A Space Park luxury liner converted into a university
The Ellysium University was the brainchild of Professor Alicia Nerva of Delphi University. When an old civilian passenger liner was up for auction, she came up with the funds to purchase it and turn it into a space going research craft. Its age and obsolete design were the reason the Professor could afford such a large craft. The conversion was a great success, allowing a wide range of research projects to be done in deep space that could not otherwise be done on a planet. Everything from biology, astrophysics, computer science, FTL theory, metallurgy, and medicine had ongoing labs dedicated to them.
During the attack, the Ellysium was far outside the star system doing FTL research. Its advanced sensors allowed it to discover and rescue most of the ships of the small fleet before the Odysius found them in the Jarloff system.
The Ellysium University ship has good research facilities that can help improve weapons and other items. It will also enable the fleet to analyze and duplicate Cylon tech items. They were working on advanced FTL drives and other goodies when the war began; this is why they were so far outside the system. Eventually they can upgrade the fleet’s FTL drives.
Deep space probe launcher