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Original Dune
This article or section refers to elements from Original Dune.

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"There is a fifth force which shaped religious belief, but its effect is so universal and profound that it deserves to stand deserves to be written thus: SPACE TRAVEL!"

Space travel played a major role in the evolution and expansion of humanity throughout the known universe. Two forms of space travel existed: faster than light space travel, and conventional space travel.

Faster than light travel Edit

For several thousand years, faster than light travel (or space-folding) was conducted exclusively by the Spacing Guild, using Spacefolder vessels piloted by Guild navigators that folded space-time and moved almost immeasurable distances in the blink of the eye.

This form of travel, while extremely expensive, was also not safe as one in ten ships that used space folding engine disappeared, at least during the early years of the technology's use before the advent of Navigators. It was utilized for both commercial and military purposes. Space-folding made use of two key factors:

  • The folding of space-time, which was accomplished by the practical application of the Holtzman Effect.
  • The plotting of a safe course through folded space by a Guild Navigator, who used prescient planning induced by vast amounts of the Spice Melange.

Eventually, at some point between the fall of the Atreides Empire and the discovery of the Dar-es-Balat hoard, Ixian navigation machines broke the guild monopoly on foldspace by providing a means of safely navigating foldspace without a navigator.[1][2]

Conventional space travel Edit

The old FTL conventional space travel was used mainly for travel within the confines of a star system (not for interstellar travel). However, before the discovery of the new faster-than-light travel method, it was also used for long-distance space travel. The old method was described as "outraceing photons". Even after space-folding became the primary means of interstellar travel, many Imperial warships still kept their old FTL drives as an alternative to the much faster but less reliable Holtzmann engines.

See also Edit


  1. God Emperor of Dune
  2. Heretics of Dune

Behind the Scenes Edit

The connection between faster than light travel and the Holtzman Effect is not explicitly mentioned by Frank Herbert. It is a connection made in the prequel novels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

In the 'Legends of Dune' trilogy, the pair describe the time shortly before and during the discovery of space-folding. In these works the discovery of space-folding is attributed to Norma Cenva, who goes on to become the first prescient folded space navigator. Prior to this, although described in 'The Machine Crusade' as "outracing the old faster than light method", vessels still took weeks or months to cross between even the closest stars.

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