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FTL Added to Simulator
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The vast distances between star systems means even the closest would take years to cross at Endeavour’s best impulse speeds.

Fortunately a key piece of technology recovered from extra-terrestrial vessels makes interstellar travel feasible by warping space-time to effectively reduce the distance a vessel has to travel. This is experienced by the vessel as velocities that are a number of times the speed of light.

Known as the FTL (Faster Than Light) Drive, it is the fundamental discovery that gave rise to all of Earth’s deep space programs. The technology is so complex that scientists and engineers have been unable to reverse-engineer the recovered drives, which will instead be directly integrated into vessels.

Only three known working drive units are known to exist and the ISDC has one of them.

Simulating FTL

The helm console has been updated to include FTL Drive control components, allowing crews to travel to any star system required by their mission.

Operating in FTL flight mode is relatively simple, as all navigation is completely automated due to the complexities of interstellar travel. The operator simply chooses the system they wish to go to and ensures sufficient power is available to the FTL Drive.

When Endeavour enters FTL flight mode she will effectively disappear, unable to be detected by other vessels but with reduced sensor and communications capabilities of her own.

Travel duration in the simulator can be set for realism or scaled down as needed to make the most of simulator time.

Stellar Cartography

Each star system that is a potential destination must be modelled to provide a realistic representation of what Endeavour would find on arrival.

Up until the addition of FTL capability only one system had been represented in the simulator – our solar system. Supporting FTL simulations requires the capability to map and model star systems, a discipline referred to as stellar cartography.

The addition of new star system to the simulation is based on a range of data from a range of terrestrial and space-based observatories including highly classified programs and facilities.

The system’s star must be accurately positioned within a galactic grid to support the automated FTL navigation systems.

The system itself must be modelled including the position, size and class of the astronomical objects within the system.

Key astronomical objects – typically planets or moons of a habitable class within the system’s green zone – will be explored by Endeavour initially using orbital scans. The data for these scans is modelled within the simulator based on informed speculation by geophysics and exobiology specialists derived from long-range observations.