The exo-armors (short form for armored exo-skeleton) are the ultimate evolution of the personal combat space suit of the early twenty-first century. Originally no larger than a man, they increased in size until some of the biggest were carry the enormous amount of fuel, armament, and electronics necessary to accomplish their assigned mission. Spacefighters remain in use, but their lack of maneuverability and endurance (compared to exo-armors) confines them to strike and fire-support roles.
Linear Frame and Cockpit
The linear frame is the main control element of the exo-armor. It looks like an strength-enhancing industrial exo-skeleton and wraps the pilot, reproducing his every movement. The exo-armor's onboard drive computer then interprets these motions and moves the armor's limbs accordingly, firing apogee motors as needed to compensate. The linear frame control system gives the exo-armor an uncanny maneuverability as well as a strangely human grace.
Space flight is controlled via special joysticks located near the hand controls. A minimum of training is necessary to fully control the armor, even if the computer can provide verbal and visual assistance. The cockpit's internal walls are covered with layered monitors linked to various sensors and cameras in the outer hull of the exo and display an unobstructed view of the world around the vehicle. All relevant operational information (IFF, targeting, velocity, etc) is displayed either in the flight helmet worn by the pilot or directly on the screen. The machine's "head" and main sensors are slaved to the motions of the helmet, adding to the "humanity" of the exo-armor.
Chassis and Actuators
Since an exo-armor is designed to emulate and reproduce the movement of the human body, it is built around a composite skeleton to which the various components and actuators are attached. The "bones" are made of composite material specifically designed to optimize the transfer of loads passing through them. Limited flexibility enables the frame to absorb casual kinetic stress without any damage.
Exo-armors rely on several different types of actuators to move about, from conventional hydraulic systems or high-strength myomar fibers to highly specialized linear electric motors. The smaller exo-suits almost never use hydraulics, as myomars are easier to adapt to the human form. The fibers are wrapped around an inner shell which contains the wearer and various motion-sensitive sensor arrays.