|Roberts Space Industries
|Spacecraft, spacecraft components, terraforming, armor
|New York, Earth, Sol
|United Empire of Earth
|2038 CEEarth, Solon
Roberts Space Industries is a multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells spaceships, vehicles, ship components, and space suits. It is one of the oldest modern Human space corporates that stretches back all the way to mankind's first steps into the stars. Incorporated in 2038, RSI was responsible for the development of the Quantum drive that ushered in the colonization of the galaxy.
Founding and Incorporation
Roberts Space Industries is officially formed in 2038 on Earth by a young and enterprising inventor named Chris Roberts. He established the core tenets of the company's philosophy long before he began working on his first creation.
" Learn from the past, Reach for the future, Fuel innovation, Cultivate talent, Always be relevant"
Chris Roberts, core tenets of RSI's philosophy
In the 21st Century, travelling to space was a rare event and so cost-prohibitive for the civillians. Earth was reaching a critical mass of overpopulation, numerous wars erupted across the planet as the populace faced food, water, and energy shortages. Roberts formed a team in an attempt to alleviate some of issues of the day. In 2043, RSI released their first product, which was actually a hyper-efficient battery converter for ground-based civilian vehicles. RSI's initial products ranged from a compact water-purification system to an energy-efficient power network. There was even a small expansion into cricket farming.
Making Space Travel Affordable
Although RSI found modest success in non-space related products, Roberts refused to be complacent and continued to seek out greater innovations. In 2061, while studying a recent crop of doctoral dissertations from a prestigious engineering school, he came across the work of Dr. Scott Childress, whose thesis envisioned exciting work in the field of more affordable engine systems for spacecraft.
Since Roberts always dreamed to make space travel more accessible, he quickly met with the fresh graduate and put together a team to build a more affordable engine for spacecraft. Although the process was not without its setbacks, in 2075-05-03 RSI unveiled their prototype quantum core engine.
The Quantum drive technology were immediately recognized around the world. Exploration missions were suddenly feasible, as piloted vessels could now push further into the solar system. Various states (called 'countries' at that time) that previously couldn't afford space travel were suddenly able to embark on missions of their own. Space travel was more accessible thanks to the effort of RSI.
Death of Roberts and Terraforming Worlds
Roberts knew that although making space more accessible was a giant leap forward for our species, it still didn't solve the overpopulation on Earth. He pulled together a dedicated team from RSI's various subsidiaries to create their most ambitious technology yet: terraforming a planet. This scientific conundrum became Roberts' obsession until he passed away in 2108. Though terraforming remained elusive in Roberts' life, the new CEO continued to practice his corporate philosophy of seeking out innovators and finally, though it would take two generations of team members and almost forty years, RSI unveiled the world's first Atmo-Processor on 2113-04-21 that would lay the groundwork for terraforming a world.
With a potential solution in sight, governments of the world, corporations and scientific minds came together to create a global collective focused on terraforming Mars (which at the time was completely uninhabitable) to relieve the population problem on Earth.
This project lasted decades and faced an incalculable loss when an accident, known as the Mars Tragedy, caused the deaths of nearly five thousand early settlers. During the glacial pace of this project's sprawling scope, the Chairman's policy of project diversification yielded another spectacular achievement. Responding to issues faced by the terraforming division's efforts to transport resources to Mars, RSI's Astro Development Team created the Zeus, the first commercially available spacecraft.
In 2460, while Earth was overcrowded, and while through expansion and terraforming, there were vast amounts of territory for humanity to move to, there was still an apprehension among the public. It wasn’t until RSI’s “The Air You Breathe” campaign that people began to trickle out into the universe, eager to start over on a new world.
In early 27th century, during the Second Tevarin War, as the Messers became more and more ensconced in their position, RSI lost their military contracts to Aegis Dynamics, the manufacturer that created the weapons of war favored by Ivar Messer. Several of RSI's divisions still worked closely with the scientific bureaus and terraforming oversight committees in UPE, but as a whole, the company converted into a primarily commercial and civilian corporation.
In 2757, in response to the death of Anthony Tanaka, a twelve-year-old boy's refusal to work, RSI CEO Avel Gedima acknowledged the sad death and ordered a complete evaluation of all RSI facilities to make sure that they were adhering to all health and safety standards. A few months later, Ulysses Messer X released 'damning and incontrovertible evidence of corporate malfeasance' to the NewsOrgs, claiming that Gedima had embezzled imperial finances for personal use. The case languished in the courts for years, but the constant barrage of 'evidence' forced Gedima to step down.
Astro Development Team
The Astro Development Team (ADT) is responsible for designing and manufacturing smaller civilian-focused spacecraft, including the Aurora and Constellation lines. It is the team most aligned to the company's original vision of affordable spacecraft. All ship lines designed by the ADT are distant ancestors of the original Zeus (the Zeus name was retired for the current star-themed naming around 2550).
Capital Development Team
The Capital Development Team (CDT) is responsible for designing and manufacturing larger spacecraft usually for military contract. Other than manufacturing civilian design such as Mover transport, it also serves as prime contractor for the Bengal carriers, among other projects. RSI CDT is involved with several dozen spacecraft lines at any one time, either as a prime contractor or as a system developer. The CDT's headquarter is located at L5, where larger spacecraft can be constructed in orbit.
Engine Development Team
The Engine Development Team (EDT) is responsible for designing and manufacturing engine components such as Quantum drive, jump engine, power plant, and thruster systems. EDT is the organization from which the company has evolved, the EDT is constantly refining the Quantum drive technology the company patented almost 900 years ago. Modern jump engines are made ever more efficient over generations of development, with a significant safety increase part of each iteration. EDT also develops in-house power plant and thruster systems for RSI spacecraft, with the overall goal of reducing cost in constant pursuit of the founder's dream of affordable private space travel. The EDT is headquartered at Moscow, where their design facilities and prime engine factory is located.
Experimental Development Team
The Experimental Development Team (XDT) (commonly referred as Skunk Works) is responsible for top secret government contracts and experimental projects using previously undeveloped technology. XDT efforts are not formally budgeted by RSI and their projects never appear on any formal rosters. It is rumored that the XDT is responsible for much of the tear-down work down on Vanduul technologies captured on the frontier. The XDT is headquartered on the dark side of the Luna, where vast tracts of territory were signed over to RSI in the early 23rd century for engine testing.
The Future Foundation is a specific division of the company devoted to charitable foundations and grants established after the fall of Messer. It awards millions of credits a year to help promote education, fund new research and even provide housing opportunities.
- Comm-Link:2075 - The Stars Get A Little Closer. Spectrum Dispatch - Comm-Link
- Dave Haddock, David Ladyman and Ben Lesnick, Portfolio: Roberts Space Industries, Jump Point, vol. 5, no. 9, pp. 43-46, 2017-09-15.
- Comm-Link:2113 - When Do We Go Too Far?. Spectrum Dispatch - Comm-Link
- 2460: Breathe Free. Spectrum Dispatch - Comm-Link. Retrieved 2012-09-22
- David Ladyman and Ben Lesnick, Portfolio: Roberts Space Industries, Jump Point, vol. 1, no. 5, pp. 27-29, 2013-04-27.