Intent: To create a means of cheap hyperspace travel between major locations, suitable for mass passenger and cargo transit and even planetary evacuation.
Development Thread: If requested, but these are two well-established and relatively basic canon technologies.
Manufacturer: Silk Holdings
Model: HALCYON Hyperspace Accelerator
Affiliation: Available to Select Customers
Material: Durasteel, titanium-chromium hyperdrive compound, carbonite nanofibers
Description: The HALCYON system is nothing more than the mating of two longstanding technologies, the skyhook and the hyperspace cannon.
Skyhooks, or space elevators, use carbonite nanofilament tethers to anchor an orbital pod or counterweight. The center of mass of such a system is beyond geosychronous orbit, and the counterweight is even farther out, as demonstrated here.
Skyhook transit is an accepted, though capital-intensive, method of moving large numbers of people into low orbit for hyperspace transit, as demonstrated at Kashyyyk. Furthermore, hyperspace reversion incidents around Xizor’s skyhook demonstrate at an especially high skyhook can reach far enough outside a gravity well to permit hyperjump, approximately 100,000km.
The so-called hyperspace cannon is an ancient precedent to the modern hyperdrive. In essentially every way, it is inferior to the hyperdrive while relying on the same basic technology. It flings non-hypercapable vessels into hyperspace. In this specific scenario, the critical point is that the vessels in question do not need a hyperdrive, merely a reversion module.
One crucial distinction presents itself. This is not a hypergate (though the term is sometimes used colloquially). A hypergate allows near-instantaneous travel. By contrast, the HALCYON system averages out to approximately the equivalent of a Class Four hyperdrive, slower than most civilian craft.
The armature surrounding the skyhook’s tether is divided into a cross-section of six ‘train tracks.’ At any one time, the usual loadout is three tracks ascending and three descending. The tether is capable of supporting multiple trains per track.
The skyhook (400m x 400m x 250m) at the end of each carbonite-nanotube tether of a HALCYON train is composed as follows.
1) A series of magrail catchers, essentially huge cones of tractor/pressor beams designed to compensate for differences in planetary plane and variation on incoming trajectory.
2) A HoloNet transceiver, duplicated groundside, which ties the system into the HALCYON coordination network. Timing, after all, is everything.
3) A holding dock for trains whose transit is delayed. Basic artificial gravity systems at careful angles, standard in skyhooks, allow the skyhook to compensate for weight variance without undue stress on the tether.
4) A so-called ‘hyperspace cannon’, a ringlike assembly placed in parallel with the tractor beam catcher assemblies. This is very primitive, but carefully engineered, hyperspace technology. Trains continue off the ends of the rails through inertia and enter the hyperspace cannon for acceleration to a Class Four speed. Depending on the route in question, after reversion the train either approaches the catcher assembly for re-railing or lands manually at a starport using repulsorlifts. In short, ascending trains take the accelerator, descending trans have arrived via catcher.
5) A powerful ray shield generator and an emergency particle shield generator.
6) Point defense lasers, also found at various points along the tether.
7) Emergency stationkeeping thrusters and engines in the event of a tether break. Also in the event of a tether break, the trains’ landing repulsorlifts are more than capable of allowing trains to disengage and make a safe descent. Falling cable can often be snared with the pod's immense amount of tractor beams.