I don't think it happens on every planet in any era. Some planets just wouldn't need them. Others would get tired of pirates destroying or stealing them and stop putting them up.


The Sat is cargo, ASF launches for BARCAP during insertion and the crew transfers preps and launches the Sat . . . or its loaded as external cargo on a fighter in place of bombs.


Which takes time and exposes the dropship to attack and fighters can't legally carry external cargo. Even if allowed it a com sat would be too heavy.

I vaguely recall that there was a mention of deploying a satellite in one of the BT video games, and you only had information for a few short minutes before it would inevitably be knocked down.  That basically confirms my own view that sending up satellites and knocking the enemy's down is an ongoing race, and standard procedure.  You send them up and EXPECT to lose them only minutes later when either an ASF or ground-based laser system converts them to space dust or orbital debris.

Inbound on a raid or assault, you routinely take out every satellite you can find.  It's inevitably going to be used by the enemy's military otherwise, and is easily replaced.  If you've got the advantage in ASF capability, you deploy a few of your own, but STILL expect to lose most/all to ground-based fire in a fairly short span of time.  Anything that's seen in modern/futuristic warfare is as good as dead, it's just a question of how long it takes to get the weapons or fired projectiles to where they need to be, and it's even more difficult to hide something in orbit.  Whoever wins on the ground then puts up a few more to restore the communications networks, surveillance, and mapping services.

Unlike modern communications satellites, where the staggering cost of launching something into orbit makes the price of the satellite itself seem absolutely trivial, you can simply release them from ASFs or Dropships during routine operations.  The actual costs of the communications and surveillance equipment are the biggest expenses, and those are fairly cheap in the 31st Century.

We don't have any means of launching satellites other than kicking them out of an aerospace craft which are supposed to be in short supply. That seriously limits how quickly satellites can be replaced.

If one doesn't want one's satellite to simply be a target one arms it. That's extra cost, weight, and deployment time.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 15 February 2019, 14:51:06

A small craft can easily seed a simple communication net, sats are cheap and SC are quite common.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 15 February 2019, 15:09:46
Which takes time and exposes the dropship to attack and fighters can't legally carry external cargo. Even if allowed it a com sat would be too heavy.

The BARCAP is already escorting the dropship in, so that bay is clear.  It takes a few minutes at most (rules in TO?  SO?) to take something from cargo and load it into a ASF cubicle.  Its done on the way in, and if you are worried about your DS doing some orbital maneuvering- like adjusting the vector to change prospective DZ- then you have other problems.  Cost-benefit . . . if the orbital defenses are bad enough you are not able to loiter, then should you really be sending the troop transports in yet?

ASF can carry bombs and rockets externally, and based on some novel fluff I would swear a TAG pod.  I think they can also carry sensor dispensers?  They are not taking them through atmo if they are going to ferry it into the proper orbit.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: AdmiralObvious on 15 February 2019, 16:18:30
The BARCAP is already escorting the dropship in, so that bay is clear.  It takes a few minutes at most (rules in TO?  SO?) to take something from cargo and load it into a ASF cubicle.  Its done on the way in, and if you are worried about your DS doing some orbital maneuvering- like adjusting the vector to change prospective DZ- then you have other problems.  Cost-benefit . . . if the orbital defenses are bad enough you are not able to loiter, then should you really be sending the troop transports in yet?

ASF can carry bombs and rockets externally, and based on some novel fluff I would swear a TAG pod.  I think they can also carry sensor dispensers?  They are not taking them through atmo if they are going to ferry it into the proper orbit.
I'm fairly sure ASFs and CFs can mount TAG pods if they have a external hardpoint.

I think if you extrapolate the rules a lot, you can probably carry an unmanned unit on an external hardpoint too if you hook it up right. Granted this has to be extremely light.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Daryk on 15 February 2019, 18:43:35
It would only take one hurricane to hit that a population wasn't prepared for to convince a planetary government of any size to come up with the pittance required for a weather satellite.  Boilerman has it right that satellites are ridiculously cheap, even in the "Mad Max" part of the 31st century.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: SteelRaven on 15 February 2019, 23:57:37
Mechs like the Atlas have satellite communication in the fluff text, even a episode of the old cartoon talked about time delay due to satellite relay. Thinks it fair to say that satellites are common enough in a age of interstellar travel.   
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 16 February 2019, 05:00:54
A small craft can easily seed a simple communication net, sats are cheap and SC are quite common.

Sure they can but they're not that common. Actually according to TechManual most of Small Craft's components are as common as or less common that ASF so they're not quite common. They're actually less common.


The BARCAP is already escorting the dropship in, so that bay is clear.  It takes a few minutes at most (rules in TO?  SO?) to take something from cargo and load it into a ASF cubicle.  Its done on the way in, and if you are worried about your DS doing some orbital maneuvering- like adjusting the vector to change prospective DZ- then you have other problems.  Cost-benefit . . . if the orbital defenses are bad enough you are not able to loiter, then should you really be sending the troop transports in yet?

ASF can carry bombs and rockets externally, and based on some novel fluff I would swear a TAG pod.  I think they can also carry sensor dispensers?  They are not taking them through atmo if they are going to ferry it into the proper orbit.

Strategic Operations pages 41-44. The base modifier for moving the cargo is vehicle Mass/60 per minuet. Then you have to ready the unit. Time starts at 15 minuets. It can get down to 4 minuets if you have 2 dedicated teams of techs for the bay. If you don't have aerospace superiority that's a problem. The Grey Death lost one of their fighters getting to Verthandi. It'd have been worse if they had to deal with satellite as well. Plus why keep your troops in orbit so reinforcements can arrive? Get them in and get them out.

TAG can be carried externally. Not Sensor Dispensers though and I don't think they work in space. Although it'd make sense if they could be carried and deployed. There's actually a lot that is carried on hardpoints that isn't available in BT. And ASF wouldn't have to ferry them into space to use Recon Cameras. They're used at Low Altitude. Imagers though can be used higher up but they can't be carried externally.



It would only take one hurricane to hit that a population wasn't prepared for to convince a planetary government of any size to come up with the pittance required for a weather satellite.  Boilerman has it right that satellites are ridiculously cheap, even in the "Mad Max" part of the 31st century.

Making them is cheap. Getting them into orbit is what costs.  And why spend all that money when a good doplar radar unit would work?

Mechs like the Atlas have satellite communication in the fluff text, even a episode of the old cartoon talked about time delay due to satellite relay. Thinks it fair to say that satellites are common enough in a age of interstellar travel.   

Just because the Atlas has a satellite uplink doesn't make satellites common. Again some planets are going to have lots of satellites others not so many if at all. Some planets just don't have the population to warrant satellites.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: HMS_Swiftsure on 16 February 2019, 05:51:47
Comm sats like the D40 and Sneaksat are so stupidly cheap and easy to deliver into orbit via small craft that it'd be weird not to have well-developed communication arrays around planets.  Even in time of war, the Sneaksat seems like it'd be relatively survivable.

Surveillance sats, on the other hand...  From what little we know from TR:VA, they're much larger, probably much more expensive, and probably much easier targets.  Worse, getting them into orbit is probably a much more complex affair as they seem too large to lift up with a small craft or fighter.  Weather sats are geosynchronous in nature, and are a bit too far out to be highly useful for military purpose, so I could see those surviving.  But the big 30+ ton low orbit spy sats?  I could see those constellations falling out of vogue as a standard.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 16 February 2019, 05:57:44
Sure they can but they're not that common. Actually according to TechManual most of Small Craft's components are as common as or less common that ASF so they're not quite common. They're actually less common.
You are reading that table wrong, just look in the engine section and then you see that SC/DS engines are equal or more common then ASFs.

Take into account that all jumpships have small craft and all the worlds on the IS map get some visitations by jumpships, also civilian satellites can last for decades if in a natural orbit. This all mean that the needed workforce to put any civilian satellites in orbit is available. And any military forces will need their own Small Craft anyway.   
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: R.Tempest on 16 February 2019, 16:08:18
 Would it be more economical to release a bunch of short term jamming satellites? Have them blanket the planet with electronic noise for a few days while you conduct your raid, then they burn out as you're leaving.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 17 February 2019, 07:56:26
You are reading that table wrong, just look in the engine section and then you see that SC/DS engines are equal or more common then ASFs.

Take into account that all jumpships have small craft and all the worlds on the IS map get some visitations by jumpships, also civilian satellites can last for decades if in a natural orbit. This all mean that the needed workforce to put any civilian satellites in orbit is available. And any military forces will need their own Small Craft anyway.

I said that they were as common or less than. So I read it right.

Where does it say that all jumpships come with small craft? I have never, ever read that. Some planets also have to wait a while between visits from jumpships. It doesn't mean that the planets have small craft of their own. All satellites last in orbit only until something comes along to destroy them. And military forces need ASF and Warships too but we know that doesn't happen. Why insist that something as common as rare aerospace fighters are so common as to be found everywhere? Not every planet has ASF. Why should they have SC? And if SC are on every JS, an already rare unit is being thinned out even more.


Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 17 February 2019, 09:13:50
I said that they were as common or less than. So I read it right.
Wrong, the table shows that SC are as common or more common then ASF.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Daryk on 17 February 2019, 09:31:40
For the sake of clarity, we're talking about the table on page 283 of Tech Manual, right?

In that table, the middle code in the availability column is for the Succession Wars.  For both Aerospace Fighters and Small Craft, the hardest thing to come by in that era is the engine, which is "E" for both.  Per the key on page 287, that translates to "Very Rare".  By the clan invasion, Small Craft engines are down to "C" (Uncommon) while Aerospace Fighter engines are at "D" (Rare).
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 17 February 2019, 17:56:22
Thank you, Daryk.

It isn't until the Clan Invasion that SC become more common than ASF and they're still not common enough to be on every jumpship and every planet. Saying so is like saying there's enough dropships and jumpships for every merc and house unit.


Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 17 February 2019, 18:35:56
It isn't until the Clan Invasion that SC become more common than ASF and they're still not common enough to be on every jumpship and every planet.
If SC are as common as ASF, then there are enough to fill every SC bay on all JumpShips and have a lot remaining to divide among the various planets. 
Also as I have stated, it only requires one SC to do the work, and most planets don't get attacked regularly so even one visit every few decades will be enough.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 18 February 2019, 04:58:52
If that were true, there's enough ASF for every planet dropship and jumpship to have a minimum of a squadron of ASF to defend themselves with. Planets also wouldn't go months without seening a Jumpship. Every unit would have integral aerospace transport and Warship fleets would just be a jump away. Amaris would also be a saint for how he helped keep the Star League together which is still going strong 500+ years after its founding. ::)




Edit:
hate typing on phones!
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 18 February 2019, 12:49:26
[How many Small Craft are there?]

The table has confirmed that Small Craft are equally common (or depending on the era, more common) then ASFs. So one option for calculating the number of SC, is though ASF. The most the ratio between House ASF and 'Mechs is about 1 to 3 (as indicated by both common DS designs and TO&Es. Combine this with the estimation of about 55k mechs in service (around 3025) in the Inner Sphere:    http://skiltao.blogspot.com/2016/06/fifty-five-thousand.html

Then we would have about 18k worth of ASF in 3025. Most of these will be assigned to DropShips or as part of larger military formations. While an equal (or slightly more) quantity of Small Craft will be spread out over various jumpships (2000+), stations (?), and planets (2000+). We don't notice this quantity because a lot of Small Craft are in civilian hands, and thus we don't encounter them in our military stories.


[How many Small Craft are needed?]

The most common JumpShips (Merchant & Invader) have each 2 Small Craft bays, with both an economic and a safety incentive to fully use them. And considering these don't see combat often then we can assume that their SC bays are in use.

And frankly even 1k of Small Craft will be more then enough to maintain the satellite networks, hostile/important systems can have multiple SC, while other systems either have one, or share a SC that hitchhikes on a JS route.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 19 February 2019, 06:00:20
Jumpships aren't plentiful enough to be everywhere. Some planets only see jumpships on a certain schedule. Others rarely.  Also some planets are going to have more small craft than others. Capitols, military bases and factories are going to have far more small craft than an agricultural planet or some planet way out on the periphery. Some aren't going to have any at all.

Also we have planets that can be conquered by a lance of mechs. But why where they allowed to land if Small Craft could have been launched against them? Maybe they're not enough to shoot down a dropship but they can bomb the heck out of the mechs and grounded dropship. A single small craft can carry a whole lot of bombs. Yet it never happens. Planets continue to suffer attacks from pirates and raiders. Not only that but if not every planet has mechs to defend it, with there being 55k of them, how can there be small craft for everyone with only 18k?
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Kidd on 19 February 2019, 08:06:38
Jumpships aren't plentiful enough...
...
Also we have planets that can be conquered by a lance of mechs. But why where they allowed to land if Small Craft could have been launched against them? Maybe they're not enough to shoot down a dropship but they can bomb the heck out of the mechs and grounded dropship. A single small craft can carry a whole lot of bombs. Yet it never happens. Planets continue to suffer attacks from pirates and raiders. Not only that but if not every planet has mechs to defend it, with there being 55k of them, how can there be small craft for everyone with only 18k?
Jumpship counts have since been retconned, FYI.

The "1 lance raids a planet" scenario is also rare. Small craft don't bomb Mechs because it's extremely risky for the SC. Not every planet has Mechs to defend it because not every planet is militarily important, however Small Craft perform mainly non-military functions.

Which simply goes to show that the issues of rarity and commonality in BT are hard to define. However we can guess that all planets but the most backward backwoods must have at least some kind of space-going craft, and it could theoretically be used to make a recon flyby.

However, to do that risks pitting that SC against the raiders who obviously have spacecraft of some kind of their own, or else they wouldn't BE here. A world which doesn't have any ASFs and only a handful of SCs is highly unlikely to have pilots who would run such a suicidal mission. It's like asking the local cropduster to go spy on an invasion force.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: DOC_Agren on 19 February 2019, 18:35:58
It's like asking the local cropduster to go spy on an invasion force.
Hey I once with a friend designed and fluffed a "cropduster" support plan, that could with the right hardware be converted into a lowtech scout and ground attack plane.   They sold well to backwater planets who could use the dual role crafts. 

As long as the pirate in question have no more aerospace assets then Dropship, 1 even Sabre fighter can ruin a whole wings day
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Daryk on 19 February 2019, 18:40:44
In one campaign game I was in, the Capellans used local crop dusters to gas a city.  Fortunately, my character was aboard his Small Craft at the time.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 19 February 2019, 19:47:47
Jumpship counts have since been retconned, FYI.

The "1 lance raids a planet" scenario is also rare. Small craft don't bomb Mechs because it's extremely risky for the SC. Not every planet has Mechs to defend it because not every planet is militarily important, however Small Craft perform mainly non-military functions.

Which simply goes to show that the issues of rarity and commonality in BT are hard to define. However we can guess that all planets but the most backward backwoods must have at least some kind of space-going craft, and it could theoretically be used to make a recon flyby.

However, to do that risks pitting that SC against the raiders who obviously have spacecraft of some kind of their own, or else they wouldn't BE here. A world which doesn't have any ASFs and only a handful of SCs is highly unlikely to have pilots who would run such a suicidal mission. It's like asking the local cropduster to go spy on an invasion force.

That doesn't mean that there's one at every planet. If there were there wouldn't be any "lost" planets.

Yet it does happen. It's just as risky for ASF and CF, which should be in plentiful supply to keep all those pirates and raiders from landing. There also wouldn't be any need to hire Mercs to defend against pirates. The functions of the SC depend entirely upon their design. Some are made purely for military purposes but even civilian ones can be
re-purposed.

Why must all planets have rare aerospace craft but far more plentiful mechs are completely absent? And why can only space-going craft make a recon flight? You can do that in a balloon.

If the risks were so great, why would anyone attack a planet to begin with? And military pilots who refuse to fight cease to be pilots. They become prisoners. Besides, they'd be escorted by the squadron of ASFs on the planet. And if the SC never take off, why wouldn't the pirates steal them too? And aircraft far more vulnerable than crop dusters have been used to spy on invasion forces.


Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 19 February 2019, 20:20:56
Jumpships aren't plentiful enough to be everywhere. Some planets only see jumpships on a certain schedule. Others rarely.  Also some planets are going to have more small craft than others. Capitols, military bases and factories are going to have far more small craft than an agricultural planet or some planet way out on the periphery. Some aren't going to have any at all.
So what? Reread my posts, that has already been taken into account.

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Also we have planets that can be conquered by a lance of mechs. But why where they allowed to land if Small Craft could have been launched against them? Maybe they're not enough to shoot down a dropship but they can bomb the heck out of the mechs and grounded dropship. A single small craft can carry a whole lot of bombs. Yet it never happens.
Most SC are civilian in nature, they aren't designed to pick a fight. If you want to bomb, then use CF, those are a lot more effective in that role. The best that SC can do during an attack is to run away/hide, then wait until they have something critical to transport. Don't forget, Small Craft are a poor man's DropShip.

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Planets continue to suffer attacks from pirates and raiders. Not only that but if not every planet has mechs to defend it, with there being 55k of them, how can there be small craft for everyone with only 18k?
Militaries focus their forces more then civilians, and even a couple of thousand SC are enough to do the work, so with 18K there is an huge excess.

Just how many SC do you think are needed?
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Elmoth on 20 February 2019, 04:23:05
Going by the rough numbers of 2100 known colonized planets (as per the maps) and 63.000 mechs, we end up with 30 mechs per planet on average. The mechs are likely to be highly concentrated on the border systrems of each power, though.

A lance raid is dfairly common in the 3025. later on not so much, but in the 3025 a mech lance is more than capable to perform a lot of the usual raiding (and garisson) missions.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Kidd on 20 February 2019, 05:26:28
That doesn't mean that there's one at every planet. If there were there wouldn't be any "lost" planets.

Yet it does happen. It's just as risky for ASF and CF, which should be in plentiful supply to keep all those pirates and raiders from landing. There also wouldn't be any need to hire Mercs to defend against pirates. The functions of the SC depend entirely upon their design. Some are made purely for military purposes but even civilian ones can be
re-purposed.

Why must all planets have rare aerospace craft but far more plentiful mechs are completely absent? And why can only space-going craft make a recon flight? You can do that in a balloon.

If the risks were so great, why would anyone attack a planet to begin with? And military pilots who refuse to fight cease to be pilots. They become prisoners. Besides, they'd be escorted by the squadron of ASFs on the planet. And if the SC never take off, why wouldn't the pirates steal them too? And aircraft far more vulnerable than crop dusters have been used to spy on invasion forces.
"Lost" planets aren't lost because there are a lack of Jumpships. They're lost because they're not worth visiting by Jumpships.

Sure, a civilian SC can be repurposed, but for a defenceless SC it's far more risky than an ASF, not "just as". And there would still be plenty of need for mercs, because one SC or even ASF can't fight off a lance of Mechs let alone more.

You're not getting it, so I'll repeat what I said earlier: planets need at least one SC to do civilian extra-atmospheric stuff, maybe science experiments, maybe passenger interface with visiting ships, maybe maintaining the planetary positioning satellite net, what have you. Plus, it's established fact that many planets rely on conventional forces rather than Mechs, as the preference of Great Houses is to concentrate Mechs in viable numbers rather than spread them in penny packets across the whole universe. Same with ASFs. The lack of Mechs therefore doesn't preclude the lack of Small Craft.

I didn't say ONLY space-going craft can make a recon flight. You are welcome to do that in a balloon, and see what happens when you float that sloooooowly over the heads of the raiders.

What risks are you talking about? I was talking about the risk of an SC going up against raiders on a Dropship, occasionally with ASF support. You seem to think it's viable. I'm saying it's not. You work out the risks and tell me what you think.

You're right. Military pilots who cease to fight become prisoners. Was there a point you were trying to make with this information?

What squadron of ASFs?!?! There is NO squadron of ASFs in this scenario! I repeat, we're talking about a poor planet that can only afford to have a couple of SCs. Where in the world are you pulling a squadron of ASFs from?!

Try rereading the previous posts, think about what you're trying to propose, and write a coherent argument to support your proposition.

Mine is simple: Small Craft are space-going vessels more complex than Mechs and hence less numerous. However each planet has more need of at least one or two Small Craft than they are in need of Mechs. This is because Small Craft are highly useful for non-military civilian purposes whereas Mechs are not. Therefore each planet should have at least one or two Small Craft. However, it is unlikely that such civilian Small Craft are used in planetary conflicts, because they would contribute very little to the fight and deploying them risks an important piece of civilian equipment in what is essentially a suicide mission against inevitably superior destructive forces.

Hey I once with a friend designed and fluffed a "cropduster" support plan, that could with the right hardware be converted into a lowtech scout and ground attack plane.   They sold well to backwater planets who could use the dual role crafts. 

As long as the pirate in question have no more aerospace assets then Dropship, 1 even Sabre fighter can ruin a whole wings day
In which case the pilot(s) is probably trained as a dual-role operator, not just anyhoo local civilian pilot. I think the only time this could be useful is for a high-level recon flyby knowing the pirates don't have ASF of any kind. But how would one know that?

A whole "Mech lance or company" is what you're trying to say I think, not "wing". Well it's theoretically possible. But I wouldn't take the chance. Even a measly little Leopard has a big enough aft gun to punch out a Sabre.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 20 February 2019, 08:00:43
So what? Reread my posts, that has already been taken into account.

Most SC are civilian in nature, they aren't designed to pick a fight. If you want to bomb, then use CF, those are a lot more effective in that role. The best that SC can do during an attack is to run away/hide, then wait until they have something critical to transport. Don't forget, Small Craft are a poor man's DropShip.

Militaries focus their forces more then civilians, and even a couple of thousand SC are enough to do the work, so with 18K there is an huge excess.

Just how many SC do you think are needed?

Yet there is an insistence that every planet has small craft.

Giving a quick look I've found only 2 SC that are not armed and one of those is for use in space only. That leaves one purely civilian small craft, that happens to have 10 tons of armor. It could conduct high altitude bombing runs. And if CF were available why aren't we seeing them used against pirates and radiers? Because those planets don't have anything to defend themselves with. That's why they have to higher Mercs. And if SC are the poor man's dropship that makes them even more valuable to Pirates.

Small Craft would also be concentrated where they are needed. Military would be with the military, most of the civilians would be at major trade centers to move cargo and passengers. And again with an excessive 18k there should be enough ASF for every planet to defend themselves. Some don't even have CF. So why should there be SC for everyone?



Going by the rough numbers of 2100 known colonized planets (as per the maps) and 63.000 mechs, we end up with 30 mechs per planet on average. The mechs are likely to be highly concentrated on the border systrems of each power, though.

A lance raid is dfairly common in the 3025. later on not so much, but in the 3025 a mech lance is more than capable to perform a lot of the usual raiding (and garisson) missions.



3025 would be the Third Succession War  going from 2866-3025.



"Lost" planets aren't lost because there are a lack of Jumpships. They're lost because they're not worth visiting by Jumpships.

Sure, a civilian SC can be repurposed, but for a defenceless SC it's far more risky than an ASF, not "just as". And there would still be plenty of need for mercs, because one SC or even ASF can't fight off a lance of Mechs let alone more.

If the planet isn't worth visiting it's not going to have the tech to maintain small craft.
I've only found 1 purely civilian small craft capable of atmospheric operations and even it can carry plenty of bombs.

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You're not getting it, so I'll repeat what I said earlier: planets need at least one SC to do civilian extra-atmospheric stuff, maybe science experiments, maybe passenger interface with visiting ships, maybe maintaining the planetary positioning satellite net, what have you. Plus, it's established fact that many planets rely on conventional forces rather than Mechs, as the preference of Great Houses is to concentrate Mechs in viable numbers rather than spread them in penny packets across the whole universe. Same with ASFs. The lack of Mechs therefore doesn't preclude the lack of Small Craft.

No not every planet needs SC. Not every planet is going to be doing extra-atmospheric stuff or even want to. Not every planet can even maintain small craft.
Small Craft are also going to be concentrated where the cargo and passengers are, not where they aren't.  It's like saying every train station has a train. Not only is that not true but not every train station even has empty cars on the tracks. Some train stations aren't even open. Trains aren't going to be there. SC aren't going to be at a planet Jumpships rarely go to.

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I didn't say ONLY space-going craft can make a recon flight. You are welcome to do that in a balloon, and see what happens when you float that sloooooowly over the heads of the raiders. 
Balloons can get very high, out of range of ground fire. That's why fighters were sent up to shoot them down.

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What risks are you talking about? I was talking about the risk of an SC going up against raiders on a Dropship, occasionally with ASF support. You seem to think it's viable. I'm saying it's not. You work out the risks and tell me what you think.

You're right. Military pilots who cease to fight become prisoners. Was there a point you were trying to make with this information?

The same risks the raiders would be facing when attacking a planet. SC with ASF and/or CF support. And again if there's no ASF why should there be SC on the planet? Again, there are less SC during the Star League and Succession Wars than there are ASF. That means they won't be everyhwere.
And you said, the pilots wouldn't conduct suicide missions. There is no way to know for sure if the mission would be a suicide one or not.


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What squadron of ASFs?!?! There is NO squadron of ASFs in this scenario! I repeat, we're talking about a poor planet that can only afford to have a couple of SCs. Where in the world are you pulling a squadron of ASFs from?! 

There's more ASF than there are SC. And if the planet is so poor why would they invest in SC at all?  For the price of one civilian K-1 Shuttle a planet can buy four Protector CF or fifteen Guardian CFs.

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Try rereading the previous posts, think about what you're trying to propose, and write a coherent argument to support your proposition.

Mine is simple: Small Craft are space-going vessels more complex than Mechs and hence less numerous. However each planet has more need of at least one or two Small Craft than they are in need of Mechs. This is because Small Craft are highly useful for non-military civilian purposes whereas Mechs are not. Therefore each planet should have at least one or two Small Craft. However, it is unlikely that such civilian Small Craft are used in planetary conflicts, because they would contribute very little to the fight and deploying them risks an important piece of civilian equipment in what is essentially a suicide mission against inevitably superior destructive forces.

Again, not every planet is going to want or need SC much less be able to maintain them. And just having them sit around invites them to be stolen along with everything else of value. Presuming they weren't already confiscated by the military to maintain their own SC.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 20 February 2019, 13:42:05
Giving a quick look I've found only 2 SC that are not armed and one of those is for use in space only. That leaves one purely civilian small craft, that happens to have 10 tons of armor. It could conduct high altitude bombing runs.
And hit nothing with your bombing run, while being nearly helpless? The weapons on most SC aren't meant for Aerospace combat, in that area those are merely peashooters for anything but the lightest ASF, they are more for basic landing site security (such as against small support vehicles). Also the armor is mostly there for surviving landing/docking failures.
True combat SC are especially designed for it, anything less is merely a messy form of suicide.


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And if CF were available why aren't we seeing them used against pirates and radiers? Because those planets don't have anything to defend themselves with. That's why they have to higher Mercs.
It is quite normal for a planet to have CF, on what grounds do you claim otherwise? Also they hire mercenaries because you can't just rely on airpower for defense.


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And if SC are the poor man's dropship that makes them even more valuable to Pirates.
If a SC makes runs for it, then its fuel efficiency & life-support will allow it to outlast pirate ASF, also if there is some warning then the SC are also small enough to hide somewhere on the planet. And even if they are captured, then it will be difficult for any pirates to load the SC in their DS, nor very cost effective.


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Small Craft would also be concentrated where they are needed. Military would be with the military, most of the civilians would be at major trade centers to move cargo and passengers. And again with an excessive 18k there should be enough ASF for every planet to defend themselves. Some don't even have CF. So why should there be SC for everyone?
ASF are heavily concentrated into squadrons/wings which eats up the 18K fast. And the major trade centers would rely mostly on DropShips (Mules, etc), freeing up a lot of SC.


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Again, there are less SC during the Star League and Succession Wars than there are ASF.[snip]There's more ASF than there are SC.
Already disproven, it is closer to the reverse. This has been explained multiple times, but lets do it again:
Taking the tables of TM p283, with the lower letters show greater availability (A>B>C>D>E>F).
Standard Fusion (ASF)   C-E-D
Drive Unit (SC)  C-D-C
Engine (SC)   C-E-C

So we have equal availability during Star League and Succession Wars, and afterwards SC become significantly more available.

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Again, not every planet is going to want or need SC much less be able to maintain them.
If they need it most of the time then it isn't so expensive to get & maintain (poor man's DS after all), and if they have a very limited need then they can just hire the services of visiting JumpShips crews and their SC. No issues here.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 20 February 2019, 17:57:54
.
And hit nothing with your bombing run, while being nearly helpless? The weapons on most SC aren't meant for Aerospace combat, in that area those are merely peashooters for anything but the lightest ASF, they are more for basic landing site security (such as against small support vehicles). Also the armor is mostly there for surviving landing/docking failures.


Presuming that's the minimum they do a 100 SC can carry a lot of bombs. And while it might miss individual mecha a dropship is a much bigger target. I don't think wants to risk their ride home.

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True combat SC are especially designed for it, anything less is merely a messy form of suicide.

Even using craft designed for it could be suicide.

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It is quite normal for a planet to have CF, on what grounds do you claim otherwise? Also they hire mercenaries because you can't just rely on airpower for defense.   

Because they would pose a threat to incoming dropship. They can also do bad things to ground umits. Yet we rarely ever hear of it. And no one shouldn't rely solely on air power. They'd have ground units as well. However if every planet could defend themselves they wouldn't need mercs.


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If a SC makes runs for it, then its fuel efficiency & life-support will allow it to outlast pirate ASF, also if there is some warning then the SC are also small enough to hide somewhere on the planet. And even if they are captured, then it will be difficult for any pirates to load the SC in their DS, nor very cost effective.

Why would it be running before knowing who's incoming?  And once they know wouldn't it be too late to run? Even if they could run getting away depends not just on the endurance of the SC but also the thrust of the enemy ASF. And the pirates would just load it into the jumpsuits bay.

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ASF are heavily concentrated into squadrons/wings which eats up the 18K fast. And the major trade centers would rely mostly on DropShips (Mules, etc), freeing up a lot of SC.   

Yes dropship are going to do most of the work but there is still plenty to do without using a more expensive dropship.

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Already disproven, it is closer to the reverse. This has been explained multiple times, but lets do it again:
Taking the tables of TM p283, with the lower letters show greater availability (A>B>C>D>E>F).
Standard Fusion (ASF)   C-E-D
Drive Unit (SC)  C-D-C
Engine (SC)   C-E-C

So we have equal availability during Star League and Succession Wars, and afterwards SC become significantly more available.

There's also the Structure which for SC is D-D-D. For ASF its C-D-D. That means SC still remain as rare as ASF.


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If they need it most of the time then it isn't so expensive to get & maintain (poor man's DS after all), and if they have a very limited need then they can just hire the services of visiting JumpShips crews and their SC. No issues here. 


Sure. If they can find one. Availability isn't that grest. More likely the JS crew would deploy any satellite that they're delivering for the planet. Presuming the planet would want one
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 21 February 2019, 15:09:47
Presuming that's the minimum they do a 100 SC can carry a lot of bombs. And while it might miss individual mecha a dropship is a much bigger target. I don't think wants to risk their ride home.
You do realize I am not going to take 100 SC seriously, right?

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Even using craft designed for it could be suicide.
The norm would be to use squadrons of CF, they drop their bombs in a single run and then get out, only a few will die in that way, very cost effective. 

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Because they would pose a threat to incoming dropship. They can also do bad things to ground umits. Yet we rarely ever hear of it.
You rarely hear of them, but they do exist, they aren't just as effective as you might think, and more often then not the local CF are fighting the pirate ASF and thus keeping them out of the narrative.

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However if every planet could defend themselves they wouldn't need mercs.
Mercs don't provide CFs or large numbers of SC, so Mercs aren't relevant to the discussion.

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Why would it be running before knowing who's incoming?  And once they know wouldn't it be too late to run? Even if they could run getting away depends not just on the endurance of the SC but also the thrust of the enemy ASF.
Even a day of warning should be enough to either run away or hide, and it takes days for DropShips to get to a planet from the normal jumppoints.   

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And the pirates would just load it into the jumpsuits bay.
More then likely their own SC bays are already occupied.

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Yes dropship are going to do most of the work but there is still plenty to do without using a more expensive dropship.
Bigger volumes still favor the DS.

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Sure. If they can find one. Availability isn't that grest. More likely the JS crew would deploy any satellite that they're delivering for the planet. Presuming the planet would want one
And the JS crew would be using their own SC to do that.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Daryk on 21 February 2019, 18:56:33
I think the discussion might be dialed down by removing the absolute "every" or "none" from the conversation.  I think it's entirely reasonable to believe "most" worlds have access to "at least one" Small Craft that can be ordered (or hired) to put up a satellite or two now and then.  That's what the OP was originally about, at any rate.  Satellites.  Not Small Craft.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 21 February 2019, 18:59:27
I think the discussion might be dialed down by removing the absolute "every" or "none" from the conversation.  I think it's entirely reasonable to believe "most" worlds have access to "at least one" Small Craft that can be ordered (or hired) to put up a satellite or two now and then.  That's what the OP was originally about, at any rate.  Satellites.  Not Small Craft.
Yes, what about estimating required satellite tonnage for various worlds?
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Daryk on 21 February 2019, 19:26:34
At a minimum, I think all worlds would need (not necessarily have) one weather satellite.  That would be enough to prepare for the worst (hurricanes, or whatever they call them on other planets).  I think that means a minimum of a "Hi-Res" imager, which is 2.5 tons (IR Imagers are 5 tons).  Supporting infrastructure (and common sense) probably boosts that to a minimum of 5 tons (call it 10 if it's IR or better).

Even worlds with "mere" 20th century tech are also going to want some kind of communications satellite(s), and that would be another 5-10 tons each.  Figuring three of those as a minimum (plus the weather bird), I'd go for about 30 tons of satellites for any world that can afford them (and they're not that expensive).
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 22 February 2019, 01:07:34
I think the discussion might be dialed down by removing the absolute "every" or "none" from the conversation.  I think it's entirely reasonable to believe "most" worlds have access to "at least one" Small Craft that can be ordered (or hired) to put up a satellite or two now and then.  That's what the OP was originally about, at any rate.  Satellites.  Not Small Craft.


 :thumbsup:




At a minimum, I think all worlds would need (not necessarily have) one weather satellite.  That would be enough to prepare for the worst (hurricanes, or whatever they call them on other planets).  I think that means a minimum of a "Hi-Res" imager, which is 2.5 tons (IR Imagers are 5 tons).  Supporting infrastructure (and common sense) probably boosts that to a minimum of 5 tons (call it 10 if it's IR or better).

Even worlds with "mere" 20th century tech are also going to want some kind of communications satellite(s), and that would be another 5-10 tons each.  Figuring three of those as a minimum (plus the weather bird), I'd go for about 30 tons of satellites for any world that can afford them (and they're not that expensive).


I don't think satellites are a need for every world. Many could get by with weather radar and short wave radio and repeater towers. Most worlds, especially the more higher tech ones are going to want satellites. The more important planets are,going to have more sophisticated systems.  They'll have satellites with look down radar, all the imagets and tons of com. Equipment: Poorer worlds might have make do with a recon camera and a single ton of com Equipment.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Daryk on 22 February 2019, 05:34:03
True... worlds without weather don't need weather satellites.  And some of them might be small enough population-wise not to need over the horizon communications.

My concern for colonies only using ground based radar for weather tracking is that it pretty much reduces your hurricane preps to "evacuation", as you probably won't get more than a day or so of warning.  A satellite can give you a week or more to reinforce structures and prepare proper shelters.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 22 February 2019, 10:43:11
Humans got along without weather and communications satellites for a long time. No reason to think humans couldn't still do so. Weather forecasting existed before satellites and Short wave radio can be used for over the horizon communications.


Ideally sure, they'd have multiple satellites. A new colony who hasn't had time to study the planets weather patterns is especially going to want them. That doesn't mean that they'll be able to keep them though. Things happen and they may not be able to replace them. And after several hundred years, I would think some of the colonists would have enough knowledge of the planets weather patterns to be able to forecast the weather.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: SteelRaven on 22 February 2019, 12:54:12
I just get stuck on the idea that planets that rely on interstellar trade would have trouble with a satellite.

I know the Succession War era was backwards but the first satellite was launched in 1957 and I know Wolves on the Boarder at least talked about deploying Satellites via dropship. If a planet is not using using satellites, it's because the people with the means simply are not bothering to.     
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 22 February 2019, 14:13:38

If a planet is 'underdeveloped', then using a satellite network for communication might be the cheapest option for global communication. While developed worlds can rely on cabled networks for global communication.

So I think that the basic package would be:
26 Communication satellites (with side-benefit of GPS?)
1-4 Weather satellites

anything else?
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 22 February 2019, 14:36:31
If a planet is 'underdeveloped', then using a satellite network for communication might be the cheapest option for global communication. While developed worlds can rely on cabled networks for global communication.

So I think that the basic package would be:
26 Communication satellites (with side-benefit of GPS?)
1-4 Weather satellites

anything else?

One thing . . . you do not really need even artificial satellites for communication.

You can use HAM radio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio)) to communicate with other stations, and it was used to remote stations to link to larger nodes.  This was replaced with satellite uplinks b/c of bandwidth and digital fidelity IIRC but are still used b/c of the cost of satphones even today (IE http://www.swld.com.au/pages/aus_remote_area.htm (http://www.swld.com.au/pages/aus_remote_area.htm)). 

Older techniques that are still referenced in some sci-fi settings is bouncing a signal using a orbital body (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%E2%80%93Moon%E2%80%93Earth_communication).  From what I could find, this was used for direct links in the late 40s, 50s & 60s before satellite communication links.  Most BTU settled planets have moons of some sort, and I know there are theories about moons being required for habitable/lifebearing planets, so this should be a com practice available in most places.

I still contend that with DS and SC settled planets are not required to have something orbiting in LEO/GEO, they can build a signal/com relay & weather observatory on a moon which will have lower operating costs.  Less likely to be damaged in passing, cannot just be blasted out of the way by inbound DS, less maintenance costs (fuel, etc), and still easy access.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 22 February 2019, 14:50:23
One thing . . . you do not really need even artificial satellites for communication.

You can use HAM radio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio)) to communicate with other stations, and it was used to remote stations to link to larger nodes.  This was replaced with satellite uplinks b/c of bandwidth and digital fidelity IIRC but are still used b/c of the cost of satphones even today (IE http://www.swld.com.au/pages/aus_remote_area.htm (http://www.swld.com.au/pages/aus_remote_area.htm)). 

Older techniques that are still referenced in some sci-fi settings is bouncing a signal using a orbital body (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%E2%80%93Moon%E2%80%93Earth_communication).  From what I could find, this was used for direct links in the late 40s, 50s & 60s before satellite communication links.  Most BTU settled planets have moons of some sort, and I know there are theories about moons being required for habitable/lifebearing planets, so this should be a com practice available in most places.

I still contend that with DS and SC settled planets are not required to have something orbiting in LEO/GEO, they can build a signal/com relay & weather observatory on a moon which will have lower operating costs.  Less likely to be damaged in passing, cannot just be blasted out of the way by inbound DS, less maintenance costs (fuel, etc), and still easy access.
Don't have those methods have far lower bandwidth? Or large amount of lag?
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 22 February 2019, 15:07:48
The moon bounce was used for direct Pearl Harbor Naval Base to Pentagon links using teletype.  You do have to calculate red shift from the phase of the moon by what I was reading.  But that was something they could do easily at the time and should be easy even with 80s computers- heck maybe just need a hard copy table.

Bandwidth . . . well, afaik they do have computer uplinks and digital options with HAM radio, though it may sound like dial up internet.

But what are you using this communication for?  Emergency calls, news alerts or other vital messages that are not huge packets of data.  It also meets the KISS principle for tech loss and/or early primitive colony set up.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 22 February 2019, 15:19:57
But what are you using this communication for?  Emergency calls, news alerts or other vital messages that are not huge packets of data.  It also meets the KISS principle for tech loss and/or early primitive colony set up.
Early colonies will be doing a lot of surveying/prospecting, the ability to directly upload the results of tests, while also determining the exact locations, will make the process so much more efficient. 
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Iceweb on 22 February 2019, 20:58:59
My satellite knowledge is limited, especially where it comes to BTech, but I have to wonder if using a few stealth armored satellites is a worthwhile prospect. 

I get that standard operating procedure is to blast anything the defenders could use into debris on the way in, and it is really hard to hide in space.
 
I'm just thinking if I am governor of planet backwater if I might want to invest in a (single) stealthed weather sat that is hard for pirates to find and in case of a house raid it goes into silent hiding mode until we tell it to turn back on. 

Sure it is more expensive than a disposable satellite, but maybe it lives long enough to be a worthwhile investment instead. 

Anyone know if this has been tried or if it could even be cost effective?   
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: guardiandashi on 23 February 2019, 00:04:07
it might sound weird but IMO if you are going with a "stealth sat" it might make the most sense to go with a highly custom one, where you basically take an asteroid, and mount retractable solar panels, com arrays, and instrument clusters, with camouflaged hatches that cover those things over when it goes into "stealth mode" also having large battery/cap arrays, so that it can at least redeploy the solar panels even after a long idle period say several months to a year or so so that it can effectively reactivate itself without having someone have to go visit it, and give it a "jump start"
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Kidd on 23 February 2019, 02:03:12
The best stealth is not being there at all, until it's time to be there.

Whereupon I begin to wonder, what differentiates a satellite and a shuttle in station keeping orbit.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 23 February 2019, 08:54:39
I just get stuck on the idea that planets that rely on interstellar trade would have trouble with a satellite.

I know the Succession War era was backwards but the first satellite was launched in 1957 and I know Wolves on the Boarder at least talked about deploying Satellites via dropship. If a planet is not using using satellites, it's because the people with the means simply are not bothering to.     

Just because a JS comes along once a few months or less doesn't mean the planet has the technological capability to launch a satellite into orbit. Planets have all kinds of problems they can't fix without importing parts. If they can build and launch a satellite they can do things like fix the water purifier.

The satellites used by the Wolves belonged to the Wolves. Not the planet's.


The moon bounce was used for direct Pearl Harbor Naval Base to Pentagon links using teletype.  You do have to calculate red shift from the phase of the moon by what I was reading.  But that was something they could do easily at the time and should be easy even with 80s computers- heck maybe just need a hard copy table.

Bandwidth . . . well, afaik they do have computer uplinks and digital options with HAM radio, though it may sound like dial up internet.

But what are you using this communication for?  Emergency calls, news alerts or other vital messages that are not huge packets of data.  It also meets the KISS principle for tech loss and/or early primitive colony set up.


Having a station on the moon would keep things simple but I think a colony would be prepared to keep things even simpler. Just in case something on the station breaks. Conduction maintenance and repairs on planet would be simpler and cheaper than doing the same on the moon.



Early colonies will be doing a lot of surveying/prospecting, the ability to directly upload the results of tests, while also determining the exact locations, will make the process so much more efficient. 

If information could be sent with Morse Code I don't think HAM Radio would have a problem sending survey results.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Daryk on 23 February 2019, 08:58:00
It depends on how much data you're trying to move.  Morse has an abysmal data rate.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 23 February 2019, 09:23:50
True but information could still be sent that way.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 23 February 2019, 09:31:58
True but information could still be sent that way.
We could be talking about Terabytes per day or more.
And than we would also have multiple teams out in the field.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 23 February 2019, 09:50:31
Why would you need terebytes to send "we found w at x by y"? 

Multiple teams in the field could be handled by having their own reporting times and having more than one receiver at the base.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Daryk on 23 February 2019, 10:06:55
It depends on what "w" is... if you have sufficient data rate, you can centralize the processing power to analyze the data vice putting the supercomputer in the field.  If you're looking for surface deposits, voice or Morse might be sufficient.  But if you're doing seismic or hyperspectral surveys looking for where to dig, you might need a bit more processing.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 23 February 2019, 10:42:22
But if you're doing seismic or hyperspectral surveys looking for where to dig, you might need a bit more processing.
Indeed, I expect each team to record and test the: topography, soil, rocks, water, fauna, flora, etc.

Based upon the daily data upload an expert at the central colony/site could efficiently direct the teams for optimal results.
At the end they will know where to place industry, cities and agriculture (including which types).
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Brakiel on 23 February 2019, 14:51:27
Just because a JS comes along once a few months or less doesn't mean the planet has the technological capability to launch a satellite into orbit. Planets have all kinds of problems they can't fix without importing parts. If they can build and launch a satellite they can do things like fix the water purifier.

The satellites used by the Wolves belonged to the Wolves. Not the planet's.



Having a station on the moon would keep things simple but I think a colony would be prepared to keep things even simpler. Just in case something on the station breaks. Conduction maintenance and repairs on planet would be simpler and cheaper than doing the same on the moon.



If information could be sent with Morse Code I don't think HAM Radio would have a problem sending survey results.

Point of clarification: are we talking about colony worlds, likely in the Periphery, or the Inner Sphere? Because I can totally see some podunk planet out in the Periphery barely eking out a sustainable existence. I have a really hard time seeing how a typical planet in the Inner Sphere, with populations in the hundreds of millions (if not billions), either being incapable of doing local space launches or generating enough intersystem trade to find someone to haul a few tons of satellites up.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: rogueranger1993 on 23 February 2019, 22:53:32
Haven't had a chance to read all of the newest posts yet, but figured I'd finally reply after reading many of the earlier ones.

I tend to agree with Boilerman and Kidd myself - satellites are pretty cheap, and most worlds - not all, but most - will have one or more civilian small craft that can play the role of satellite delivery vehicle, so civilian sat networks (generally small/limited ones) will probably be pretty common in my headcanon. Granted, I'm a bit like Kidd - my headcanon sees the Inner Sphere being a bit more advanced than the pure mad max style originally fluffed, and more like 1980s to early 2000s IRL Earth technology-wise. Sure, there's definitely a scavenger culture going strong - especially so in the periphery - but I see the whole situation being a bit brighter technologically than it's often been presented to us as being.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 24 February 2019, 00:43:23
It depends on what "w" is... if you have sufficient data rate, you can centralize the processing power to analyze the data vice putting the supercomputer in the field.  If you're looking for surface deposits, voice or Morse might be sufficient.  But if you're doing seismic or hyperspectral surveys looking for where to dig, you might need a bit more processing.


Indeed, I expect each team to record and test the: topography, soil, rocks, water, fauna, flora, etc.

Based upon the daily data upload an expert at the central colony/site could efficiently direct the teams for optimal results.
At the end they will know where to place industry, cities and agriculture (including which types).


I still don't think you'd need that much. It shouldn't take much to say if anything was found and if it had any value. Just think about all the information that was transmitted before WW1. There's no reason survey reports couldn't be. For all we know they were. Newer systems just lead to faster transmission times. Maybe


Point of clarification: are we talking about colony worlds, likely in the Periphery, or the Inner Sphere? Because I can totally see some podunk planet out in the Periphery barely eking out a sustainable existence. I have a really hard time seeing how a typical planet in the Inner Sphere, with populations in the hundreds of millions (if not billions), either being incapable of doing local space launches or generating enough intersystem trade to find someone to haul a few tons of satellites up.

Well established world would probably have lots of satellites. If they could put them in orbit themselves or hird some one. Less established or advanced wont.

Not all planets in the IS or Periphery are equal. Both will have highly populated planets and Podunk planets.They won't necessarily be on the fringes either. The planet could have been skipped over or a new attempt to colonize the planet could be made.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: R.Tempest on 24 February 2019, 03:09:46
 It's sort of counter-intuitive, but you would want/need more satellites during the early days of a colony. Possibly less as the colony advances and you can switch to local relay towers for 'phone services.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Kidd on 24 February 2019, 03:22:05
Not really counter-intuitive. I too was going to comment that to have colonised the world, there would have to be an inter-stellar and intra-system aerospace capability.

But BT podunk worlds aren't podunk because they never had aerospace; they're podunk because of raids, bombardment, stripped resources, lostech, etc.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Daryk on 24 February 2019, 03:34:51
I still don't think you'd need that much. It shouldn't take much to say if anything was found and if it had any value. Just think about all the information that was transmitted before WW1. There's no reason survey reports couldn't be. For all we know they were. Newer systems just lead to faster transmission times. Maybe
*snip*
Reports prior to WWI wouldn't include seismic or hyperspectral data, but would still have use.  It would just be a different use than a more advanced survey.  It depends on what you're looking for.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 24 February 2019, 06:46:14
I still don't think you'd need that much. It shouldn't take much to say if anything was found and if it had any value. Just think about all the information that was transmitted before WW1. There's no reason survey reports couldn't be. For all we know they were. Newer systems just lead to faster transmission times. Maybe
Pre-WW1 surveys aren't effective or safe enough in this situation.

It would be expensive to have experts in every team, it would be cheaper to have the experts in a central location coordinating the work of the field teams. And with all the data that they should get (as I proposed) it would be possible for the experts to make predictions of the location/size/quality of any deposits. They would also be able to determine the optimum use for each type of area, allowing for more effective colony planning.

Also as it is an alien world there could be large number of possible hazards, anything from poisonous soil to crop/cattle eating lifeforms (fauna/flora/fungi). Not testing for this sets the colony up for failure, and if the hazards are found early then they can develop countermeasures.

Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: skiltao on 24 February 2019, 14:49:15
Pre-WW1 surveys aren't effective or safe enough in this situation.

It would be expensive to have experts in every team, it would be cheaper to have the experts in a central location coordinating the work of the field teams. And with all the data that they should get (as I proposed) it would be possible for the experts to make predictions of the location/size/quality of any deposits. They would also be able to determine the optimum use for each type of area, allowing for more effective colony planning.

Also as it is an alien world there could be large number of possible hazards, anything from poisonous soil to crop/cattle eating lifeforms (fauna/flora/fungi). Not testing for this sets the colony up for failure, and if the hazards are found early then they can develop countermeasures.

That all sounds like work for initial survey teams, though, prior to establishing the colony.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Kidd on 24 February 2019, 14:57:10
That all sounds like work for initial survey teams, though, prior to establishing the colony.
It's work that continues through ongoing terraforming, settlement, land management, etc even farming, to track herds and pest swarms and maybe even predators
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: skiltao on 24 February 2019, 15:11:29
Sure, but not to the same variety of details or to the same geographic extent as the initial surveys.

Edit: also, terraforming is a pre-colonization activity, you can't lump it in with those other things. /Edit
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Greatclub on 24 February 2019, 15:19:28
battletech is the future of the '80s. In the 80s, satellites were obscenely expensive things governments put in orbit, and were technological marvels hand-crafted by the finest minds - at least in public perception.

The sats in 'wolves on the border' were a sign of the affluence and sophistication of Wolves Dragoons, not an 'of course' measure. It's a reflection of how things have changed in the real world, like the decline of fascination with Japanese culture. 

IMHO, the GM is free to chose his reality, the late '10s 'sats everywhere' realism, or retro '80s 'sats nowhere.' Although some expectation management with the players might be in order.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 24 February 2019, 15:31:46
That all sounds like work for initial survey teams, though, prior to establishing the colony.
Time is money, so I expect some overlap between the surveying and initial colony.
This will require some good imagery data to select a site with the best odds, this can then be done first (with a large radius).
If safe they can place an initial colony while the teams work on the rest of the planet.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Kidd on 24 February 2019, 15:38:40
Sure, but not to the same variety of details or to the same geographic extent as the initial surveys.

Edit: also, terraforming is a pre-colonization activity, you can't lump it in with those other things. /Edit
I dunno about detail or volume

My proposal of BT terraforming (such as we know it, being a wholly hypothetical subject) is that it's an ongoing process and many BT planets especially the poorer ones are still working on expanding the footprint of human habitation on-planet. So I'd consider some land, weather and wildlife management activities to be part of terraforming - it's all to do with changing the face of nature in the process of improving quality of life for humans one way or another, right?
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 24 February 2019, 23:42:27
Reports prior to WWI wouldn't include seismic or hyperspectral data, but would still have use.  It would just be a different use than a more advanced survey.  It depends on what you're looking for.

I don't know what seismic info couldn't be included. And wasn't hyperspectral imagers introduced after the Clan Invasion?

Pre-WW1 surveys aren't effective or safe enough in this situation.

It would be expensive to have experts in every team, it would be cheaper to have the experts in a central location coordinating the work of the field teams. And with all the data that they should get (as I proposed) it would be possible for the experts to make predictions of the location/size/quality of any deposits. They would also be able to determine the optimum use for each type of area, allowing for more effective colony planning.

Also as it is an alien world there could be large number of possible hazards, anything from poisonous soil to crop/cattle eating lifeforms (fauna/flora/fungi). Not testing for this sets the colony up for failure, and if the hazards are found early then they can develop countermeasures.



I didn't say they would be pre WWI surveys, just that a lot of information was transmitted before WWI. There's no reason to believe the same amount or more, using computers, couldn't be transmitted using the same tech.

Itd be more expensive not sending out the experts as they're the one who ate supposed to know what to look for. Without experts in the field you'd get a lot of false positives. The teams would also be busy carrying samples for confirmation than confirming in the field.

And all that is true and not something your going to find out by satellite. You need boots on the ground, with experts to test of things are safe.


It makes sense that there could be satellites used setting up a colony. Keeping the up though depends on a lot of things. Not every planets is equal 2010s. Some aren't even equal to the 1980s. That means the usage of satellites is going to carry wildly

Not having rules for 20th century space tech also complicates things. Not that some planets are going to have that option but it would allow for planets to be space capable without having to resort to more advanced options.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Daryk on 25 February 2019, 06:16:32
Check out some of the surveys oil companies do these days with the big trucks purpose built for job.  John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation includes an interesting way to do it too (seed sensors then use dynamite).  Both methods would generate exabytes of data that would take centuries to transmit via Morse.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 25 February 2019, 12:00:49
Yeah, but for any survey its not a time sensitive job- meaning there are no people sitting on their butts waiting to get to work after word from the experts.  So the survey team takes it plotted path of 'interesting' sites collecting gigs of hard data and then swings back to the central admin site with the computers & few experts to crunch the data.  They are going to have to head back to the central site at some point to resupply . . . or say the supplies come to them, well then they can hand back the data.  Or they can loft a balloon with a high band-width receiver & transmitter to get over the horizon to base camp.

But this is still getting a few things mixed up . . . several different threads are occurring- one for colonization & initial set up, one for a planet's settled period, and one for Lostech era.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 25 February 2019, 12:52:31
Yeah, but for any survey its not a time sensitive job- meaning there are no people sitting on their butts waiting to get to work after word from the experts.  So the survey team takes it plotted path of 'interesting' sites collecting gigs of hard data and then swings back to the central admin site with the computers & few experts to crunch the data.  They are going to have to head back to the central site at some point to resupply . . . or say the supplies come to them, well then they can hand back the data.  Or they can loft a balloon with a high band-width receiver & transmitter to get over the horizon to base camp.
That is quite wasteful, not only do the experts have to wait for the data, but the field teams would have moved to a new site before the experts can give them feedback for either an altered course or extra points for sampling.
Also Base camp can be on the other side of the planet....
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 25 February 2019, 16:33:47
Really?  b/c while I am not part of oil field survey teams, I have used their work and had to deal with their disruptions.  And they spend months gathering the data that is not immediately used . . . and no matter what, you still have to drill to see if it checks out- though its a lot better than by guess & by God they used to rely upon.

Also, if you only have a single survey team out, are you not already wasting the 'expert' & computer time?
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 25 February 2019, 16:53:38
Really?  b/c while I am not part of oil field survey teams, I have used their work and had to deal with their disruptions.  And they spend months gathering the data that is not immediately used . . . and no matter what, you still have to drill to see if it checks out- though its a lot better than by guess & by God they used to rely upon.

Also, if you only have a single survey team out, are you not already wasting the 'expert' & computer time?
I am assuming that many teams are out in the field, and that experts are processing and evaluating data at near real-time.
This level of efficiency would be necessary to properly survey a new planet.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Colt Ward on 25 February 2019, 17:43:00
Your not going to be able to completely survey a new planet . . . how many of us are here now & for how long, and we are still discovering things in the nooks & crannies of the planet.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 25 February 2019, 17:51:27
I would think that the experts would be busy going through all the data generated at the base camp while the teams were out scouting potential sites for mining and drilling.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: Maingunnery on 25 February 2019, 17:55:36
Your not going to be able to completely survey a new planet . . . how many of us are here now & for how long, and we are still discovering things in the nooks & crannies of the planet.
Currently that is the case, but the people of BT should have developed the capability & knowledge to survey a planet to a degree that they know: it is relatively safe (or know what is needed to be safe), that they can plan how to develop the colony, and can prove that it is financially viable. Also this process has to be done fast enough (months or years) to allow the effort to succeed.
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: RifleMech on 25 February 2019, 18:51:20
Is the air breathable? If yes, they'll land and start setting up the colony. If the air isn't breathable then they'll have teams out to see if there's anything on the planet that would make them want to colonize the planet. If there is they build domes to live in.

Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: idea weenie on 27 February 2019, 00:38:00
But this is still getting a few things mixed up . . . several different threads are occurring- one for colonization & initial set up, one for a planet's settled period, and one for Lostech era.

One setup might be:

Just my thoughts
Title: Re: Satellites Discussion
Post by: DOC_Agren on 27 February 2019, 19:10:48
Hey I once with a friend designed and fluffed a "cropduster" support plan, that could with the right hardware be converted into a lowtech scout and ground attack plane.   They sold well to backwater planets who could use the dual role crafts. 

As long as the pirate in question have no more aerospace assets then Dropship, 1 even Sabre fighter can ruin a whole wings day
In which case the pilot(s) is probably trained as a dual-role operator, not just anyhoo local civilian pilot. I think the only time this could be useful is for a high-level recon flyby knowing the pirates don't have ASF of any kind. But how would one know that?

A whole "Mech lance or company" is what you're trying to say I think, not "wing". Well it's theoretically possible. But I wouldn't take the chance. Even a measly little Leopard has a big enough aft gun to punch out a Sabre.

They were usable for recon, annoying popup attacks, dusting the enemy (pioson, fuel (then either have 1 fire a rocket or drop flare and get a nice firewall yep mechs can cross it, but not vehicles or inf)

and no I meant a wing of these crop dusters, could loose to single Sabre, because 1 hit and these were no longer flight worthy.
Now this Design (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=64021.msg1472590#msg1472590) on the other hand, well might keep if in Squadron might keep a single Sabre in check

but this is really a topic about Satellites, I figure major planets would have a "network" but when you get to backwater worlds, that network might have a weather satellite over the major settlement, but more thinking along the lines of 1960/70 earth.  I don't see unless the world has " Balkanisation" that there are military satellites in orbit, no really needs.  It would be nice to be able to get "data" from the jump points that say, yep we have incoming, but I expect on some backwater worlds, it is either a telescope or they work like some small airports and have you call to say that you are landing. 

I know my Mercs used to use high level "Aerospace Drones" to provide use with "recon/comm" over major battlefields or contracts, just because I assumed that either the local satellite were not worth it, or because we could trust our drones better then local gear.