FTL Travel and Trade Routes

Faster-Than-Light (FTL) Travel is possible due to the discovery of “Hyperspace”, a dimension that can be reached by starships through specialized drives. In this dimension, faster-than-light travel does not violate laws of physics. It is only through this discovery that the Galactic Federation can exist; traveling from star-to-star without it would take years at a time even at the speed of light, and generations at the more normal sublight travel speeds found on craft throughout the galaxy. Instead, travel time between stars in measured in days and weeks and galactic commerce and trade can function.

The problem with hyperspace is that objects that exist in reality also exist in hyperspace. Objects that try to fly through space already inhabited by another object would wreck in hyperspace, dropping out of FTL travel immediately in an unimaginable wreck. Gravitational effects also are stronger in hyperspace. As such, ships must drop out of hyperspace a significant distance from their target and must put a signficant amount of distance between their launch point before going into hyperspace. Even the most basic hyperspace drives have sensors that prevent a ship from going into hyperspace in a dangerous scenario and drop a ship out of hyperspace if they are approaching a gravitational disturbance as would be expected due to a cestial body or phenomenon.

In well-mapped areas of space, FTL travel from any one given point to another given point is possible with micro-adjustments while in hyperspace. However, most ships stick to known clear “routes” beween inhabited planets. These routes are constantly monitored for debris and some even have FTL comm buoys nearby to let rescue teams know if a crew experiences mechanical problems. These routes allow navigators to set course at maximum speed; an unmapped route requires a navigator to fly at less than the maximum speed in order to make adjustments in time. Also, if a ship comes out of hyperspace on an unmapped route due to unexpected gravitational anomalies, there is an added cost in terms of drive power and fuel as well as requiring extremely complex recalculations on the part of the navigator.

FTL Travel and Trade Routes

Beyond the Stars JamesOuroboros