Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

And now the American Eagle

Okay, I described the German craft, now here's the American one for everyone who helped with the railway stuff. Again some bits have been omitted. No pictures yet, still working on that.

Cyrus P. Hackenbacker (Inventor, Businessman, and Adventurer, 1845-??)

BODY [5], MIND [6], SOUL [3], Athlete [7], Babbage Engine [8], Brawling [6], Business [8], Driving [7], First Aid [4], Linguist (Cherokee, Choctaw, Mandarin Chinese, German, French) [7], Marksman [8], Martial Arts (savate) [6], Mechanic [9], Melee Weapon [8], Military Arms [7], Morse Code [7], Pilot (gliders, balloons) [6], Riding [7], Scientist (engineer) [8]
Equipment: A railway company, private train with workshop, laboratory, etc., selection of rifles and hand-guns, cavalry sabre, Bible.

Quote: "When someone tells me something can't be done, son, (spits into spitoon) that's when I maybe get a little interested."

Notes: The son of a US Senator and one of America's pioneer women physicians, Hackenbacker has a passion for gadgetry and invention that has made him a multi-millionaire and owner of a successful railway company. He has worked on flying machines of various types, from balloons to aeronefs, high speed trains and automobiles, even an improved bicycle with a six-speed gearbox. His adventurous career has taken him all over the world. His next project was to have been an attempt on the land speed record, now he has determined to combine that with the launching of his spacecraft. He confidently expects to win the prize if all goes well, or die trying. Useful models for this character include an older version of Tom Swift or "Doc" Savage, or the comic character Tom Strong.
Having made his fortune in railway engineering, Cyrus P. Hackenbacker is bored with business (he mostly considers it to be too easy) and looking for something exciting to keep him busy for a year or two. He was experimenting with designs for a steam turbine train when he heard of the contest, and has decided to attempt to win it for the USA. He's aware of the risks but he's fifty, his wife is dead, and his son is already independently wealthy. If he is killed it'll be unfortunate, but the railway will be left in good hands. He hasn't yet selected a co-pilot, and will be actively looking for someone with suitable skills (such as Science (Astronomy), Mechanic, Pilot, etc.) nearer the completion of the project.

Hackenbacker's ship, the American Eagle, is a stripped-down lightweight two-man craft weighing just over ten tons. He plans to land on the Moon, spend a few hours exploring, then return to Earth. The design is spartan - there isn't even an air lock, the occupants will both have to wear vacuum suit throughout the time they are on the surface of the Moon, and at any other time either wishes to exit the craft.

The American Eagle is to be launched in a three-stage process; it will be accelerated to the astonishing speed of 300 MPH by Hackenbacker's steam turbine train, at which point a steam catapult will fire and boost it to nearly 1000 MPH. As it leaves the catapult a supplementary or "booster" rocket will ignite and deliver the remainder of the velocity needed to take it to the Moon. Since the booster doesn't have to provide all of the impetus needed to get the craft up to speed it is smaller than that needed for a pure rocket craft, only five times the weight of the Eagle itself, costing £3,180. The booster takes the final weight of the craft to 68.8 tons, and must be replaced after each flight.

Game design note: it was assumed that the train and launch catapult do roughly two thirds of the work of getting the projectile into space, with the booster doing the rest. Components were priced accordingly.

Overall the launch train / catapult system costs £170,500 (nearly a million dollars) but it is completely reusable apart from the booster. These costs include the construction of the train and catapult and upgrades to a remote section of track in southwestern Arizona, near Fort Yuma, making the rails stronger and smoother than any other American railway. Hackenbacker doesn't own these tracks, they belong to another railway magnate who has taken an interest in the project, and is letting Hackenbacker use them free of charge - Hackenbacker is paying for the track repairs, of course - in exchange for a 5% share of any profits from the first flight. There will be rental fees for any subsequent flight. The track at this point runs completely straight for nearly a hundred miles West to East, mostly on a rising gradient that will add a little extra upwards momentum. Its location is good too; the railway is at 35°N, further South than any other comparable stretch of track in the USA, so the American Eagle will gain the best possible help from the rotation of the Earth.

American Eagle (USA)

2-seater catapult and rocket-launched projectile spacecraft.

2 x 4th class accommodation, supplies 2 x 1 week, hold 1.0 ton 3.0 Yds³, landing gear, rocket / parachutes for return flight.
10.6 tons, 31.0 Yds³, £1,550, BODY 50

Booster rocket for above 58.3 tons, 106.0 Yds³, BODY 50
Launch train and catapult for above £170,500, expendables £1,700 plus booster.
Other Equipment: 2 x vacuum suits, prospecting supplies, camera, etc.
Notes: A spartan craft with a minimum of equipment for life support. Since there is no air lock the occupants must both wear vaccum suits if either leaves the vessel; in flight they must take turns on a bicycle generator to keep batteries charged for lighting and life support. This is basically a "proof of concept" craft, which Hackenbacker will scale up if it is succesful, and if the first flight finds resources valuable enough to make another flight worthwhile. Of course this depends on the resources; if diamonds were found, for example, the craft is large enough for a considerable fortune.


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