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Help: Temporary Space Stations

A temporary space station is a small, free-floating station with a rather limited lifetime which is constructed and maintained by civilian pilots.

Temporary space stations are constructed out of modules. The type of modules used to build it will determine what functionality it has. Anything from simple recharging waypoints to artifact research stations to salvage processing stations to defense platforms are possible depending on the modules used.

CLASSES OF MODULES

Station modules have four classes.

* Core: The core module is what the entire station is built around. It contains the docking bay, the life support system, and the core storage module, and it will interface with all of the other modules on the station. The core module also provides one hour of emergency power.

* Top: The top module fits to the top of core module and contains the station's control room. This determines the basic class of the station, whether it's an armed watchtower, an interdiction platform, or simply has basic, low-power functionality.

* Power Plant: This module fits to the bottom of the core module and contains the station's primary power supply. Different power plants will support varying amounts of power drain from other modules and will last for varying amounts of time. You will find more about power management below.

* Side: This module fits to the sides of the core module. A core module has four side interfaces, so you can fit four side modules, though you may be limited by other factors (especially power usage). Side modules have by far the most variance, and will provide most of the functionality of the station.

ACQUIRING MODULES

Modules must be purchased, along with other essential supplies. They have varying point requirements and credit costs. If you are a trustee of an organization, you may purchase modules on its behalf and use the organization's point levels instead of your own. This is required for any module with a command point requirement.

Organizations may also purchase modules with megacredits. Individuals cannot.

In order to transport modules, you will need a ship with a module bay, such as the AFW Space Module Transport. When such a ship is present on a nearby landing pad, purchased modules will be loaded into the bay by the spaceport.

OTHER SUPPLIES

Once in deep space, you will need space-rated hover-frontloaders, commonly known as "space lifters," in order to move your station modules. You will probably want to purchase one for each member of your crew to speed up the construction process.

You will also need a supply of air hoses and power feeds to interconnect your modules. Each module must have one air hose and one power feed connection between itself and the core module. Air hoses and power feeds both come in packs, and must be fitted to reels in order to be dispensed.

The module facility will sell all of this extra equipment nearby.

POWER MANAGEMENT

Each power plant has a numerical power supply rating, and each other type of module has a power usage rating. Total power usage cannot exceed power supply. You must keep this in mind when planning your station's design.

Most power plants simply run for their lifetime, providing steady power, then shut down. Some unique types of power plants are available, however. One type is solar, which must be used in proximity to a star in order to produce any power at all. The output of a solar power plant will depend upon the luminosity of the star.

Another type is the blast chamber. This usually provides a greater than average power supply, but it must be fed debris as fuel. Therefore it should be used in close proximity to a debris field of some type.

STATION LIFETIME

Temporary space stations, as the name implies, are not made to last. Regardless of all else, your power plant and therefore your station has a maximum lifetime. When your power plant shuts down, your core module will provide one hour of emergency power, allowing you to finish up station operations. At the end of that time, the station's magnetic interlocks will fail and the entire station will fall apart. A rescue pod system will save any personnel still aboard the station.

Modules and other equipment used to build temporary space stations are designed for one use and cannot be recovered.

STATION CONSTRUCTION

Constructing a temporary space station is a fairly simple though often lengthy process.

1) Stop your module transport where you wish to build your station. If you are using a solar or blast chamber power plant, you must be within the required area, not outside of it.

2) The pilot must open the module bay door with the BAY command.

3) All crew should proceed to the module bay.

4) Each crewmember should choose a space lifter and ATTACH a module to it.

5) Each loaded space lifter must be PUSHed out into space. The lifter's operator should follow it.

6) Each space lifter should be DETACHed from its module. This will leave the module free-floating. The space lifter should be pushed back IN to the ship.

7) The crewmember should RETURN to the ship for other needed modules or supplies. Repeat until all desired modules are outside of the ship.

8) The crew should now begin taking lengths of air hoses and power feeds and connecting each module to the core module.

9) As each module is connected to the core with air and power, it should be COMBINEd with the core to achieve a hard interlock.

10) When all desired modules are locked to the core module, you should COMBINE the core module in order to construct the final space station.

11) The pilot should close the module bay door and the crew should proceed with station operations.

12) If your power plant uses a blast chamber, your station is already on emergency power. A ready load of debris should be transferred to the station immediately.

13) If the station possesses an active beacon module, an enemy response is likely.

STATION OWNERSHIP

The controlling alliance of a temporary space station is the alliance of the individual or organization that contributed the core module. However, you should be aware that temporary stations possess no flight control and will not prevent any ship from docking.

If your station goes online in communications range, its controlling alliance will be notified.

When a station operation results in a reward of command points, all organizations that contributed a module will be credited. This eliminates any need for organizations to compete over who constructs a station. Organizations and individuals will maximize their profits by sharing costs and cooperating in station construction.

STATION BEACONS

You may purchase beacon modules for your station. This allows starships in range to autotravel directly to your station. It is most beneficial to create beacon + accelerator combinations going to and from important locations. Check the Autotravel help file for more information on this.

Generally, other alliances will not know about your station unless you inform them of it or they make an effort to find it. If it is in deep space, it will be nearly impossible to find.

For the safety of humanity and to avoid misunderstandings with local forces, only passive beacons should be used in the vicinity of Tandem Pact space.

RESOURCE STORAGE

When you complete a salvage operation or submit an artifact, those resources do not instantly teleport back home. Instead, they are stored in the core storage module within the station.

This core storage module will be ejected automatically if the station is destroyed or its power is depleted. This module can then be salvaged by a module transport, transported to a spaceport with the necessary facilities, and transferred. At this time, payout for all completed operations will occur.

Certain modules will provide the station with a mobile storage module, which can be transported home at any time. At the higher end, this module can be transported via wormhole, for a much shorter delay. This is done via the TRANSFER command in the station control room. This can be performed at any time and is repeatable, assuming the mobile storage module is currently at the station.

In general, credits and points will not be awarded for station operations until the storage module is transferred, one way or another. Bounties and decoy beacon drop payouts are an exception.

STATION CONTROL

The control room has a number of functions, rather like an immobile starship.

* STARMAP: View the sector.

* RUNDOWN: View a coordinate rundown.

* GENERAL: Use general sector communication.

* POWER: View the station's power status.

* TRANSFER or EJECT: Either eject the mobile storage module into space or transfer it via wormhole, depending on which function the station is equipped for.

* CONTRIBUTORS: See who contributed to the building of the station. The organizations listed are the ones who will get credit for station functions.

* LABEL: Change the identifier of a beacon-enabled station.

* LRL: Fire the long-range lasers, if the station possesses them.

* TRACE: Use the wormhole drive tracer, if the station possesses one.

* INTERDICT: Use the interdiction system, if the station possesses one.

* LRSCAN: Use the passive long-range sensor system, or check up on recent ping returns if the station has an active long-range sensor system.

* PING: Initiate a sensor sweep with the active long-range sensor system, if the station possesses one.

* HYPERCAST: Control the hyperwave broadcaster system, if the station possesses one.

* CARRIER: Hyperwave-enabled stations may transmit carrier signals. This command is used to see the status of any carrier signals your station is receiving.

* DAMPEN: Use the sensor dampening system, if the station possesses one.

* MESSAGE: Change the message transmitted by message beacon stations.

* AUTONAV: Change the autonavigation setting.

* TOLL: Set a toll on a toll station.

* ALLOW: Control alliance access/allowances on a toll station.

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