Subspace description (FreeSpace Reference Bible)
This description is taken directly from the FreeSpace Reference Bible (p. 4). Please do not edit the description. Use the Notes section below to make comments.
While travel into subspace is enabled via ship-borne devices (called “subspace engines”, “cores”, or “motivators”), it’s long been known that subspace itself is a naturally-occuring [sic] phenomena.
Subspace, for the intents of this document, is an alternate physical plane of space where the normal limits of relativistic physics and travel don’t apply. By entering subspace for a relatively brief period of time, a space vessel can emerge in a location in realspace several star systems away. This technology has allowed the human race to spread across much of the known Galaxy.
There are essentially two modes of subspace travel, inter-system and intra-system.
Intra-system subspace travel is nearly instantaneous, and requires relatively little energy input to enable. Most of the GTA’s advanced fighters are equipped with intra-system jump motivators, allowing them to travel at will within a given star system. There is little or no restriction on the beginning and end points of such a subspace “hop,” except that they be in the same star system.
Inter-system travel via subspace is another matter entirely. The end points of inter-system subspace jumps are limited to the naturally-occuring [sic] focal points of subspace, also known as “nodes.” These nodes were initially discovered by Prof. J. Whiteside (see McPherson’s Multipaedia (2557 ed.), pp 1132-1140). Only between two subspace nodes is the fabric of subspace strong enough to support inter-system travel. The defense of the physical locations surrounding such nodes proved to be a central part of the 14-year Terran-Vasudan War.
In addition, such massive amounts of energy input are required to open an inter-system node, that only the largest fusion pile reactors in existence are able to sustain it. As a result, inter-system subspace travel is almost exclusively made by the largest vessels in production. This fact has made the GTA’s Orion-class destroyer/carriers a pivotal and crucial part to the GTA’s tactical forces during the T-V War.
Needless to say, the ability to deliver ships of war to nearly any pinpointed destination has forever revolutionized the concepts and long-standing tenants of space combat.
Note discrepancies, inaccuracies, and trivia here