Ranks in Blue Collar Space

In the earliest stories of Blue Collar Space, I had only a vague and often inconsistent rank structure. Eventually I wrote down one consistent structure so that I could refer to it; and since readers have asked how to compare the ranks, I’m documenting it here.

The Services

But before I can discuss ranks, I should first explain the different multinational space services. These have different jurisdictions and responsibilities in space, but currently they all use the same rank structure.

  • Security Service (a.k.a. “The Admiralty”). This service is staffed by military personnel from the different member nations of the System Initiative. They are not technically a military in that they cannot (in theory) be used in war. There are too many national interests involved, and the decision-making process is too carefully balanced, for military operations. Instead, they are intended to enforce security and international regulations. They are technically within Space Corps (see below), but they see themselves as a separate elite service.
  • Space Corps. This service is the home of multinational exploration missions, as well as space stations and other common facilities.
  • Transport Corps. This is an umbrella service for passenger and cargo transport operations, and is largely made up of private vessels and crews. The Transport Corps certifies and evaluates these efforts so as to ensure the highest standards of operation; and most nations and corporations prefer to contractTransport Corps personnel as the easiest way to staff their missions. It is not illegal to operate a vessel without Transport Corps certification, but it’s difficult to get insurance or passengers if you do.

Trainee Rank

This category has only a single rank, the lowest possible. It’s technically not a service rank, because Trainees have not yet been enlisted (or commissioned) into a service. The purpose of Trainee rank is to determine whether personnel are qualified for the space services,

  • T-1         T            Trainee

Recruit Ranks

This category also has only a single rank: Recruit, the lowest possible enlisted rank. Recruits are not yet certified for space duty, and hence can only be assigned to ground stations (except in extraordinary circumstances).

  • E-0         R            Recruit

Spacer Ranks

Enlisted personnel in this category are certified for space duty, but only in stations and other facilities that do not travel (i.e., nothing with a drive).

  • E-1         SR          Spacer Recruit
  • E-2         SA          Spacer Apprentice
  • E-3         SP          Spacer

Astronaut Ranks

Enlisted personnel in this category are certified for space duty in both stations and vessels.

  • E-4         AS3        Astronaut 3rd Class – Certified for Earth orbit operations
  • E-5         AS2        Astronaut 2nd Class – Certified for Earth-Luna operations
  • E-6         AS1        Astronaut 1st Class – Certified for all Solar System travel
  • E-7         CAS       Chief Astronaut – A specialist in some vital area such as engineering, environment, etc.
  • E-8         SCAS     Senior Chief Astronaut – An advanced specialist
  • E-9         MCAS    Master Chief Astronaut – The highest enlisted rank, with multiple specialty certifications

Non-Commissioned Officer Ranks

As in modern militaries, non-comms run day-to-day operations under the command of officers.

  • B-1        BN1       Bosun 1
  • B-2        CBN2     Chief Bosun 2
  • B-3        CBN3     Chief Bosun 3
  • B-4        CBN4     Chief Bosun 4
  • B-5        CBN5     Chief Bosun 5

Commissioned Officer Ranks

The personnel who plan and direct vessels and missions.

  • O-0        MID       Midshipman (Officer trainee)
  • O-1        ENS       Ensign
  • O-2        LTJG      Lieutenant Junior Grade
  • O-3        LT          Lieutenant
  • O-4        LCDR     Lieutenant Commander
  • O-5        CDR       Commander
  • O-6        CHF       Chief
  • O-7        CAPT     Captain (Commandant for ground posts)
  • O-8        RDML    Rear Admiral
  • O-9        VADM   Vice Admiral
  • O-10      ADM     Admiral
  • O-11      FADM   Fleet Admiral