Beyond the Trojan Reach
Establishment for the landing, servicing, refueling, and control of starships. Starports range in quality from V (the best and most extensive) to I (the worst, little more than a spot of cleared ground).
Starports generally have two components: a surface facility and an orbital facility. The surface facility includes cargo handling installations, a landing field, control towers, and other necessary areas. Surface starport components are frequently called Down (as in Regina Down Starport). Orbital facilities are present (usually in stationary orbit above the surface component) to enable handling of unstreamlined ships, and to allow construction of heavy craft in orbit. The orbital component is often called Orbital (as in Regina Orbital Starport) or is referred to as the Highport. Type I and II starports have no extensive orbital facilities, but usually have navigational satellites or similar equipment. Non-streamlined ships at these starports must be serviced by shuttles. Starports, being the primary point at which starships interact with a system, are usually the location for additional bases, such as scout bases, naval bases or other military installations, and for shipyards.
Within the Imperium, Starports are considered sovereign Imperial territory, and not subject to local, planetary law. The major portion of a starport is surrounded by a barrier demarking the limit of Imperial extraterritoriality (often shortened to extrality). The region inside this is under direct Imperial authority and local planetary laws do not apply. Goods may be purchased here without duty, and taxes are limited to a small Imperial income tax and such customs duties as the Imperium levies. Violators of local laws, especially political “criminals,” may find asylum and sanctuary from restrictive local regimes, but if the fugitive is sought for an offense that is also a violation of Imperial law (murder, most felonies, and so on), Imperial officials will hold and extradite the fugitive.
Depending on the nature of the planetary government, the extrality limit may be marked by a simple wire fence or more complex barriers resembling the Berlin Wall of old Terra. The latter is usually done to prevent citizens of the planet from leaving without authorization and to enforce local customs laws.
Although, strictly speaking, the law level of the starport permits any weapon to be carried openly, the Imperial laws against property damage, murder and extortion are rigidly enforced by Imperial authorities, backed up by Imperial military forces as necessary. The owners of most businesses frown on open displays of weaponry and will usually refuse to serve walking arsenals, and are usually fairly well equipped themselves.
Each facility has its own unique features, and the number of variants is almost equal to the number of downports (the part of a port that is on the surface of a planet). Almost every downport has an associated urbanization surrounding the downport (in many cases completely). Residential areas are often allowed inside the extrality barrier for employees of the port and its associated businesses.
In Imperial space, that portion of the (main) starport located off the surface of the planet, in orbital facilities known as highports, are all extraterritorial.
Types of Starports
I Frontier – Generally a smooth patch of ground that can handle 1000 dtons of ships. There may be a small office of some sort, but very few other amenities or services. There is little to no flight control beyond a sign-in / sign-out log.
II Poor Quality – The Starport is generally restricted to a downport, and may have several berths, landing pads, and hangars. The Port will likely have some sort of traffic control. The Port can manage minor ship repairs, and will have some sort of unrefined fuel.
III Routine Quality – Routine quality starport with unrefined fuel available on site. Facilities include some capability for repair (primarily replacement of TNAS-certified parts). A naval base is usually not present. A scout base may be present. A surface installation is present. A highport is usually not present.
IV Good Quality – A starport with refined and unrefined fuel available on site. Facilities include capability to perform annual overhaul and new spacecraft construction (TNAS certified designs). A naval base may be present. A scout base may be present. A surface installation is present. A highport may be present
V Excellent Quality – A facility with refined and unrefined fuel available on site. Facilities include capability to perform annual overhaul and new starship construction (TNAS certified designs). A naval base may be present. A scout base is usually not present. A surface installation is present, as is, in most cases, a Highport.