Have you ever wondered what the fastest ships in the universe were? We did, and we put together a list of the fastest vessels in the universe – in order of speed. Naked put to rest all those arguments you had as a kid about which is faster – the Death Star from Star Wars or the Millennium Falcon? How do each of those measure up against the Planet Express from Futurama or the TARDIS from Dr. Who? We’ve even included real life spaceships as created by NASA. Let’s see how they line up.
RELATIVISTIC SHIPS measured in G-FORCE where [G=9.8M/S2]. G = the force of gravity | M = length measured in meters | S = time measured in seconds.
- Voyager 1 (NASA)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Jet Propulsion. MAX SPEED: 0G
Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977, to study the outer Solar System.
- Discovery One (2001: A Space Odyssey)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Nuclear-powered magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters. MAX SPEED: 0.00002G
This is the spaceship from 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film from 1968.
- Red Dwarf (Red Dwarf)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Hydrogen engines, fuel collected via large scope at front. MAX SPEED: 0.000033G
The Red Dwarf is a British comedy series that first started airing in 1988.
- Ragnarok (Final Fantasy VIII)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Reaction-model 12-step compression turbines. MAX SPEED: 0.015G
This is the famous spaceship featured in Final Fantasy VIII from the Final Fantasy series.
- Delorean (Back to the Future)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor/flux capacitor. MAX SPEED: 0.34G
This is the famous car from the 1980s hit movie trilogy Back to the Future.
- Jupiter 2 (Lost in Space)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Two deutronium-annihilation atomic motors. MAX SPEED: 0.55G
Lost in Space is an American television series that aired from 1965 to 1968.
- Thunderbird 3 (Thunderbirds)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Ion drive/chemical rockets. MAX SPEED: 1.12G
Thunderbirds is a British television series that aired in 1965 to 1966.
- Space Shuttle Discovery (NASA)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25. MAX SPEED: 3G
NASA’s Space Shuttle Discovery made its maiden flight in 1984, yet hasn’t flown since 2011.
- Space Launch System [SLS] (Interstellar)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Solid fuel, liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen. MAX SPEED: 3.8G
Interstellar is a science fiction/mystery film from 2014.
- Saturn V, Apollo 11 (NASA)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Saturn V SA-506. MAX SPEED: 3.94G
The Saturn V was an American rocket used by NASA between 1966 and 1973.
- Serenity (Firefly)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Trace compression block engine. MAX SPEED: 4.2G
Firefly is an American drama series directed and created by Joss Whedon that aired between 2002 and 2003.
- Cylon Raider (Battlestar Galactica)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: FTL drive. MAX SPEED: 7.5G
Battlestar Galactica was a TV series that aired between 2004 2009.
- Moon Rocket X-FLR6 (Tintin)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Nuclear rocket engine. MAX SPEED: 8G
The Adventures of Tintin was a fictional American manga about a news reporter, first published in 1929.
- Colonial ViperMark VII (Battlestar Galactica)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: 3 turbo-thrust engines. MAX SPEED: 9G
Another spaceship and the battles are Galactica TV series.
- Thunderfighter (Buck Rogers)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Fusion. MAX SPEED:9.4G
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was an American TV series that aired from 1979 and 1981.
- Kal-El’s Escape Pod (Superman: The Movie)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Unknown. MAX SPEED: 11G
We had to fit Superman in there somewhere didn’t we? Kal-El’s escape pod transported the infant superhero from Krypton to Earth.
- The Event Horizon (Event Horizon)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Ion Drive. MAX SPEED: 30G
Event Horizon was a horror/science fiction film from 1997.
- Swordfish II (Cowboy Bebop)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Rolls-Royce AF-15C axial fusion aero-spike turbine. MAX SPEED: 50G
Cowboy Bebop Is an excellent Japanese Anime series that ran from 1998 to 1999. Good anime never dies, does it?
- Project Orion (NASA)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Nuclear pulse propulsion. MAX SPEED: 100G
Project Orion was a study of spacecraft using atomic bombs as a fuel source.
- Death (humans)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Unknown. MAX SPEED: 100G
We can’t forget death. Death comes for us all.
- TIE Fighters (Star Wars)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Twin ion engine. MAX SPEED: 4,100G
Here’s where it gets interesting. How fast do tie fighters go? 4100 times the force of gravity. That’s how fast.
- Acceleration of a proton in the Large Hadron Collider (world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: 27-kilometer ring of superconducting magnets. MAX SPEED: 1,900,000,000G
The Large Hadron Collider is a real machine. It is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
This covers all the spaceships that we can measure in relative speed to the force of gravity. This next section covers all the ships that defy physics as we know it.
FASTER THAN LIGHT ships measured in C where [C=299,792,458M/S]. C = the speed of light | M = length measured in meters | S = time measured in seconds.
- USCSS Prometheus (Prometheus)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: 4 ion-powered plasma engines. MAX SPEED: 19.5C
Prometheus is a thriller/drama film from 2012.
- Fireball XL5 (Fireball XL5)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Nutomic reactor. MAX SPEED: 24C
Fireball XL5 was a television show that aired from 1962 to 1963.
- USCSS Nostromo (Alien)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: er Rolls-Royce N66 Cyclone thrust engines. MAX SPEED: 44C
The USCSS Nostromo was a spaceship from a 1979 science fiction film aptly named Alien.
- The Ark (Transformers)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: 4 hyperfuel intake accelerators. MAX SPEED: 115C
The Ark was from the Transformers cartoon series that was attacked by Megatron on its way to Earth.
- The USS Sulaco (Aliens)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Hyperdrive tachyon shunt. MAX SPEED: 271C
This spaceship is seen throughout the Aliens franchise.
- USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (Star Trek: The Original Series)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Warp Drive. MAX SPEED: 512C
Star Trek: The Original Series aired from 1966 to 1969. Several sequels were made albeit decades later.
- Pillar of Autumn (Halo)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine. MAX SPEED: 959C
The Pillar of Autumn is an iconic ship from the Halo gaming series.
- USS Enterprise NCC-1701 D (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Warp Drive. MAX SPEED: 1,649C
Everyone knows of Star Trek: The Next Generation. And if they don’t – we’ll make it so, won’t we Number One?
- USS Voyager (Star Trek: Voyager)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Warp Drive. MAX SPEED: 1,909C
Star Trek: Voyager was the fourth live-action Star Trek series.
- Borg Cube (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Unknown. MAX SPEED: 7,912C
We had to know the Borg Cube was faster than the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation when they couldn’t outrun them on more than one occasion – at warp speed mind you.
- Prawn Mothership (District 9)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Unknown. MAX SPEED: 11,119C
District 9 is an indie thriller film from 2009.
- Eagle 5 (Space Balls)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Liquid Schwartz. MAX SPEED: 89,99C
Space Balls was a parody of Star Wars from 1987, and an icon of my childhood.
- Ascendant Justice (Halo)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Unknown. MAX SPEED: 333,164C
The Ascendant Justice was a Covenant DDS-class carrier, one of the seven ships sent to Installation 04 shortly after its destruction, and another icon of the Halo series.
- The Gunstar (The Last Starfighter)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Stardrive hyperdrive system. MAX SPEED: 701,280C
The Last Starfighter was fantasy/action film from 1984.
- Death Star (Star Wars)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Sepma 30-5 sublight engines. MAX SPEED: 1,142,500C
Do I really need to explain what the Death Star is? I mean, really?
- The Roger Young (Starship Troopers)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Unknown. MAX SPEED: 1,300,000C
The Starship Troopers was a thriller/action film from 1997.
- Galactica [BS-75] (Battlestar Galactica)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Unknown. MAX SPEED: 1,680,000C
The Galactica [BS-75] entered service in the early years of the Cylon on war.
- Axiom (Wall-E)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Unknown. MAX SPEED: 2,190,000C
One of Pixar’s heart-wrenching films Wall-E from 2008. Wall-E was a last left on earth. Many people don’t know the acronym for Wall-E: Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class.
- Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer (Star Wars)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Ion engine. MAX SPEED: 2,285,000C
The Star Destroyer of the Galactic Empire. Still don’t know what it is? Go watch Star Wars. Now.
- Trimaxion Drone Ship “Max” (Flight of the Navigator)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Phaelon technology/David’s Brain. MAX SPEED: 4,460,000C
Flight of the Navigator is another iconic film from my childhood. An adventures/science fiction film from 1986.
- X-Wing T-65 Starfighter (Star Wars)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Thrust engines and hyperdrive. MAX SPEED: 4,570,000C
The X-wing – you know, from Star Wars? I’m not going to explain this one. Go watch Star Wars. Again.
- Samus’ Gunship (Metroid)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Dual engines. MAX SPEED: 6,500,000C
Metroid from Nintendo. Samus Aran is not as famous as other characters in the Nintendo franchises. However, this intergalactic bounty hunter from the Galactic Federation shall not be forgotten.
- Slave 1 (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Ion engine. MAX SPEED: 6,500,000C
The Slave 1 from Star Wars was the ship piloted by Bob Fett; one of the bounty hunters and a minor character in Star Wars. For the third time – go watch Star Wars.
- Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Class 0.5 hyperdrive. MAX SPEED: 9,130,000C
Piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca, this ship was…I’m not even going to bother explaining.
- Daedalus (Stargate)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Asgard hyperdrive. MAX SPEED: 60,000,000C
The USS Daedalus was manufactured by Tau’ri for the United States military in the Stargate series.
- SpaceBall 1 (Space Balls)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Secret hyperjets. MAX SPEED: 1,360,000,000C
The SpaceBall 1 was the equivalent of a Starship Destroyer in the Star Wars parody Space Balls.
- Planet Express (Futurama)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Dark matter reactors with afterburners that move the universe around the ship; Later, whale oil. MAX SPEED: 4,870,000,000,000C
Ah! The Planet Express from the long-running Futurama series. What? You don’t have one? Go make your own, with blackjack and hookers.
- The TARDIS (Dr. Who)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: The sentient ‘Heart of the Tardis’ is powered by both the Time Vortex and the Eye of Harmony, which is an exploding star permanently suspended in time. MAX SPEED: 10,000,000,000,000,000C
Don’t mess with my Dr. Who. Why not? Because I said so. That’s why. Dr. Who started airing in 1963. It is a British television series that everyone should see.
- Heart of Gold (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
SOURCE OF ENERGY: Improbability Drive. MAX SPEED: ∞ (INFINITY)
Okay, I’ll admit it. The books were better than the movie. Did I offend you? I’m sorry. Oh, wait. No, I’m not. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as a movie came out in 2005 and yes, it was awesome.