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Thruster

Thrusters icon

Normal-space propulsion system.

— In-Game Description

Thrusters are what propels a ship when flying in normal space. Upgraded thrusters can accommodate heavier ships, increase ship speed and improve manoeuvrability. If the Optimal Mass of a ship is exceeded, it will be unable to travel at its top speed until its mass is lowered below the Optimal Mass threshold.

SpecificationsEdit

Class Rating Mass
(T)
Integrity Power
Draw
Engine Optimal
Mass (T)
Maximum
Mass (T)
Value
(CR)
2 E 2.50 46 2.000 48.0 72.0 1,978
2 D 1.00 41 2.250 54.0 81.0 5,934
2 C 2.50 51 2.500 60.0 90.0 17,803
2 B 4.00 61 2.750 66.0 99.0 53,408
2 A 2.50 56 3.000 72.0 108.0 160,224
3 E 5.00 58 2.480 80.0 120.0 6,271
3 D 2.00 51 2.790 90.0 135.0 18,812
3 C 5.00 64 3.100 100.0 150.0 56,435
3 B 8.00 77 3.410 110.0 165.0 169,304
3 A 5.00 56 3.720 120.0 180.0 507,912
4 E 10.00 72 3.280 280.0 420.0 19,878
4 D 4.00 64 3.690 315.0 473.0 59,633
4 C 10.00 80 4.100 350.0 525.0 178,898
4 B 16.00 77 4.510 385.0 578.0 536,693
4 A 10.00 88 4.920 420.0 630.0 1,610,080
5 E 20.00 86 4.080 560.0 840.0 63,012
5 D 8.00 77 4.590 630.0 945.0 189,036
5 C 20.00 96 5.100 700.0 1,050.0 567,106
5 B 32.00 115 5.610 770.0 1,155.0 1,701,318
5 A 20.00 106 6.120 840.0 1,260.0 5,103,953
6 E 40.00 102 5.040 960.00 1,440.0 199,747
6 D 16.00 90 5.670 1,080.0 1,620.0 599,242
6 C 40.00 102 6.300 1,200.0 1,800.0 1,797,726
6 B 64.00 136 6.930 1,320.0 1,989.0 5,393,177
6 A 40.00 124 7.560 1,440.0 2,160.0 16,179,531
7 E 80.00 118 6.080 1,440.0 2,160.0 633,199
7 D 32.00 105 6.840 1,620.0 2,430.0 1,899,597
7 C 80.00 131 7.600 1,800.0 2,700.0 5,698,790
7 B 128.00 157 8.360 1,980.0 2,970.0 17,096,371
7 A 80.00 144 9.120 2,160.0 3,240.0 51,289,112
8 E 160.00 135 7.200 2,240.0 3,360.0 2,007,241
8 D 64.00 120 8.100 2,520.0 3,780.0 6,021,722
8 C 160.00 150 9.000 2,800.0 4,200.0 18,065,165
8 B 256.00 180 9.900 3,080.0 4,620.0 54,195,495
8 A 160.00 165 10.800 3,360.0 5,040.0 162,586,486

Theory based on player-gathered data Edit

Mamba-ship-rear-thrusters

Mamba ship thrusters

A ship's top speed is based on the ratio of optimal mass of the equipped thrusters to the total mass of the ship. This ratio is only linear in the case of C-rated thrusters. A- & B-rated thrusters are positively concave, meaning that they benefit more from a total mass lower than optimal mass and have less of a disadvantage from a total mass higher than optimal mass. D- & E-rated thrusters have the opposite effect.[1]

At a total mass identical to the optimal mass of the equipped thrusters, a ship's top speed will always be identical to the advertised speed, no matter the rating. This does not mean that a higher rated thrusters won't have a benefit over lower ratings, as they have a higher optimal mass.[1]

Power Distributor rating and class appears to have no effect on top speed (outside of it's mass), but the number of pips allocated to engines do. Top speed per pip allocated is a linear function, meaning that 2 pips will have a speed exactly between 4 pips and 0 pips, but the speed modifier of 0 allocated pips depends on a hidden value belonging to the ship, as can be seen in the table below.[1][2]

Ship Ratio
Type-9 Heavy 0.305
Type-7 Transporter 0.335
Hauler 0.350
Type-6 Transporter 0.410
Anaconda 0.445
Sidewinder MkI 0.450
Adder 0.455
Asp Explorer 0.480
Cobra MkIII 0.500
Federal Dropship 0.555
Federal Gunship 0.590
Imperial Clipper 0.600
Diamondback Scout 0.605
Python 0.610
Diamondback Explorer 0.615
Viper MkIII 0.625
Orca 0.665
Imperial Eagle 0.700
Federal Assault Ship 0.710
Eagle MkII 0.750
Imperial Courier 0.785
Fer-de-Lance 0.845
Vulture 0.905

Thruster effect on ship agility in the form of pitch, yaw & roll speed as well as acceleration has yet to be determined.[1]

Engineer Modifications Edit

The following modifications can be applied to this module by Engineers to enhance it's abilities:

Manoeuvering Thrusters Edit

The main thruster(s) obviously push the ship forward, but generally also have flaps to redirect thrust or are even capable of being swiveled and re-pointed, which allows them also to control the direction of the ship. However all ships have multiple smaller thrusters situated in relevant locations over their hull: these are the manoevering thrusters, and allow for more refined directional changes.

Manoeuvering thrusters fire automatically in response of the pilot's stick movements. Pilots will see them as small jets emitting from points along their ship as they move the stick. Turning off Flight Assist will give the manoeuvering thrusters more control over the ship's orientation at the cost of less control over its forward motion.

The force applied by the manoeuvering thrusters relative to the ship mass is used to specify a ship's manoeverability rating, but there are exceptions. It is assumed that upgrading thrusters also upgrades manoeuvering capability, but the effect has not yet been quantified.

Although they are clearly based on a real physical model, the individual manoeuvering thrusters or arrays were never named by any official publication from Frontier Developments, but in a simplified way they can be labeled by their real-life equivalents.

Retro (or reverse) thrusters are those which act in the opposite direction than the main thruster, causing a "braking" effect. Some ships are known for their retros being weak compared to their main thrust (such as the Asp Explorer). Pilots in such ships need to take especial care not to collide at high speed with objects such as stations, especially after boosting. Conversely, strong retro thrusters (such as on the Mamba) allow a pilot to reverse in the face of an oncoming target keep all front-mounted hardpoint weapons on them, and even to decelerate suddenly and allow a pursuer to overshoot and become pursued himself.

The lateral thrusters are those on the flanks of a ship and push it port and starboard in space. They are most significant when landing gear are deployed, although they do assist in changing the ship's yaw. If the lateral thrusters are powerful enough, a ship can turn all the way to face the opposite direction of its previous travel without pitching or rolling, but this is generally only practical in some of the most nimble combat ships.

Dorsal thrusters, on the "top" and ventral thrusters on the "belly" of the ship are used to roll and pitch the ship. These tend to be the most important for nimbleness, especially in combat. Ventral thrusters are also used to hover and to therefore to land; weak ventral thrusters can make landings slower, or even (in the case of high gravity bodies) more difficult and dangerous.

It is a common misconception that air resistance is responsible for slowing ships when landing gear is engaged, but in reality it is due to main thruster power being redirected to the manoeuvering thrusters. When landing gear is engaged, a ship can move freely in every direction without changing orientation, but not very quickly.

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=182057&p=2804008&viewfull=1#post2804008
  2. https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=182057&page=2&p=2804767&viewfull=1#post2804767