The media baron, Gavin McLeod, was the mastermind behind the creation of Galaxy Magazine and the unique method it uses for its off-planet research. From his base of operations in the [Kingdom of Atholl]? he sent recruiting agents to those planets suffering from chronic over-population. These recruiting agents found people who were sick of life in the overcrowded cities and arcologies and offered them a once in a lifetime opportunity; their own spaceship, brand new, and state of the art, absolutely free. The only condition was that they worked for Galaxy Magazine for the next twenty years.
At the same time he sent the best editors and finance managers from his existing magazines and newspapers and gave them a one way ticket to the major planets he was targetting for his magazines. Once there they were to set up an office, recruit the best local journalists they could get and also set up an orbital dockyard, ready for the courier's ships.
With all this in place the ships started leaving their home planets at a rate of one every six months. With them they took the latest news as gathered by the local Galaxy Magazine staff. At the first planet they reached they delivered that news and picked up the local news. Then they set out for the next planet in the loop and dropped off the news from the previous two, and so on. After twenty years they had come round in a full circle and were back home. In that time many of them had found their ships being upgraded as one planet or another had improved their technology. Another unforeseen side effect was that over half of the couriers had picked up a spouse somewhere along the route, and some of the ships were home to several children. McLeod was pleased, but not overly surprised, to hear that most of the crews were happy enough to sign on for another twenty year loop, rather than try to pick up their lives where they had left them. The families were the most likely to stay with the company, having come from different planets originally the ship was the only home they shared.
As the system grew the ship flights became more common, eventually leaving each planet at a rate of one every month. The number of routes also expanded until eventually 85% of the human colonies were included on one route or another. Places where two or more routes connected became renowned as galactic focal points and helped develop trade routes along similar lines. As for the ship families, it became common for the ship to be inherited from the original owners and the children and grandchildren to continue to run the same route for their entire lives. During the Orbital Wars the courier ships of Galaxy Magazine were one of the few organisations to be allowed free travel through most of known space with few questions asked. Only the Jatok refused permission since the majority of editors chosen by McLeod followed his editorial line of anti-Jatok propoganda.