Sun, Feb 28, 2021 at 4:12 PM
I like it! Food for thought. With all this work and creative problem solving, I'll have to do an extensive write-up of the ship, once it's finished.
Removable magnetic anchors would be a solution for many problems outside a ship, and not just with this vessel. I can imagine that would be a very common type of item in space.
Many spacesuits in this future have integrated thruster points; put that together with tools like these, liberal ladders spaced round the vessel, quality training, and lots of external lighting, and working out there begins to seem...well, not safe, really, but safer.
Sun, Feb 28, 2021 at 5:05 PM
Last one for today...
Here is another render, this time from below and behind showing more of the ladder work. I've run ladders through the engine area, but still intend to provide that 'cage' you suggested. It seems appropriate.
Personally, I don't think the main engines swivel in their mounts like the thrusters. Instead the amount of thrust between the four engines would be varied to provide the vectoring force. But in truth, that vectored force would only make sense when the cargo hauler is travelling on its own. Once attached to the cargo container the amount of thrust between the two (or more) attached haulers on opposing sides of the container would have far more turning effect than swivelling the thruster cones a bit. In addition, you have already suggested that there will be auxiliary thruster drones attached to various points along the cargo load. These remote thrusters would have far more effect on changing direction. I would make up a small graphic to illustrate this, but it is late and I'm a bit crispy at the edges.
Sun, Feb 28, 2021 at 7:23 PM
Looking good! Yeah, swiveling thruster cones for the main drive don't really make sense. I would imagine that the deployable thruster drones would handle most directional adjustments; and these, of course, can be moved around the cargo box as needed.
Fine tuning a vector for orbital insertion might be handled by outside vessels. It seems to me that automated tugboat craft would be available in most systems for that purpose. This lets Orbital Control in different star systems choose the approaches and vectors that best suit them, and their current traffic situations. The Tottenbergs wouldn't even need to be involved at all. They could just cut the boxes loose upon arrival, and transition to a staging orbit somewhere near the jump point. They move off for fueling/servicing, then take on another box, or set of entrained boxes, and starjump out. If the crew is scheduled for leave, they might hang around a little longer, but most of the time the ships are on the move.