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The warp drive is a device that allows vessels to enter warp space.
The protoss developed warp engines long before the terrans, allowing their expansion into the stars millennia before mankind. Protoss warp drives are powered by quantum induction reactors. If a warp drive is sufficiently damaged, a breach can occur, resulting in the engine exploding and damaging the ship host to the drive. A ship will be dropped out of warp space once this occurs.
Terrans developed warp engines by the 23rd century, which allowed the colonization of the Solar System, travel to further star systems (coupled with cryogenic hibernation) and eventually travel to the Koprulu Sector. Upon their botched landing, the exiled terrans had to redesign warp travel (it took them sixty years to redevelop subwarp engines using information taken from the ATLAS). The warp engines require maintenance from specialized engineers called "warp rats" and, if damaged, must be extensively repaired.
Terran warp drives have FTL signatures (a.k.a. drive signatures). These signatures can be traced, but the effort can be hindered if the drive is being used by a stealth ship.
Drive failure can have catastrophic consequences, such as violent implosions that can result in the total loss of a ship and its crew. Terran jumps through warp space can be short ranged or long range, the latter being reserved for large ships such as battlecruisers. For these jumps, a few hours are required to charge up the engines, along with plotting the co-ordinates. A long jump can be made instantly in desperate circumstances, but this is regarded as extremely hazardous.
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