Skydancer is Catherine Sakai's vessel used for investigating planets for minerals. Essentially a custom modified Earth Alliance Crew Shuttle, the Skydancer was originally an old freighter before it was purchased and refitted by Sakai. The Skydancer was Catherine's pride and joy, dependable, maneuverable, and efficient, though like most small survey ships it didn’t have a jump-point generator and as such is dependent on the Jumpgate network for hyperspace travel. In the hands of a qualified pilot/surveyor such as Ms. Sakai the Skydancer can gather extensive information on an entire planet in under a day.
The interior of the Skydancer is small, cramped and only suited to support a single occupant for any length of time. All of the pilot amenities are in a small compartment immediately behind the cockpit; it includes a narrow bunk area, fold-down, compact exercise equipment, necessary for long duration flights in zero-g; storage containers for condensed, freeze-dried food supplies; a small toilet area; and a decontamination chamber, which doubled as a shower, a small entertainment console screen, with access to an extensive database of music, vids, and books.
The rest of the ship was taken up with the air and water processors and other life-support systems, the fuel tanks, the engines, survey equipment, the satellite launch bays for the includes mineralogical probes and environmental satellites, and most importantly the sample bay. Such is the importance of having a first-class sample bay on a good surveying ship that Sakai chose to skimp on her living amenities to order to install the very best sample bay in Skydancer. Featuring a changeable system of sample compartments the bay could be configured by computer to be a great number of very small compartments, or a smaller number of much larger compartments, depending on the planets to be surveyed, how much soil and rock the sampler robots bring back, the composition of those samples. For instance, given it's radioactive nature, even unrefined samples of Q-40 are unsafe to carry in large quantities without posing a long term risk to the ship and the crew, so they are contained in the smaller more heavily shielded compartments and are rigged so they can all be dumped into space in an emergency. This is an expensive feature and not one any surveyor likes to use as empty sample trays do not make for happy customers. However this very feature saved Sakai's life when she used it to dump a load of Q-40 into an open jump point as she exited hyperspace, destroying or disabling the Shadow Vessel that had been tailing her through hyperspace. Though the blast damaged to the jumpgate such that it was shut down, the concussion threw the Skydancer clear leaving the Skydancer heavily damaged but intact.
The Skydancer's last known whereabouts is in a hangar in the Yedor spaceport, that Delenn had reserved for Sakai before her arrival on Minbar. Catherine left her ship there before traveling on to Tuzanor to reunite with Sinclair.
In her decade long career and an independent surveyor, Catherine Sakai visited hundreds of worlds. Below is a list of the last known stops of the Skydancer before Catherine finally joined Sinclair on Minbar.
|Planet Designation/Name||Date Visited||Survey Notes|
|Planet Sigma 957||April 25th, 2258||Survey aborted, area unsafe for space travel.|
|Planet UTC43-02C/Fensalir||February 11th, 2259||No useful resources detected.|
|Planet UTC45-03A/Ymir||February 13th, 2259||Planet already strip mined.|
|Planet UTC51-03B/Glasir||February 28th, 2259||Significant amount of Quantium 40 detected.|
|Planet UTC59-02B/Skirnir||Circa March - April 2259||No useful resources detected.|
|Planet UTC67-02C/Mjollnir||May, 2259||Significant amount of Quantium 40 detected.|