Jumpships

Definition of a Jumpship
A jumpship is any vessel capable of jumping in and out of Hyperspace and thereby appearing to travel FTL. Because jumpships have to obtain at least a speed of 0.25C they have to be powered by large fusion engines, thus they are very large ships, whatever their function.

How Jumpships work
Jumpships have to obtain at least a speed of 0.25C before the jump engines can work. When they have reached 'transitional velocity' they engage their jump engines. The jump engines allow a little tear in normal space that the kinetic energy of the ship can 'punch' through into hyperspace. As the ship enter hyperspace the Warp Field Inductors pinch off an area of normal space around the ship and hold it around the ship.

The ship, cocooned in its warp bubble then travels in hyperspace using the remaining kinectic energy of the ship. Direction is determined by the hypespace currents. To drop out of hyperspace the ship simply turns of  the Warp Field Inductors and the ship drops into normal space. 

Navigating Hyperspace
Hyperspace currents make navigation difficult and it is only by using the charts of hyperspace currents provided by GalNav Prime that Jumpships can naviagete safely. Access to GalNav Prime requires a level 7 or better AI.

Types of a Jumpships
Military jumpship - there are a few classes:

Cargo 

 

A brief history of Jumpships;
The physics of Hyperspace are so complex that it is not surprising that no real progress was made until humanity had access to stable level 6 AIs. Following work by AI Blackstone the first experimental FTL drive that succed in entering hyperspace was launched in  2301. The probe managed to enter hyperspace then communication with its AI was lost. For the next 70 years there were constant failures with all attempts with FTL drives. Devices could be sent into Hyperspace, but none returned.  It wasn't until 2371 that a probe using the current jumpship technology entered hyperspace for 33 seconds and returned to normal space, half a light year away.

The first FTL ship SS Prometheus was launched in 2380 and managed to return from 2 brief jumps but was lost in 2381 attempting a longer jump. In 2430 the legendary Captain Thar Knolsen with his AI 'Baldur' took a daring risk and jumped into hyperspace with a plan for staying a longtime in hyperspace. As chance would have it, they were contacted by GalNav Prime while in Hyperspace who aquainted them with the tides and currents in Hyperspace and its role inproviding naviagational predictions.

After this it became possible to navigate within hypespace, using a level 7 or better AI resulting in you mostly arriving at your expected destination. The onboard AI was also capable of Quantum Link Communication (QLC), although the bandwidth was very low, about the speed of a 20th century teletype.

Improvements over the next thousand years have seen the 'misjump' rate drop to about 1% and the 'losjump' fall to less than 0.1% 

By 2432 the first colony of the Interstellar Age,  Rapture is founded, a whooping 53 LY from Terra, courtesy of the first jumpship, the DS Ark. The Diaspora begins.