5 Spaceships Coming Soon(TM) to a Sci-Fi Universe Near You

Take a look at five upcoming chariots to the stars guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any discerning spaceship spotter.

Spaceships are cool. I think we can agree on that, right? After all, isn't that why you're here?

Any video game, movie, book or vocation can be dramatically improved by the addition of spaceships. It's like a fundamental law of the universe - at least it is if you're a sci-fi geek.

Luckily for those of us who are of a spacecraftian disposition, there's a whole new bunch of spaceships heading our way in the next few months and they are looking oh so very shiny. Some come with a whole new universe attached, others give us new ways to explore existing or re-imagined ones.

Here's a quick look at 5 of the incoming vessels, shown in order of release.

Which one will you most be looking forward to flying?

 

The Pride of Albion/Albion Skunk

The Albion will be the centrepiece of X-Rebirth's gameplay. Although there's not much info available for the Pride of Albion (also dubbed the Albion Skunk), screenshots show it looks very similar to the Albion Pride from X3: Albion Prelude. Egosoft studio director Bernd Lehahn has hinted that the ship has a long history, so it is quite possible that it is the same ship.

According to the Argonopedia, the Albion Pride was multi-purpose craft often used as personal command ships by high-ranking executives. In X-Rebirth, it will play the vital role of headquarters, transport and protection for the pilot and his crew. It is by far the largest vessel in our selection here.

Key Info

Class: M6 Corvette
Crew:
Captain, pilot, co-pilot + unspecified number of crew.
Speed: 78.5-157 m/s
Hull: 380,000hp
Defences: Shield - Max 3 x 200 MJ generators (600,000hp)
Armament: 5 gun turret hardpoints + missile system
Other Info: Highly customizable command ship capable of deploying an assortment of remote drones.

Launch Date: 15th November 2013
Source: X-Rebirth (Egosoft)

The Astero

Manufactured by the secretive Servant Sisters of EVE's militant Sanctuary division, the Astero is one of the new ships being introduced in to EVE Online in the upcoming Rubicon expansion.

The Astero (and its cruiser-class big sister, the Stratios) is designed around EVE's current development theme of exploration and will be capable of fitting modules to enable the piloting capsuleer to roam EVE's threat-filled star systems in search of undiscovered loot. Rumours that they are merely an elaborate trap to get more capsuleers killed are almost entirely unfounded. Maybe.

Key Info

Class: Frigate (69m long)
Crew: 2-10 or Capsuleer + 1-3 crew
Speed: 312 m/s (base speed)
Hull strength: 600hp
Defences: Shield (540hp), Armour (540hp)
Armament: 2 turret hardpoints
Other Info: Fitting bonuses allow the use of a covert ops cloaking device and improved performance of scanner probes and hacking devices. Can field 5 light scout drones.

Launch Date: 19th November 2013
Source: EVE Online (CCP Games)

The Liberator

The recently announced Galactic Starfighter expansion to Star Wars: The Old Republic finally adds the all important spaceship combat string to the MMO's erm... bowcaster? [Error: analogy does not parse, Wookie bowcasters have no strings.]

As the Old Republic and the Sith Empire's conflict spills out into the stars, it is the Liberator-class starfighter that is the Republic Navy's small ship mainstay against the enemy Mark VI Supremacy-class starfighters. According to the Wookiepedia, they are typically launched in squadrons from larger corvette- or cruiser-class vessels. Liberators were relied upon for escort, interception and air-to-ground attack duties.

Key Info

Class: Starfighter
Crew: 1 pilot
Speed: Unknown
Hull strength: Unknown
Defences: Deflector shields, very high manoeuvrability
Armament: Laser cannon & concussion missiles
Other Info: "A different model of the fighter, known as the Striker-class, had additional room for an astromech droid and lightsaber storage."

Launch Date: 4th February 2014 (with early access for subscribers on 3rd December 2013 and "preferred status" on 14th January 2014)
Source: Star Wars: The Old Republic: Galactic Starfighter (Bioware)

The Sidewinder

The Sidewinder has come a long way since being the piratical scourge of the galaxy's shipping lanes in 1984's Elite. Once only comprising as few as 7 vector graphic lines (I was an expert at drawing them at school), the agile little fighter craft is soon to be reborn in finely detailed high-polygon glory.

Various sources tell us that the Sidewinder is manufactured by Faulcon deLacy, the ship manufacturing superpower responsible for many of Elite's classic ships, including the Cobra Mk III and the police Viper, the Sidewinder was originally designed for a military contract as a multi-purpose atmospheric scout craft, but soon found its niche as an affordable short-range hit-and-run specialist in the hands of "private enterprise."

Key Info

Class: Scout Ship (21m wide)
Crew: 1 pilot
Speed: 0.37 LM (110,923,209.46 m/s?)
Hull strength: C-Holding C50 (huh?)
Defences: Shield, very high manoeuvrability
Armament: 2 x Dual Lasers + Seeker missiles
Other Info: Officially described as a "dependable vessel that'll get you where you need to go," but buyer beware - early models are incapable of hyperspace travel.

Launch Date: March 2014
Source: Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments)

The Aurora

The Aurora is the rookie pilot's ticket to becoming a Star Citizen in the hugely anticipated record-breaking crowd-funder from Cloud Imperium Games. Touted as "the perfect beginner's ship: what it lacks in style it makes up for in ample room for upgrade modules," suggests this will be the first step on every new pilot's journey.

According to official documentation, the Aurora is manufactured by Roberts Space Industries, which seems to be the fictional extension of game director Chris Roberts and co. in some very meta roleplaying shenanigans. The basic Aurora ES (Essential) has a number of more advanced stablemates; the aggressive Aurora MR (Marque) and the teeth-baring Aurora LN (Legionnaire), the interstellar packhorse that is the Aurora CL (Clipper) and the super fancy Aurora LX (Deluxe), which apparently has a leather toilet seat. Or something.

Key Info

Class: Single-seat ranged fighter (18.5m long)
Crew: 1 pilot
Speed: Unknown
Hull strength: Unknown
Defences: Shield - Seal INK-1 (Size 1)
Armament: None on standard ES model, but capacity for 2 x Class 1 (Behring Fixed M3A Laser Cannon), 1 x Class 3 (Talon IR 4 Stalker Missile)
Other Info: "The Aurora is the premiere single-seat ranged fighter... Whether you're exploring the stars, shipping goods or defending your home planet..."

Launch Date: Q4 2014
Source: Star Citizen (Cloud Imperium Games)

Featured Columnist

Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.

Published Oct. 12th 2013

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