The Atalanta was a ramscoop interstellar spacecraft design, independently developed by the YellowstoneDemarchists, in an effort to decrease their dependence on Conjoiner-produced Conjoiner drives and lighthugger starships and provide some competition in that field. However, the Atalanta prototype ran into technical, size and operational issues and the project was subsequently shelved.
"The Atalanta," Sparver echoed. "It was a ship designed to undercut the Conjoiners in the starship-building business. Thing is, although it worked, it never worked well enough to make it economical. So they mothballed it, left it in orbit around Yellowstone while they worked out what to do with it. It'd been there for decades but was still perfectly intact, exactly the way it had been when it was last powered down." "What was so special about this ship?" "It was a ramscoop," Dreyfus said. "A starship built around a single massive engine designed to suck in interstellar hydrogen and use it for reaction mass. Because it didn't have to carry its own fuel around, it could go almost as fast as it liked, right up to the edge of light-speed. That was the idea, anyway. But the drive system was cumbersome, and the intake field generated so much friction that the ship was never as fast as its designers had hoped. But that didn't matter to me. I didn't want the ship to move. I just wanted its intake. The scoop generator was fifteen kilometres across, Sparv: a swallowing mouth wide enough to encompass SIAM in its entirety."
- excerpt from Aurora Rising (a.k.a. The Prefect)