Impulse (or fusion) engines, are the standard propulsion systems of spaceships.
The fusion engine was developed in the mid-21st century and provides full maneuverability and sufficient acceleration for regular inter-planetary travel. Furthermore it uses cheap, light and plentiful fuel. This discovery obsoleted the earliest enormous solid-propellant ballistic spacecraft which needed large quantities of fuel and had limited maneuverability. Space travel thus became safe, practical and economical.
An impulse engine consists of two elements. One is the ramscoop which collects fuel from space itself, by sweeping up the gas that composes the solar wind. The other element is the main part of the engine, which consists of electromagnetic field geerated by magnetic monopoles, usually mounted at the stern of the ship; in smaller ships, the same generators are also used by the ramscoop. The field receives hydrogen gas from the ramscoop, compresses it, creates “hot fusion” and generates energy that propels the spacecraft. The force and the process are comparable to that in the center of a star which maintains it.
- Large freighters and battleships usually operate under a thrust of 1G, or at most 2G.
- Light fighters and courriers can sustain a thrust of up to 8G.
The engines' fields are manipulated to redirect the exhaust in order for a ship to maneuver. The higher the ship's speed, the higher the maneuvering thrust required.
This fusion reaction also provides power for the ship's peripheral systems, such as life support, communications, weapons, and shields.
The process is related to, but very different from, the cold fusion used by the energy cells that power nearly every equipment. However most ships back up these systems with an array of emergency standard cold-impulse cells.