September 30th 2013
Today’s Comm-Link comes from issue 9 of Jump Point, the subscriber-only Star Citizen magazine. Subscribers are the first to receive background articles like this as well as exclusive fiction and behind-the-scenes info! You can learn about subscribing here.
Remember to submit your Star Citizen photos! The first-ever Star Citizen photo contest ends on Friday and the winners will be announced on October 10th during CitizenCon. It’s a chance to win cool prizes and show your spirit. Information about the contest can be found here.
In the generations since Roberts Space Industries institutionalized personal space travel, countless supporting industries have sprung up to improve the lives of interstellar pilots. From shield manufacturers to deep space repair services to refueling stations orbiting distant stars, the infrastructure which has grown up to support civilian space travel has become ubiquitous. This development has no better case study than the rise of modular, user-configurable ship hangars.
The system of self-maintained hangars arose out of the very simple logic that if you have a spacecraft you also need a place to put it. With the massive increase in individually owned civilian spacecraft and the resulting decline in government-regulated space travel lines, the model for ship housing quickly transitioned. Many once-thriving spaceports were parceled out for individual sale, with the hangars that once maintained thousand-person transports divided into dozens of makeshift spacecraft compartments and made available to the highest bidders.
The formalized hangar industry soon followed, with investors purchasing massive tracts of land wherever possible to erect garaging space. On some rapidly developing worlds, territory claims around landing points have become so expensive or contested that urban construction often takes place outside a hundred-kilometer ring of ‘future hangars.’ On some worlds, hangars are constructed deep into the ground or straight up in massive skyscrapers: anything to provide ship owners the piece of mind that comes with a permanent home for their craft. In recent years, three hangar designers/manufacturers have come to define the industry as a whole, with their base appearances being a familiar sight across the galaxy.
Incorporated by Peter Weathermen, a wealthy guildlicensed shipper who made his living on the active spacelanes, SELF-LAND hangars have become an ever-present reminder of just how easy it is for Humans to travel the stars. The corporation was founded on the philosophy that the temporary hangars available to transiting pilots were inaccessible, inaffordable and most importantly unsafe. (Weathermen began developing the company after he was jumped by a gang of dock-thugs who stripped his Starfarer to the hull plating.)
Starting in the mid-29th century, SELF-LAND began a franchising-based expansion across the Human-inhabited galaxy. The first SELF-LAND was established by Weathermen on Vann in the Croshaw System. Seemingly overnight, the company had expanded to a dozen worlds … and then a hundred. Today, the SELF-LAND corporation boasts that they maintain at least one facility on every world in the UEE, with some planets (Terra chief among them) having as many as sixty different complexes. SELF-LAND hangars are fully modular and environmentally controlled. Prefabricated out of the most available common metals, they aren’t necessarily attractive to look at … but they are comfortable and familiar. The SELF-LAND experience on a colony world near Vanduul space is exactly the same as that available to a pilot berthing on Earth. The SELF-LAND corporation takes care of everything, from structure design to land titles. Because of their design, the same hangar type can be used in configurations ranging from skyscraping heights, to the breadth of a plain, to stacked underground, or to honeycombed deep within asteroids.
Aeroview proudly claims to be the oldest established hangar manufacturer in Human space. Their design and construction of hangars goes back more than 300 years. In the 27th century, Arthur Nassir formed the company around a rigid code of business ethics focusing largely on design quality, a dedication to ergonomics, and an extreme respect for client confidentiality. Aeroview also famously reserves the right to refuse service to any non-Citizens. While hangar design and housing is tangential, at best, to piracy, Nassir’s outspoken contempt for those who fly outside the law led to the company’s code. When Aeroview was purchased by Shubin Interstellar, the conditions of the sale insisted that the code be adhered to in perpetuity.
While the code remains intact, Aeroview’s original business model does not. The Aeroview hangars of the 28th century were palatial affairs built on a case-by-case basis to the specifications of the social elite capable of owning their own spacecraft. In recent years, Aeroview has adapted their tactics to follow in SELF-LAND’s footsteps (although they would never admit it). Instead of custom-building high-class hangars on an individual basis, they now produce a line of modular “business hangars” priced to sell to successful businessmen and other executive-level clients. Unlike other modular hangar companies, Aeroview does not lease the property on which their hangars are established. This is left up to the individual consumer to determine; the Aeroview hangar can be erected at any point in the UEE given 48-hours notification (24 hours, for a steep rush construction fee).
Of special note, Aeroview has found particular success in developing hangars for larger scale craft or craft that require additional space for support equipment. Pilots of ships like Freelancers, with multiple crew housings, or Hornets, with weapons racks and a need for more intensive hull repair facilities, generally find it more cost effective to purchase a single Aeroview hangar rather than multiple SELF-LANDs.
When the Revel & York engineering corporation set about designing its first hangar some thirty years ago, the reaction was laughter. The company, known best for excessively expensive and visibly uncomfortable furniture, was entering a field dominated by aerospace giants. The laughter ceased quickly as the Revel & York “deluxe” line of hangars became the de-facto spacecraft garage of the rich and powerful. The company’s cavernous hangars, established on ideal landing spaces in top-dollar land agreements, earned their standing reputation for excellence and quality.
Revel & York designers work directly with pilots to develop a hangar experience like no other. R&Y is the only company currently constructing modular hangars designed to support merchantman-class spacecraft like the Constellation and Caterpillar, locking them into a valuable if small segment of the population. Their hangar designs have earned their reputation: between interlocking catwalks (with motorized lifts!) to allow pilots to supervise their spacecraft from overhead, to specially designed Greycat PV buggies for transporting ship crews from module to module, everything is designed for not just the elite pilots’ usability but also their overall enjoyment. SELFLAND and competitors make a place to put your ship; Revel & York makes a place for you to take it in.