Named after the Ancient Latin word for Eagle,
the 2945 Constellation Aquila represents one of several newer variants of the Robert’s
Space Industries Constellation Class Freighter. The function of the Aquila variant is that
of a long-range exploration vessel, trading out extra cargo space and weaponry for advanced
scanning suites, expanded fuel tanks and jump point navigation sensors.
The Aquila is 60.1 Meters long and 26.6 Meters Wide, with the ship’s modified high-visibility
bridge canopy and probe antennae affording the vessel a small increase in length over
its older counterpart, the Constellation Andromeda. The Majority of the Aquila’s Spaceframe
is almost identical to that of the Andromeda, with the aforementioned bridge alterations
being the only drastic change. The craft is long and fairly narrow, featuring small personnel
airlocks mounted on the port and starboard of the ship’s hold, a large extendible loading
lift for cargo and vehicles, and a small aft-mounted docking bracket used to house the vessel’s
auxiliary escort fighter. The Aquila’s interior lacks the ostentatious
luxury of the Constellation Phoenix, but serves to provide the small crew with a comfortable
living space. The Bridge of the ship boasts a large curved viewport, granting the captain
and bridge officers an excellent view of the various unexplored regions of space the Aquila
was designed to chart. Aft of the bridge, though not separated by any bulkhead is a
recreation area and small galley, giving the ship’s crew a place to relax during longer
voyages. One feature that sets the Aquila apart from
its counterparts in the constellation line is the Ursa Class Excursion Rover kept in
the ship’s hold. This durable all-terrain vehicle allows the Aquila’s crew to explore
the surface of uncharted planets, gathering data and samples at a far greater range than
could be possible on foot. In addition to its exploratory value, the Ursa is well armoured
and carries a twin-linked gun turret, granting the vehicle an effective means of defending
itself as well as providing some limited fire support for friendly personnel.
The Aquila is propelled by four Arc Elite 500 Series Thruster engines mounted on large
pylons at the ship’s aft, these engines are more than adequate for the ship’s purposes,
allowing the vessel to cruise at sublight speeds without issue. When operating inside
an atmosphere, the Aquila makes use of its four Vertical Take-Off and Landing jet turbines,
allowing the ship to gently lower its full 80,550 KG mass unto a planet’s surface.
Though not designed for combat, the Aquila is quite capable of defending itself should
it come under attack. The Vessel carries a twin linked laser turret on its ventral hull,
and its dorsal science suite can be swapped out for an additional turret on high-risk
missions. The Aquila also boasts 2 large top-loading missile racks, each carrying ten missiles,
allowing the vessel to engage at much greater ranges.
Perhaps the greatest defensive asset of the Constellation Aquila is the P52 Merlin Snub
fighter stored at the ships aft. In combat situations the Merlin can be detached to provide
the Aquila with an effective fighter escort against Pirates and other threats. The Merlin
is supremely fast and manoeuvrable, capable of reaching 240m/s in a straight line, though
its tiny frame leaves no space for any cargo or passengers. The small fighter is armed
with a pair of Behring M3A Laser cannons and a larger Ballistic Gatling Gun, providing
a serious threat to most Pirate or Vanduul Spacecraft in a dogfight.
The Constellation Aquila is a welcome addition to RSI’s Fleet, and provides a unique alternative
to the rest of the Constellation line. Where the Taurus excels at hauling cargo and the
Phoenix at travelling in style, the Aquila excels at pushing the frontier, charting new
areas of the galaxy and furthering human knowledge on the edges of known space.