Spherical shuttles were smaller, vacuum-only spacecraft, used for orbital ferrying of people, goods and similar between various orbital habitats and larger spacecraft. This included transport duties between some

Some lighthuggers carried this type of shuttles as basic auxilliary craft for orbital operations and duties.

Notable spherical shuttles Edit

Description Edit

Before very long they reached the hub, cleared customs and boarded the shuttle, a nonatmospheric craft consisting of a sphere with four thruster pods splayed out at right angles. The ship was called the Melancholia of Departure, the kind of ironic name Ultras favoured for their craft. The interior had the ribbed look of a whale's gut. Volyova told her to go forward through a series of bulkheads and gullet-like crawlspaces until they reached the thing's bridge. There were a few bucket seats, together with a console displaying reams of avionics gibberish, latticed by delicate entoptics.

Volyova thumbed one of the visual readouts, causing a small, traylike device to chug out of a black recess in the side of the console. The tray was gridded with an oldstyle keyboard. Volyova's fingers danced on the keys, causing a subtle change to sweep through the avionics data.

- excerpt from chapter 5 of Revelation Space [1]


  • The name of this ship type is, of course, somewhat conjectural, as the vessel is not described in any great detail.
  • The spherical design of the shuttle, aside from being generally very practical in a vacuum environment, bears a striking similarity to the Aries Ib class shuttles of the Space Odyssey series, authored by Arthur C. Clarke and first adapted to film by Stanley Kubrick. Alastair Reynolds is a self-confessed old fan of Clarke's body of work, so the chosen shape might also be a bit of a nod.


  1. Revelation Space (2000), chapter 5

See alsoEdit

Civilian shuttles/small craft: Trike | Tug | Cutter | Spherical shuttle | Flotilla excursion shuttle
Police shuttles/small craft: Panoply cutter
Individual shuttles/small craft: Melancholia of Departure (spherical shuttle)
Remontoire's 'Trident' fighter (outrigger fightercraft)
Coalition shuttle | Flotilla delta-winged shuttle
Cutter | "Claw" shuttle | Lighthugger orbital shuttle
Individual atmo-shuttles: Scavenger's Daughter | Dominatrix
Civilian ships: Freighter | Liner | Hospital ship | Lighthugger in-system craft
Police and military ships: Deep-system cruiser
Demarchist military vessel | Conjoiner ''Moray''-class corvette
Individual ships: Bellatrix | Democratic Circus | High Catherine
Nightingale | Storm Bird | Universal Suffrage
Generation ships - Flotilla ships: Santiago, Islamabad, Brazilia, Palestine, Baghdad
Ramscoop starships - Atalanta
Lighthuggers - List (Sandra Voi, Nostalgia for Infinity, Zodiacal Light, Nightshade, Hirondelle, Petronel, etc.)
Alien starships - Void warren ("Caleuche")
Antimatter engines | Ramscoop | Conjoiner Drive | Stealth Conjoiner Drive
Dark Drive | Inertia-suppression Machinery | Cryo-arithmetic engine
Magnetic railgun | Boser | Ack-am | Foam-phase Munition | Pin-head munitions
Camouflaging screens | Hypometric weapon | Bladder-mine

* - capable only of flight in the vacuum of space
** - double as both spacecraft and aircraft, depending on the need
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