FSpaceRPG article

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Dark Horizons Limited

Dark Horizons is an Australian based company formed from a research unit at the Australian University. Formed originally as a astronomical research unit to track Kuiper Belt and Oort cloud objects, its studies went further in efforts to detect such objects ejected from their host stars into the regions beyond.

Using a series of lunar and orbital telescopes to form a synthetic array they went online in the 2160s to track such objects and were part of a global mapping effort coordinating with the likes of NASA and Spaceguard.

The unit while still part of the university managed to secure funding from Selene Mining in conjoint long term research project with geologists from the university as hunters for deep range asteroids and other kuiper belt objects that might be of commercial interest, either for minerals or volatiles.

This relationship was used an internship project for Selene’s recruiting, and gave the university wider system access to set up remote observatories scattered throughout the solar system, building up a impressive synthetic aperture telescope array only outclassed by the joint NASA-USAF-USAN efforts.

They made significant advances for the field of astronomy, being responsible for not only many kuiper belt findings, but extending their abilities to the near reaches of neighbouring stellar systems, and beginning to chart the matrix of minor planets that the more glamorous exoplanet hunting that other nations did. Their data was used in many of the unmanned interstellar missions to plan safe routes into neighbouring systems and eventually provide a hazard model for expected manned sunlight interstellar missions.

The advent of the hyperdrive changed this expectation, but in a very favourable way. Selene Mining acquired many starships under the initial restrictive rules on their use, and they brought along their university partners in some of the first deep range missions into interstellar space, initially to some of the objects the team had detected over the past decades.

On about the 3rd mission a reasonable sized object was visited around 1.4 light years out (within range of a return voyage of a grade 1 drive) and while studying the object, it was noticed by the ship engineers that the hyperdrive was discharging.

It wash;t common knowledge that slow discharging was possible around very small planetary bodies and Selene jumped at this stroke of fate the military engineers who’d built their ships didn’t tell them about. Selene planned to use this to get to other systems in their single drive ships. They being denied the multi drive ships used by the military to get to most neighbouring star systems initially.

Fate would intervene and newer drives come out, which Selene did manage to get hold of and scuttle a lot of plans. While the method and the university research was helpful, their work began drying up.

Then the beginning of the Serpenti War began and many strategists began to look for strategic advantage. The French government and various of their aerospace contractors took notice of the university’s work and suggested a commercial partnership.

This involved incorporated the unit as an Australian company and giving it a government charter to map out routes of potential military advantage in the nearby stellar neighbourhood.

The charter would give the firm access to its own survey ships leased under charter from investment French aerospace contractors (who were military contractors) and certain work kept under tight security.

In the fe short years of the war, no battles were fought using the routes found, but it is known that the French managed to deploy old hyperdrive technology vehicles closer to the front as reserve defines lines without the add of carrier support and before the roll out of strategic stargazes in the region.

Selene has also continued an interest for commercial reasons as the new firm has gained autonomy to range further and in specific detail into areas hasn’t. Because of this it both boosted its contracts through the new company and eventually obtained a minor shareholding as part of a long term investment.

Dark Horizons continues to set up remote observatories in the depths of space, many of which are used for its parent University’s core astronomical activities, and form a growing network across space.

It is negotiating to purchase its own survey ships rather than operate them under charted leases as a means of controlling costs and opening up other commercial opportunities. At present it operates around a dozen hyperdrive equiped vessels and an equivalent number of sublight support vessels.

Categories: Corporations

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