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Hitting Space Debris and Integral Armor?


Most ships in the OTU are "unarmored" merchant ships without any official, combat grade armor. Now, what happens when one of these ships (or an armored military ship for that matter) hits a relatively small (1 kg) piece of space debris (man made or natural)?

Currently, space debris is a significant danger for the international space station and the shuttle. Even a very small (10 g) piece hurtling around in orbit can be a danger.

Imagine a far trader that has just skimmed fuel off a gas giant and is now headed for the safe jump distance from the giant. It accelerates at 2G for 50 "gas giant planetary diameters), flips around, and then decellerates for 50 planetary diameters. What happens if it hits a 1 kg piece of junk at close to the flip around point?

Is there "integral" ship's armor assumed to be in place that can handle most normal kinetic damage? This assumption would be the simplest method. If so, that means that most starships/small craft are essentially immune to kinetic damage. A VRF Gauss Cannon should probably pit the hull of a far trader, but won't actually do damage unless repeatedly fired into the same spot. Under the T20 rules, the VRF Gauss Cannon damage gets reduced, but some damage is still done, which doesn't make much sense given the greater dangers faced in space.

What are your thoughts?

A 1 kilogram object is actually very large, and very rare; it's also visible at sufficient ranges in space that it can probably be dodged or destroyed. Most impacts will be with objects well under a gram.

In no previous version of Traveller have 'unarmored' ships of any type been appreciably vulnerable to smallarms. In most they are impervious to VRF weapons (in GT they are very marginally vulnerable) and are often mostly impervious to FGMPs (in GT they are not).
IIRC in the original Striker rules a starship was presumed to have 40 points of armor at all parts of the external hull. In the same system a VRF Gauss Gun does 21 points of damage. Like you say, pitting, but no real effect.
IIRC in MegaTraveller design rules the Minimum amount of hull armor you could build for Starships was 40 points. In that Same system the VRF GG did 21 points of damage. Again Pitting. (BTW the Sandcaster was once described as projecting the sand at a penetration rating of 20 for anything within 500 meters. I always designed them as 'crunchy scrubbers' for ships that might have to deal with restless natives or boarding parties)
Has anyone done the damage rating/damage dice for Sandcasters in T20?
I did a space science degree and we worked on satellite hulls and sought to protect them from space debris.

Instead of one layer, the best is to have multiple layers with space between them. This way the debris hits the outer layer and expends all it's energy vaporising that outer layer without any mass getting through to the second. We discovered that several sheets 1mm thick with spacing would stop small debris whereas a sheet 10cm thick would get a massive hole in it and likely cause a breach.
Voids are important in meteor defense, as well as ballistic protection.

The 40 pt of Striker armor is equivalent to 25 cm of "hardened steel" (presumably RHA). On my dekplans I assume it is a meter thick, with layers of metal, ceramics, plastics, and voids.
Father Fletch, I use a general rule of 1d6 per cannister of sand that detonates. I also specify that unless there is a critical malfunction the directed charge of the cannister's explosive directs the sand away from the launching ship. Other craft need to be within a given distance (or the cannisters modified with a delayed charge) usually 200-500 meters (practically unheard of except for boarding actions) to be affected by the damage.
Well, if they're outside the ship it really sucks to be them. Basically like being sandblasted. Most vacc-suits aren't going to stand up to it. I multiply ship weapons damage by 10 when acting against non-hardened items (ground cars, characters, etc.). Not pretty for the characters if they are standing in the blast area. Quite like a claymore mine...Front Toward Enemy. Other things to take into consideration, if it's ship combat, the sand will only be effective for a round or two as the craft will move away from the sand cloud.