Some 9 years before the Unification War, ship designer Contessa Herkeimer set about designing the light cargo transport to supply the needs of border and rim world freight shippers. The result was the 'Knorr'. Her design was fairly radical for the time, and seems to create polarized opinions. People either love the vessel, or hate it. There aren't many sitting on the fence.
Herkeimer's first design decision was to make a fixed engine craft, to decrease complexity. Second was to make her a vertical lander, for the same reason. The Knorr's deck planes match the acceleration planes, making less strain on (and need for) artificial gravity aboard. Because of the slight tonnage of the vessel, there are no secondary craft aboard, a design decision considered suicidal by some, although small two-man escape pods offset this to a degree. The cockpit is positioned directly above the main airlock, relative to a planetary landing, which allows a greater degree of control when docking. The pulse drive was positioned forward of the thrusters, another innovation which has raised a few eyebrows.
All of the design considerations have reduced her crew requirement down to pilot copilot, and engineer. Anyone with even basic technical skill can usually keep her limping along to a service location. Regardless, many bottom-of-the-barrel mechanics eek out a position aboard a Knorr as the ship's engineer, kept aboard just in case.
The Herkeimer Knorr has become a familiar sight in the light transport lanes away from the core. The vessel is not terribly competitive against larger bulk transports that ply the trades lanes of the core, and is therefore a less frequent sight there.
- Tonnage: 750 tons
- Speed Class: 5 cruise / 7 hard-burn
- Crew: 3
- Fuel Capacity: 15 tons (800 Hours)
- Cargo Capacity: 210 tons
- Passengers: 5
- Price: 22,500 new
- Maintenance Cost: 900
- Source: "Six-Shooter and Spaceships"
- The Knarr (Knorr) was a type of Norse merchant ship.