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")
The waverider was described in Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 3, p. 75, as a "larger hypersonic shuttle," equivalent to a captain's yacht; "designed to operate in a planetary atmosphere and could achieve speeds in excess of mach 5."
Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection No. 15. suggested that while in an atmosphere, the waverider could reach speeds in excess of Mach 12. Designed similarly to a runabout, the vessel had a cockpit, a miniature science lab, emergency transporter, sleeping facilities, and even a foldaway biobed.