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Hyperdrive

Hyperdrives are superluminal propulsion systems that transport starships light-years at a time. The backbone of all interstellar travel, their invention changed humanity as much as the discovery of electricity or creation of the internet. It unbounded what was becoming an overcrowded solar system and unleashed mankind on the galaxy.  

History

Prior to the hyperdrive, space travel was limited to subluminal speeds, making even the nearest stars years to decades away. Early colonization attempts required large seed populations and substantial preparation of the colony site before arrival, and while several colonies traced their origins to these early voyages, they collapsed more than they succeeded. The need for superluminal interstellar travel was obvious.   In the latter half of the 25th century, word that the terrans were working on a legitimate superluminal propulsion system began to circulate among the Aereophany and the Alliance of Minor Planets, but it was not for another decade that the Terran Confederation officially announced Project Hermes. This ignited a new race - this time between worlds - to reach other stars. The winners would have access to unlimited resources whiel the losers would quite literally be left behind.   For years, the three major powers in the solar system plumbed the depths of quantum mechanics in search of some way to circumvent Einstein's cosmic speed limit with little luck. Finally, on June 18, 2493, researchers from the United Astronautics Company, a joint venture between LMR Technologies and Thales Aerodyne on behalf of ARDE successfully transported a device one millimeter straight up. Two years later, they transported a satellite from North Oscura Peak, New Mexico, North American Union directly into a 250-kilometer altitude low earch orbit. Six months later, they transported a satellite to a point in a geostationary orbit on the opposite side of the Earth.   Three years later, on November 6, 2498, Tahlia Aurora Falconer became the first human to travel via hyperdrive. Her journey began in the North Oscura Peak fascility and ended in low earth orbit. It would be another two years before Edvard Owain Salmon would travel via hyperdrive from Earth to the colony in the Centary System.   Since then, extensive improvements have been made to hyperdrive technology. These largely revolve around range, power consumption, reducing the effects of local space-time curvature on the device, minimizing time in Hyperspace, and decreacing time requirements for the necessary calculations. Modern hyperdrives can be fitted on relatively small starships, operate accurately within 20,000 light-seconds of a sun-size star, have safe ranges of around 10 light-years, and takes about a day per jump.  

The Procyon Theory

See also Procyon Conspiracy.   The proximity of the discovery of such a radical technology to the Procyon Incident has sparked hundreds of conspiracy theories suggesting that the hyperdrive somehow derrived from or was related to the Ceteri. Typical tellings suggest that UAC either made first contact with the Ceteri while developing their hyperdrive or recieved the hyperdrive technology directly from them. In reality, there is no evidence to suggest that the discovery of the Ceteri and development of the hyperdrive are related.  

Design and Operation

See also Hyperspace Theory.   Hyperdrives work by enveloping a volume within an energy field and then shunting that entire field into Hyperspace and then back into normal space at the desired destination. The shunting process has a duration on the order of nanoseconds, but building up sufficient energy and performing the calculations needed to make the jump take considerable time - usually about a day in total.  

Biological Effects

See also Hyperspace Shunt Syndrome.   Travel via hyperspace has a number of effects on the nuerological system of living organisms. These include sensations of vertigo, nausea, pain, and malaise. The cause of hyperspace shunt syndrome is not not fully understood, but it is believed that hyperspace interfears with the signals sent between synapses in a disorienting and painful manner. The result is a whole-body wave of discomfort that lasts anywhere from seconds to minutes and varies in intensity from person to person.  

Manufacturing

All hyperdrives are manufactured by or under the direct supervision of technical priests from the Astrianic Church. They are responsible for all direct contact with forbidden technologies and shield the factory laity from corruptive knowledge. Lay workers fill out the factory ranks by monitering and operating purified machines under the supervision of clergy from the Congregation for the Technicians of the Sacred. All hyperdrive maintenance is performed under similar conditions.

Table of Contents

Parent Technologies

General Information

Inventor(s)
United Astronautics Company
Access & Availability
Despite their complexity and reliance on heretical technology, hyperdrives are widely available to starship manufacturers and operators. Hyperdrives still require regular purification from a technician of the sacred and his staff, but so long as these purification rituals are regularly performed, a laoperator can interact with the drive safely and without fear for his soul.
Complexity
Hyperdrives require exotic materials, tremendous power sources, quantum computers, and deep technical expertise only available to the Astrianic Church.

Spacefaring Technology

Hyperdrive

Propulsion Technology

Hyperdrive

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Cover image: by H. R. Giger

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