Slipspace COM launcher
The Slipspace communications (COM) launcher, formally known as an ultraprecise Shaw-Fujikawa low-mass launcher, is an experimental piece of technology invented by the United Nations Space Command that allows faster-than-light communication.
As of February 20th 2551, it was the only form of superluminal communications technology used by humans, excluding messages carried aboard starships. However, by July 2552, the UNSC had apparently developed a more effective form of superluminal communication system which enabled interstellar communications in real-time.[note 1]
After a communications probe is launched by an underground gauss accelerator, a Shaw-Fujikawa translight generator in high orbit creates a Slipspace rift. The probe enters the rift and travels through Slipspace like a "bullet" on an ultra-precise trajectory, and eventually drops back into normal space at its pre-set coordinates. The probe can traverse as far and as fast as any UNSC ship.
The wide-spread use of this technology could revolutionize long-distance communication; if each ship were outfitted with such a device, messages could be delivered without requiring a ship to travel through space to manually give the message. Unfortunately, the cost to build an ultra-precise low-mass launcher is comparable that of a fleet of ships, and even a single probe is worth the value of a capital city on one of the Outer Colonies.
As of November 2552, only three Slipspace COM launchers were known to exist: there was one on Earth and one on Reach, and a secret one on Onyx. The one on Reach was almost certainly destroyed during the fall of the planet, while the one on Onyx was destroyed by Sentinels after it sent a message to Earth.
List of appearances
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (First appearance)
- In Halo: The Fall of Reach Chapter 16, Captain Keyes contacts Admiral Stanforth from the Sigma Octanus system on a FLEETCOM priority channel and they have a real-time exchange. Stanforth is implied to be in a different system at the time. In addition, in her journal, Halsey receives an after-action report of the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV on July 18, 2552, the same day the battle took place. This would be impossible without a near-instantaneous communications system, as a ship could not have possibly traveled from Sigma Octanus system to Reach in a matter of hours; it took over three weeks for Battle Group Leviathan to make the journey. Furthermore, according to page 122 of the Halo Graphic Novel, some sort of superluminal communications system was used by Dr. Catherine Halsey to contact Earth while onboard the UNSC Gettysburg. The transcript seems to show Halsey transmitting commands in real time. Even if this is accomplished using a script, it still takes about 36 minutes for the data to be transmitted from Earth to somewhere near Eridanus Secundus. The log in the Graphic Novel has an opening timestamp of 04:16 on September 12th, 2552; chapter 27 of Halo: First Strike opens at 04:50 on September 12th, at which point the data has apparently been received. The distance is unknown, however, and so the exact speed can not be calculated.
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 176
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 105
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 180
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 313