Talk:Impulse drive

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'Excellent' should probably not be used the way it is currently, it is non-objective. There are no mentions of Impulse Drives in Star Wars, so the star wars references do not belong. --Chairboy 02:49, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I am sorry that I cannot actually properly correct this right now, but if you look up Speed of Light you will discover that it is 30 million metres per second, not kilometres per second. Also, it is unlikely that one's atoms can be pulverized -- more likely that would be one's molecules. The atoms would then be stripped of their electrons, perhaps, giving rise to charge plasma.

A small note: both of these are wrong: speed of light is roughly 3 E8 m/s

One thing that is not clear is how the Impulse drive works. As the warp drive is the space-altering engine, one expects that the Impulse drive uses some kind of action/reaction matter expulsion system, which is basically a rocket engine. It would be interesting to know how much exploding matter it would take to accelerate a space craft the size of the Enterprise forward at ten thousand metres per second2, at what velocity that expulsed matter would itself have to be travelling, and how much energy is required to create such a powerful stream.

I'm curious to know how much matter would be required, relative to the mass of the craft being propelled. For extra bonus points, you'd take into account the rate at which the propellent was being consumed, and relatavistic effects. :) -- Jay
I suspect that this bit about it being a reaction drive is wrong. I suspect it is a reactionless drive, like the EM Drive. Slightlyright (talk) 20:23, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

This article needs a heavy rewrite to include Impulse drives from other sci-fi (inparticular Star Wars). reddi 05:55, 4 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I had a friend who bought the official guide to Trek science (no, really, not me). The whole acceleration thing was taken care of by "inertial dampeners", an adaptation of the artificial gravity thing. So the entire content of this page to date is kind of irrelevant. -- Cyan 06:57, 4 Sep 2003 (UTC)


Full Impulse is actually (according to the TNG Technical Manual) inferred (or said explicitly, I dont recall) to be 1/4 the speed of light, not lightspeed.

In Star trek next generation season 6 episode 22 "Suspicions". Alien scientist assesses that he will travel 1 million kilometers in 3 minutes on a shuttle with 3/4 impulse. Calculation shows that full impulse will be approximately 7407 km/sec. Meaning that full impulse will take a shuttle from earth to the sun (1 AU) in 5.6 hours.

If impulse is 1/4 the speed of light (as stated in TNG and also translating to 270 million kph), it would only take 34 minutes to travel from Earth to the Sun at full impulse. I don't know where you get the 5.6 hours from, but the fact of the matter is that light travels from the surface of the Sun to Earth in 8.5 minutes. Multiply fact by 4 and you have the duration for a journey powered by impulse engines at max. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:36, 17 September 2008 (UTC)


Was warp drive ever called hyperspace? I don't like the use of "or" when it is not clear if you mean one of two things or also known as. -- 14:37, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No, subspace is never referred to as hyperspace. That should not be in there.

in tech manuals for star trek it is stated that full impulse is limited to a maximum 0.5c (half the speed of light) to minimize time dialation effects —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:03, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Impulse Powered by Fusion?[edit]

I'm curious as to where this came from, since I don't believe it's ever mentioned in any TV series. Is it from the Tech Manual, and if so is the TM still considered canonical?

The closest mention I can think of is in The Motion Picture, where Deckard belays an order to fire phasers (when they're in the 'wormhole'), later saying that the phasers had been changed to get their power from the warp instead of impulse engines for more power. The implication is that the two are seperate, and there were trek episodes that mentioned fusion reactors as being seperate from the warp engines for power generation. - CHAIRBOY () 22:33, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

Ion drive[edit]

An anon IP made the assertion that there is a strong community belief that Impulse=Ion drive. Can a citation be produced for this? Since we've seen Ion drives specifically mentioned in the show as seperate entities, I'm a bit skeptical about the argument itself, but if there _is_ a strong community belief, I'd agree that the entry should stay intact in the article. - CHAIRBOY () 14:51, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

There was a mention by Spock in Star Trek 6 that a Klingon Bird of Prey still expells gas from its engines when it is cloaked. Could this be referring to impulse engines, like ion drives for instance?Namcos 14:11, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Ion propulsion inventor and "Enterprise" book[edit]

I've removed the factoid

Interestingly enough, the inventor of the latter claimed to have based it on the Impulse Drive in Star Trek.

for lack of source. I also took out

Of note, the latter description is similar to some descriptions of the warp drive, as a character in the book Enterprise notes, but another character waves that away as being an 'oversimplification'.

because I could not find a relevant book entitled "Enterprise". -- Perfecto Canada 04:12, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Moving here from article[edit]

I've removed the following excerpt from the article because (a) it was added in the wrong place, not within the article proper but after the category list, (b) it is completely unsourced, and is phrased as opinion or original research, and (c) the writer uses improper capitalization and spelling, improper title formatting and improper wiki paragraph formatting. If someone wants to clean this, be my guest. It doesn't belong on the page in its current form.

The excerpt:

In the Star trek episode "The Cage" Then captain Pike clearly calls the impulse drive the rocket drive. Impulse engines are rocket engines. However there appears to be a low power micro-warp version of warp drive that is used along with rocket engines during impulse powered flight in star trek.
In Star trek the TOS. Impulse engines are actually ion rocket engines. In The next generation however they are fusion microexplosion nuclear pulse rocket engines.

-- 23:34, 12 September 2007 (UTC)


Even TNG used thrusters separate from impulse. The Tech manuals certainly have a "canon" explaination for how impulse works. TheHYPO (talk) 21:23, 25 March 2008 (UTC)


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OGame impulse definition[edit]

Just checked the game's definition of Impulse drive, and it does not state that it is faster than light. just that it is a faster more efficient form of transportation over combustion drive. (talk) 06:12, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

That seems to still hold today; removed. Funny; the hyperspace drive definition features the usual mistake of considering light-years to be a measure of time. (talk) 20:36, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

impulse drive = reaction drive ???[edit]

They say memory is the second thing to go, but I remember (back in the 60s) that Star Trek's sublight drive was reactionless, but this article says that the impulse drive is a reaction drive, like rockets.

The Star Treks have always shown fields to create gravity, fields to hold the ship together, fields to handle objects around the ship(tractor beam), Fields to hold in the atmo - they are masters of field technology, yet they move the Enterprise around sublight by firing these stupid little rockets that look like cigar lighters (Into Darkness comes to mind - It pulls me right out of the plot, every time).

A reaction drive would need to have so large an output that it would be destructive to anything in the neighborhood, if you intend to get from Earth to another planet in less than a minute as shown on the original TV show. Heck they travel Earth to Saturn distances in a minute on nearly every show (the new shows too) as they maneuver from FTL breakout point to the local destination.

No, sub-light on the Enterprise is reactionless, created by fields -just like Roddenberry and Asimov intended (see

Pb8bije6a7b6a3w (talk) 14:45, 23 September 2017 (UTC)