Bluespace is the informal name given to a space-time parallel to "real" space, which is believed to almost entirely consisting of dark matter (named for how it appears when recorded) and while travelling in a shielded vessel. While dark matter was theorized centuries ago, it wasn't until the early 24th century that scientists discovered how to access and manipulate bluespace, and through it dark matter. What makes bluespace so vitally important to the modern world is that it does not follow the same physical laws that we have in real space. When an object or person travels through bluespace under the right conditions, it does so at a rate relatively much higher than its speed in real space would be. This allows the faster-than-light travel. While many advances in Bluespace research took years of trial and error, they have resulted in the known interstellar society.
Bluespace has multiple uses that allow faster travel. They are most commonly used on vessels to achieve extremely fast travel. There are multiple ways to utilize bluespace.
The most visible bluespace technology, and arguably the most important, are gateways. Gateways were the first way to access Bluespace. After the technology to create openings into Bluespace was perfected, the ability to create another accessible exit was needed. Probes and drones could enter bluespace, make observations and gather data, but were often lost in the buffeting eddies and currents of another reality. Most recovered probes left the way they entered, however, on two occasions - probes that were thought lost appeared in real space much further than they should have travelled. This led scientists to two major discoveries: First, that really matter in Bluespace could leave through means other than their entry point; and second, that distance in bluespace was not proportional to distance in real space. Eventually, it was learned that by correctly calibrating the technology used to create portals into bluespace, two portals could be linked. When one was activated the other would turn on simultaneously. This linkage resulted in a stable channel through bluespace. Items travelling through a portal on one end would emerge almost instantaneously from the other. This technology was used to expedite the colonization of Alpha Centauri, and eventually beyond.
Gateway travel is relatively convenient, requiring little energy to maintain once a connection is established, only light thrust to enter a portal and no shielding required for transit. The primary risks of Gateway travel are collisions at entry points, and being inside a gateway when it is deactivated. While traffic control prevents the former from happening, for the most part, the second is a much rarer occurrence.
Transit times for Gateway travel are often measured in milliseconds, with seconds for some of the longest journeys. However, if you are unlucky enough to be inside a Gateway when it is closed it's likely you will not be seen again. While some vessels lost during power failure have reappeared, many do not, and those that do often emerge long after they were lost, with no sense of time passing, or as clouds of component materials and debris. In one notable instance, the first colonial supply vessel to be lost between the Sol-Alpha Centauri gateways emerged almost a hundred years after it first entered a gateway. Luckily, redundant power systems and cautious deactivation schedules prevent these accidents from occurring.
Today, most gateways are standardized, massive torus-shaped space stations, that create portals into Bluespace wide enough to fit three freighters. Outside of Sol Central Government territory, gateways are less standardized and may operate in local networks only connected to the main systems.
Bluespace drives are a relatively new technology that, rather than utilizing a natural phenomenon, force a vessel into bluespace. Massive amounts of power are required to run a bluespace drive. A bluespace drive can remain in bluespace as long as power is provided, however, when any amount of power is lost, it immediately exits back to real space. Bluespace drives do not come with the protective qualities that are natural within a gateway and require special shielding originally developed by the Skrell. Power loss to shielding during transit could result in catastrophic results.
It is relatively difficult to manoeuvre in flight while utilizing a bluespace drive. As such, bluespace beacons have been created to allow easier sector-to-sector jumping without needing advanced computational systems.
Teleportation uses technology similar to gateways by sending small objects through a fixed portal. It envelops the object within a bubble similar to a bluespace drive, and releases when the object reaches its destination. The destination is determined by beacons or manual power levels. Poor calibration can result in an object exiting bluespace too late or early.
The currents that flow through bluespace can mirror themselves onto real space. These invisible currents are used by space faring animals to propel themselves at FTL speeds through realspace.