Impulse drive

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  • Short for "internally metered pulse drive" (Invasion Novel: First Strike)
  • Main Federation sublight drive system,
    • Description guided by both TNG technical manual and general description in Final Frontier, in order to best fit qualities on-screen inconsistent with straightforward Newtonian drive
    • Based on deuterium-fed laser pulse fusion reactor generating high energy electroplasma compatible with internal EPS power systems
    • Combination of Newtonian and non-Newtonian propulsion (DS9 Novel: Gamma: Original Sin)
      • Fusion reaction captured by artificial gravitational field, subspace field effects to hypercompress released energy, generating spatial distortions to linearly propel vessel either forward or in reverse
      • Velocity aided and vectored by expulsion of reactants under effect of a subspace field driver coils, increasing reactant mass and reducing vessel mass to increase effectiveness of Newtonian propulsion
    • Maximum impulse velocity limited to 0.25c by policy, to prevent severe relativistic effects from bringing vessels too significantly out of sync with rest-frame activities
      • Up to 0.75c in emergency situations


  • 2018: Invented by Earth, quickly displacing other engine technologies