Red (Tau Ceti Colony Ship)
Red (Tau Ceti Shuttle)
Image from Anders Sandberg
Launched from the TerraNova Project Docks in Earth orbit on Brahe 20, 584 AT (2453 c.e.), the colony ship Red was the first manned vessel to arrive at a world orbiting another star, at Tau Ceti II (Nova Terra) in 596 A.T.

The first successful manned interstellar mission (the Tsiolkovsky) was launched in 465 a.t.arriving at Tau Ceti in 588. This was followed by a series of shuttle colony ships, the first of which (Red), was completed and launched from Solsysin 484 AT . This ship survives and is preserved in a pristine condition using ultratech. It is one of the oldest surviving spacecraft in the Terragen sphere. Red was followed at intervals by three similar vessels, Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue.

The total length of the Red is 1443 meters. This craft, like the others in this series, was accelerated by an early form of Boostbeam in order to reach interstellar cruising speed. The bow is protected by the seven ice shields/tanks, containing water ice for use as reaction mass and radiation shielding. Behind the tanks are the cylindrical main section, containing life support, habitat modules, and cryostasis pods to hold the frozen colonists. On both sides external cargo sections have been attached, and two of the shuttle bays are visible at the top as well as the long-range transceiver which was used for Earth-ship communication during the trip. Most of the hull is covered with grey and brown radiation insulating foam. The main fusion systems and thrusters, mainly used for deceleration, are located at the stern.

The other Nova colony shuttles, Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue were constructed along similar lines, with minor differences mainly in the crew compartments and equipment sections. Blue was unfortunately contaminated with Black Rot before departure from the Solar System and was dismantled during decontamination on arrival in 676 AT. Despite this setback the basic design proved reliable and was used (with some upgrading) by later colonisation efforts by the Tau Ceti system, such as the mission to Dante in 1380 AT.

red2 Tau Ceti Shuttle
Image from Anders Sandberg
Stern view of Red. Here the four main thrusters are visible, as well as the cooling boxes of the fusion reactors

The Red is currently a museum in Oakmann Orbit, operated by the Terra Nova Colonial Foundation. Opening times are weekdays 9:00-16:00, weekends 7:00-16:00. Tours of the exterior are done every hour. On Arrival Day special showings and celebrations are held, tickets have to be pre-ordered well in time.

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Some examples of Orion's Arm spaceships
Size comparison chart of spaceships used at various times in the Terragen Sphere (including the colony ship Red)
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Text by Original article by Anders Sandberg
Last updated by Steve Bowers and QwertYerty 2017
Initially published on 03 July 2008.