The Aracana took to outer space as a religious drive. The ancient legends about the battle in the heavens had driven the Aracana to look outward from their planet much earlier in their civilizational development than other sapients did.
The Aracana had witnessed a titanic battle around their planet’s satellite that had lasted over three orbits of their satellite. These events focused the Aracana’s attention on their moon for centuries.
Once the Aracana achieved space travel, they risked much to land on their moon. Several lives were lost on the expedition. There, in a deep, dark crater, the Aracana found a massive alien wreck. It was an ancient Imperial Malanthekar star battleship, the loser of that long ago space battle around their moon. A steady flow of craft to the crash site and their satellite continued after that find.
In time, the third planet in the Aracana system was found to be warmer than they prefered but Aracana are adaptable to life, so a colony was set up. Great orbital habitats were also constructed and the resources of the system harvested to build an interplanetary civilization. During this entire period the Aracana were unraveling the secrets of the huge alien crash site.
This era also saw intense extensions in Aracana astronomy, including looking remotely for signs of alien civilizations. These sky surveys for indication of a repeating, low energy signal from a nearby star system. Attempts to communicate via radio wavs with the system produced no response, just a slow, steady repeat of the same signal year after year for decades.
All of this observation also found evidence of a potentially habitable planet in another nearby star system.
Both of these facts began the Aracana discussing the idea of habited instellar expeditions. Each targeted star system would have three planned missions.
Two robotic missions to send back pictures and information on what they found from direct observations. The other two were a small crewed ship who were to arrive on site and begin the process of building up a local habitat and begin planning the long term investigation of the star systems if possible. The last two missions were small, slow boats designed to arrive at their target star systems over decades after launching. There were subtle differences in each mission based upon the expected target mission profiles.
1) Robotic flyby interstellar probe of the alien signal
2) Robotic prove collection to investigate the potential habitable system
3) Relativistic manned mission to the alien signal
4) Fast, crew suspended animation to second home
5) Slow boat large crew for the alien signal 3000
6) Generation ship with 15,000 to second home (growth to 60,000)
- The plan was to get a close look at that repetitive alien signal and get there as fast as technologically possible. So the Aracana’s first interstellar mission was to be a rapid flyby and through the target system. There was no plan to attempt to slow down much. The probe would dive through the heart of the system dispatching secondary probes and real time beaming the signal back to the home system. Many of the technologies used for the mission were just developed. The propulsion technology was an inertial fusion rocket motor in a two stage drive system. (Dadelum system inspiration)
The whole mission was at 12% the speed of light. The distance to the star system was 11.5 terran light years.
The mission was a success, it found a large damaged spherical alien space ship in orbit around the inner star system of the target star. The main prove was only able to image it remotely but was able to send two staggered subprobes to writhin dozens of kilometers of the orbiting wreck. The probe drifted on out of the star system. It was found centuries later and brought back to the star system it first passed through, which by that time had become the location of the Aracana’s Grand Library
The launch stage was recovered and used for other missions.
- Unlike the mission to the mysterious alien signal, the mission to the star system with the potentially habitable worlds would be methodical, without the focus on haste. When the first mission was launched the ship for the second mission was still being built.
The goal was to send a very capable robot mothership with a diversity of secondary crafts to arrive and operate long term in the star system. With that in mind a more extensive infrastructure was developed in the home system. A sail propulsion system was developed. This was used for the probe with the sail later used as a drag anchor later to swing the probe around the target system till it could enter orbit around the star.
The robotic ship had probes to send to all the observed major orbital bodies to including orbitors, landers, and impactors. The whole mission would still have operational units when the manned mission arrived decades later.
- The first inhabited interstellar voyage by the Aracana was a ship launched to the second alien wreck with a crew of 1,200 individuals. The ship was launched with the crew most in hibernation. The rocket was launched with three booster stages and a braking stage and one braking sail. The first stage was a massive frame not designed to go much further than the home system edge, but it did get the whole structure to 5%C. It was manned with a small crew to return it to the home system for later usage. The second stage was meant to be reusable but was purely automated. This second stage got the ship up to 105C. The third stage was purely disposable and was the first use of antimatter for major space propulsion. It slammed the spacecraft up to 50% C where it coasted for the eleven light years distance to the target system. During this voyage a constant crew of 4 was constantly awake to monitor the ship and slumbering crew.
The ship carried a deceleration stage and a large space sail to slow the ship by braking against the interstellar medium.
Once the ship was slowed down and within the target system the mission plans began with the first objective of establishing a main base and the other to begin close observation of the alien wreck. The crew of this mission had come as a vanguard and no intention of ever returning to the home system.
- Using the technology they developed to the last to mission, the Aracana launched an inhabited mission to the system they had come to name Second Home. this ship was a sister ship to the third mission. This expedition also included 200 crew. Their goal once they arrived at Second Home was to study the whole star system but with their greatest focus on the habitable planets which could be planetary engineered with effort.
- The fifth interstellar mission was targeted at the future library system. The ship design was an upscaled version of the habited ship from the 3rd and 4th voyages. The ship was built to carry up to 3,000 instead of 200. The velocity was aimed for 30% C instead of 50%. Once in the target system the 3,000 set about building a major habitat and the long duration study of the alien wreck.
- The last of those first planned six interstellar missions was the generation ship sent to Second Home. the ship was launched as a generation ship with 15,000 and a planned transit time lasting almost 2 terran centuries. By the time it was scheduled to arrive the ship population was up to 60,000 individuals. During the ship’s journey 3 other supply missions had arrived just like the first one. With the arrival of this ship the real terraforming beyond in earnest. The idea and decision was to terroform both worlds of the orbital twins, and the third world which was a large ocean world. This ambitious project of terraforming three planets was undertaken by less than 100,000 Aracana. The plan was expected to take almost 1,000 terran years.
After the launching of the first six interstellar expeditions, the Aracana established a regular schedule for follow on missions using the same technology. While these mission cycles were moving forward, the state of affairs at each star system began to slow change.
In the second home system, their terraforming efforts focused upon the fourth world. This planet was cold and marginal for the Aracana.