One of the most prominent parts visible on the exterior of the ship, it resembled a colossal "suction pump" with extending, metal "tendrils" reaching forwards and outwards.
This acted a form of Bussard ramjet, collecting particles of hydrogen from the interstellar winds, and directing them to the Engine Core of Red Dwarf, where a fusion reactor could theoretically keep the ship running forever. There is also a large number of solar panels and battery back-ups. However, due to the massive drain of power, these could only maintain the ship for a few weeks without the main engines.
The interior of the Front Ramscoop was colossal and cavernous, but maintenance hatchways and stairwells connected it to the rest of the ship.
For the majority of the run of the television series, the Front Ramscoop is only mentioned and seen from the exterior.
It was first seen up-close, and the interior of it revealed, in the Series X episode "Fathers & Suns", when Dave Lister is forced on an unwilling space walk by the homicidal computer Pree. Lister is able to re-enter Red Dwarf by expelling his spacesuit air as propellant, and flying into and through the Front Ramscoop, and into a maintenance hatchway there. ("Fathers & Suns", Series X)
- The scoop was one of the first ideas about Red Dwarf that writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor had. In a 2001 interview with the official RD website, prop maker Peter Wragg explained that the scoop was not just for fuel collection, but also to "suck in meteorites", given that Red Dwarf was a mining ship.
- Dialogue in the Series I episode "Waiting for God" would indicate that the scoop could also be used to bring spacecraft into Red Dwarf, in addition to the Docking Foot. Holly tells Rimmer that a pod is within scoop range, and Rimmer believing it to be aliens tells Holly to bring it in. This however turns out to be merely one of their own Escape pods.
- According to Series X DVD documentary "We're Smegged", the Drive Room of Red Dwarf used by the gang in Series X was "pointed fowards" as it is located at the front of the ship, close to the Front Ramscoop (and also close to the new Series X sleeping quarters). Other Drive Rooms featured in earlier series were around the middle or the rear of the ship. This would also explain how Lister was able to rejoin the others relatively quickly after re-entering the ship through the Front Ramscoop in "Fathers & Suns".
- In the Doug Naylor Red Dwarf novel Last Human, the Mayflower is also equipped with a Front Ramscoop.