Jumpgates, or Vortex Generators, are the miracle technology that allows interstellar travel, without resorting to problematic Faster-Than-Light (FTL) travel. The first jumpgate was discovered in 2357 after a accidentally bombarding a tachyon communication buoy with Quantium-40. The principles of Jumpgate technology are universal; akin to that of fire, the wheel and nuclear power. These constructs punch a hole from realspace to Hyperspace.
Most Jumpgates are designed with four seven-mile long generators; although other Jumpgates use only three. The "brackets" are free floating with a central computer controlling the positional thrusters; these allow the brackets to re-position for larger than average ships and maintain a relative stationary position. After activation, a Jumpgate usually takes five minutes to recharge itself, despite its massive fusion generators. As a consequence of such a power output, it takes a long time to shut one down and even longer to start it back up.
The element Quantium-40 is a vital component of Jumpgate construction. The chemical by-product of Q-40 is Duridium, which is easier to detect on planetary scans than Q-40. Duridium nitrate is a commercially available explosive (only sold with chemical "tags" that allow it to be traced).
Once in Hyperspace, the ship follows a lock-on signal generated by the jumpgate to which the entry point is linked. Not all jumpgates are linked to one another. However, one doesn't have to continually jump in and out of hyperspace to reach a certain destination. One can ride a lock-on from gate to gate to reach the desired exit point. In addition to the narrow lock-on signals between the gates, jumpgates broadcast a homing signal that can be picked up a little over one-thousand kilometers away. This signal gives a three dimensional location for the gate and is a small safety precaution to aid ships that may have become lost in hyperspace. Dampening fields reduce the inertia gained by a ship entering and exiting the jump point somewhat, but ships must still decelerate to dock safely at a nearby port.
Detecting ships coming out of a jumpgate is limited by time. While you can get the frequency identification of a ship a few minutes prior to its exiting hyperspace, much more information can be gained just as it begins to exit to identify it; like silhouette, mass, etc.
Most Explorer-Class vessels, cruise ships, Security vessels, and Deep Space Mining ships, are capable of generating their own jump point. Punching a hole into hyperspace requires a tremendous amount of energy, so they have to form the gate some distance away or risk being heavily damaged.
Hyperspace travel is not limited to jump point entry. The Vaq'lar have a highly advanced understanding of hyperspace physics that allows them to phase into and out of hyperspace.
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