4GW "Dewstar" Liquid Freighter Aerostat

The 4GW "Dewstar" Liquid Freighter Aerostat is an airship designed by Rostrax Aerostat & Aerodyne for the purpose of hauling large volumes of liquid (usually biodiesel or potable water) to remote corners of the Manifold Sky.


Dewstars possess oversized propulsion busses and large, modular lifting gas envelopes to manage the large weights they carry. Mark II Dewstars can fit lifting gas envelopes that also function as lifting bodies, allowing these models to save on lifting gas costs by operating as aerodynes at the expense of being unable to traverse inflection layers (they are constrained to operations within the same tesseract). All Dewstars, regardless of model, are capable of traversing commissures large enough to admit their beam. Like almost all Rostran-made aircraft, the Dewstar is cabable of amphibious takeoff and landing.   Like many vessels designed to traverse inflection layers, the Dewstar can spin along it's long axis to create centrifugal gravity for crew comfort in that microgravity environment. Spinning and de-spinning such a large vessel takes upwards of 10 minutes due to the mass and size - and, therefore, moment of inertia - of the vessel. The gas/liquid cargo tanks are mounted along the axial support column to minimize their contribution to this problem.

Weapons & Armament

The Dewstar is typically unarmed unless operating as a Q-ship (see Hangers & Docked Vessels).

Armor and defense

The Dewstar's lifting gas envelope is of the rigid, metal-skinned variety. Dewstars typically rely on escorts for defense, as the large penalty mass of the carried cargo generally precludes heavier armor.   The holds of a Dewstar can be a form of defense for the crewed fuselage in and of themselves, as the large volume and density of the cargo provides excellent cover from envelope-penetrating weapons fire when the vessel is approached from certain angles. This is more true of the radial compartments (i.e aircraft berths) than the axial ones (i.e. tankage).

Communication Tools & Systems

In addition to the standard radio and signal lights of a civilian airship, a Dewstar also comes equipped with a radio proximity beacon and a series of extremely loud external klaxons to alert bystanders of dangerous conditions (such as a fire aboard a Dewstar carrying fuel or a corrosive chemical leak).


Because an airship can traverse a broad range of altitudes, changing the pressure and chemical sensitivities of their cargoes, Dewstars are fitted with numerous pressure, temperature, and humidity sensors.

Additional & auxiliary systems

Dewstars which frequently carry hazardous chemicals may employ additional refrigeration, fire suppression, and pressure management systems. Furthermore, if the expected cargo is of a sort usable as fuel or lifting gas by the airship itself, additional pumping systems may be added to put the cargo to work for the vessel; the small amount of cargo lost to this process is assessed as part of the shipping cost for the cargo.

Hangars & docked vessels

The Dewstar features berths and retractable launch trapeezes for up to two small, amphibious cargo aircraft, which serve a similar role to a seagoing vessel's launches. This allows the vessel to conduct some business remotely, without having to land or dock with a skystation.   Some Dewstars are converted for use as Q-ships, wherein the fluid-carrying volume has been converted as a hold for auto-armor marines, airborne troops, parasite fighters, or heavy ordinance to surprise would-be commerce raiders. These sorts of operations are important because, otherwise, the mere sight of the famously sluggish Dewstar would entice Avarix Corps raids during transfers through the Red Velvet Desert airspace. The PPH Canopy is a notable example of this sort of modification, though it retains a (reduced) hold for hazardous-condition salvage reclamation work.
Used by
Uncommon; mostly found in industrial or commercial applications
250 ft
1,000 ft
50 mph (level cruise)
Complement / Crew
6 (captain, pilot, navigator, loadmaster, radio operator, accountant)
Cargo & Passenger Capacity
4 passengers (NavGuard, guests), 25 tons of liquid/gas cargo

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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16 Jan, 2021 11:51

Interesting article. I like that they are capable of amphibious take offs and landings.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet