Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha

Protostar engines

"The Protostar isn't just the name of the ship. The engine IS a protostar!"

A protostar drive, proto-drive, protostar engine, or proto-engine, also officially known as the gravimetric protostar containment, was a type of propulsion system that was powered by a protostar, technically referred to in this case as a proto-core. This technology, developed by Starfleet, allowed the Protostar-type USS Protostar to travel considerably faster than conventional warp speed by utilizing proto-warp. A ship using this drive could cross over four thousand light years in a few minutes, a journey that would normally take months to travel. (PRO: "Kobayashi", "Time Amok")

The immense power of the proto-core was contained through a gravity shell that was equalized by a warp drive. (PRO: "Time Amok")

Protostar engine engaged

When activated, a third nacelle was deployed from the aft of the ship while the two main nacelles were angled into a lower position. The engine itself was a high-priority system and utilized much of the ship's overall power and could only be deactivated with command level authorization. If the ship was only left with reserve power, an active proto-drive would quickly deplete those reserves unless non-essential systems like food replicators were shut down instead. (PRO: "Terror Firma")

A rupture or other damage to the warp core could leave a warp drive unable to maintain gravitational balance and eventually lead to the detonation of the proto-drive through the uncontrolled release of the proto-core's energy (similar to the consequences of a warp core losing antimatter containment and causing a warp core breach). This could be triggered by the starship travelling through a tachyon storm. A destabilized proto-drive could fracture time on the ship into multiple parallel timelines, one for each crewmember present, in pockets moving at different oscillating speeds. Using an external warp matrix to reroute power from the primary warp drive directly to the proto-drive would stabilize it and normalize the time factures. (PRO: "Time Amok")

Also similar to a warp core, the proto-core required an exotic matter dilithium matrix to function. Without this component, the protostar drive was rendered offline and inoperable until it was replaced. (PRO: "A Moral Star, Part 1")

Holographic training advisors were not supplied with any knowledge of this system, nor the authorization to deactivate it. (PRO: "Terror Firma")

See also

External link