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24 manuvering thrusters
30 Type-XII phaser arrays
24 Torpedo Launchers
Standard Deflector Shields
The Aurora-class spacedock is the smallest class of spacedock in Starfleet service. Though it dwarfs the largest non-spacedock station classes, it is less than half the size of the Spacedock-class and it is intended to serve in areas that need the support of a spacedock but where one of the larger stations is unnecessary. Serving a middle ground between the very large Spacedock and Guardian-class stations, Aurora-class stations are much less common than either the largest non-spacedock stations or their larger cousins, but they are frequently found at important junctions of the Federation's space lanes and anchoring defensive lines on the frontier where a larger station would be too vulnerable.
A member of the Spacedock family, the Aurora-class was first commissioned alongside the Excelsior-class. Though built with large enough openings to give these ships and the later Ambassador-class more than enough clearance, they are not large enough for Starfleet's Galaxy, Nebula, and Odyssey-class starships, which must use the four external docking ports instead. Despite this size limitation, the class is more than capable of servicing modern starships and is an important part of Starfleet's inventory.
The smallest of the three spacedock-type stations, the Aurora-class is nevertheless a major space station with the capability to build and maintain starships and to serve as the administrative hub for an entire sector of space. This station's commercial and scientific facilities are more limited than her larger cousins, but they perform important roles in the Federation's trade and exploratory networks. Aurora-class stations are also well-armed and shielded, defending key frontier worlds and anchoring larger defensive networks.
At a glance, an Aurora-class station resembles the primary docking facility of a Spacedock-class station without the long stalk beneath it, and this is the origin of the design, but the specifics of this base differ significantly from that design: the spacedock is built in two halves like a mollusk shell, with the two domes joined by an equatorial band, which has four transfer bridges to a large habitat ring, and beneath the main hanger is a reactor and communications tower. Like the Spacedock-class, a travel core runs through the center of the station to link all of the areas together, but given its much smaller size, it does not have the multi-story trams found on the larger class.
Upper Spires, Administrative Tower, & Upper Habitat Module
The top of the station has five groups of spires, which are a mix of short and medium-range communications aerials and sensor suites, as well as subsidiary shield generators. The central group is attached to a tower, which contains station operations in a module at the very top and other administrative offices for senior leadership throughout the tower, as well as the station's six primary computer cores and its own shield generators. Beneath the tower and spires is a sloped disk-shape module approximately 30 decks tall that houses about half of the station's 5,000-person crew, as well as medical facilities, labs, secure cargo bays, and crew support systems. Near the center of this module is the station's arboretum, which is a cylinder five decks high. Unlike the Spacedock-class, the goal here is not to simulate a planetary environment but to simply provide green space and oxygen-producing plants.
The spacedock is the largest section of the station. Split into two haves with an interconnecting equatorial band, the walls of the spacedock contain contingency quarters for visitors and mission-configurable space. The bay itself has two identical central towers, with four wings accommodating two starships each, for a total of sixteen internal starship berths. The towers also contain half of the station's sixteen internal shuttle bays, with the other half (along with extensive cargo bays) facing into the bay in the equatorial band.
The bridges connecting the spacedock to the habitat ring are home to the station's largest cargo bays, as well as the sixteen runabout pads (four per bridge). There is little space in these areas that is not taken up by either mechanical space or storage areas, so there are two trams per bridge that take passengers rapidly from the central travel core out to the habitat ring, with an intermediate stop in the middle to access the runabout pads.
The habitat ring is home to the station's civilian population, with space for up to 50,000 residents in this area. Quarters face both towards the body of the station and away from it, with outwards-facing quarters being reserved for residents who have been aboard the station longer. There are four starship docking ports, one where each of the interconnecting bridges meets the habitat ring. Around these docking ports are receiving bays for cargo. A promenade runs through the middle three decks of the habitat ring, largely consisting of green space approximately fifty meters wide, which contains access to holodecks, lounges, and recreational facilities. The station's restaurants, lounges, bars, and other commercial venues are concentrated in four plazas in the areas near the four docking ports.
Lower Habitat Module
The lower habitat module is a toroidal (ring-shaped) module under the spacedock, about thirty decks tall. Its primary purpose is to house the rest of the station's 5,000 crewmembers. Quarters in this area are larger than the ones in the upper module, and are generally reserved for families. The 'green belt' is an area that runs through the center five decks of this module and provides parkland and access to recreational facilities, similar to the promenade in the habitat ring. This module contains additional accommodations for 20,000 civilians or Starfleet personnel. When the station's population is not close to its cap, this space is generally reserved for emergency situations where the station might need to house a large group of people for whatever reason.
Reactor & Communications Module
The lowest module is the reactor module, which contains four large fusion reactors to power the station, as well as the station's primary long-range communications array. It is attached by a short 'stalk' that joins the spacedock in the center of the Lower Habitat Module. This module contains additional laboratory space and engineering fabrication bays.
The Aurora-class design is just past its 100th birthday. Newer stations have been built with the latest technology integrated into the design as well as it can be, while older stations have received regular updates. It is not obsolete or antique in any way, but it is also not cutting-edge like the Guardian-class, because of the simple fact that integrating the absolute latest and greatest technologies into a base of this size would require substantial re-engineering of the entire structure.
Computer systems remain isolinear and interfaces are standard LCARS touch panels rather than holographic ones in most cases, but the majority of these stations have been upgraded with station-wide holographic projectors for the use of EMH programs. Some Aurora-class stations have been equipped with point-to-point transporters, but the majority rely on standard turbolifts and the interconnecting bridge trams.
Main power is provided by four large fusion reactors in the reactor module, with secondary power provided by a hundred smaller fusion reactors spread throughout the station for maximum redundancy. These modules are very similar to the impulse reactors you would find aboard a starship, offering consistent, reliable performance with low maintenance.
Like all spacedocks, the Aurora-class is a subspace relay station, and its communications hubs are one of the systems that remains at the cutting edge, since these important subspace network hubs can't be allowed to fall behind the technology of the other links in the chain.
Docking & Cargo Facilities
This class of station's primary function is to service starships, both Starfleet and civilian. The upper half of the spacedock is reserved for Starfleet traffic under most circumstances, with civilians using the lower doors. This keeps traffic orderly and allows stations to pre-position the appropriate personnel and resources needed to handle the needs of visiting ships. The station was designed to accommodate up to sixteen Excelsior-class starships in its spacedock at any one time, and it can still handle up to sixteen vessels of classes up to the width of an Ambassador-class heavy cruiser, but the largest starships must dock at one of the four external ports on the habitat ring. All twenty of these berths can fully refuel or resupply a starship within a few hours, but major repairs generally need to be conducted within the spacedock itself. Aurora-class ships intended to service larger starships on a regular basis have drydock facilities nearby instead. Generally speaking, though, if Starfleet anticipates using a base to regularly service the largest explorers, it will instead build a Spacedock or Guardian-class station.
Aurora-class starships can and do build starships, especially small starships like the Saber-class or Reliant-class. However, due to the limited space within the docking facility (building a starship ties up a berth for months or even years, while impeding the traffic of the adjacent one), these stations are more often used for overhauls and refits than building ships from scratch, unless they're specifically intended to serve as shipyards. Even in that case, they often serve as the anchor, parts supply and crew accommodations for a series of independent drydock facilities rather than tying up the internal bay.
Cargo facilities are spread throughout the station but are concentrated in the interconnecting bridge, near the four docking ports, and the equatorial band of the spacedock. Cargo transfers are handled by workbee within the spacedock or by large-scale cargo transporters and elevators in other areas. In addition to the passenger trams in the interconnecting bridges, there is a cargo tram for moving large cargo from the spacedock out to the bays in the bridges or near the docking ports, especially cargo that cannot be transported. Short term cargo storage is available within the central docking towers.
Shuttles are stored within the spacedock in sixteen bays spread between the central docking tower and the equatorial band, making this class relatively unusual in that it does not have any space-facing shuttle bays, which makes them a poor candidate to host fighter squadrons. Runabouts are launched and recovered from sixteen runabout pads in the interconnecting bridges, a feature added in the 2360s. Starfleet is considering upgrading these facilities to be able to handle small starships, such as the Defiant-class and Nova-class that are equipped with landing legs, but this has not yet come to fruition. Though poorly-suited to employing fighters, Aurora-class bases are sometimes provided with two squadrons of sixteen fighters when the tactical situation warrants.
Originally equipped with Type-IX phaser banks (a novel type of phaser developed specifically for this base with improved power from the Type-VIII used aboard the Excelsior-class), the weapons aboard this station have been routinely upgraded over the decades, first to the Type-IX array in the 2340s, then the Type-X in the 2350s, and now to the Type-XII by the 2380s. The original design only had phaser banks on the habitat ring, but armaments were expanded significantly in the face of the Borg and Dominion threats. The dorsal and ventral surfaces of spacedock and of the habitat ring each have twelve arrays spaced at 30 degree intervals. These forty-eight phaser arrays provide comprehensive energy weapon coverage. In addition, Aurora-class stations now carry torpedoes: the end of each interconnecting bridge has four torpedo turrets, two dorsal and two ventral, for a total of sixteen launchers.
The station's shields are quite powerful, with multiple generators spread around the station. Most of these stations still use standard graviton shielding, but the power of their generators is substantial enough to whether even the most concerted attacks. While not armed-to-the-teeth like the Guardian-class, this station is still more than capable of holding its own against most threats. Bases in especially contested areas are often provided with orbiting defensive platforms.
Population & Stationboard Life
Small by spacedock standards, the Aurora-class has a maximum total population of 75,000. Most stations of this class have a permanent crew of 5,000 and 10,000 civilian residents, but this varies based on the station's location and exact mission. Stations anchoring shipyards might have a much larger Starfleet contingent that is not part of the station's actual crew, as drydocks do not typically have accommodations themselves.
Aurora-class stations are very comfortable, with large, private quarters for almost all residents and crewmembers. Because civilians are housed in the habitat ring and Starfleet personnel are housed within the main body of the station, Aurora-class bases can develop a sort of split personality, with distinct civilian and Starfleet cultures emerging because of their physical separation, something that isn't helped by needing to take a tram to the outer ring. Most station commanders work to overcome this by hosting cultural events, and the station's promenade serves as a natural mingling point for not just the station's two populations but also for them and the crews of visiting ships.
Despite being the smallest of the spacedock-type station classes, Aurora-class stations have the longest promenades of any station in the fleet, with nearly four kilometers of length. Not all of this space is occupied by venues, though, and much of it remains dedicated to greenspace. Being smaller does mean the lack of an arboretum dome like the Spacedock-class, as they instead have a much smaller cylindrical arboretum, but some stations of this class are being equipped with technology designed for the Guardian-class that can simulate an M-class environment through holographic deception.
Medical facilities are well-equipped, with a large infirmary each in the central docking tower and near the four docking ports. The station's hospital occupies three full levels of the upper habitat module, and additional small infirmaries are spread throughout the station to provide comprehensive access to coverage.
Aurora-class stations are something of a middle child between the very largest stations and the much more common Presidium and Unity-class stations that anchor many starbases. They're huge, but not enormous, providing a sense of scale and being in a city in space, but without many of features of her larger sisters that can make one feel as though they are on a planet's surface. These bases tend to be in frontier areas, where the ability to support a large number of starships is necessary which smaller classes can't handle but where a larger base would either be too costly to build or too vulnerable, which usually means that they're at least slightly more exciting to live on. A larger spacedock might go months or even a few years without needing to go to red alert, because they are located so far from trouble, but that's not always the case for the Aurora-class.
Earth Spacedock was completed in 2267 the Federation-class dreadnought was the largest starship not only in service but imaginable in the first place. The advent of the larger Excelsior-class in the 2280s tested this station's capabilities, as its docking bay doors barely accommodated Starfleet's newest and greatest ship. In addition, the design was extremely costly and time-consuming to build, with the original station taking almost seventeen years to build! Starfleet had already green-lit a project to scale Earth Spacedock's design up significantly (to the design that would be known as the Spacedock-class), even as additional stations were contemplated for Vulcan, Andoria, and Tellar, but this only increased the gap between Starfleet's largest station and its frontline bases, such as the K-class and Watchtower-class, both of which were becoming increasingly outdated and unable to service modern starships effectively. As the Spacedock-class project proceeded, Starfleet ordered the Corps of Engineers to develop a new station design based on the principles of Earth Spacedock but at a scale that could reasonably be built in frontier locations relatively quickly.
The Aurora-class design process involved taking the most essential features of Earth Spacedock and breaking it into components that could be constructed at scale. The spacedock itself was shrunk in width, but had its doors expanded to twice the width of the Excelsior-class, with the goal of future-proofing it. It was also decided that the upper and lower sections would mirror one another, providing four more space doors. The bulk of the station, its 'stalk', was truncated significantly to take out the arboretum dome, habitat modules, and large spherical reactor module, the latter being replaced by a much smaller cylindrical unit. In addition, a docking ring was added, presaging the day when starships would be too large to enter the main spacedock and for traffic that would be on a quicker turn-around than the internal bay could provide.
The first Aurora-class station, which replaced a Watchtower-class base as the core of Starbase 201, began construction in 2290 and took eight years to build, thanks to many of its sections being built at shipyards and then towed into position, rather than the base being built entirely in situ like Earth Spacedock was. An additional dozen bases followed in the next decade, and until the late 2320s when the first Spacedock-class station was finished, the class was the largest space station design other than Earth Spacedock in the Federation.
In service, the Aurora-class performed well, exceeding by far the capabilities of smaller bases, but Starfleet's priorities shifted to building several dozen of the new, larger Spacedock-class class stations spread throughout the Federation supported by members of the Regula-class family, rather than a larger number of Aurora-class stations, as it was not felt that the performance increase over smaller bases or the cost savings over larger bases was worth it for about 80% of the locations selected. In the mid-24th century, several Aurora-class bases were dismantled and moved from locations in the core to locations closer to the frontier, and now there are very few of these bases close to the heart of the Federation. Even by the 2330s, the station's defenses were considered inadequate, and they were on of the first systems to be updated: first by adding torpedo launchers, and then by adding a series of increasingly powerful arrays.
By 2399, the Aurora-class is a middle-child spacedock, serving in its role well but generally not being chosen where a smaller base will suffice or where a larger base is worth the investment. Currently, two of the most important Aurora-class stations are Starbase 86 near The Triangle and the station serving as the heart of Devron Fleet Yards, both situations where a spacedock was necessary but where it would have taken far too long to build a larger station.
Aurora-class spacedocks In-Play
- Like other spacedocks, Aurora-class stations are among the largest in the Federation. They're much smaller than the other two classes, though, even if they do dwarf those in the next size category. This makes them less likely to be built than the stations larger and smaller than them, as they're a significant investment while at the same time being less capable than the larger spacedocks. These bases are pretty uncommon, as mentioned in the text above, but not because of any design flaw per se, just because there is a lot overlap in what they can do with other classes.
- Despite their age, Aurora-class stations are still very capable bases. If your ship is in need of repairs, this type of base is more than up to the challenge. Indeed, that's why they exist at all: to service starships. Your very large ship might not fit through the doors, though, and in that case you'll have to dock at the habitat ring.