Now we’re moving to the interesting topic of space propulsion, and which one to use. Since GURPS Spaceships offers a large number of them, I’m only going to look at the best ones - some, like ion drives or chemical rockets, are simply going to lack in either thrust or efficiency to be useful.

# Space Travel

Now that it is decided that there are torch drives, how does the space travel in this setting look like?

First of all, interfaces. To get off planet, the usual way is to use a water-torch powered shuttle (usually winged, but that is optional). Tickets are fairly cheap - $500 for a trip to LEO. On some major worlds, there are space elevators. Those aren’t being built much, since shuttles are much more flexible, but can be used for freight, at a competitive$20 per ton. Once in orbit, you either dock with a station, a High Port in Traveller parlance, or a spacecraft parked in orbit. That’s what you’d do to refuel when there’s no fuel service in orbit - use your own shuttle to transport water from the ground, possibly from an automated extraction-and-purification-installation.

Now that you’re in orbit, you want to get somewhere. To do so, you get onto a passenger transport like the Meizi PSV from Spaceships 8, p. 25. If you’re in luck, you’re sufficiently wealthy to travel in one of the 35 luxury cabins, otherwise you’ll get one of the 154 standard cabins assigned. Those are located in spin capsules, and for most of the time those will spin. However, they will be three times per day, before the acceleration phases that precede and follow each jump (burning into escape orbit, transfer orbit, and parking orbit). The Meizi would be used for less-used routes, and the only planets you’d get to see are the major stops once per week.

Military spacecraft, on the other hand, do not use spin capsules. They are also significantly more crowded and utilitarian than the PSVs. Most of the military spacecraft patrol during peace time, since the FTL setup actually allows piracy.

Should there be a need for operating on the surface, military lift shuttles can easily transfer personnel and equipment, operating LEO-surface-LEO. They will probably be more heavily armoured than the commercial ones, and might have some short-range weaponry to suppress landing zones - the light ones, at least. The heavy shuttles probably aren’t built for deployment into hostile fire, though. Tech also allows for more direct air support, using heavily-armoured gunships. Oh, each of them will probably be VTOL-capable, using their torches to stand in the air. That consumes one fuel tank every 12.5 minutes, though - gunships and shuttles operating in atmosphere should probably mount ram-rockets, which will allow greater endurance.