Encyclopedia Hiigara

Kushan Mothership
Ship Information
Technical Information
5 Projectile Cannons

The Mothership was the Kushan flagship and deep space colony vessel during the Homeworld War.


While the Mothership was initially designed to be a Colony Ship and general base of operations, the additional roles of flagship and mobile shipyard were forced upon it due to the power and hostility of races it encountered soon after departing from Kharak.

While vessels of this magnitude do not have particularly practical applications in regular space warfare, the invention of the hyperdrive makes the mobility of a large stationary object like the Mothership possible and the advances made in engineering allow capital ships to be produced in mere weeks. This makes a mobile shipyard very useful on the battlefield, constantly replenishing vessels lost in battle, reconstructing an entire squadron of fighters or a frigate in a very short amount of time.

Purpose and mission[]

The Mothership was built in the years following the discovery of the first city of Khar-Toba in 1110 KDS, the first colony founded by the Kushan in the wake of their Exile from the world of Hiigara by the Taiidan Empire. Khar-Toba was a significant discovery, proving the existence of spaceships on Kharak's surface in prehistoric times (the existence of ships in the system had already been discovered in the form of debris fields). The Khar-Toba's power plant, after being reverse-engineered, provided "another generation of breakthroughs in power and material sciences." But the real treasure, that catapulted Kushan science 500 years forward was "a solid state [sic] hyperspace induction module" attached to the power plant. Furthermore, the Khar-Toba contained the Guidestone, which provided the Kushan with the final proof that they were not natives to their world.

The Mothership was envisioned to use the map found on the Guidestone as a star chart, finding its way across the galaxy to the primordial home of the Kushan people, Hiigara. The intention was to colonize the world and to establish a permanent settlement there, so the Mothership was not only designed to serve as an exploratory vessel, but as a colony ship. It would be capable of carrying as many as 600,000 cryogenically frozen Kushan in storage as well as a large crew of 50,000 to maintain the Cryo Trays and man the ship's various systems, including ship construction and mineral refinement, designed to supply the crew and to build or repair ships in case the Mothership Fleet was damaged.


The construction of the Mothership was a grand undertaking, unlike anything before in the history of Kharak. The Mothership was constructed over a period of 100 years, starting around 1150 KDS, 40 years after the discovery of Khar-Toba. Its construction first required the building of an immense space station (which itself took 20 years to build) and shipyard known simply as the Scaffold. This scaffold became the only moon that Kharak had ever known, easily visible in the night sky, traveling across the surface of the planet in the outer orbit. Within the Scaffold's clutches, the Mothership was born.

In the original Homeworld, the Kushan manufacture the mothership's primary mean of travel from the scratch: The Hyperspace Module. It is twelve times bigger than the one found in Khar-Toba. (Upon this module, they engraved the names those 2,357 people who gave their lives bringing the mothership into being.) The maximum range of the module is 2500 light years. Homeworld 2 later recons the lore. According to this new version, Khar-Toba contained the second Far-Jump Hyperspace Core, and it was this device that served as the mothership's drive. Kushans merely altered its containment unit.

Several asteroid fields had to be cleared in order for the Mothership to be constructed, and their resources were towed to the Scaffold's refineries. There, processed by the Phased Disassembler Arrays and broken down into their base atomic substances, Kharak's debris fields became part of the pride and joy of the Kushan people. From these shattered remains, strong metal alloys were made to build the Mothership's hull. The design went through at least two stages before the Mothership was completed, but the basic idea held and the design was never changed significantly. One large hangar was built in the center of the ship, accessible by two sides. Although its main purpose was to hold the Cryo Trays and the Hyperspace Module, the hangar was also designed for the construction of ships from Strike Craft to Capital Ship class.

On Fleet Intelligence's insistence, a point-defense grid system was built along the Mothership's hull. The defense system was made up of mass driver turrets, based on new technology that used electromagnetic fields to propel projectiles in the vacuum of space. While this defense grid is useless against large ships, it can successfully defend against a fighter squadron. In addition, several warship designs passed through Fleet Intelligence and were accepted for possible construction, many of which were used later on during the Homeworld War.

The final and most important piece of the Mothership's construction was that of the central processor unit for the Mothership, a supercomputer that would cover several decks. At the time, even the Khar-Toba had not unveiled the necessary technology to construct a supercomputer of such magnitude. At the time, the only computer even close to that complex was the human brain, and not without serious alteration. It was hence that Karan S'jet, a neuroscientist and heir to the position of Kiith-Sa within Kiith S'jet, entered the picture. She proposed a bold new technology to merge machine and human brain tissue using experimental cybernetic technology. At the time this had never been tried before, but the procedure, seen as the only solution that did not require a complete redesign of the Mothership, was accepted. Much to the horror of Karan's family, she volunteered herself and refused to give up the technology if it was used on someone else.

Reluctantly, unsure of whether or not Karan could ever be removed, the Mothership's technicians wired Karan into the ship. (Homeworld 2 slightly retcons the canon here. In this new version, Karan is attached directly to the Hyperspace Core. This proximity allowed her to live for centuries.) In time, she was given command of the fleet and became Fleet Command, both leader and prophet for the Kushan during the events that followed the Mothership's hyper drive test.


The Mothership as a shipyard.

Upon reaching Hiigara, Karan S'jet debarked the mothership and was the last person to set foot on Hiigara. On her advice, the Hyperspace Core was put on display on the Assam Kiith'Sid museum. The ship was ultimately converted into a large orbital shipyard with its main purpose being to build new super-capital vessels like the Explorer-class Deep Space Mining Vessel, the Carrier, or the occasional Heavy Cruiser.

Discrepancies in specifications[]

Mothership's in-game height is 2138.1 meters or approximately 2.1 kilometers. The Scaffold, that enclosed it during construction, is 1370.3 meters or approximately 1.3 kilometers. Game manual, however, disputes these numbers: Page 6 of Part 1: Historical + Technical Briefing states that Scaffold is 25.6 kilometers long (19.7 times larger). Assuming that the size ratio between Mothership and Scaffold is kept, the latter implies that the mothership should be 41.37 kilometers tall.


The mothership is the core of the player's fleet: it produces, repairs, and (in the original Homeworld but not Homeworld Remastered) refuels ships, acts as a resource drop-off point, and converts ships captured by salvage corvettes to the player's cause. Despite its size, the mothership is very lightly armed, with only a few small cannons. Its hull strength of 250,000 is the highest of all controllable ships in-game, but it can be threatened by even moderately sized enemy fleets if left unguarded due to its weak armament. The Kushan mothership has two exit points from which ships leave: a small dock on its starboard size, which disgorges and captures all ships that are Frigate-sized or smaller, and a larger dock on its port side that releases and captures resource controllers and capital ships.

In the campaign, the Mothership cannot move, and if it is destroyed, the player loses the game.

In multiplayer and custom battles, the mothership can move, but at a very slow pace. Destroying it and all Carriers results in victory. Unlike all other ships, motherships cannot be rebuilt if lost; as carriers cannot build capital ships, the loss of a mothership results in the loss of capital ship-building capabilities.


  • Many fans jokingly call the Mothership the "banana," referencing its elongated and curved shape.