Star Charts of the New Frontier

Nearly 200 years ago, several of the major mining clans created the New Frontiers Consortium, pooling their financial resources together to fund a private astrometric project on a never before seen scale. After two decades of surveying the outer edge of the galactic arm with telescopes to search for stars with exceptionally high metalicity, which favors the formation of large numbers of rocky planets with rare heavy elements, over 500 star systems were selected for further close up prospecting missions. The precise astrometric measurements of the stars’ positions, movement, velocity, and gravitational interactions required for calculating hyperspace jumps took more than another decade until the first survey missions could be launched.

Once the first survey reports from the most promising planets came in, the members of the consortium rushed their vast mining fleets into the New Frontier to stake their claims. While first seen as a great success, the initial gold rush that saw millions of miners from the home systems sign up for very well paying 10-year-contracts lasted only for a good 50 years. The first planets that had been mined did indeed provide resource deposits of exceptionaly high concentrations which were easily accessible with only limited amount of energy. But it turned out that the quality of the New Frontiers project had been so high that it had located nearly all of the grade A++ sites before the mining fleets had even launched, and the anticipated  discovery of many more new sites of comparable quality never materialized. Large scale mining on the new worlds continued for another hundred years, but the high transportation cost of hauling the metals back to shipyards and factories made it no more profitiable than mining more labor and energy intensive deposits much closer to the home systems. Once it became cheaper to simply move the mining fleets back into the established borders of Known Space, most of the mining clans pulled out of the New Frontier. There are still vast amounts of highly valuable metals in the New Frontier that continue to be mined by smaller independent mining companies, but the profits are comperatively low and not worth the time of the mining clans.

Since there are still 200 million people living in the New Frontier, even after the departure of the mining fleets, the New Frontiers Consortium still continues to release new updated hyperspace charts for the routes between settled planets and a planets that might still have economic value for independent miners. But the charts for the New Frontier now only cover around 300, barely more than half of what is found on outdated charts from over a century ago. And a large number of the systems are home only to refuelling and repair stations along the main routes.