Saturn Skimmer

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Spacecraft Registry
Saturn Skimmer One
Spacecraft Characteristics
Drive TypeFusion powered jet engine, Ion Drive
LaunchedLate 2018
PurposeHelium-3 gathering on Saturn
Primary Crew1 or 2
Operational StatusActive
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Like a jet plane, just with fusion power!

—Eric Hunt about the first Saturn Skimmer

I don't think you have built anything that can fly that fast in atmosphere!

—Sarah Meier to a Fen

The Saturn Skimmer One is the first of a series of hybrid space/atmosphere vehicles that are used by Aurora Station to gather Helium-3 in the upper atmosphere of Saturn.

While the vehicle has wings as control surfaces, it mostly relies on its fusion powered jet engine to keep its altitude in the atmosphere. Transfer between Saturn and the Aurora Station on Pan is done with a pair of Ion Engines that run on internal reaction mass.

The front of the Saturn Skimmer One has a large intake that captures atmospheric gases for the engine. Parts of this gases are sent to an internal system that separates the Helium-3 from the rest of the gases, liquefy it and stores it in the ships tanks.


  • No Handwavium, sorry. Similar to Aurora Station and the Interplanetary Space Vehicles the Saturn Skimmer is a hardtech craft.
  • Maybe for safety? The Aurora Crew is thinking about adding a small waved gravity drive to the second Saturn Skimmer to be able to get it back to the station if the hardtech drive should fail.