Monday, September 26, 2011

Anatomy of a Battlestar

Battlestars were designed to fulfil both the roles of a battleship and carrier.  As a result most Battlestars follow the same design pattern, a large bow, a main hull from which two or more flight pods extend and an engine section.

The bow contains the CIC, usually at a central point, far away from potential harm.  Around the CIC, we find the various crew areas for bridge officers, Marines and various other crews.  Crew facilities, such as mess halls, sports facilities and recreational zones are also located in those areas.  Further out we find storage areas, backup generators, the DRADIS and sensor clusters as well as the secondary bridge, mainly used for manoeuvring and docking.

The prow of the Battlestar is often one of the most heavily armoured areas as it can be turned to face the enemy, especially by Battlestars equipped with forward batteries.  Heavily compartmented, with crew facilities and stations often located in the deepest parts of the ship, Battlestars can take a large amount of damage before their ability to function is impaired.

The main hull contains storage areas and bunk rooms for pilots and flight crew as well as engineering personnel.  In the earliest Battlestars, pilots would bunk together as this was said to reinforce their "esprit de corps".  In recent years some Battlestars put pilots in small staterooms, shared by 2-4 pilots in an attempt to give them a small measure of privacy.  The main hull often features ammo stores for the turrets.  The ammo stores are buried deep inside the ship and ammo is brought to the guns by a series of elevators, these heavily reinforced constructions act as firewalls and prevent accidental detonation of ammo from spreading to other parts of the ship.  Walkways and small trains connect the hull to the rest of the ship.  The main hull often had to accommodate the machinery that would allow the flight pods of older Battlestars to retract before a jump and also provide passage points to transfer spacecraft from one pod to the other if this is deemed necessary.

Flight pods contain one or more magnetized landing decks, elevators, repair and maintenance facilities and fighter launch tubes.  Most pods have weapons mounted on them and maintain their own separate ammo storage facilities.  Despite their size flight pods have limited space and the various crews are often at odds with each other when it comes to space allocation.  The flight decks are important as they allow fighter crews to land very quickly when a Battlestar is about to jump.  Without this deck, landings would take far too long, a dangerous prospect in a combat situation.  Because of the need to move fighters and equipment around, flight pods are often poorly compartimented, making them vulnerable when attacked.  Modern Battlestars have emergency bulkheads that close only when the situation becomes critical.  Older Battlestars often had to do without such safeties with a tragic loss of life in most cases.

The engine section contains the massive thrusters, generators and jump coils that allow Battlestars to fight and function in deep space.  The massive thrusters are kept running by a small army of technicians, some of which bunk in the engine section, ready to perform maintenance at any time.  A vital part of the the Battlestar's systems are the jump coils, most Battlestars will have at least two, though a few may have up to four coils, allowing them to jump even if other coils have discharged or are offline.

Many Battlestars are built from standardized components shared with other ships, cutting down costs and allowing for more variation in design without sacrificing production capacity.  The Atlantia class was famous for sharing its basic hull design with many different ships such as gunstars and missilestars.


  1. Next post with detailed schematics and floorplans ... please? ;-)

  2. I've got plenty of schematics for my own designs on my website. Floor plans for something the size of a Battlestar would be a near impossible task considering its size, complexity, and the lack of info from the series on the internal arrangement. The are the schematics in the out of print RPG but they show only a rough idea of the interior.