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- This article is about the first manned interstellar spacecraft. For other uses, see Pathfinder.
|In service since
With the success of the first prototype JumpShip in 2107 and the success of the first human, Raymond Bache, to jump through hyperspace with no serious side effects, construction started immediately on the first manned interstellar spacecraft christened the TAS Pathfinder.
The defining goal of the Deimos Project was the development of a manned faster-than-light (FTL) space vehicle for the exploration of the same system explored half a century previously by the Magellan Program: Tau Ceti.
The Pathfinder used the same engine design as the prototype JumpShip tested in 2107, however, it included two fusion power plants, hydrogen fuel, a maneuvering drive, and quarters for its crew of fourteen. It was tested in the same way as the prototype and after a few false starts and adjustments, it was ready for its journey.
On 5 December 2108, navigated by Captain Norm McKenna (Mission Commander/Astrogator), the TAS Pathfinder made its historic jump to Tau Ceti. It arrived within seconds of its jump and immediately started towards the fourth planet of the system. The Canadian Engineer Michelle Land became the first human to walk on the surface of a planet outside the Terran solar system on 15 December 2108 when she stepped out of her excursion vehicle and onto the surface of Tau Ceti.
More excursion teams took vehicles down to the surface of the planet and because conditions were exceptionally good, named the planet New Earth. The scientists collected various samples of plant life, animals, other data, and even found a probe from Magellan One still on the surface.
The Pathfinder returned thirty days later with the results to the extreme pleasure of the Terran Alliance. The mission's discoveries even managed to pause some of the civil unrest until it announced the intention to develop more starships and continue with more missions to other systems.
TAS Pathfinder was refitted, resupplied, and immediately launched for a two year survey of all star systems within a forty-light year radius of Terra. This survey was an unprecedented success with the survey of thirty-five systems and fifty worlds.
While the Alliance continued to build and launch starships, the TAS Pathfinder also continued to be used on various missions. The first interstellar outpost was created on New Earth in 2110, manned by thirty-five scientists and transported by the Pathfinder.
Among the activities performed by the TAS Pathfinder during its service life was confirming that the planet that would become known as Rocky was habitable and an attractive colonisation prospect, just a few years after telescopes had identified the planet as being a promising prospect located in an orbit within the Goldilocks zone of the system star.
- Captain Norm McKenna, Mission Commander/Astrogator
- Engineer Michelle Land
- Relatives of George Humphreys were on the Pathfinder, making House Humphreys one of the oldest interstellar families.
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 137: "Touring Terra"
- Touring the Stars: Rocky, p. 4, "Rocky"
- Historical: Brush Wars, p. 40