At some point in the beginning of the recent Alien: Covenant movie, the crew discovers an odd signal and decide to alter course to investigate the source.

However, a more logical course of action would seem to be to contact Earth (or any nearby authority) in order to either get updated information on the planet (they were in cryosleep for a long time) or at least inform HQ that they've decided to settle there.

Since this didn't happen, I'm led to believe that the ship either doesn't have long distance communications or they just didn't care. So, my question is:

Does the USCSS Covenant have FTL communication capabilities?

  • Ripley communicates with Weyland Yutani via an FTL terminal in Aliens3
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 18:01
  • Just to add, since Covenant takes place at least 70 years earlier (Covenant in 2104, Alien 3 sometime around 2179) technology may have advanced quite a lot, so there's no way to make assumptions about what would have been available to this specific ship.
    – ench
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 19:43
  • 1
    I thought this was a Halo question at first. May want to slightly tweak the title. Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 22:02

1 Answer 1


According to the film's official novelisation, the USCSS Covenant has the ability to communicate with Earth at FTL speeds, via a series of relay beacons that it's been dropping off at periodic intervals.

A quick check of the displays inside his helmet indicated that all the relevant systems were operating normally once more. That meant that though it would still take the usual interminable period of time to do so, they could once again make contact via the established relay system that led, like a string of electronic beads, all the way back to a now very distant Earth.

While the Covenant was completely self-contained, as was necessary for any colony ship, that thin thread of contact with home remained important as a link to the planet they called home. As they journeyed onward and the ship continued to automatically drop off a relay unit to extend the system at each recharge stop, it also meant that once they were established on Origae-6, those back on Earth would be able to learn that the colony had successfully established itself at the chosen destination.

Contacting the Earth from the location of their accident will take longer than two weeks.

“She’s close.” As curious as any of them, Ricks had already run the necessary calculations. “Real close. Just a short jump from our present recharge position. Maybe a couple of weeks. At jumpspeed, it wouldn’t even be necessary to go into hypersleep.”


She could only file her formal objection, knowing that it would take more time to reach Earth than it would for the Covenant to arrive in the uncharted system—much less for a response to come back to the ship. Given that reality, she wasn’t sure it was worth the effort to file.

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