On Spaceships

Because I can only bore popkin16 with military execution statistics for so long, I've turned my attention to spaceships in the Stargate universe, particularly those of the Ancients. Because, well, it should be obvious by now that I'm more than a little obsessed by them.

So just to take a minute here, this is a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. Specifically, it is the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), known also as "The Big Stick". It has been sailing the high seas since 1981. It is is 1,092 feet (0.2 miles) long, 252 feet wide, can travel at 30+ knots, has quite a bit of weaponry, and can carry 90 fixed wing aircraft or helicopters at a time. They are colloquially known as 4 square miles of floating US territory, and for any and everything you ever want to know about them I suggest watching the excellent documentary, Carrier.

This class of ship will shortly be replaced by the Gerald R Ford-class, which will be 1,106 feet long. The first of that name will be finished sometime in 2016, to replace the Enterprise. It will be the largest battleship ever to sail.

This is the Daedalus. She is, according to Stargate Wiki, 738 feet long (I'm going with the slightly larger estimates for my purposes), 311 feet wide, 246 feet tall, and capable of carrying up to 16 F-302s. Her crew size is approximately 200, compared to the Nimitz's 6000, but she has rail guns and Asgard beam weapons following the "Unending" refit. She is the best ship ever to come out of Earth's spacedocks.

As far as the AJ 'verse goes, I am of the belief that, following SG1's S9 finale, the construction of F-304s has been regulated under treaty so that 1 out of every 2 ships constructed will be under US control, 1/3rd of the remainder will be under Russian, and every third of the remainder of these will be Chinese. The rest will alternate between the other IOA nations. One ship will be produced almost every year, with two a year becoming possible after the program goes public. I've even named them (I spent a Physics class and a Calculus class coming up with these.

The list goes: Prometheus (2002, US), Daedalus (2005, US); Odyssey (2006, US), Korolev (Russia, 2006), Apollo (US, 2007), Sun Tzu (China, 2008), Phoenix (US, 2009), Ark Royal (UK, 2010), Hercules (US, 2011), Gagarin (Russia, 2012), Mercury (US, 2013), Jules Verne (France, 2013), and Artemis (US, 2014). After which they will be replaced by F-305 craft of larger design and, yeah, I am a world builder.


Theses are the best ships that Earth has built, in real life and canonically. So take a minute to think about the fact that the Asgard's O'Neill, above, is 4,922 feet (0.93 miles) long and 2,297 feet (0.43 miles) wide. Take a minute to think that the goa'uld ha'tak is 2,297 feet long, 2,132 feet wide, and 1,148 meters high. Think about the Ori battleships, which are 3,609 feet long and 2,788 feet wide. Think about how small that makes the Nimitz look in comparison, how small the Daedalus.

Now, keeping all of this in mind, I want to talk to you about the Aurora. Rory. My baby. What I call a Palantis-class linter in AJ.

She is, canonically, 11,483 feet long. That is 2.17 miles. She is also 3,281 feet wide - 0.62 miles - but I want to take a moment to concentrate on her length. As her wiki page says:

Of consideration is how a 3 km ship would compare to the rest of the ships fielded by other races. If we use this own site's ship listing as canon, it makes the Aurora-class ship 3 times larger than an Ori warship, approximately 15 times larger than a Daedalus-class ship, consequently 30 times larger than a Traveler vessel, listed as approximately half the size of a Daedalus-class. Each Aurora would also be larger than individual Hive ships, as a Hive ship is considered 13x larger than a Daedalus.

I want you to think about this. The largest spacecraft of RL human design, the spaceshuttle, is barely 184 feet long. So take a look at the space shuttle Discovery below and think about the fact that the ship above it is approximately 62.4 times larger than it is.

If that does not convince you of the fact that Ancients were far, far superior than any other race in the galaxy, then I don't know what will. Now, i'm not saying that size is the only thing that matters, but it is a telltale sign of other things. Like the fact that the species that built it is 1) capable of contracting something that large, putting it into space - or building it in space in the first place, - and keeping it functional; 2) could afford to put so much money / so many resources into its construction; 3) found a way to hurl something that large through space at faster than light speeds, 4) can train a crew large enough to keep it running and/or is advanced enough to keep it running with only minimal crew, 5) was able to do this for more than one ship. That is... it's something else.

Also, just as something to think about, there are extensive treaties that moderate naval warfare on Earth. But, as the "Aircraft Carrier" wikipedia page says:

Today's aircraft carriers are so expensive that nations which operate them risk significant political, economic, and military impact if a carrier is lost, or even used in conflict.

Whereas Rory was designed to be used extensively and expressly in combat. If a civilization can afford to do that, why, there is very little it cannot do.

Now, what was the point of all that, you ask? Well, I ask you to think for a minute about the AJ 'verse specifically. To quote myself now:

"I expect it was designed to hold the Tethys-class spaceships Colonel Sheppard told me about. They were the real powerhouses of the Ancient fleet, analogous to the Navy's supercarriers. Palantis-class ships, like Aurora, and Alcaeus-class ones, like Orion, were only what the Ancients scraped together when they needed more ships for their war with the Wraith. They're little more than destroyers in comparison."

Which is to say, in AJ, Rory was nothing to write home about. She was a small boat in comparison to the Tethys-class ships - ones like the Tethys, which was the first ship John served upon in-'verse and which was lost at the Battle of the Palamede - and like I personally consider the ship the Traveler's found to be. Tiny. Insignificant. And if the Ancients think that, what must they have been like at the height of their power? Can you imagine it? They built the Stargates, the urbs-naves the Ark of Truth and so much else besides.

My own personal head!canon has the Tethys-class ships being approximately 12x larger than Aurora. This would make it 137,796 feet long. That is 26.1 miles. That would also be 39,372 feet - 7.46 miles - wide. Which I realize now is probably excessive and should probably be closer to 6x larger - 13.05 miles long - but still.

God. That would be large. Even then it would be 18x larger than an Ori warship, 90x larger than Daedalus. If you go to this very helpful and mildly worrying website, you see that it would put the Tethys even larger than the Executer-class Super Star Destroyer of Star Wars. Larger than the Ragnarok-class Titon of EVE, which as 18,450 meters is the largest class on the board (13.05 miles is about 22,000 meters). And that's at half the size of what I'd originally imagined.

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In short, is it really surprising that the Ancients dosn't take the Terrans all that seriously? Even Iohannes tends to treat them condescendingly from time to time. I mean, he's piloted a ship that's longer than my drive in to school every day. (Above) His people have created a city-ship that's travelled all the way across the known universe. They were, quite very nearly, gods compared to so many before their Ascension. You can see why the Haeresis happened and how easy it was for them to believe it.


Never get into a space battle with the Ancients. Don't. Just don't. You will only lose. Terribly, humiliatingly, and with so many casualties it's just not worth it.
This is fascinating! I've never really thought about the size of the spaceships on Stargate, let alone compared the various models to each other. But when I read this entry my jaw dropped gradually millimeter by millimeter with each new information. Imagining this, their technological capabilities and what this meant for them as a society, was overwhelming and very fascinating.

Thank you. :-)

>>Never get into a space battle with the Ancients. Don't. Just don't. You will only lose. Terribly, humiliatingly, and with so many casualties it's just not worth it. <<

Unless you're the Wraith ... but how did John explain it to Everett: the Ancients could win every battle but they couldn't win the war because of the Wraith's numbers.

At the height of Ancient civilization, they would have been invincible. However, the numbers were always against them during the Wraith War. Their population was decimated (at least, in my own particular head!canon) to barely 50,000 when they left Avalon and was barely at 2,000 by the time Iohannes was born. By the time of the First Exodus, they were only 200. Technology can only go so far to augment numbers.

But yea, I find this whole thing very interesting (obviously). The Ancients were so vastly superior to anyone, for them to have been defeated would have been unthinkable - except, it did happen, because they were too few and too disinclined to war until it became a matter of survival.

And that's the thing: they WEREN'T a militaristic society. Imagine what they could have done if they were truly conquerors. There would be no planet beyond their grasp.
A militaristic society of these technological capabilities? Frightening, a truly frightening idea.
According to the mildly worrying website above, the normal, every day Star Destroyers in SW - the Bellator-class Dreadnoughts - were only 7200 meters in length. That would be 4.47 miles long, about twice the size of Aurora. Yet their fleet was relatively small and their technology on par with their enemies.

So think Galactic Empire only much, much worse. Maybe the Protheans of Mass Effect? Militaristic, after all, doesn't necessarily mean evil.
First: I love that you think about this stuff.

Second: Holy shit. The Ancients were scary, damn. As patk said, my jaw dropped. Wow...
:D I'm glad that I think about this stuff too. It was FUN to look all this stuff up and write about it.

And the Ancients are scary. I love and adore them because of it.
O_O Fascinating! I am terrible with details, so it's wonderful that other people are not :D I love your world building skills, and these thoroughly informational and insightful posts. Yeah, you really, really don't want to mess with the ancients...

Plus how can I not love posts with space ships!!! ♥! ^_^
You really, really can't. Spaceships are the coolest.

:D I try on the details. I kinda obsess of them, actually, but I'm glad they pay off.