20.80mm x 31.88mm x 14.81mm
Take a trip to almost any large commercial spaceport in human space and you are likely to see a Beta series Transport. The GDH Beta Transport and its wide variety of sub-classes are the single most numerous large civilian transport vessel hull-types, exceeding Hawkings Astronautics’s Nomad and newer designs like the Oxen and Mule. The Beta transport was the first of the series and the bare-bones, low-cost design has endured for the better part of two centuries.
The stock Beta transport is practically standard for merchant shipping. The Beta Transport is optimised to carry the maximum amount of cargo. It has been likened to a slightly pointed brick, and flies like one, with only 1.6mc acceleration and barely 18 MEUs. It has no armour and only a very basic 360TXq shield. The most versions have three small laser turrets rated to 330TXq output to deal with rogue space debris, but do little to dissuade even light raiders on their own. The bulk of the ship is storage. The nose ports hold up 40×40×120m ST-08 cargo modules – four modules two deep – with some additional small storage space in the space around and between.
A new Beta transport hull will come with 5th generation systems and more modern 450TXq laser point-defence turrets. But on civilian market, where there is less requirement for replacement or combat attrition. Spare parts are ubiquitously available from third party manufacturers as well as GDH itself. Thus, the majority of Beta Transports in service with civilian or corporate concerns are still equipped with 4th generation technology. A few vessels can be found still using 3rd generation systems, especially hyperdrives.
The Beta Transport has never been fully militarised, as unlike the scoutship and light carrier, it is not well-suited to the task. However, many are modified to serve as fleet transports, refuelling ships or navel auxiliaries, notably by the Herosine Imperial Fleet. These versions reduce the cargo space by about 17%. This allows the shielding and point-defence systems to be doubled in strength, and the engine power sharply upgraded to around 5mc and 55 MEUs. This shores up the defences considerably for military service, though the Beta Transport remains a relatively soft target without an escort.
One other relatively common set of modifications used is to turn the cargo hauler into a passenger liner. These conversions run the whole spectrum of quality; some are very basic, simply replacing the cargo space with a like number of passenger facilities while others are luxury cruisers with their own small hangars for private smallcraft.
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