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(covers information from several alternate timelines)
The Warp five engine was a type of warp reactor developed by Humans in the 22nd century in the Warp Five program and the NX Project. The NX-class starships of the mid-22nd century were the first Earth ships to utilize the reactor. Warp five technology allowed Humans to travel a hundred times faster than was possible with the previous generation of warp engines that were limited by the warp 2 barrier. (ENT: "First Flight", "Broken Bow")
The engine was officially called a gravimetric field displacement manifold. (ENT: "Cold Front") The reactor had eight major components. (ENT: "Desert Crossing") Magnetic constrictors were used to align the positron stream to the dilithium matrix. (ENT: "Cold Front") The dilithium matrix had to be aligned to within 0.3 microns. In the warp matrix, antimatter flow regulators controlled the plasma pressure in the intermix chamber. (ENT: "Affliction") Another important component of the reactor was the primary warp coil. (ENT: "Damage")
When the reactor was restarted from an off-line state, the reactor output had to be confined to within 300 and 312 millicochranes to prevent fusion of the dilithium matrix, unless the spatial compression index was greater than 5.62 percent, or the ship was within two parsecs of a class C gravimetric field distortion. (ENT: "Doctor's Orders")
If the antimatter flow regulators are locked open, plasma pressure within the chamber will rise, threatening to destroy the ship. In order to reduce the pressure, the ship must maintain high warp until the damage is repaired. Such an event occurred in November of 2154, due to Klingon sabotage of the Enterprise NX-01. Moments before the engine was shut down and cold started, intermix pressure had risen to 1527 and the field variance had risen to 87 millicochranes. (ENT: "Affliction")
In the original configuration, warp factor 5 was the maximum speed that could be maintained by a ship using the warp five engine for 53 minutes only. This speed was first tested in 2152. (ENT: "Fallen Hero") By 2153, warp 5 had become a sustainable cruising velocity that could be maintained for long periods of time. The speed of warp 5 corresponded roughly to a velocity of 200 times the speed of light. (ENT: "The Expanse", "The Xindi")
The warp five engine used by the Terran Empire, in the mirror universe, was known to leak delta rays. The radiation caused severe disfigurement to the engineers who worked on them. It was said that for every year an engineer spent next to one, he lost a decade of his life expectancy. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")
The plasma injector assembly of the reactor was upgraded in 2154, to allow a ship to maintain the speed of warp 5.06. (ENT: "Babel One") After the upgrade, the speed of warp 5.2 could also be reached for short periods of time. (ENT: "Affliction")
The injector assembly could also be easily modified, based on Haradin schematics, to allow a ship to reach the speed of warp 6.9 for short intervals using the warp five engine. The structural integrity also needed to be reinforced on the NX-class ships for this to be possible. It was however determined that using the Haradin modification, the injectors might overload at speeds over warp factor 5.6. Due to the risk these speeds were not used by the Enterprise. (ENT: "E²")
24th century Edit
While the technology to go beyond warp 5 was achieved by Humans with the upgrades in the mid-2150s and by other future Federation member races such as the Vulcans much earlier, (ENT: "Breaking the Ice") over two centuries later, some smaller Federation starships, such as Danube-class runabouts still utilized a warp engine design with the maximum speed of only warp factor 5. (DS9: "Dax")