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Space travel times?

I’ve been looking for some info or table about travel times, either aboard Circulars or any other form of spaceship, but there are only vague references on pages 395/397 of the Corebook, Am I missing something? If this is vague on purpose I can get it, but isn’t it a litle too vague, even for epic sci fi?

Sadly, I haven’t found any information either, not even in the Gamemaster’s Guide (which contains detailed rules for spacecraft). I was looking for a schedule for the circulars for an adventure, but found none.

I just assumed that it takes a circular several days from the central system hub to reach a wormhole, as according to the core book they would mostly use Vila boosters for acceleration (thus not thrusting continously) and probably wouldn’t let passengers suffer from more than 1g.

edit: note that “several days” corresponds to a rather unrealistic continuous 1g acceleration, but I don’t want to make Infinity into a hard science fiction physics exercise.

I also don’t want any scientific explanation for travel time - hard sci fi really isn’t my thing. But it would be nice to have more information about how long does it take to get from here to there. Well, several days will have to do for now…

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It’s also worth remembering that time is Universal across the Human Sphere - it gives me a headache just to think about it!

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Well, universal time I can live with, I don’t have to understand how…

We use the following absolutely non-official rule:
On each line the are twice as many ships then stops, so on C5 with 5 systems there are 10 ships: 5 operate clockwise, and 5 operate counter-clockwise. All have the same timeplane: 1 week at the main planet of the system (restocking and catching passenger and load), then 1 week to the jumpgate, another 1 week from jumpgate to main planet and one further week in orbit of the planet.

But I have no idea, if this even background story confirm.

I’d probably vary the travel times for different systems slightly, but the one week in orbit part sounds very reasonable.

I keep looking at this question and try to find a satisfying answer. The core book says it can take weeks to traverse a wormhole, but there’s no reference points for where the wormholes are in each solar system.

There’s no faster than light travel in Infinity, so they can’t get from Earth to Pluto faster than 5 hours. But is the wormhole beyond Pluto or fixed in the Inner Solar System closer to Mars? It takes our best engines 6 months to reach Mars.

It seems to me that the easiest solution is to Deep Space Nine the wormholes to spots close to each colony world. That way interstellar travel can occur in under a month to any system. But that’s still a long time in a Star Trek/Star Wars ambiguos travel time set of astrophysics.

In the Corebook chapter about the Human Edge the three wormholes there are spaces very widely from each other.

For example: “The gates to Earth and Paradiso are both located near the “tip” of the Orthys Belt, at the farthest point from the system ecliptic. The Boushra Caravanserai is located nearby.” The Orthys Belt lies perpendicular to the system’s ecliptic.
The wormhole leading from Human Edge to Concilium orbits Heraclitus, a gas giant about 4.4 AE in the system’s ecliptic.
If anyone wants to travel from Concilium to Sol, needing to switch from Circular C3 to C8, that means arriving at the wormhole between Human Edge and Concilium near Heraclitus, then having to travel in-system towards the perpendicular plane of the Orthys Belt, at which at the furthest point the wormhole to Sol is located.
Arriving in the Sol system would be at Saturn, as the Circular arrives near the Harafi caravanserai on Saturn’s moon Iapetus. Travel from here to Earth takes even using Villa Boosters quite a while.

Such an in-system travel could take very long time, depending on the acceleration of the ship and the maximum acceleration the passengers might actually be able to take and survive.

Still, there are no concrete travelling times given, which makes even “guesstimating” the travel time unnecessarily harder for the GM to come up with any kind of plausible value.

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So this is an area where I don’t exactly rack my brain over because it’s usually a narrative function and not something I use mechanically (at least not yet but let’s hope its covered in the Ships of the Human Sphere book).

Also Infinity goes for a medium sci-fi feel being loose in some areas while harder in others. Space travel kind of lies at the loose end.

Vila boosters are kind of like the Cowboy Bebops astral gates acting as a local highway system. They fling and catch ships allowing them to traverse within a system pretty quickly. The question is how quickly and if we erring on the side of convenience without being to fantasy like say days for a short shot and weeks for something longer. If the Human Sphere is functional on a massive economic and trade level it won’t be months or years (think of our own shipping we do here on Earth). Time is money and longer times mean lower returns.

This doesn’t get into different space ships where ones could be faster for your slick passenger transport compared to your slower bulk cargo freighter.

Circulars got a schedule to keep and they probably stop for no one. If you want to catch a ride or need to transfer you’re hitting up an inter-system vessel (and there’s probably a thriving stellarline industry to facilitate this). The closest things to stops are the beginning and end points along the vila boosters and the wormholes. They’re like a constantly moving train.

Now with those popular load and unload areas you get things like the caravanseries, commercial missions, and other orbitals that take advantage of ships, crew, and passengers waiting for their circular or those that need to stretch their legs when getting off one. Goes back to towns/cities popping up along rail lines or on the coasts during the age of sail.

Getting back on topic I try to scale out our own shipping times we already use to stellar travel. It’s not perfect, has no set method to calculate it, and is more off feel for the story and if its important enough to worry about. I wouldn’t mind having some concrete answers in the Ships of the Human Sphere sourcebook where it would be a perfect place to put in travel times.

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Actually circulars do take weeks to complete their rotations, and space travel is extremely expensive still. That’s why open conflict is so rare in the human sphere. Because it cost too much. That’s why the factions use small teams, covert actions and schemes.

Also if I’m not mistaken the most advanced military ships can cross the human sphere in days (I think two days, but I might imagine that part). The how wasn’t explained.

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Here’s how I did this for my campaign.

  1. Corebook pg. 397. “A fast transport can cross from one side of the Human Sphere to the other in a matter of days (and some military vessels are even faster than that).”

  2. Thanks to the Sidebar in the GMG “Gravity” pg.146 we know that most ships use Acceleration or Spin to produce human normal gravity as the fancy Diamagnetic Gravity is the one that produces a weaker effect to save on the cost.

  3. We know that Wormholes appeared in the Sol System out in roughly the orbit of Saturn so we can take the average orbital distance their Earth-Saturn.

  4. Assuming that transit time in a Wormhole is instant and as far as I can tell it is, there is no indication in any of the fluff of a “Witch Space” styled travel time and we know Circulars need to go A to B to C rather than being able to steer inside a Wormhole straight from A to C, we can safely assume that all the travel time of days or less mentioned is purely in-system travel.

So, once you have all this you can take the math and reverse engineer some info. What I got was that your average transport is capable of a CONSTANT 1g acceleration thus they can boost at 1g for 50% of the trip from Earth to Saturn, flip and then decelerate at that same speed and you get (approx.) 1 week of travel time to Saturn.

You can then use that as a rough guide and multiple the time by how much larger/smaller the other systems in the Human Sphere is and get a good estimate of how long travel takes for your average vessel. I’d say Faster ships would travel at a higher thrust to cut down the time and have acceleration couches to compensate. If a Military vessel can do 2g of constant thrust then it will cover the distance significantly faster.

Now, some caveats to this…

a) Vila Boosters. If these are just a giant space railgun tat flings a ship at a planet, they initial acceleration boost will cut down on time but only marginally in the grand scheme of a Solar System, if the kick is to high then they crush the squishy people inside against the back wall. So with that in mind I would bet these things are more like the transit tubes in Cowboy Bebop. A Constant series of boosters positioned between planets that nudge a vessel up to a fraction of the speed of light say… 0.2 and then slow you down with catchers at the other end. You will get a headache working out the relativistic effects so just hand way it.

b) If the Vila Tubes are a thing then space is super busy and cluttered with weird stuff everywhere, also they mention that Boosters can reposition themselves to fire in desired direction sometimes which negates the idea of the tubes a bit.

Overall, it seems like space travel was not really focused on as it wasn’t needed for the tabletop fluff so some stuff doesn’t match the available tech-level of the human sphere and the realities of how much space there is in Space.

What’s this all mean:

Either by its own propulsion or with the assistance of a Vila Booster a vessel should be able to travel a system at 1g of acceleration or roughly a week’s, worth of travel time to reach a jump point. Ship designed to make the journey faster would need specialised equipment for their passengers to feel comfortable.

Other systems have roughly the same dimensions so travel times to the goldilocks zone is probably similar or there about and you can always randomly fudge things (In my game the LWSS Vera went to infiltrate a Hidden Lab in the Human Edge and I said it took about a Week of in-system time to get there as it was off the beaten path, the P.O.S.S Lament of Yesterday they encountered later was covering that distance in only 3 days.)

As for Circulars and slower vessels, assume that Circulars travel at .75g which in most rough math possible means it takes 2 weeks for them to travel half way across a system or a month to go from one side of Sol to another. They either have lower gravity on the ship or spin internal compartments like the Nomad Motherships do to keep the gravity up, but I think .75g is fine to live in.

There is some information saying that Circulars never stop but that’s improbable, they would at least need to decelerate to match orbits with Caravanserai and other ships for them to dock. If they never stop you can play with a Circular travelling only at 0.5g or less and it flips and burns when thy enter/exit wormholes or just have internal realigning decks and thrusters on each end (most likely). This slower acceleration still means that ships without a minotaur-motor need to time their intercepts correctly in order to catch up to the Circulars which again matches the fluff.

And that is my best guess of how efficient Space Travel is in Infinity. And it is efficiency that is key in a system without Artificial Gravity and systems like Inertial Compensators.

  • Raith
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I thought Vila Boosters are giant mass accelerators / decelerators that are about cutting fuel consumption, not about cutting travel time.
Being accelerated by a Vila Booster saves the spaceship to use own fuel reserves.
But it wouldn’t make travel faster.
I assume that the acceleration by a Vila Booster would be around 1g, so not to put too much strain on the accelerated ship’s crew. The deceleration at the receiving end would be similar at 1g.
For special cases, I think, a Vila Booster might be configured to boost a ship by more (or less) than 1g.

I don’t see the need to stop for a Circular. They don’t stop and dock at a Caravanserai, that is what shuttlecraft are for. And other ships docking and launching from a Circular is no problem, when the Circular travels at constant speed. They only need to match the speed to dock at relativ speed of zero. And on launching the docked-off ship has the vector of the Circular and needs to change course and could accelerate or decelerate as necessary.

I imagine a Circular as a never-stopping long “space train” with ships constantly moving to and from it before the transit via the wormhole occurs .

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Blockquote I don’t see the need to stop for a Circular. They don’t stop and dock at a Caravanserai, that is what shuttlecraft are for. And other ships docking and launching from a Circular is no problem, when the Circular travels at constant speed. They only need to match the speed to dock at relativ speed of zero. And on launching the docked-off ship has the vector of the Circular and needs to change course and could accelerate or decelerate as necessary.

Sorry, I should have said “never slow down” rather than Stop (edits main post), your right, they don’t ever stop, nothing in space really ever does, but they have to decelerate to speeds where Shuttlecraft with vastly less thrust-to-mass are able to intercept them. what I was trying to get at is that the information we have on a practical level would have them rocketing through systems at un-interceptible speeds if they didn’t slow down when approaching a transit point/caravanserai.

In regards to the Vila Boosters, yes they are described as a way to economize fuel consumption for ships in the Human Sphere. The thing is we know that ships don’t seem to possess a whole lot of g-force limiting systems which means their are limits to the forces of acceleration a Vila Booster kicks out a ship at, for example let’s say they propel a ship at 10g over the length of a Kilometer “barrel” it still results in a travel time of months, thus to make it across a system in days needs a constant acceleration by extremely efficient engines.

Vila Boosters might help you avoid the Rocket Equation, but without a system wide coil gun approach to the Vila Boosters whatever efficiency they grant is negligible outside of say Cargo runs and other non-urgent ship transportation that’s probably largely automated for the months long journeys. And as I said we have examples of transit times across systems being much less than taking Months.

I do think that Vila Boosters are a great way to impart initial Delta-V to a ship, but without vessels being capable of independent constant acceleration we don’t get to the Hi-sci-fi speeds that ships seem to be able to travel in Infinity and end up with something more approaching The Expanse level where 6g for a few hours is probably the best it gets (ignore the tv show that one reference to 60g was a script error).

Anyway I’m getting off track, the main point here is that whatever systems INFINITY has for a travel time of “Days” boy, their systems are super-duper efficient and must run off some excellent Fuel Cells and I don’t think Vila Boosters account for that level of efficiency on their own.

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I still believe a circular would need to dock in order to have an efficient loading/unloading process. I may be wrong but I consider that circulars are mostly freight haulers, with the added capacity of transporting passengers and ships. Now I guess massive transport ships could attach to the circulars and transport the bulk of the goods, but I still think it would be less logical.

Not that hard for objects to match speed and maneuver for docking in space. Like the first space scene from 2001 where the passenger shuttle has to match the spin of the torus station before moving in to dock.

There’s art from Outrage (the Infinity graphic novel) shows ships coming and going from a Circular still on the move.

Circulars don’t carry the goods. That would be the bulk carriers that attach to them. Makes it easier for the Circular to keep on going along its path and let things come and go to it rather than it go to them. It’s a constantly moving train where the cargo can jump on and off along its route.

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If you assume that docking means matching velocity with a space station in orbit you are slowing down to about 30,000km/hour, possibly much higher if the station speeds up to match velocity.

While still much slower than the speeds that are needed to cover interplanetary distances you have the advantage of being able to use the planets gravity to get yourself back up to speed.
Essentially you have a circular that comes into planetary orbit and slows down, while the station boosts its speed up to match.
Once transfer is done the two decouple and while the circular slingshots itself back onto it’s route the station does the reverse.

This way you get benefits on both sides. The circular keeps moving so once it is out of orbit it doesn’t need to speed up as much and the station has a stable platform to transfer goods and pasengers back and forth.

Carrying ship that carry goods would be extremely inefficient cost wise. There is a case for using shuttle in rotation to unload a circular who would not slow enough to dock, although I have my doubts when it comes to logistics and profitability, but logically there is no way the circular would only transport ships and passenger. In space where space and weight is a premium, using twice the size to transport half the good is not a good deal.

From what little there is on Circulars via Adventures and the bits and pieces of art and in various books, Circulars don’t seem to come in system to the point they would orbit around a world. More that they transit in at one Jump Point and then take the most efficient route towards the next transit point, possibly on the other side of the System.

In system shuttles, transports and other Remora craft intercept and dock with the Circular on its way through. The circulars themselves are more or less motherships. Which is funny when they talk about the Nomad Motherships being capable of Docking with a Circular.

For a circular, as massive as they are depicted, to transit close to a planet, with how busy orbital space in the Human Sphere seems to be, would be a considerable traffic hazard. Better to have them approach a Caravanserai in a deeper orbit and use that as the point of contact than otherwise.

As an addition, in regards to Motherships acting as a mobile Space-Train that you drive your car onto rather than waste fuel crossing a country…

In my games I have hand vast entertainment/recreation and holiday facilities onboard the circulars as I expect that once docked the crews of various transports and their passengers want to relax on the several week transit paths Circulars can take. I recently had one with an entire artificial Beach Resort as a feature for the ubiquitous anime beach mid-season episode.

…in regards to efficiency. They key thing there is that within the narrative of the Human Sphere it is more inefficient to build lots of tiny ship and equip them with Minotaur Motors than to build immense vessels capable of carrying a Billion people in comfort about. Remember this is essentially a nigh-post scarcity economy here. Thieu industrial base says that building massive ships that carry/ferry hundred of smaller ships works out in the long run. Put it down to the new-ness of jump-tech and the scarcity of Nessium.

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