Early in Progress Level 7, the development of artificial gravity technology spawns the induction engine, and scientists quickly learn to apply the technology to faster-than-light travel. The early "stardrives" are not truly capable of reaching light speed but offer a vast improvement over conventional engines. Humanity can finally reach distant stars in mere weeks, advancing space exploration and colonization, as well as reaching out to contact and trade with intelligent alien life.
Table: Faster-Than-Light (FTL) Drives shows the relativistic cruising speeds of various FTL engines.
Table: Faster-Than-Light (FTL) Engines
Engine Minimum Ship Size Starship's Cruising Speed
Progress Level 6: Fusion Age
Fusion torch Gargantuan Light speed x 0.5
Ion engine Huge Light speed x 0.75
Photon sails Gargantuan Light speed x 1
Progress Level 7: Gravity Age
Induction engine Huge Light speed x 5
Particle impulse engine Gargantuan Light speed x 10
Progress Level 8: Energy Age
Gravitic redirector Colossal Light speed x 25
Inertial flux engine Gargantuan Light speed x 15
Progress Level 9: Matter Age
Spatial compressor Colossal Special1
1 A spatial compressor allows a ship to travel from one star system to another instantaneously.