Warp core ejection of an Intrepid class starship  


In cases of extreme emergency, the warp core of all Starfleet starships may be ejected. In cases where the fields separating the matter and the antimatter (warp containment field) are failing, a warp core breach would result. Because this breach would most certainly destroy the ship, the engineer or any command officer may choose to eject the core.

The procedure for warp core ejection involves initiating a manual sequence or automatic computer activation (see below). The order to eject a core can only be given by crew members with the necessary authorization, such as the captain, first officer, or chief engineer. The next step is to engage the ejection system, while the magnetic valves and transfer pipes connected to the warp core are dealt with automatically. When the order is given, the computer opens or blows out the matter-antimatter reaction assembly exterior hull hatch, which is located on the ventral side of the ship. The core is then forcibly ejected through this hatch with explosive charges.

Once the core has been ejected, it will not necessarily breach; it may cool down in space, in which case it can be retrieved. As the core will probably still be unstable, the crew have to perform repairs before locking on a tractor bean and reconnecting the core to the engineering systems.