The waverider was an atmospheric shuttlecraft in service aboard Federation Nova-class starships. Unlike other auxiliary craft, the waverider was not stowed in a shuttlebay, but was instead docked to the ventral side of the primary hull, just forward of the ship's primary navigational deflector. (VOY: "Equinox", "Endgame")
Although it has never been seen in action, the waverider can be readily identified in the MSD of a Nova-class vessel.
The waverider, while designed primarily for use inside a planetary atmosphere, would still need to function as a Starfleet runabout, and is equipped with impulse engines and a warp drive. It is conceivable that a vessel would require such a craft when it is necessary to land on the surface of a planet whose atmospheric conditions make it far too hazardous to use transporters or traditional shuttlecraft. (Star Trek: The Magazine(citation needed • edit)) While in atmosphere, the waverider can reach speeds in excess of Mach 12. Similarly designed to a runabout, the vessel has a cockpit, a miniature lab, emergency transporter, sleeping facilities, and even a foldaway biobed. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection No. 15.)