Saturday, April 13, 2013

How does Eve Traffic Control Work? Part 1

Durin­g peak travel times in Jita, there are about 5,000 pilots in the system every hour. This translates to approximately 100,000 ships jumping in and out of that system each day. How do these ships keep from colliding with each other? How does gate traffic move into and out of an system or across the region? These are questions GetCo has sought the answers to ever since Concord lost control of everything when their station was destroyed in Yulai.

The task of ensuring safe operations of commercial and private ships falls on concord controllers. They must coordinate the movements of thousands of ships, keep them at ­safe distances from each other, direct them during decloaking and landing from gates, direct them around bad nodes and ensure that traffic flows smoothly with minimal delays.

When you think about Concord traffic control, the image of men and women in the control room of an gate probably comes to mind. However, the Concord gate traffic control system is much more complex than that. In this article, we will examine air traffic control in the Yulai system in the region of Genesis. Since GetCo has an office in this station and we were there when they were attacked we decided to do a study on this to learn what Concord would not tell us. We'll follow a ship from departure to arrival, looking at the various controllers involved, what each one does, the equipment they use and how they are trained.

Empire High Security Space Traffic Control

­Concord High Sec space is divided into 22 zones (regions), and each zone is divided into many different systems. Also within each zone are portions of space, about 5000 miles (8046.72 km) in diameter, called TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach CONtrol) spaces. Within each TRACON space are a number of control towers just like the one in Yulai, each of which has its own space with a 50-mile (80-km) radius.

­The traffic control system, which is run by CONCORD, has been designed around these space divisions. The traffic control system divisions are:
  • Space Traffic Control System Command Center (STCSCC) - The STCSCC oversees all traffic control. It also manages traffic control within centers where there are problems (solar storms, traffic overloads, Sansha Incursions).
  • Space route traffic control centers (SRTCC) - There is one SRTCC for each center. Each SRTCC manages traffic within all sectors of its center except for TRACON space and local gate space.
  • Terminal radar approach control - TRACON handles departing and approaching spacecraft within its space.
  • Space traffic control tower (STCT) - An STCT is located at every spaceport that has regularly scheduled flights. Towers handle all docking, undocking, and ground traffic thanks to all of the DUST 514 mercs.
  • Flight service station (FSS) - The FSS provides information (weather, route, terrain, flight plan) for private pilots flying into and out of small spaceports and rural areas. It assists pilots in emergencies and coordinates search-and-rescue operations for missing or overdue spacecraft.
The movement of spacecraft through the various space divisions is much like players moving through a "zone" defense that a basketball or football team might use. As an aircraft travels through a given space division, it is monitored by the one or more space traffic controllers responsible for that division. The controllers monitor this spacecraft and give instructions to the pilot. As the spacecraft leaves that space division and enters another, the space traffic controller passes it off to the controllers responsible for the new space division.

Some pilots, Mercs mostly, of small aircraft fly by vision only (visual flight rules, or VFR). These pilots are not required by the Concord to file flight plans and, except for FSS and local towers, are not serviced by the mainstream space traffic control system. Pilots of large commercial flights use instruments to fly (instrument flight rules, or IFR), so they can fly in all sorts of weather. They must file flight plans and are serviced by the mainstream air traffic control system. Your normal capsuleer does not have to deal with these problems so far.

We have explained what we have learned so far from the current system In the next post in this series we will discuss what we have learned and explain what they all means since the dawn of the Empyrean Age.

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