|Base Hull||Flight Design CTsw|
|Drive Type||Gravity propeller|
|Drive Rating||10 km/s|
|Owner||Soviet Air Force|
|Flag of Record||People's Republic of Freedonia|
|Faction||United Federation of Planets|
|Launched||10 June 2013|
|Primary Crew||1 pilot, 1 passenger|
Orbital-only spacecraft like the Yuri Gagarin and siblings have unusual (for Fenspace, at any rate) requirements. Among these is the problem of transferring people and cargo back and forth from the ship. Bulk transfers can be accomplished using Fenspace-standard docking tubes, but away from the populated parts of the solar system moving anything can be difficult at best. The obvious solution was that the vehicle needed a set of dedicated shuttlecraft.
As the baseline Gagarin design came with a perfectly reasonable auxiliary craft bay, the Soviet-Trekkie design team decided to go ahead and use it. The engineers originally planned on building replicas of the 2001 pods, but decided the extra engineering hassle on top of building the Gagarin wasn't worth it. A proposal to use handwaved motorcycles, while reasonable for space requirements, was abandoned for passenger/cargo reasons. The Planitia team finally hit upon using a prebuilt light aircraft hull (in this case the microlight Flight Design CTsw), trimmed down and waved for spaceflight.
The abbreviated CTsw, missing wings and tail assembly, fit comfortably into the Gagarin's pod bay and could carry a pilot and passenger or several hundred pounds of supplies if piloted remotely. The first three CTsws, with their plain gloss white composite hulls, got nicknamed "iPods" by the Planitia workers; the name somehow got onto an official progress report and stuck from there.
The iPods flew a full month before the Gagarin itself. While not up for long-distance travel of any sort, the iPod performed well enough in ship-to-ship and ship-to-surface testing that the design was accepted as the standard for Starfleet light shuttlecraft.
- iRadio: The iPod radio transmitter display uses an interface that looks suspiciously like the latest version of iTunes.
- iEngine: The gravity drive on the iPod needs to be hand-cranked before flight. While in the pod bay, this can be done with an attachment on the pod door.
- iZoo: If a U2 song is playing on the comms network, the iPod will change color from gloss white to black and red.