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Starship Design in Ancient Times(1 - 2)
Space travel was painful in ancient times, consisting of races reaching out tenuously to explore their most immediate neighbours. Ships were painfully slow, being driven by various forms of molecular jets and rams, essentially high-tech rockets and explosions. Weapons consisted of crude projectiles and guns and, late in the period, the first energy weapons. Defensive measures consisted of little more than thick plates. Spacefaring equipment in general was unstable and unreliable new technology and travel off-planet was arduous at best. Long voyages on cramped craft lead to a variety of issues, from improper nutrition and disease to psychological instability to technological disaster.

Starship Design in the Archaic Era(3 - 4)
Ships of this era were just beginning to be practical vessels for sustained interstellar exploration, commerce, and combat. Ships built at level 3 still relied on heavy armour for both function and reassurance, as the grav shield system was relatively new and untested. Grav drives were commonplace and warp drives became so by the end of the era.

Starship Design in Antiquity (5 - 6)
Post modern ship design reflected an era of growth and conflict. Established and growing empires were developing technologies at an astonishing rate, power was plentiful through new technologies like rotated particles and singularity generators, and travel was swift and sure with skip drives on most ships and string drives appearing with regularity. New weapons and defenses developed constantly and everyone wanted to try out their new toys on old enemies. It was not until late in the era, when economies started to slag and resources started to dwindle, that the empires began to see the impossibility of prolonged conflict between distant worlds.

Modern Starship Design( 7 )
With the sheer number of huge corporations producing reasonably priced ships, specialized ships are more common than in the past. Beyond the freighters and military craft of the past, specialized cruise ships, personal and corporate craft, and a variety of other scientific and commercial craft appear constantly. The advent of neuralink control and the smaller required crew compliments has opened up a lot of space, leading to better crew appointments or significantly smaller ships.  With a thought to the conflicts of Antiquity, most modern ship design incorporates at least some defensive capabilities.

Starship Sizes
Starships are huge. They house an assortment of enormous equipment, including power reactors, one or more star drives, a variety of weapons, and communications and computing equipment. They also need living and entertainment space for crews. So you can forget any notion of star-fighters the size of F-16s. This section is an attempt to work out reasonable relative sizes of various ship hulls and can be used as a good proportion guide for artists..

Displacement Tonnage

Today Crew
20 - 40 Average tractor-trailer BJ, plus the Bear
40 Boxcar  
160 Island-class patrol boat 16
270 Armidale-class patrol boat 21 (accommodation for 41)
460 HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen WWII minesweeper 45
650 Visby-class stealth corvette 43
1000 Bathurst-class WWII corvette 80
5150 Iroquois Guided Missile Destroyer 282
8000 USS Cole Guided missile destroyer 337
8000 USS Virginia attack sub 113
16000 Sirius-class military tender 49 navy, 115 civilian
18,000 Mars-class military tender 26 navy, 118 civilian
26,000 Edmund Fitzgerald 29
48,000 Typhoon-class sub 163
56,500 Iowa-class battleship 2800
50 - 80k Panamax freighter  
70,000 QE2 1015 crew, 1700 passengers
74,000 Monarch of the Seas liner 830 crew,  2744 passengers
104,000 Nimitz-class aircraft carrier 3200 crew , 2480 air
138,000 Mariner of the Seas 3,114 passengers
212,000 Exxon Valdez 21
650,000 Knock Nevis 40

Some real-world system size information:
Fission reactor core In the Russian icebreaker Sevmorput is about 1m x 1.2m and carrying about 150kg of uranium. From there, equipment is needed to generate and distribute steam and electricity and to recapture water. Shielding and protection for the generator would be important.
GRT Gross registered tonnage is 100 cubic feet per ton.