The Warp Core of a Sovereign Class starship

 

  

The Warp drive is the primary propulsion system used by most faster-than-light interstellar spacecrafts. Warp drive systems used by Federation Starships employ the controlled annihilation of matter and antimatter, regulated by dilithium crystals to generate the tremendous power required to warp space and travel faster than light. This reaction takes place in the Matter/Antimatter Reaction Assembly, located within the warp core in Main Engineering.

Warp drive was invented in 2061 by noted scientist Zefram Cochrane. Warp speed is achieved by enclosing the ship with a subspace field also known as a warp field or warp bubble (see top-left). This field causes the warping of normal space which allows the ship to travel between two points faster than light outside the warp field would.

The unit to measure the subspace field stress is in Cochranes (c). This unit is employed to measure the power of a warp drive as well as of other devices which employ a subspace field, such as the impulse drive and the FTL computer core. The cochrane value equals the velocity ratio v/c for the given warp factor. Warp 1 and v/c=1 is achieved for a subspace distortion of 1 cochrane. Values smaller than 1 cochrane correspond to sublight speed. At Warp 10, finally, the cochrane value becomes infinite, and so does the apparent velocity.