FTL Drive

The FTL (Faster Than Light) Drive is a piece of recovered extra-terrestrial technology that emits intensive gravimetric fields capable of manipulating space-time.

The effect is to propel the vessel at relativistic velocities far in excess of the speed of light (C), even though the vessel's actual velocity does not exceed impulse speeds (up to 0.2C).

Simulations indicate that star systems nearest the solar system can be reached within hours and more distant systems within days.


Above: Overview of FTL Drive theory (not to scale). The red lines indicate the warping effect of the drive on space-time across the field's AOI (shaded area).The FTL Drive generates a powerful gravimetric field which warps space-time. Forward of the vessel this effectively bringing points in space along the vessel's heading closer to the vessel. This is offset aft of the vessel where the field warps space away from the vessel. This offset means that the FTL Drive field is not compressing space-time overall.

The FTL Drive field extends approximately 100GUs forward and aft of the vessel and only space-time within the field is manipulated. The vessel is isolated from the gravimetric effects of the field by the Field Transit Envelope (FTE), an area at the core of the field only sligtly larger than the vessel which is not subject to space-time manipulation and so is effectively normal space.

The field's effect in terms of relativistic velocity has the most impact closest to the vessel. The field compensates for these higher velocities with a corresponding decrease in velocity further away from the vessel (or the opposite aft).

The field's outer interface forms where the velocity generated by the field equals the vessel's Base Intertial Velocity (ie its speed in normal space).

The effective relatvistic velocity applied to the vessel is that at the interface between the FTE and the field (shown in blue on the diagram).


FTL Drive technology has not yet been successfully reverse engineered from the captured device, although a drive device of alien manufacture (recovered from a crashed vessel) has successfully been tested using field emitters manufactured terrestrially.

It is intended that the recovered FTL Drive unit will be integrated into Endeavour, allowing interstellar travel. Eventually it is hoped that the technology can be sufficiently understood to allow the manufacture of new FTL Drive units.

As impulse propulsion cannot be used while the FTL Drive is engaged, the two systems share a common power source, with power shifting between the systems as FTL Drive is engaged and disengaged.


The FTL Drive itself imparts little or no additional velocity to the vessel. The space-time manipulation effect works off the vessel's momentum at the point the drive is engaged, effectively multiplying the vessel's base inertial velocity.

The FTL Drive requires a minimum velocity to be effective, estimated to be 0.12C. Higher base velocities induce less load on the FTL drive, requiring less power to operate.

The amount of power applied to the FTL drive (and therefore the strength of the FTL Drive field) is controllable from the helm.

The helm will prevent the FTL Drive from being engaged if the base inertial velocity is not sufficient for the current drive power level.

While FTL drive is engaged, impulse flight functions are disabled.

Environmental and Tactical Impact

When the FTL drive is engaged it takes a number of seconds for the drive field to form. During this time the FTL drive emits a significant amount of EM in the ionising band (which is detectable but not hazardous).

Once the drive field has formed external observers would notice the vessel visibly distorting before apparently disappearing from view. A similar effect would be noticed when the vessel exits FTL drive mode.

When in FTL drive mode, the vessel is effectively undetectable. This also means that normal communications are impossible, although notifications can be sent and received via the Quantum-Entanglement Relay (QER) system.

Area of Influence (AOI)

The FTL drive field's active Area of Influence (AOI) extends up to 100 GUs (300,000km) forward and aft of the vessel.

Objects coming into contact with the AOI from outside would be deflected around the drive field. Large enough objects would cause the field to deflect away from the object (a condition that would automatically cause the drive to deactivate).

Any object caught within the AOI would be subject to significant gravimetric forces. Objects smaller than the vessel would likely be propelled towards the vessel at superluminal velocities, which could cause catastrophic damage to the vessel. (If the object was aft, it would be propelled away from the vessel).

An object significantly larger than the vessel (such as AOs) would cause the vessel to be propelled towards it at superluminal velocities, which would result in catastrophic impact (particularly for the vessel).

For this reason FTL drive must not be engaged while objects are within range of the drive's AOI.

FTL Navigation

Standard impulse navigation techniques are not possible while in FTL drive mode as the vast distances involved mean that the slightest error in navigation would be catastrophically magnified.

Instead, FTL navigation is completely managed by computer. The destination system is entered into the helm and the necessary maneuvers to safely reach the destination are calculated, implemented, checked and corrected automatically during flight.