20 Fastest Ships In Sci-Fi Movies & TV Shows


Summary

  • The USS Sulaco from Aliens may rank last on the list, but its speeds of up to 270 times the speed of light are still unfathomably quick.
  • The USS Prometheus from Star Trek, equipped with cutting-edge technology like multi-vector assault mode, can reach Warp Speed 9.9, equivalent to 2000 times the speed of light.
  • The Borg Cube from Star Trek, with its sleek and ominous appearance, is even faster than the USS Enterprise, traveling at 50 times warp speed 9.9, which is 395,600 times the speed of light.


Determining which spaceship is the fastest is a debate that has persisted in science fiction for decades. The discourse has been greatly complicated, however, by the gargantuan expansion of many classic science-fiction franchises, particularly the Star Wars movies and the Star Trek TV shows. While many sci-fi fans may have a favorite spaceship, only one can be considered the fastest.

Science fiction has blossomed into one of the most prominent genres in film and television. Numerous distinctive tropes define the genre, many of which were established in the very first science fiction movie released over a century ago. One of the most common is a powerful spaceship, usually associated with light-speed travel tech, for which several television and movie franchises have proffered specific technical specs.

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20 USS Sulaco

Aliens

Sulaco drifting in space in aliens

Aliens

Release Date
July 18, 1986

Cast
Bill Paxton , Lance Henriksen , Paul Reiser , Sigourney Weaver , Michael Biehn , Carrie Henn , William Hope

Rating
R

Runtime
137 minutes

James Cameron offered an action-based sequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien with 1986’s Aliens. The movie saw Ellen Ripley face the deadly Xenomorph once more, joining the crew of the USS Sulaco on an expedition to investigate the monstrous alien. The Sulaco appeared prominently throughout Aliens and hosted the movie’s climactic final battle between Ripley and the eponymous alien. The imposing military frigate was a mighty 78,000 tonnes, yet nevertheless, the USS Sulaco boasted speeds of up to 270 times the speed of light, an unfathomably quick speed despite ranking last on this list.

19 USS Enterprise

Star Trek

One of the most famous spaceships in movie and television history, Star Trek‘s USS Enterprise has several variations throughout the franchise. The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) serves as the primary location for most Star Trek movies and television series, housing the vast Starfleet crew as they explore the universe. Star Trek‘s Warp Speed is notoriously convoluted and was especially inconsistent in the original series. Regardless, in the original series, the USS Enterprise was able to reach up to Warp Speed 10 and could travel at 1,649 times the speed of light – with nearly all subsequent models being of comparable or lesser speed.

18 USS Prometheus

Star Trek

star trek promethesus flying through space

The USS Prometheus from Star Trek is a cutting-edge Starfleet vessel, introduced in Star Trek: Voyager. This experimental ship is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including multi-vector assault mode, allowing it to split into three independent sections during combat. The Prometheus-class starship showcases Starfleet’s pursuit of innovation. Its sleek design and tactical versatility make it a symbol of Starfleet’s commitment to staying at the forefront of exploration and defense in the ever-evolving universe of Star Trek. The USS Prometheus can reach Warp Speed 9.9, which is the equivalent of 2000 times the speed of light.

17 USS Enterprise-E

Star Trek

The Enterprise-E soars out of a nebula from Star Trek First Contact

Star Trek: Picard

Release Date
January 23, 2020

Cast
Santiago Cabrera , Alison Pill , Orla Brady , Michelle Hurd , Jeri Ryan , Brent Spiner , Harry Treadaway , Rebecca Wisocky , Evan Evagora , Isa Briones , Patrick Stewart

Seasons
3

One upgrade of the USS Enterprise was made faster than the original ship. The USS Enterprise-E (NCC-1701 E) was introduced in the sequel to Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Picard. The series recommences the galactic adventure of the USS Enterprise’s second captain, reuniting many cast members from the series. The USS Enterprise-E is considered the pinnacle of Starfleet’s ship design, adding five extra floors and additional phaser banks. The ship’s speed was increased as well, achieving up to Warp Speed 9.995 – 7,912 times the speed of light.

16 The Borg Cube

Star Trek

Enterprise in trapped in a beam from the Borg Cube

Star Trek‘s Borg Cube was a formidable spacecraft used by the Borg Collective and introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It featured a cube-shaped design that embodied the ruthless efficiency of the alien antagonists. Armed with advanced technology, the Borg Cube was able to assimilate other civilizations into their collective hive mind. The Borg Cube’s sleek, ominous appearance made the Borg Cube a symbol of relentless pursuit, representing one of the most formidable threats encountered by Starfleet in the Star Trek universe. Terrifyingly, the Borg Cube is even quicker than the USS Enterprise, traveling at 50 times warp speed 9.9, which is 395,600 times the speed of light.

15 Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica (2004)

Battlestar Galactica and the rest of the fleet in the BSG reboot

SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica reboot refreshed the beloved science-fiction franchise, proffering a modern and more sophisticated update to the narrative. In this incarnation, the eponymous Battlestar Galactica is one of many battleships built by the Twelve Colonies, but one of few to have survived the Cyclon’s attack on Caprica. The ship became the operational base for the surviving Colonial Fleet members. Despite nearly being decommissioned, the aging Battlestar Galactica still reached impressive speeds of 1.68 million times the speed of light as it trawled the universe looking for planet Earth and battling the Cyclon hordes.

14 Axiom

WALL-E

Axiom Ship in space in WALL-E

WALL-E

Release Date
June 27, 2008

Director
Andrew Stanton

Cast
Ben Burtt , Elissa Knight , Jeff Garlin , Fred Willard , John Ratzenberger , Kathy Najimy , Sigourney Weaver

Rating
G

Runtime
98 Minutes

Pixar’s WALL-E followed a solitary robot tasked with cleaning up the garbage left behind on an abandoned, uninhabitable Earth. During his work, WALL-E is visited by another robot named EVE, who was sent to Earth to harvest vegetation and return it to a starliner ship named the Axiom. The Axiom is one of the numerous cruise ships housing the surviving humans, as they await the opportunity to make Earth a hospitable environment. Despite being built to primarily serve as dwelling space, the Axiom is still a remarkably quick vessel, capable of traveling at 2.19 times the speed of light.

13 Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer

Star Wars

The Galactic Empire’s Star Destroyer is one of the most imposing and terrifying spaceships featured in George Lucas’s Star Wars universe. The first model, the Imperial I-Class Star Destroyer, appeared in the opening scene of Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope. The upgrade, the Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer, appeared in the sequel, Star Wars: Episode 5 – The Empire Strikes Back. This model boasted speeds that rivaled the Millennium Falcon, keeping up with Han Solo’s ship until it entered lightspeed. The Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer managed speeds of 2.285 million times the speed of light, making it the fastest ship in the Imperial Fleet.

12 Trimaxion Drone Ship

Flight Of The Navigator

The Trimaxion Drone Ship in Flight of the Navigator

Disney’s Flight of the Navigator depicted David Freeman, a 12-year-old boy who traveled eight years into the future and had an adventure with a sentient alien ship. Flight of the Navigator has garnered a fervent cult following, from both science-fiction fans and Disney fans, and featured some of the earliest computer-generated imagery. The distinctive spaceship was named the Trimaxion Drone Ship, which David named Max and was voiced by the legendary Paul Reubens. Max was capable of traveling at a speed of up to 4.46 million times the speed of light, which earned him a reasonable ranking among the fastest spaceships in the galaxy.

11 X-Wing

Star Wars

X-Wings are one of the most recognizable spaceships to appear throughout the Star Wars franchise. The T-65 X-Wing model was famously used by Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance to bring down the Death Star, with a well-placed shot during the dramatic climax of Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope. The next iteration, the T-70 X-Wing, became the primary starfighter used by the Resistance during the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Though not the fastest spaceship in Star Wars canon, the X-Wing can still maintain a speed of 4.57 million times the speed of light.

10 Slave 1

Star Wars

Boba Fett with Slave 1 Firespray ship

Boba Fett was one of the most iconic Star Wars villains ever, who piloted an equally iconic spaceship. Boba Fett’s first cinematic appearance was in Star Wars: Episode 5 – The Empire Strikes Back, during which audiences were introduced to his beloved spaceship, Slave 1. The Slave 1 was a modified Firespray-31-class interceptor, originally intended to patrol the Oovo IV prison moon. The craft was modified by Fett’s father, Jango Fett, with advanced weapons and retrofitted parts, including an ion engine. As a result, Fett’s Slave 1 travels at 6.5 million times the speed of light.

9 Millennium Falcon

Star Wars

For a long time, Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon was considered the quickest spaceship in the universe, and science-fiction in general. Solo himself declared it the fastest ship in the galaxy, famously claiming it made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs. The Millennium Falcon was first introduced in Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope and led the Death Star attack in Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi. The Millennium Falcon certainly boasted an exceptional speed of 9.13 million times the speed of light but has subsequently been bumped down the rankings by rival franchises, though it is still the fastest ship in Star Wars​​​​​​.

8 USS Daedalus

Stargate: Atlantis

Daedalus flying through space in Stargate Atlantis

Stargate Atlantis

Release Date
July 16, 2004

Cast
Chuck Campbell , David Hewlett , David Nykl , Rachel Luttrell , Paul McGillion , Joe Flanigan , Jason Momoa , Torri Higginson

Seasons
5

The Stargate franchise spawned several movies and television spin-offs, including Stargate: Atlantis – which picked up the narrative following Stargate SG-1. It also introduced the franchise’s fastest spaceship, the USS Daedalus. The Daedalus appeared throughout the series and played a vital role in the show’s central plot. The ship, which was overseen by Colonel Steven Caldwell, was capable of traveling at mighty speeds of up to 60 million times the speed of light. The Daedalus is unmatched in the Stargate universe, but a handful of rival science-fiction franchises have produced quicker crafts. Nevertheless, the Daedalus was an incredibly powerful spaceship.

7 Spaceball One

Spaceballs

Spaceball one flying through space in spaceballs

Spaceballs

Release Date
June 24, 1987

Cast
John Candy , Daphne Zuniga , Mel Brooks , Rick Moranis , Bill Pullman

Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs is the pinnacle of Star Wars parodies. It featured an ensemble cast, including Rick Moranis as the Darth Vader analog, Dark Helmet. Dark Helmet commanded an incredibly large vessel known as Spaceball One. The ship replicated Star Wars’ Imperial I-Class Destroyer but was capable of achieving much higher speeds. Spaceball One was rigged with secret hyperjets, which enabled the spaceship to travel at 1.36 billion times the speed of light, which Dark Helmet referred to as “Ludicrous Speed.” It certainly was a ludicrously fast and powerful ship, which worked as a tidy metaphor for Dark Helmet’s inadequacies and insecurities.

6 USS Planet Express Ship

Futurama

Futurama

Release Date
March 28, 1999

Cast
Katey Sagal , Billy West , Lauren Tom , Maurice LaMarche , David Herman , Tress MacNeille , John DiMaggio , Phil LaMarr

Seasons
11

Matt Groening’s animated science-fiction series Futurama depicts the daily exploits of the Planet Express delivery crew. They engage in interplanetary deliveries with the use of the Professor’s beloved spaceship, Planet Express Ship. Planet Express Ship is depicted as having an A.I. personality and confounding technological abilities. The ship was initially powered by dark matter, using the Professor’s Dark Matter Accelerator. As explained in Futurama season 2, episode 10 “A Clone of My Own,” the ship does not itself move through space, but moves space around it. Consequently, Planet Express Ship is able to travel at 4.87 trillion times the speed of light.

5 TARDIS

Doctor Who

Doctor Who

Release Date
November 23, 1963

Genres
Adventure , Mystery , Sci-Fi

Seasons
26

The TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) has been a staple of the long-running British sci-fi series, Doctor Who, since its inception in 1963. The show follows the ongoing journey of the eponymous time traveler and his array of companions. The TARDIS travels in both space and time, functioning as a time machine and a spaceship. This makes calculating its speed complicated, as it can arrive at any specified time, regardless of the distance. Nevertheless, The TARDIS can travel at speeds of over 10 quadrillion times the speed of light, fueled by the Eye of Harmony – a supernova star frozen moments before its collapse into a black hole.

4 Heighliner

Dune

A Heighliner floats in space in Dune (2021).

Dune
Cast
Kyle MacLachlan , Timothee Chalamet , Zendaya , Austin Butler , Javier Bardem , Rebecca Ferguson , Oscar Isaac , Jason Momoa , Stellan Skarsgård , Josh Brolin , Dave Bautista

Created by
Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert’s beloved Dune franchise originated with his 1965 novel of the same name. It has since evolved into a multimedia franchise spanning novels, video games, and several movie adaptations, including 2024’s Dune: Part 2. Within this franchise, heighliners serve as vital components of the Spacing Guild’s transportation network, ferrying people and cargo across galaxies. The crafts are a gargantuan 20 kilometers long, yet achieve virtually instantaneous travel through spatial folding. The process requires Guild Navigators who utilize their ability to see the future to chart a heighliner’s courses – which allows ships to traverse immense distances without physically moving.

3 The Heart Of Gold

Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

The Heart of Gold from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams’ timeless science-fiction saga The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy​​​​​​ detailed the adventures of Arthur Dent – Earth’s lone survivor after it was destroyed to build a hyperspace bypass. Arthur was, however, rescued by Ford Prefect, the alien author of the eponymous Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The pair subsequently embarked on a cosmic journey, where they encountered Zaphod Beeblebrox and his vessel, the Heart of Gold. This spacecraft’s power lies in the Infinite Improbability Drive, a device defying logical explanation. Ignoring intricacies, the drive enables unparalleled interstellar travel, rendering the Heart of Gold one of the fastest ships in science fiction.

2 Orion Scout Ship

Star Trek

Orion scout ship flying away in star trek

An obscure spacecraft from Star Trek: The Original Series managed to out-pace the USS Enterprise and was capable of the fastest speeds in the entire franchise. The Orion Scout Ship was utilized by the humanoid Orion species and boasted Warp Speed 10 capabilities – which is calculated as the speed of light times infinity. The unfathomably rapid craft could effectively travel across the cosmos instantaneously. Consequently, the Orion Scout Ship is the second-fastest spaceship in science-fiction movies and television series, despite only making scant appearances throughout the Star Trek franchise.

1 Raza

Dark Matter

Raza in space in Dark Matter

The Syfy series, Dark Matter, depicted the galaxy’s most notorious criminals awakening aboard the Raza with their memories erased. The ship is featured prominently throughout, serving as the new home for the protagonists as they navigate the universe and encounter an array of other characters. Though initially not the fastest or mightiest ship, in the show’s second season, the crew acquired the Blink Drive, a revolutionary device pilfered from a major corporation. This technology enabled instantaneous travel anywhere in the universe for any ship fitted with it. As a result, the Raza became arguably the fastest spaceship in science fiction films and television series.



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