Technology 102 - The Reactor: Friend And Foe

The Solar Ionisation Reactor, or SIR is the power core of the ship. SIRs provide all of the root energy needed by power consuming systems.

The SIR is invariably the heaviest item onboard a ship, and is therefore usually to be found at the centre of mass. Most ships have more than one SIR, often arranged in a ring configuration.

A SIR essentially functions as a small contained hyper-matter star. Fuelling is performed in a dedicated facility equipped with the extremely delicate and complicated mechanisms for performing the operation. These facilities are usually located in orbit as a detonating SIR can devastate large areas of a city. Fuel is usually simple hydrogen but passed through a hyper-matter accelerator which converts it to hyper-hydrogen. This material can be compressed to a much greater degree than hydrogen, and yields far higher net energy returns. Fortunately refuelling the SIR isn't required all that often, most heavy use starships only top those tanks around once a year.

As the reactor vessel reaches a full fuel load it is capped, then started. A single spark from a hyper-energy gun tube is enough to cause spontaneous ignition and a seventh dimensional power event occurs. Outwardly the reactor vessel is unchanged - all the power is being discharged in a form which doesn't directly affect most corporeal matter.

The reaction is contained by a full array of field emitters.

Into the reactor core are inserted rods of stabilised material 366 which is a sufficiently complicated element that it does react with hyper-energy. Power then flows from the tips of the rods down their structure into a series of interfaces which tap the energy and convert it to a form usuable by all the other systems.

In addition to these power taps there exist usually a pair, but potentially several, root hyper-energy taps which feed directly into the hyperdrive.

SIR failure can be spectacular, invariably destroying the ship, for this reason the containment vessels are manufactured from the strongest and hardiest of materials. The field emitters are more often than not manufactured with high quality capacitors to maintain containment for several hours even after complete power shut down.

SIRs are spherical so as to provide the strongest containment possible. As a general rule of thumb that larger a SIR the more peak power output it is able to generate. The SIRs of the Empire's Imperator class Star Destroyers are so large they protrude through the keel, and help explain these ship's almost unmatched speed and firepower. Of course, Star Destroyers also have several smaller SIRs to allow them to regulate power on a more compartmented basis.