United Earth Starfleet – Exploration Division
The Vanguard III deep space mission, lead by the explorer ship EAS Endeavour and accompanied by two liscenced survey vessels, the Hawking and the Meredith, has reached the Rigel System and completed the first stage of Stargate construction allowing for limited FTL communications. After over a three year journey the real exploration begins as teh survey vessels and the launches and probes of the Endeavour begin charting and mapping the system. While the Rigel A system is unlikely to support any life, the Meredith will be traveling to the nearby Rigel B/C Twin star system which harbors the potential for life and/or colonization. The Hawking will be concentrating on the Rigel A system. With completion of the stargate, travel time home will be cut to less than 8 months, leaving a 16 month window for exploration.