Real Star Trek Impulse Engine: Using conventional fuel rockets, it would take 16,000 years to reach the nearest star. Interstellar travel cannot be achieved with conventional rockets. While space may be the final frontier, rocket fuel won’t get us very far. The “impulse engine” from Star Trek might one day become a reality thanks to two scientists who are working on a device.

Video: Impulse Space Propulsion – Two Scientists Are Building a Real Star Trek Impulse Engine. Made By Bloomberg Quicktake, 2022. Nasa scientists Dr. Hal Fearn and Dr. Jim Woodward are attempting to build an “impulse engine”.

How does the Star Trek impulse engine work?

The impulse engine is a fictional type of thruster in the Star Trek universe. It is used by shuttles and spaceships for limited movement or in situations where more powerful warp engines cannot be used or are not available.

As with rocket engines today, the impulse engines of Star Trek are based on Newton’s third law (for every action there is an equally powerful and opposite reaction).

Main Components

There is an impulse reaction chamber, a generator/accelerator, a vectored exhaust jet director, and a motor coil assembly in each engine. In addition to the impulse engine, a fusion space-time compaction motor coil is required to accelerate larger starships. It wouldn’t work with just a Newtonian reaction motor.


In the pulse reaction chamber (a sphere with a diameter of 6 meters), deuterium is introduced and a standard fusion reaction occurs. Following a velocity increase, the plasma passes from the pulse reaction chamber into the drive coil assembly. Through the vectorized exhaust jet controller, exhaust gas is ejected from the drive coil assembly. Through this, the impulse engines can be controlled in which direction to propel the ship.


The impulse drive consists of three main components: a fuel tank, a nuclear reactor, and a space-time coil. The fuel tank contains the reagents used by the engine. Starfleet uses Deuterium as fuel. Although it is less efficient than a mixture of Deuterium and Tritium, it is easier to produce. Especially if using only one type of fuel, there is no need to build additional tanks for the other type of fuel.

After the fuel leaves the tank, it undergoes cooling. During this process, the Deuterium turns into ice balls of varying diameters. These balls are sent to the reactor, where the nuclear reaction begins and continues as long as the fuel is in the reactor. The deuterium atoms join together. In the process, part of the fuel is converted into energy. The maximum efficiency of such an engine is 0.08533%. The efficiency may be different for different types of pulse engines.

The GALAXY class starships use the standard impulse engine reactor. It is a sphere with a diameter of 6 meters. A pulse engine typically uses multiple reactors that transfer energy and fuel to each other in a chain. Each of the eight impulse engines of a GALAXY-class starship has three nuclear reactors.

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