Spacefaring humanity is divided among these four main factions. While each of these factions has its roots in the Solar System, they have spread with humans to multiple other star systems. Demarchists controlled most major colony worlds, including Yellowstone, until the introduction of the Melding Plague. Conjoiners inhabited hollowed out asteroids on system peripheries, called Nests, before the move to the central Mother Nest in the Yellowstone system during the Conjoiner-Demarchist war. Ultras prefer living aboard the massive lighthugger ships, and are generally uncomfortable on terrestrial worlds. Skyjacks are comet and asteroid miners.
ULTra (Urban Light Transit) is a personal rapid transit system developed by the British engineering company ULTra Global PRT (formerly Advanced Transport Systems).
The first public system opened at London's Heathrow Airport in May 2011. It consists of 21 vehicles operating on a 3.9-kilometre (2.4mi) route connecting Terminal 5 to its business passenger car park, just north of the airport. ULTra is in contention to develop an urban system in Amritsar, India projected to carry up to 100,000 passengers per day using 200 vehicles.
To reduce fabrication costs, ULTra uses largely off-the-shelf technologies, such as rubber tyres running on an open guideway. This approach has resulted in a system that ULTra believes to be economical; the company reports that the total cost (vehicles, infrastructure and control systems) is between £3 million and £5 million per kilometre of guideway.
The system was originally designed by Martin Lowson and his design team, Lowson having put £10 million into the project. He formed Advanced Transport Systems (ATS) in Cardiff to develop the system, and their site was later the location of its test track. ULTra has twice been awarded funding from the UK National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA). Much of the original research on ULTra was done by the Aerospace Engineering department at the University of Bristol during the 1990s. Recently the company renamed itself "ULTra PRT Limited" to better reflect its primary business, and moved its corporate headquarters to Bristol.
Ultra is the ninth studio album by the English electronic music band Depeche Mode, released on 14 April 1997 by Mute Records. The album was the band's first since the departure of Alan Wilder, who had left the band in 1995 having become disillusioned with life in Depeche Mode. Wilder's departure and lead singer Dave Gahan's drug problems, which culminated in a near-fatal overdose, had caused many people to speculate that the band was finished. This is their first album as a trio since 1982's A Broken Frame.
Ultra debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and at number five on the Billboard 200. By April 2006, the album had sold 584,000 copies in the United States. The project was initially conceived as an EP.
In 1999, Ned Raggett ranked the album at number 50 on his list of "The Top 136 Or So Albums Of The Nineties".
To promote the release of the album the band played two short concerts in London and Los Angeles, titled Ultra Parties. The London concert took place on 10 April 1997 at Adrenalin Village and the Los Angeles concert was held on 16 May 1997 at the Shrine Exposition Hall. The Shrine show was produced by Philip Blaine whose 1500 Records was currently compiling the soon to be released Depeche Mode tribute album For the Masses. The shows featured Christian Eigner on drums and Dave Clayton on keyboards. The Los Angeles show was filmed by MTV but the performance was never broadcast in its entirety.