The gravdrive is the basis of modern spaceships, it is the underlying technology that allows artificial gravity, interstellar communication, as well as travelling at intense speeds between the stars without resorting to manipulation of wormholes.
A basic gravdrive emitter unit is a combination of the emitter and the isolater. The gravdrive emitter designed to emit a single source of gravity by temprarily condensing and compressing cosmic radiation into fields of significant mass thus gravity, while a gravdrive isolater isolates the gravity field and confines it to a set area through a specially configured force field.
A gravdrive inertial dampener creates a constant gravity point at the belly of the ship, while the isolater spreads out and balances the gravity force throughout the ship.
A gravdrive propulsion unit propels a ship by placing a temporary gravity source at the direction of travel, and by isolating the gravity source to the spaceship, the isolater amplifies the gravity as all the gravity that was exerting to multiple directions is now bent towards the ship, ie exerting in a single direction. The gravity source dissipates after a fraction of a second but that time during its existence is enough to accelerate the spaceship by a bit, and a new gravity source is generated further on in the direction of travel. The benefits of gravedrive propulsion is enormous, as there is no matter involved, the propulsion does not require any sort of fuel or reaction mass, only energy. Also, as gravity is accelerating both the ship and its contents, therefore “high G” maneuvers are completely possible without causing any discomfort to the crew or structural damage to the ship. Also, ship mass is not a big factor as a gravity point strong enough to cause observable acceleration is in-discriminatory towards a ship of 2 tons or a ship of 200 tons.
A gravdrive warp unit consists of a powerful, ultra long range gravity isolater that grabs onto a distant gravity source such as a sun or a planet or even a black hole, and focuses the effects of some of that gravity force to the ship, harnessing it to attract the ship towards it. This allows for extreme acceleration, although a planet such as earth might only exert 9.8ms-2 at ground level, this force can be amplified with a wide surface sampling which can be first compressed, and also squeezed along a thin “gravity line” to be transmitted to the ship’s vicinity where its effects can be retained and pull loss minimized, allowing the gravity to act on the ship as if it were on the surface despite being in actuality lightyears away, the linear path from one celestial body to another is a gravlane, where the isolater focuses on the destination body for roughly the first half of the trip, and then focusing on its origin body for deceleration. As you might imagine, focusing on a black hole offers tremendous acceleration, and has great slingshot potential.
Of course, a gravdrive warp unit can also transport a ship to really any point in space by alternating between gravity sources (3 or more) for a triangulation of combined vector, although this method is much slower and risky as alternating between gravity sources at such a rate can cause instabilities and increase the chance of failure, which is why many advanced ships will have multiple gravdrive warp units so that it wouldn’t need to alternate between gravity sources (as much).
Gravdrive tractor units are basically tractor beams, and require a specialized isolater that confines the field between a gravity point generated on the ship and the tractored object. The tractor has to be constantly monitored to prevent a tractored object from being attracted too much. Gravdrive rails/highways are a variant of gravdrive tractors, usually mounted on a static platform that can help mobilize non gravdrive ships by slingshotting them towards their destination where the recieving gravdrive unit will catch the ship and slow it down.
The gravdrive shield protects a ship from space matter or projectiles by generating a reversed gravity point by expanding instead of compressing the aforementioned cosmic radiation and isolating it for every projectile it detects that is within range to deflect it elsewhere. due to the inefficiencies of generating such a “push” field, it is rarely used for the purpose of propulsion and ships often arm it with its own independent reserve power capacitors. A closer range gravdrive shield generates a conventional pull gravity point and isolates it from the ship, behind the incoming projectile although it is slightly more efficient than the push shield, it also requires a specialized unit, and has the further deficiency of a shorter range.
As the name suggests, a “blackhole” gravdrive shield is a conceptual gravdrive that generates a black hole capable of defeating laser based weaponry, although critics point out that specialized laser-mirroring hull paint is more effective and slightly less power hungry. “blackhole” gravdrive shields are also being researched for stealth ships.
On the offensive side of things, a gravdrive beam that operated using a tight narrow focus of gravity that could rupture a unprotected hull is one of the most common armaments of gravdrive equipped ships.
Gravdrive subspace communicators accelerate coded light waves through a mini black hole in the direction of the recipient, breaching the speed of light and thus allowing faster communication.
There are a few deficiencies of the gravdrive that of course need to be addressed:
1. Gravity manipulation is a dangerous technology, like nuclear power before it offers massive benefits but has also great destructive potential. Gravdrive ships are tightly regulated, and the technology itself is very expensive and difficult to assemble.
2. Gravdrives are not small objects, and due to their power hungry nature they can only be mounted on the largest most capable ships, such as gravdrive rails and gravdrive carriers which are titans that carry entire fleets of smaller ships on interstellar trips they would otherwise be unable to make on their own.
3. Due to the expensive nature of gravdrives, it requires intense resource management to optimize its usage. Gravdrive communication for example has limited bandwidth and extreme demand.
4. Gravdrive travel despite being the speediest in the history of transportation, with its FTL acceleration potential, is still not instantaneous and trips between discovered habitable planets can take from days to lifetimes. Their reliability has yet to be fully tested and a single failed gravdrive could have catastrophic implications.
excerpt from galactic information directory, article “gravdrive overview”