Prometheus: Propulsion and Maneuvering

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Prometheus enters hyperspace


Earth's first intergalactic spaceship was built using both Earth-based and alien technology. Without the engineering of Earth's alien allies, the Prometheus would never have been possible. This article covers the technology which enabled the Prometheus to be Earth's first line of defense against alien incursion in space.

Stargate References

Anti-Gravity Pod

Venting Sequence display screen labels Anti-Gravity Pod
Prometheus begins to clear bay doors
Prometheus hovers over SG-1's cargo ship

The Anti-Gravity Pod was housed in the lower portion of the rear of the ship, as labeled on the Venting Sequence display (7.13 "Grace"). The Prometheus most likely used this feature in entering and exiting its subterranean bay on Earth, in softening an off-world landing, and in hovering or maintaining a stationary position above the ground as it did in Antarctica in order to protect SG-1's cargo ship during Anubis's attack (7.22 "Lost City Part 2").

Deceleration Thrusters, Inertial Dampeners, and Artificial Gravity

Deceleration Thrusters display
Deceleration Thrusters aid landing on Hala
Carter experiences zero gravity in unfinished portion of ship

Decelaration thrusters were used to slow the Prometheus down. They were situated on the front side of the large rectangular hyperdrive engine sections and were seen being used by SG-1 when they landed on the planet Hala. (6.12 "Unnatural Selection")

Carter explained to Julia Donovan's filming crew that the Prometheus had inertial dampeners and artificial gravity technology which gave its passengers a smooth ride, much like that taken within a fast elevator. When the film crew turned out to be rogue NID agents who stole the ship, Carter was trapped on a level which didn't have the artificial gravity systems in place and she experienced zero gravity when the ship was taken into space. (6.11 "Prometheus")

Hyperdrive Engines

Original naquadria-powered hyperdrive generator
Hyperdrive Status display
Venting Sequence display screen shows Engine Coolant System
Crystal navigational control systems
Hyperdrive Navigation Display
Prometheus entering hyperspace

The hyperdrive engines were first powered by the powerful, but highly unstable, mineral called naquadria (6.20 "Memento"), but then new hyperdrive technology was installed by the Asgard (8.08 "Covenant", 8.10 "Endgame", 8.11 "Gemini", 8.12 "Prometheus Unbound"). Between that time, however, the ship operated on a temporary adaptation of a hyperdrive engine from an al'kesh (7.13 "Grace").

Hyperdrive control systems were protected with codes, but these codes could be overridden by someone who was familiar with the crystals used in these control systems (8.12 "Prometheus Unbound"). Control crystals were also used in order to interface Earth's technology with the alien technology (6.11 "Prometheus"). An engine coolant system ran through the length of the slender midsection of the ship and into the rear where the engines were located (according to the Venting Sequence display screen seen in 7.13 "Grace"). Spacial gases could interfere with the even flow of power to the hyperdrive emitters and thus prevent a hyperspace window from becoming fully formed (7.13 "Grace"). When the power to the hyperdrive emitter was reduced, it was possible to create a partial shift into hyperspace which could take the ship out of the surrounding space-time temporarily (7.13 "Grace").

If the Prometheus were ever called upon to take a trip to the Pegasus Galaxy using its Asgard hyperdrive engines, it would most likely take approximately 18 days, since this was the amount of time the Daedalus was able to make the trip with their Asgard hyperdrive engines (although, the Daedalus' could take less time because it's possible that its hyperdrive engines were superior) (Stargate Atlantis: 2.01 "The Intruder"). When an alternate reality version of SG-1 stole the Prometheus to take to Atlantis, they said that it would take three weeks to get there from the Kallana Singularity (9.13 "Ripple Effect").

The rectangular hyperdrive nacelles were seen on either side of the ship's rear section. The hyperdrive engines glowed blue when activated. While traveling in hyperspace, the crew saw blue streaks outside their windows.

On the first shakedown cruise, the Prometheus successfully created a hyperspace window using the naquadria reactor, but the hyperdrive power buffer was overloaded when the ship passed through gravity waves emitted by a collapsing star. The buffer was designed to stablize the power generated by the unstable naquadria, and the ship dropped out of hyperspace when the overload was detected. The crew missed their target because of this premature drop out of hyperspace and decided to take the ship to the nearest planet which had a Stargate in order to obtain the proper repair and replacement equipment. According to the address database created from the Abydos Cartouche, the closest planet was P3X-744. The planet was only .3 lightyears away, so they decided to risk using the hyperdrive without the buffer. They successfully arrived at the planet, called Tagrea by its natives, but the naquadria grew unstable and they had to jettison the reactor module before it went critical. The resulting explosion's electromagnetic pulse (EMP) temporarily knocked out all of the ship's defense systems. SG-1 helped the people of the planet find and unbury their Stargate and returned to Earth, while the Prometheus and her crew stayed on the planet to await repairs. (6.20 "Memento")

With the hyperdrive from an al'kesh installed, the Prometheus began its trip back home. (The al'kesh was obtained in the episode, 7.09 "Avenger 2.0".) Because the al'kesh was a much smaller spacecraft (one tenth the size of the Prometheus), its hyperdrive could only be engaged in small spurts of about 49 lightyears each before having to be cooled down for two hours. (7.13 "Grace")

Eventually, the Prometheus made it home and was placed back into its bay on Earth for repairs. It was called into action against Anubis's fleet over Antarctica, but never engaged hyperdrive in that battle (7.22 "Lost City Part 2"). The ship was assigned to orbit Earth after the battle as a first line of defense, but it wasn't necessary for it to engage its hyperdrive engines during this watch (8.02 "New Order Part 2").

After SG-1 helped the Asgard to defeat the Replicators following their escape from the Asgard's time dilation bubble on Hala (6.12 "Unnatural Selection") and save the Asgard race (8.02 "New Order Part 2"), Gen. Jack O'Neill was in a position to ask the Asgard to install new hyperdrive engines on the Prometheus as a thank-you gift. Thor of the Asgard approached the Asgard High Council, and they approved the request, along with installing Asgard beaming and scanning technology. The installations were done in stages since the Prometheus oftentime had to be called out for various near-Earth missions which didn't call for the use of the hyperdrive engines. (8.08 "Covenant")

Unfortunately, while the Prometheus was still getting the Asgard hyperdrives installed, the ship was called into action against an al'kesh which was under the control of The Trust. The al'kesh had operational hyperdrive engines, but the Prometheus did not, so pursuit of the ship was impossible. The al'kesh, however, did not make its escape with Earth's stolen Stargate and SG-1, since the Asgard beaming technology had been installed and was used to beam them out of the al'kesh before it entered hyperspace. (8.10 "Endgame")

The Prometheus was called back out into space to locate this same al'kesh which had returned to Earth with Goa'ulds onboard. The al'kesh engaged the Prometheus in a battle and was destroyed near Earth. The Prometheus did not have to engage hyperdrive engines for this battle. (8.13 "Full Alert")

After the successful testing of the Asgard hyperdrive (8.11 "Gemini"), Gen. George Hammond gathered a crew together to go on a rescue mission to the Pegasus Galaxy to determine the fate of the Atlantis Expedition Team (dispatched in Stargate Atlantis: 1.01 "Rising Part 1"). During the trip, they picked up a distress call and attempted to help, but the Prometheus was hijacked by a space pirate named Vala. During the time that she had control of the ship, the hull was damaged by Goa'uld death gliders and al'kesh, and because of this damage, the rescue mission had to be aborted because the use of hyperdrive engines was not recommended with such damage. (8.12 "Prometheus Unbound")

The next time that hyperdrive engines were needed was when the Ori attempted to build a Super Stargate ("Supergate") through which an invasion fleet could travel from their far, far galaxy. The building of this Supergate came in stages: First, the Ori sent a Prior to the planet Kallana in order to convert the people. The Free Jaffa living on the planet refused to submit to the Ori, so the Prior killed them all. The Ori then began building an energy force field through the Stargate which was designed to collapse the planet into a micro-singularity in order to provide the power for the Supergate to maintain a wormhole which would bridge this great distance indefinitely. The Prometheus was called in to rendezvous with SG-1 at a nearby planet and transport them and a very powerful naquadria-enhanced nuclear bomb, nicknamed "Gatebuster". After the Prior refused to stop building his force field, the bomb was set off, but its energy fed the force field instead of destroying it, and eventually, the Ori got what they wanted — a micro-singularity. The Prometheus was slightly damaged by one of the segments of the Supergate, but its shields and distance protected it when the singularity was formed. The Supergate was weakened and destroyed, and the Prometheus returned home. (9.06 "Beachhead")

The Prometheus and its hyperdrive engines were on call for various missions which may or may not require their need to travel in hyperspace. Most of the time, the ship acted as a first line of defense for Earth (9.07 "Ex Deus Machina"), but the ship was prepared to go anywhere within the galaxy to rescue stranded SGC personnel (8.08 "Babylon", 9.09 "Prototype").

The final mission performed by the Prometheus required the hyperdrive engines. Daniel Jackson stepped through the Stargate to Tegalus to aid in peace negotiations between the two warring countries of that planet. He had also gone to ask that one of the countries, the Rand Protectorate, dismantle a powerful satellite weapon which one of the Priors of the Ori had helped them build. As a back-up plan, the rest of SG-1 took the Prometheus to the planet so that if the weapon was to be destroyed, they'd be able to do it from orbit and quickly jump back into hyperspace undetected. Unfortunately, Daniel was imprisoned as soon as he arrived on the planet and the Prometheus crew didn't know if they should fire on the satellite or try to discover his fate. When Mitchell and Carter hesitated in giving the command to destroy the satellite, the Rand government armed the weapon and fired upon the ship. The beam emitted by the satellite easily penetrated the ship's Asgard shields and hull. The ship's engines and defense systems went offline and the ship became a sitting duck. Col. Pendergast ordered the evacuation of the ship using the Asgard beaming technology, but not all personnel successfully evacuated before the weapon was fired again and the Prometheus destroyed. (9.15 "Ethon")

Landing Gear

First off-world landing was on Hala
Prometheus on Tagrea
Prometheus defenseless on ground after being stolen

The Prometheus had a tripodal landing gear system with one leg in the front of the ship and two in the rear. The slender mid-section of the ship had no support. The ship needed to engage the deceleration thrusters in order to obtain a stationary point above the planet surface before landing. Most likely, the anti-gravity pod assisted in the landing process. The landing gear operated just like that on a jet airplane and could be retracted back into the body of the ship.

The first planet on which the Prometheus landed was Hala, an Asgard planet which had been taken over completely by the Replicators. As a matter of fact, Thor of the Asgard asked that the Prometheus be used to help trap the Replicators in a time dilation bubble because the Replicators would reject the "primitive" technology of the ship and ignore it. SG-1 landed the ship on Hala and exited it by using its boarding ramp. (6.12 "Unnatural Selection")

The next time the ship had to land on alien soil was after its naquadria reactor was jettisoned because it went critical over the planet Tagrea. Fortunately, this reactor was only used for the hyperspace engines, so all other systems required for a safe landing were still available. Instead of using the boarding ramp to enter and exit the ship, however, the crew used the ring transporter from Deck 4. The Prometheus remained on this planet for some time in order to await repairs and replacement parts for the hyperdrive generator. (6.20 "Memento")

After a few years in service and several upgrades, the Prometheus embarked on a rescue mission to the Pegasus Galaxy. While en route, they intercepted and responded to a distress call. The space pirate Vala, disguised as a Kull Warrior, overcame the small crew, abandoned them on a crippled al'kesh, and overrode the codes on the hyperdrive system to plot a course a day away to a planet where she intended to sell the ship for a case full of weapons grade naquadah. She missed Daniel Jackson, though, and soon found herself in the brig. Unfortunately for Daniel, Vala had reprogrammed the codes and he couldn't gain access in order to abort their course. Fully automated, the Prometheus landed on a planet and Daniel used the boarding ramp to meet the buyers. While they were discussing the situation, the Prometheus was attacked by Goa'uld death gliders and al'kesh. Because the defense shields were down, the ship's hull took a lot of damage and escaping through hyperspace was impossible. The remaining crew of the Prometheus came to the rescue in the al'kesh to which they had been abandoned. Eventually, Daniel pursuaded Vala to release her control of the ship and the Prometheus had to return home because of the damage. (8.12 "Prometheus Unbound")

Sublight Engines

Prometheus leaves Earth for the first time
Carter shorts out the sublight control relay on Deck 8
Prometheus leaves Antarctica with shields engaged

Sublight engines enabled the Prometheus to accelerate to 110,000 miles per second, which was over half the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). An ignition module had to have been calibrated to within a 1% margin of error in order for the engines to start. If outside this margin, the module would burn out, and the engines would fail to start. Sublight engines placed the Prometheus in Earth's orbit in less than 30 seconds. (6.11 "Prometheus")

The control relay for the sublight engines was located on Deck 8. Carter shorted out this relay in order to prevent the Prometheus from leaving Earth's orbit after it was stolen by a rogue cell of the NID. Even though she was successful, her sabotage was only temporary as the Goa'uld Adrian Conrad successfully got the ship's hyperdrive engines working. The downtime, however, gave O'Neill and Teal'c the opportunity to board the ship through the hangar bay in a death glider. (6.11 "Prometheus")

During the battle with Anubis's al'kesh and death gliders over Antarctica, the Prometheus hovered over and protected the enhanced cargo ship which SG-1 was using to gain access to the Ancient Outpost which was buried in a mile of ice. The ship's failing shields held even after the Prometheus engaged sublight engines and headed for Earth's orbit to engage Anubis's massive fleet in space. (7.22 "Lost City Part 2")

Sublight engines have varying output which is controlled through the ship's helm. One such output was referred to as "emergency thrust" and was used when the Prometheus left Antarctica to meet Anubis's fleet in Earth's orbit. (7.22 "Lost City Part 2") The second time this output was referred to was when the ship needed to get away from the segments of a Supergate which were on collision courses with the ship and the nearby Free Jaffa's ha'taks near the planet Kallana. Because there were so many segments, collision was unavoidable, but the hull damage was minimal. Even with this damage, the Prometheus stayed to observe the forming of the Supergate and the collapse of the planet into a micro-singularity from outside the planet's system. They reentered the system and assisted in the destruction of the Supergate. (9.06 "Beachhead") The second sublight engine output referred to was the "full military thrust" which was used in a battle situation. Col. Pendergast ordered this output in order to evade the energy beam emitted by a killer satellite in orbit over the planet Tegalus. (9.15 "Ethon")

Prometheus's final mission was at Tegalus where they were attempting to dismantle a satellite weapon one of the countries, the Rand Protectorate, built with the aid of a Prior of the Ori. Negotiations to dismantle the satellite failed, so the Prometheus attempted to destroy the weapon. Because they didn't have complete information about the weapon's defense capabilities, they were taken by surprise when the satellite protected itself with a shield. The Rand government fired on the Prometheus and its energy beam penetrated the ship's Asgard shields and sliced through several decks. After the Prometheus lost hull integrity and life support on Decks 3 through 8, and the sublight control systems went offline, Carter suggested using Auxilary Control Room Two to divert power to the sublight engines, but had to settle for going to Deck 15 and routing power from a portable naquadah generator through the aft power control panel. Her efforts were interrupted as the ship continued to take on more damage. Eventually, she had to give up on bringing the sublight engines back online and concentrate the power from the generator and the shields into the Asgard beaming technology so that the ship could be abandoned. Seventy-six of the over 115 crewmembers were beamed to safety on the planet, but the Prometheus was utterly destroyed. (9.15 "Ethon")

Prometheus Collection

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Mythological References :: Real-World References :: History of Development :: Bay on Earth :: Significant Events :: Alternate Reality Versions of Prometheus
  • Prometheus: Propulsion and Maneuvering
Anti-Gravity Pod :: Deceleration Thrusters, Inertial Dampeners, and Artificial Gravity :: Hyperdrive Engines :: Landing Gear :: Sublight Engines
Battle Complement :: Sensors, Scanners, and Radar :: Shields :: Weapons
Asgard Beaming Technology :: Communications :: Escape Pods :: Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) Equipment :: Ring Transporter
Hull :: Overall Interior Design :: Airlocks :: Armory :: Bridge :: Briefing Room :: Brig :: Cargo Bay and Hangars :: Control Room and Auxiliary Control Rooms :: Crew Quarters :: Elevators :: Engine Room :: Infirmary :: Maintenance Accesses :: Mess Hall :: Supply and Utility Rooms


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--DeeKayP 11:14, 13 January 2006 (PST)