The United States Commercial Star Ship (USCSS) Nostromo was constructed circa 2101. An M-class starfreighter, it is registered to the Weylan-Yutani Corporation out of the United Americas state of Panama.
The ship was refitted as a commercial towing vehicle in June 2120 and assigned to run automated ore and oil refineries between Sol system and the star system Epsilon Reticuli, a journey of approximately 40 light years (lasting almost 16 months). The freighter was destroyed in 2123 en route from the Company‘s deep space mining station on Thedus..
Registration number (current): 1809246(09).
THE EVOLUTION OF THE REGISTRY NUMBER
The Nostromo registration number has been seen in various forms during its lifetime. Company and interstellar shipping records are incomplete, but the best that can be determined is that the vessel currently named Nostromo started its operational lifetime designated as Hull No. 180246. This number was emblazoned on the vessel’s port-side nacelle and appears on crew uniform patches.
The number was reportedly changed to the more familiar “1809246(09)” when the ship was refitted later as a commercial towing vehicle (CTV).
Archivist’s Note: As for the “180286” seen on the crew’s uniform patches, there is an old story that says when the ship’s prototype patch was created, the textile machine operator mis-read the “4” as an “8”. Shipping schedules were very tight along the Solomons Circuit and the Nostromo was due to pick up crew along the way; a mid-level Company manager caught the error and ordered corrections, but allowed the erroneous patches to be used. The Nostromo crew never returned to receive the corrected patches..
1,095 feet (334 meters)
705 feet (215 meters)
320 feet (98 meters)
Archivist’s Note: According to Company records, the Nostromo was approximately 800 feet (244 meters) long before its refit.
The spaceframe is a modified Lockmart CM-88B Bison transporter that massed 63,000 metric tons and was approximately 800 feet long. The off-axis hood frame mounted docking latches for the towed refinery complex. Polarized gravity generators maintained artificial gravity and inertial damping. External docking bays for the two shuttles were mounted beneath the port and starboard nacelle struts. These shuttles could operate as lifeboats in emergencies. [At the time of ALIEN, one of Nostromo’s shuttles was out of order. A retractable boarding tube was mounted on the starboard lobe of the forward hull.]
Ship’s flight and autonomic functions were monitored by the MU-TH-UR 2.1 Terabyte AI mainframe. There was a 2.0 Terabyte backup mainframe in case of primary CPU failure, plus a third tier of automatics capable of sustaining autonomic functions. The communications gear was standard, comprised of 10- and 4-meter hyperstate antennae for interstellar communications and short-range UHF/VHF/HF radio/video links. Sensors were mounted on pylons clustered around the forward hull. They included two 2-meter aperture telescopes capable of optical, spectrographic and infrared resolution; a gas chromatograph; centimetric navigation and landing radar; a synthetic aperture ground-mapping radar; and a mass counter for hyperspace navigation.
PROPULSION & POWER
A Laretel WF-15 2.8 Terawatt fusion reactor provided main power. The fusion process was a deuterium/tritium reaction that fused the fuel elements in a containment sphere using conversion lasers. The He4 byproducts were stored separately and vented at regular intervals. Power was drawn off the reactor by a closed-cycle liquid potassium cooling system, which ran off into an induction torus, which used the intense magnetic fields created, by the superheated potassium to generate electrical power. The ship could be scuttled by an authorized crewmember by overriding the reactor cooling system and bleeding off coolant, which in turn initiated a supercritical reaction in the containment sphere. After activation, there was a ten-minute delay before the resulting meltdown detonated the ship.
The vessel was fitted with a Yutani T7A NLS stellar drive capable of unladen high cruise up to 0.42 light years per day (153C). When towing large mass cargoes such as automated refineries, the maximum sustainable cruise speed dropped radically, to approximately 0.1 to 0.12 light years per sidereal day (40-45 c).
For maneuvering at sublight speeds while towing a large mass, immensely powerful mass reaction engines were required. The spaceframe’s original Saturn J-3000 engines were replaced in 2120 by two Rolls-Royce N66 Cyclone thrust tunnels with bipolar vectoring for midline life function. Each powerplant developed 7,290,000 tons (14,500,000 billion lbs.) thrust, providing a high impulse total of 14,460,000 tons.
- ALIENS Colonial Marines Technical Manual by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
- Halcyon’s Nostromo model kit. Specifications are based on measurements taken from the 1/960 model. (Thanks to Roger Sorensen for assistance.)
- Scott Middlebrook’s Alien Timeline website.
- Various Internet sources.