The Expanse's UN One was a unique, short-range shuttlecraft used by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The shuttle featured a lavish cabin and could be stowed within the hangar bay of a Leonidas-class battleship. UN One was capable of atmospheric flight, and vertical take-off and landing. Its wings could be folded, allowing it to be stored in the hanger of larger, interplanetary vessels, such as the Leonidas-class, for transportation to other planets.
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Having said that, those spacecraft dogfights and Protomolecule visual effects do not come cheaply, and for Alcon Entertainment to maintain the incredibly high standards set by previous seasons, someone would need to raid Jules Pierre Mao's bank accounts. Additionally, despite The Expanse gaining critical acclaim and a loyal cult following, the sad truth is that neither Syfy nor Amazon would have canceled the series if it was enjoying huge viewership numbers. Between these factors, and potentially more factors not in the public realm, The Expanse season 7 or a live-action alternative has evidently not proven a tempting enough project for those with the power to make it happen.
Should the comic series and Telltale game prove popular, the future of The Expanse will be in an even stronger position. Expenditure and viewership may prevent a traditional The Expanse season 7 from happening, but the prospect of telling those final chapters in live-action remains nonetheless. As the franchise fires up its engines in 2023, The Expanse's underdog story, onscreen and off, may not be over yet.
However, I promised you a more detailed version and here it is. I largely based it on Tachyon Squadron and its supplement, the Spaceship Construction Toolkit, but I do follow The Expanse RPG as closely as I can, especially in the technology lingo.
TORPEDO LAUNCHER: The ship must be at least Mediocre scale (+0) to mount a single torpedo launcher. Each additional scale category adds capacity for one launcher. Multi-warhead, attacks up to four ships on the same slot of the maneuver chart, or one ship on a different slot. Consumable. Action Skill: Intelligence (Technology), maximize one die. Special: Weapon:2 on successful attack. This weapon occupies one modular equipment bay.
If your armor rating is reached (in damage value) and you either have hits remaining from the attack or a new attack, your ship sustains damage. Each instance of damage mitigates up to two shifts. For each instance of damage, roll a single fate die and check off the next box in the appropriate column ([-],  or [+]). Penalties listed are cumulative. Some slots also hit you with an aspect that your opponents can invoke (and get one free invoke).
4 End of Round: Degrade your maneuver chart position (slide your ship down one slot). Return to the maneuver phase. Repeat the cycle of maneuver-action-end until one side is destroyed or disengages.
So, I've been binge watching The Expanse on Syfy, and I love how much detail the screenwriters and authors put into making the ships and the physics as real as possible in the show. But, there was one detail that still kind of confuses me: gravity on ships like the Donnager and the Rocinante.
I do understand how it works. While the engines are on, the ship is accelerated to simulate gravity (in this case, accelerated at 9.8 meters per second, simulating Earth's gravity). But although constantly accelerating engines are used today, it is far less efficient than lining up a transfer through one quick burn. And that's just for a lightweight probe.
So, considering the fast but inefficient engines of The Expanse, just how much fuel would one ship need to burn in order to sustain a constant sense of gravity for the entire duration of a trip (such as from Earth to Ceres)? Sure, a massive vessel like the Donnager could probably hold enough fuel, but there's no way a ship as tiny as the Rocinante could pull off a journey that far, right?
Of course, ships travelling on a sustained burn need to flip around at the half-way point and then burn in the opposite direction to slow down, which gives the pasengers the same simulated gravity throughout the journey (with the exception of the flipping).
But an antimatter rocket is a pretty far-future technology, more realistic would be some kind of torch ship which has both high acceleration and high change of velocity, compared to either existing systems like ion drives (high change in velocity compared to chemical rockets, but very low acceleration so the time to achieve that change in velocity is large) or chemical rockets (high thrust but much lower change in velocity than an ion drive, for a given fuel mass). Aside from really advanced technologies like antimatter drives, the most likely technology would be some kind of nuclear drive; the chart here shows that the exhaust velocities for various types of nuclear fusion reactions as fractions of light speed, and the giant rocket engine list I posted earlier also shows a number of nuclear-thermal rockets that use fission (look for ones with 'NTR' in the 'code' column of the chart). That chart gives effective exhaust velocities in meters/second, but you can divide by 299792458 m/s to get the effective exhaust velocity as a fraction of light speed; I wouldn't bother with anything that has an effective exhaust velocity much lower than 0.004 times light speed (about 1.2 million meters/second) or 0.003 (about 900,000 meters/second), since plugging these in for V in the equation I gave while keeping the other values of A=0.00011776 and D=0.522 indicates a mass ratio of about 50 for V=0.004 (meaning you need about 49 tons of fuel for every ton of payload) and 186 for V=0.003 (185 tons of fuel for every ton of payload).
The fuel is described as "pellets" for fusion reactors. Pellets are small enough to have a "crate" of them just lying around on the ship and transported by a person grabbing the crate. So not something loaded by the ton.
While ships are mentioned to be expensive themselves, the fact of viable space piracy in the setting seems to indicate that running the ship if you already have one is affordable and doesn't depend on any controlled supply of fuel.
Well they use fusion reactors. In hydrogen-hydrogen fusion 0.71 % of the fuel is converted to energy (E=mc^2*0.0071) . This is still a lot of energy due to the c^2 term being there. How this energy is utilised to produce thrust is an unsolved issue, but it seems to me that a ship with a few tons of fuel could virtually travel with 1 g for years before running out of fuel. This off course is dependent on the engine's effectiveness which is unknown to us.
A thriller set two hundred years in the future, The Expanse follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective and a rogue ship's captain together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.
In sharp contrast to many science fiction television shows, The Expanse, currently in its second season on the Syfy Network, takes its science and technology seriously. The launch of the giant spaceship Nauvoo in episode 4 of season 2 is a case in point. In other TV shows you might see a framing shot of the ship leaving the station followed by a cut to the next narrative scene. The creators of The Expanse took a different tack. They worked out what it would take to actually launch the Nauvoo . The result is a brilliant four-minute segment that shows what you can do when you put the science on the screen.
The Nauvoo was originally commissioned by the Mormons to take thousands of their members on a generations-long trip to Tau Ceti, a G-class star located approximately 12 light-years from our solar system. At more than two kilometers long and a half-kilometer wide, the ship is immense. In a recent phone conversation Ty Franck (who, along with Daniel Abraham, writes The Expanse novels that are the basis for the show under the pseudonym James S. Corey) described it to me as the largest man-made object ever built.
Positioning something as large as the Nauvoo with the needed degree of precision presents a problem. The scientists and engineers on Tycho Station solve it with a fleet of computer-controlled tugs that are deployed from the station and attach to the surface of the ship.
The tugs maneuver the ship into position and the leader of Tycho Station gives the command to begin the launch sequence. The audience is treated to the beautiful balletic movement of dozens of tugs releasing from the Nauvoo and sweeping back to Tycho Station like a flock of slender silver birds.
I'm a freelance journalist covering technology for several outlets, both in English (Zdnet, techPresident) and Italian (La Stampa, l'Espresso, Corriere della Sera and others). I was a Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism fellow in 2013. You can find my research on journalism and content curation here. I like to write about the impact of technology on society. I'm amazed and fascinated by how our relationships, our jobs, our daily lives are now shaped by it. But technology, for me, it's just a means to an end, not an end in itself. To be clear: I don't care about the latest smartphone, unless it provides real value and improves the quality of my life. You can follow me on Twitter at @fede_guerrini and learn more about me visiting my LinkedIn. For story pitches reach me here: stories (at) onthebrink.it 781b155fdc