The subspace drive is the single most important piece of space travel related technology in the GTVA, and one of the most important inventions in Terran history. Without it, no faster than light travel would be possible, and travelling between the stars would take decades, if not longer.
FS2 Tech Room Data
A jump drive causes a ship to vibrate in multiple dimensions until its modulations are in perfect synchronization with the subspace continuum. A vortex opens, creating an aperture from an infinitesimally small point in the cosmos, enabling the vessel to cross the subspace threshold.
Two types of jumps are possible.
First, an intrasystem jump can occur between two points in a star system. Most small, space-faring vessels are equipped with motivators capable of these short jumps. The presence of an intense gravitational field is required, prohibiting travel beyond the boundaries of a star system.
Second, ships can jump from system to system via nodes. Until the Great War, only larger ships could generate sufficient power to use jump nodes. The development of jump drives for fighters and bombers in 2335 enabled the Alliance to destroy the SD Lucifer in subspace. Producing these small jump drives is prohibitively expensive, so they are restricted to missions that require pilots to travel between systems. The Head-Up Display indicates the location of jump nodes with a green sphere.
The vast majority of subspace nodes are extremely unstable, forming and dissipating in nanoseconds. Other nodes have a longer lifespan, existing for centuries or millennia before collapsing. The jump nodes sanctioned by the GTVA for interstellar travel are expected to remain stable for many years.
History of Subspace Travel
The history of subspace travel is poorly documented. We do not know when, or how it was first discovered, nor even which type of jump was first undertaken, though it is reasonable to assume that intrasystem jumps came first. It is also assumed that at least the first off world colonies were founded created prior to the development of subspace travel, since offworlders would, at some point, identify themselves as members of a partcular nationstate, those nation states were dissolved after the discovery of subspace and the formation of the Galactic Terran Alliance.
The most significant modern advance in subspace travel occured at the end of the Great War, when the technology to equip inter-system subspace drives to fighters and bombers was finally developed. This technology was, at the time, prohibitively expensive, and initally was equipped only to the small number of fighters which would engage the lucifer as it travelled through the subspace node to Earth.
It is probable that study of the Knossos technology will enhance GTVA understanding of subspace, and possibly serve to enhance subspace drive technology another step. One often suggested possibility is that Knossos technology will allow the development of ships that can travel between systems without the use of a subspace node, or through nodes previously too unstable for standard travel, though this era of Freespace history has not yet been canonically catalogued, and so it is impossible to be certain that either of these will occur.
Recharge times for subspace drives appear to vary - the Iceni, for example, was able to use both ints inter and intra system jump drives in rapid succession whilest running the GTVA blockade and entering the bebula. It is not known how long each recharge cycle takes for other classes of vessel.