SS12 was built like how SS13 was built: They both had the same basic design, just used for different uses.
For example: SS12 was a communications ship whilst SS13 was a research station.
After SS12 had lost communication with CC(Central Command) they did not have the time to find where'd it had gone(This is when they were in the Great War) So they had made it Project Orion 12 and postponed it. After the war had ended, they had put Project Orion at the top, and they perservered untill they found SS12, But what they found was their station tooken over by Syndicate forces, and they also found new technology that they owned. This was why the birth of SS13 was made, they needed a station which could research technology to match and surpass the syndicates. SS13 Original purpose was only to research Bio Weapons, untill the CC added more purposes then just to find weapons.