From Bravo Fleet


S.S. Archimedes was a 21st century Sleeper ship designed and built by Stellar Aerospace Corporation between 2023 and 2031. The vessel was part of the company's Project Fulcrum; a risky endeavour aimed at attracting the public to colonise distant planets. Archimedes was the first and only attempt by a private company to leave the solar system with a manned spacecraft, but it only succeeded in becoming a commercial embarrassment to the company after contact with the Archimedes spacecraft was lost 18 hours after launch. The spacecraft was presumed destroyed with 82 souls on board.

Following the disaster, the President of the United states of America ordered a Presidential Commission to investigate the loss of the space craft and the events leading up to its destruction.

The subsequent inquiry found that corner cutting and safety violations were commonplace during the project and the resulting bad press in the wake of the disaster was the leading cause that lead the company to file for bankruptcy in 2033.

Following the disaster the United States Government imposed more stringent regulations on spaceflight in the private sector, effectively restricting private companies to operating within the confines of the inner most planets with a manned spacecraft.

Design History

During the early 21st century, there was a rapid expansion of private entrepreneurs looking to buy into commercial spaceflight. Most private companies set their sights on the innermost planets however CEO of the Stellar Aerospace Corporation Jackson Reynolds envisioned a bold new horizon. In 2023 Reynolds announced Project Fulcrum and unveiled the design of the Archimedes. Reynolds convinced his followers that the human race was too fragile being confined to the Solar system, and proposed to send a ship with over 500 colonists to a system that at the time was the most likely candidate for colonisation; TRAPPIST-1.

His design was peer reviewed by the scientific community, who praised the design for its relative simplicity and logical enhancement of design of the now defunct DY-100 class. Despite praise from peer review, the Inquiry following the disaster revealed that concerns were raised over the vessel's suitability for long distance space travel and suggestions that the design should be tested with shorter journeys first.

Archimedes was designed to be constructed in orbit from 3 separate pieces that would be docked and fused together; Propulsion & Power, Life support & Living Quarters and a cargo and re-entry section housed behind a large physical deflector shield.

The design called for these components to be constructed individually on the surface and then transported to orbit using conventional rockets. Once construction was complete a 4th launch carrying the crew and colonists would then dock with the superstructure. The colonists would then prep the ship for auto control and place themselves in suspended animation prior to Mission control on the ground initiating the actual launch of the vessel in orbit.

Archimedes was powered by Nuclear fusion which was advanced for the time.


The planned mission profile for Archimedes called for approximately 500 colonists, however this number was reduced significantly to just 80 colonists and 2 crew after public appeal for the project waivered and concerns were raised about sending so many people into space on an untested platform.

The plan was that Archimedes would break orbit of earth under conventional rocket motors and sent on a hyperbolic trajectory beyond the orbit of Neptune. This phase of the flight was expected to take 3-6 years to complete.

Phase 2 of the flight would see Archimedes power her nuclear engines for the first time as she approached apoapsis these engines would engage and accelerate the Archimedes to 2/3rds the speed of light. she was expected to remain under acceleration for approximately half her 40 light year journey at which point she would enter phase 3.

Phase 3 would have the Archimedes automatically reverse her orientation and power her nuclear engines for a deceleration burn, crew and colonists would awake from stasis in the final few years of the journey; as available power from the nuclear reactors would have reduced significantly.

Phase 4 would have the Archimedes crew take manual control and pilot their spacecraft to the most suitable planetary body in the system for colonisation. Total journey time was expected to exceed 150 years.


Archimedes was scheduled for a planned departure August 5th 2031, however launch was delayed due to a tropical depression approaching cape Canaveral which prevented the final launch of the crew. On August 4th the crew launched from cape Canaveral and docked with the Archimedes 72 hours later.

On August 9th final pre-departure checks were underway, the crew was placed into stasis and mission control prepared to ignite the Archimedes engines. The later Inquiry revealed that prior to the final Go/No go poll, a 'Glitch' was identified with the systems used to control Archimedes. At 20:00 UTC August 9th 2031, Mission control initiated the launch sequence and Archimedes ignited her four main booster engines and proceeded on a hyperbolic trajectory.

At around 14:00 UTC August 10th 2031, Mission control attempted to command an emergency engine shutdown as the data downlink from the spacecraft detected an anomaly with the nuclear reactors that would be expected to power the spacecraft during phase 2. Testimony during the subsequent inquiry cited this anomaly as being readings that would suggest the nuclear reactors to be in melt-down, however this was dismissed as impossible as they were not yet brought online. Engineers believed that faulty sensors were to blame none the less the decision was made to abort the mission and focus on bringing Archimedes onto a free return trajectory home. At 14:09 UTC mission control lost contact with the spacecraft. At the time of last known contact Archimedes was only around 400,000 miles from earth, Conventional and orbital telescopes recorded a flash of bright light and a burst of gamma ray emissions from her last known position; she was therefore presumed to have been destroyed with all hands lost.

Presidential Commission into the Archimedes Disaster

After a period of world-wide mourning for the crew, the President of the United states ordered a Presidential commission into the disaster.

The investigation lasted 4 years culminating in testimony from over 1,000 individuals who had involvement in the project. former CEO Jackson Reynolds was initially subpoenaed to testify but passed away 6 months prior to the hearing.

The report from the commission concluded that poor practices in the construction and design of the vessel likely lead to the vessels main reactors being brought online inadvertently. The vessels fail-safes failed to engage and a runway reaction commenced which resulted in the reactors reaching criticality and causing the destruction of the spacecraft.

Just 2 years after the disaster Stellar Aerospace Corp filed for bankruptcy.


The Archimedes disaster served as a stark reminder that space travel was sufficiently hazardous to warrant government regulation. In the years following the disaster the United states passed legislation that restricted private spaceflight to the innermost planets of the solar system, where effective rescue was thought to be possible.

Due to various non-disclosure agreements, the names of the Archimedes crew were never released to the public. Their families received private settlements out of court which is the primary reason Stellar Aerospace entered into insolvency. As such no public memorial ever existed, despite the significant loss of life.

The lack of disclosure on the subject gave rise to many conspiracy theories that the Archimedes was in-fact unmanned and some theories even suggested that the spacecraft never existed at all.

Many records relating to the Archimedes disaster were ultimately lost during the bombings of the Third world war and knowledge of the disaster gradually became myth and legend. As of 2401 most public record of the Archimedes disaster is incomplete and is not easily verifiable. The only universally agreed details of the disaster stem from what remains of the Presidential Commission's report, however even this record is Incomplete.

There have been many expeditions to locate pieces of the Archimedes wreckage but so far none have uncovered any evidence of its existence.

In 2364 a group of under-grad students at the University of Alpha Centari claimed to have uncovered the data recorder from Archimedes while on a field trip. Their claim was later discovered to be an elaborate hoax of which there have been many over the last few centuries.