Spacecraft Propulsion
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Basic Information

Stardrives and Propulsion

The following methods and engine types can convey you through space. Some are much easier, faster, or realistic than others.

FTL Stardrive types

See also Stardrive and Faster Than Light

  • Alcubierre Drive - a spherical spacetime bubble that warps space to allow for FTL travel
  • Hyper Drive - uses Hyperspace or Subspace, an exotic layer of space, or possibly even another dimension, where the speed of light is not a barrier to movement
  • Jump Drive - folds space or teleports to relocate a ship instantly
  • Shortcut Drive - creates or locates a temporary wormhole
  • Warp Drive - warps the laws of physics, to enable you to accelerate more readily and exceed the speed of light.

Non-FTL propulsion systems

These systems generally respect Relativity and are non-FTL, but in a few cases they're still fantastical. If you're looking for hard science that can't be doubted, stick with Reaction Engine and [Rocket Engine.

Arrival and Landing

Atmospheric Reentry is harsh, and landings can be perilous. The following technologies and techniques may prove helpful:

Helping Hands

Structures and devices that might be useful to your spacecraft

FTL gates and other shortcuts

See also: FTL, Megastructure and Stellar Megastructure

  • Alcubierre Rail - a trail that allows for the use of an Alcubierre Drive without the consumption of exotic matter
  • Jumpgate - a fixed point that is like a wormhole (see below), or like a cannon that propels ships passing through it. Allows non-FTL ships that pass through it to enter hyperspace or travel faster than light.
  • Krasnikov Tube - a one-way artificial curvature of spacetime, vaguely similar to a worm hole, not so much a stardrive as a permanent short-cut maker
  • Wormhole - a portal between two points in spacetime, may be natural or man-made. See also Rotating Black Hole

Alternative Launch Systems

The most common spacecraft launch system is some sort of Rocket Engine, but on an established world with structures or megastructures, you have some other options:


Game and Story Use

  • The methods of travel, and types of engines, available in your game will set the tone of how things play out. Travel between meaningful locations may vary from seconds to centuries depending on the propulsion systems allowed in the setting.
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