Orion Mk I Interceptor
The Orion is a short range starfighter designed to be based from space stations or capital ship as a defensive interceptor or offensive fighter.
For compact power and ease of maintenance, the Orion is powered by hydrogen burning engines. Its primary propulsion comes from a single main engine, with secondary engines for backup and minor course correction. Its unparalleled maneuverability is provided by 16 directional thrusters mounted on booms away from the craft's center of mass.
The Orion's maneuverability is enhanced by its balanced mass distribution which places the center of mass at the craft's exact center. The Orion is quadrilaterally symmetrical in terms of mass, and bilaterally symmetrical in mechanical design, providing full redundancy on every system, (including pilot, but excluding single main engine).
The Orion's weaponry consists of a deadly array of guided missiles. It carries 8 simple but deadly stealth kinetic missiles, which accelerate to high velocity towards the target, then deactivate their engines and release a volume of compressed nitrogen through an internal network of narrow tubes, instantly cooling the projectile and reducing its thermal signature, rendering the tiny frozen missile nearly invisible. Its 8 breacher torpedoes are designed to penetrate enemy craft by impact force before detonating. Its 4 shrapnel missiles contain powerful explosive charges which detonate as near as possible to the target, releasing a cloud of deadly fragments, impossible to fully deflect or dodge.
Foregoing shielding for the sake of reducing weight, the Orion relies primarily on its maneuverability and speed for defense. However, it also possesses a complement of kinetic slugs, which are fired to intercept and deflect incoming projectiles.
The Orion is operated by two pilots, whose cockpits are placed in a unique bilaterally opposed orientation. This evens mass distribution, as well as provides 360° of forward optical visibility. The microfilament reinforced, variable transparency canopies shield the pilot from dangerous radiation, as well as providing optical visibility for backup in case of external camera failure. In conjunction with the craft's computer and the pilot's helmet, the canopy adaptively darkens over dangerously bright light sources, such as explosions or engines. It can also be projected with camera views from the rear of the ship, or images from non-visible wavelengths, such as UV, infrared, or radio.
In combat, one pilot operates the craft, and the other the weapons systems. However, both cockpits contain full controls, and either pilot can operate the craft independently. Each cockpit also has fully independent life support systems.
In spite of the cramped conditions, the pilots of the Orion are proud to operate this small, fast, maneuverable, and deadly craft: a true starfighter.
Built for the Real World +200 Starfighter contest.
Comments and critique welcome.