The Iliad Block II missions were a somewhat rushed panic to counter the imagined threat that the Krasnovians would block off all flights outside the Solar System. In the decades after their early victories in the Interstellar race, the Krasnovians consistently ran face first into every issue they tried to side-step by simply applying more power to the engines and feeding the crew more stims.
While the Krasnovians would continue their "outpost" in Alpha Centauri, Barnard's star proved to be relatively uninteresting up close. The only other interesting system (red and brown dwarfs not withstanding) has been the Sirius system. However the 8.6 light year distance has proven to be insurmountable to Krasnovian technology. While crew can survive the trip OUT to Sirius, their food supplies don't last for the trip back.
With the political goals of the Iliad Block II missions accomplished, many of those responsible cashed in their celebrity, and left the program. The remaining staff were devoted to the idea of actually expanding humanity into other star systems.
Mission reports began streaming back to the Solar System from Iliad 3 in the year 6799. The mission reports from Iliad 5 started arriving in 6803. The publicity that humans were alive in another star system and making world changing discoveries caused a resurgence of interest in Interstellar flight. Of particular interest was how the children of the crew were growing up.
The gripes the crew had about mechanical breakdowns was also mixed in with admiration for the solid technology that did work, and the skilled technicians in the crew who devised workaround after workaround after workaround to keep life aboard somewhat pleasent.
The groundswell of interest from the public fueled the creation of the Iliad Block III program in 6810. By this time, the Authoritarian regime in Krasnovia had collapsed, and the cold war had ended. People were also looking to turn the massive military budgets to some peaceful means.
The Asimov Class was a return to the style of the Leonardo class. Slow and steady. Early on it was determined that return flight from distant stars was utterly impractical. The resources that were stowed for a return flight could be better spent on providing a bootstrap to allow the colony to flourish.
The next decision was to aim for Sun-like stars with planets or at the very least a proven dust cloud. In this way a colony ship that arrived could expand itself with local material, build a vessel for a future return trip, and otherwise maintain itself indefinitely.
Another controversial move was to limit the starting size of the crew. The vessels launched with 800 people on board: 200 crew, 600 randomly selected colonists. But the ships contained facilties to support 3200 people. This allowed for 80 years of natural population growth, with peak workforce population of 1500 individuals by year 50 of the mission.
Authors note: We'll have more to say about the Iliad block III missions in a second series of books and stories, starting with the crew on board the Clarke, halfway to 18 Scorpii circa 6850.
|IB-45||Asimov||Isaac Asimov||6810||6815||6821||Mu Cassiopeiae||24.6 ly|
|IB-46||Clarke||Arthur Charles Clarke||6810||6820||6827||18 Scorpii||46.1 ly|
|IB-47||Heinlein||Robert Anson Heinlein||6810||6825||6832||47 Ursae Majoris||46 ly|
|IB-48||Kroeber||Ursula Kroeber Le Guin||6820||6830||6837||TBA|
|IB-49||Shōichi||佐野 昌一 (Sano Shōichi)||6820||6835||6842||TBA|