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Tractor Beams

A starship uses tractor beams to manipulate objects that are in close proximity to it, such as towing other ships or bringing objects into the shuttle bays. The shuttle bays have their own tractor beams that are used to assist with launches and landings - these are separate from the systems described here.

Tractor beam emitters can be placed on the outer hull of the ship. Each emitter can only tractor one item at a time. Multiple emitters can be locked together to hand over items from one tractor beam to the next to allow for items to be moved around the ship. 

Objects that are under tractor beam control can be moved in any of the 3-axis (X, Y or Z). The operator can enter the desired co-ordinates either as part of the galactic grid or relative to the ship (e.g. 100Km off the port side). The tractor beam will calculate how fast it can move the object and will move it at the maximum possible velocity, up to a maximum of 100 meters/sec2. This formula will also have to take into account decelerating the object as it approaches the desired location.

If an object cannot be moved (because of size/distance or because it has engines powerful enough to overcome the tractor beam), then the tractor beam will break off. Note: Speed is measured as relative to the player's ship. So if an object is stationary and the player's ship is traveling at high speed, then the ship might not be able to apply a sufficient change of speed in the object before it travels out of range.

Once an object is locked on by the tractor beam it can be rotated in any direction.

Each tractor beam emitter can be damaged. This has no effect on the system until the health drops below 50% at which stage that tractor beam will stop working.

Damage to the tractor beam emitters will cause a loss of efficiency down to 50% health (at which point it will stop working as mentioned above).

Power Requirements

Tractor emitters come in a variety of sizes from 100MW to 2 TerraWatts. They are 50% efficient - therefore if 1 GigaWatt of power is fed to the a transmitter, then the tractor beam will only have a strength of 500 MegaWatts. The power usage of the tractor beam can be restricted to conserve energy. 


Research can be used to increase the efficiency of the tractor beams.