Space Ship

Space Ship
Name: Space Ship
Function: Interstellar Travel Vessel
Manufactured by: Many organisations and manufactures, all varying in reasons for construction. Only the Spacing Guild, however, has the power to transport ships across great distances.
Affiliation: Most factions, mainly the Spacing Guild.
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"I have sat by night beside a cold lake
And touched things smoother than moonlight on still water,
But the moon on this cloud sea is not human,
And here is no shore, no intimacy,
Only the start of space, the road to suns."

Technological Description

Used by nearly every cult, sect, faction, organisation, company and house, the space ship, also referred to as a star ship, were a common, mechanised method of interstellar and stellar travel. The basic shape of one of these ships was aerodynamic, built to various specifications depending on its users. Many used regular engines, whilst others had faster than light engines. Some had none, and relied on the Spice Gas to bend space, and a Guild Navigator to navigator that space. Many were designed for war, and were equipped with mounted lasguns, shields, and weapons systems. They also varied in size, colour, and shape, with some being large enough to contain entire fleets of a lesser sized of vessels. Many could house entire regiments of soldiers, and drop them off on the ground during an assault. Others were small enough to carry a single person, who would control the vessel manually. Because of their ability to bridge the spacial and cultural gap between planets, they were used by missionaries such as the Bene Gesserit.
Most methods of travel using these ships were controlled by the Spacing Guild, who, because of their monopoly on the Guild Navigators that could control ships in bent space, became one of the most powerful means of commerce and profit in the universe. Anyone wishing for passage off world needed both their permission and their payment. This meant that those above the Spacing Guild (though it was arguably the most powerful force in the universe), could grant or deny the passage through space to whosoever they wished.


Though they have varied in style and fuction trememdously, the following are the known variations on the interstellar ship;


A titanic Guild Heighliner.
The largest ship design ever constructed, Heighliners were huge vessels, able to carry entire fleets in their holds, that were employed by the Spacing Guild as the primary method of transporting ships. Heighliners used Guild Navigators as a piloting system, as well as a Holtzman Generator to fold space.


A tactically advantagoes vessel, the Crusher is a structure made of many smaller vessels, which, upon sighting an enemy, can be individualy deployed, and therby destroy the enemy by enclosing it.


A specialist ship, basically a no-chamber-turned-vessel, able to become invisible to the naked eye, scanning technology, and prescience. The Bene Gesserit used a fleet of these ships when they hid on Chapterhouse, surrounding the planet with thousands of them.

Troop Carrier

Sardaukar Troop Carrier
A Sardaukar Troop Carrier.
A general term refering to any ship able to house multiple soldiers and weapons. The general capacity of a Troop Carrier was around three to four hundred troops.


Guild Frigate
A Spacing Guild Frigate.
The largest possible vessel, not including the Heighliner, that could be piloted through normal space. Frigates were used by all manner of warring factions, as they were perfect for the transportation of troops, provided that the faction in question could pay for the vessel's transportation via the Spacing Guild.

Dump Box

Used to drop debris or trash onto a planet from space, the Dump Box was a general term forany vessel that used this tactic, and was equipped with tools with which to ablate the protective outer surfaces of a ship, preventing them from surviving impact and friction.


Shaddam Corrino IV's Hutment, used during his inspection of Arrakis.
A large, nine leveled, building-like structure, made from tent-like interlocking leaves, that could houses thousands of human beings, and be afixed to the base of a space ship for easy transportation. Hutments were used only by the powerful and highly decadent. Shaddam Corrino IV's Hutment was famous, as it was the stucture within which Paul overthrew him.

Hypothetical Variations by Chris Foss

A number of variations were created by artist Chriss Foss, intended for use in the Dune film by Alejandro Jodorosky. As the production was cancelled, they were never seen off the page.

Spice Container

Spice Freighter
A spice-bearing ship, carrying its load in a specialised containment pod.
A hypothetical ship design; the Spice container, though, of course, most forms of ship could be used for spice transportation, utilised special spice containment facilities and equipment. Supposedly the would have used Heighliner's for long distance transport. The Spice Container was designed by Chriss Foss.

Guild Merchant Ship

Guild Merchant Ship
A bulky Guild Merchant Ship.
Also devised by Chris Foss, the bulky Guild Merchant Ship would have been used by the trecherous monopolising organisation to transport spice and other valuable goods. It's large hull would have contained plenty of storage area, and it may in fact have possessed on-board space-folding equipment for instant travel.

Spice Tug

Space Ship - Dunepedia
A Spice Tug Ship.
Similar to the spice container, the Spice Tug would have been used, much like it's modern day marine counterpart, to pull load-bearing vessels through space, presumably with the use of some sort of tether. It's designer, Chriss Foss writes: This Spice Tug pulls barges loaded with valuable material. Despite the treasure, this tug is unarmed, relying on its armed escorts for protection.

Out of-Universe Information

Harkonnen Space Ship
Another Sarduakar troop transport, as seen in David Lynch's Dune film.
Of all the ships above (excluding the non-canon section ships), only the No-Ship was not devised by Frank Herbert (it was devised by his sucessors). The reason for Herbert's use of various ships and designs was to illustrate diversity in, and between, the interstellar travel manufacturing companys, as well as to illustare whatever plot-device was needed. However, Herbert was not responsibe for the development of the ships physical appearances.
This duty only came to hand when Dune was proposed to become a film. Alejandro Joderosky employed Chris Foss, a science fiction artist, with a keen mind for what he wanted done. Foss abolishised the concept of dull, blearly, manufacturer's line ships, and intended to create beautiful and colourful, not to mention majestic, space creatures. His exact words on the subject were:
Foss' design for a damaged pirate space craft, leaking prescious spice and it drifts, crippled, away from a battle.

"Dune had to be made. But what kind of spaceships to use? Certainly not the degenerate and cold offspring of present day American automobiles and submarines, the very antithesis of art, usually seen in science fiction films, including 2001. No! I wanted magical entities, vibrating vehicles, like fish that swim and have their being in the mythological deeps of the surrounding ocean. The 'galactic' ships of North Americantechnocracy are a mouse-gray insult to the divine, therefore delirious, chaos of the universe. I wanted jewels, machine-animals, soul-mechanisms. Sublime as snow
Ron Miller's original Heighliner model.
crystals, myriad-faceted fly eyes, butterfly pinions. Not giant refrigerators, transistorised and riveted hulks; bloated with imperialism, pillage, arrogance and eunuchoid science."

Joderosky's version of the film, Dune, however, was never made, and so Foss' creations were never brought ot life. When Lynch's version of the film was released, it used ships that were the opposite to what Foss had intended. The job of designing the space ship concepts in Lynch's film went to Ron Miller. Miller also designed some of the non-space ship technology, such as the Ornithopters used in the film.

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