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Launch tube (TRS)

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This article covers the Re-Imagined Series launch tubes. For their Original Series counterpart, see Launch tube (TOS).

A vintage Viper Mark II prepares for launch inside a launch tube

Launch tubes are specially designed airlocks used to quickly catapult Vipers and other similar craft from their parent vessel and into space.

Contents

Design and Operations

A Viper is accelerated down a tube during launch

Launch tubes are about 170 feet in length (TRS: "The Plan"), and are triangular in design, built specifically for Colonial Vipers. They utilize magcelerators, or "mag cats" for short, that attach to a Viper's forward landing strut, which use magnetic fields to propel a Viper down the tube and into space. By using external energy instead of the Viper's own boosters, this process preserves the Viper's crucial fuel supply, which allows the pilot to stay in combat longer. Each launch tube is watched over by a launch supervisor who determines if a Viper is ready to be launched, and if a problem arises, calls the launch off, has the Viper pulled from the tube, and closes the air tight doors (TRS: Miniseries). If the Viper is cleared for launch, the supervisor presses a button, which releases the mag cat, and the Viper is thrown down the tube into space.


Launch Procedure

A launch computer signals an active tube

After Vipers are moved into the airlock by ship's deckhands, the blast doors are sealed, and the pilot begins working down their pre-flight checklist, as follows:

1. Pre Flight

External Inspection..................................... Okay
Flight Controls............................................ Okay
Tanks Filled and Sealed............................... Okay
Canopy Locks/ Explosive Bolts To Safe......... Okay
Seat Motors To Safe.................................... Okay
Weapons To Safe........................................ Okay

2. Start Check

Area.......................................................... Clear
Comms...................................................... UP
Tacan/TacNav............................................. UP
Canopy Locked.......................................... Armed
Escape Pod................................................ Armed
Engine Spool Up (Three Greens).................. Check 3 Greens
Weapons To Arm........................................ Master Safety To Active

3. Launch Tube Check

Area.......................................................... Clear
Blast Doors................................................ Open
Heads Up Display........................................ On
Tag/Nav..................................................... To Active
Flaps......................................................... 15 Degree Down Angle
Engines..................................................... 85%
Assume Launch Position.............................. Okay
LSO Launch Signal...................................... Okay
Master Condition Cold Shot Warning............. Set

After this list is cleared, the launch supervisor checks and clears the Viper's vitals, then communicates to the pilot that the launch is about to occur. An example of this would be: "Viper three-zero-two-one/Yashuman, clear forward, nav-con green, interval check, thrust positive and steady. Mag-cat engaged. Good hunting." After which, the Viper is launched, and the process begins anew when another Viper is loaded for launch.


Alert Fighters

If the parent vessel faces a combat situation, alert fighters are placed in the tubes, powered up, ready and awaiting for launch at a moments notice. They are meant to provide immediate backup for the combat air patrol should an enemy appear, while the remaining Vipers are prepared and cleared for launch.


Other Uses

Galactica deckhand James "Jammer" Lyman is executed by the Circle

While the primary intent of the tubes are to launch Vipers, they have been used for other purposes, including burial in space following a memorial for the deceased (TRS: "Act of Contrition", "Resurrection Ship, Part II"), and infamously as a form of execution (TRS: "The Plan" "Collaborators", "The Ties That Bind").

Following Admiral William Adama's plans to abandon Galactica, the Colonials plan to scrap the mag cats in the launch tubes and re-purpose them as auto loaders in the civilian Fleet. However, Specialist Dealino expresses the thought that removing them was akin to "tearing the old girl's guts out." Lee Adama agreed, and assures him that they would be the last pieces removed before leaving the battlestar behind permanently (TRS: "Daybreak, Part I").


See Also

Notes

  • "Final Cut" is a rare episode in which the camera actually follows Vipers as they are wheeled from the middle of the hangar deck and loaded into launch tubes, then take off.
  • Sets for the launch tube are modified and reused for the airlock set seen in "A Day in the Life", as denoted by the doors and control station which Diana Seelix mans in this episode. "Final Cut" also sees the control room set reused for the flight pod control during Louanne Katraine's crash landing.
  • The launch tubes and airlocks on Galactica are not fully integrated into the internal security system. While they can be remotely controlled from aft damage control, there is no alarm when they are used locally (TRS: "Valley of Darkness", "Collaborators", "A Day in the Life", "The Ties That Bind"). This is different on Pegasus, where the airlocks are integrated into the internal security system (TRS: "Razor").


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