Inspired from this question, do FTL communications exist in the Aliens franchise/universe?

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    Occurs to me there might be FTL communications at bases (as noted by Valorum in the other question's comments, a scene which took place in the safehouse colony), but for some reason (likely power generation limits) not available on ships. That might be a follow-up question, since I don't recall seeing any instance of a ship being able to "phone home".
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


FTL communications certainly exists with the 'Aliens' universe. On at least one occasion we see a colony (in this case the former mining colony depicted in Alien³) "phoning home". Just seconds later they receive a written response.

The novelisation explains it as a function of subspace. Apparently it's ferociously expensive, to the point that the colony has never received a realtime communication in its entire history.

Andrews sat back in his chair, his eyes cutting into his guest. "At 0700 hours I received a reply to my report from the Network. I may point out that to the best of my knowledge this is the first high-level, priority communication this installation has ever received. Even when Fiorina was a working, functioning mining and refining operation it was never so honored. You know why?"

Clemens sipped his tea. "High-level priority communications have to go through subspace to beat the time problem. That costs plenty."

Andrews was nodding. "More than you or I’ll ever see."

Alien³ Novelisation

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There's another example of FLT communication in Aliens. We learn that after Ripley's testimony The Company (and more specifically Carter Burke) sent a communique to Hadley's Hope telling them the approximate location of the downed Space Jockey ship and asking them to go take a look.

A deleted scene also mentions that at their distance, it usually takes 2 weeks to get a cursory response. This lends weight to the idea that there are two sets of FTL communications; realtime subspace, and low priority comms (presumably carried on ships traveling between star systems).

In the schematic offered in the "Alien Vault" factbook, we learn that the Nostromo also has a subspace communications antenna for interstellar communications.

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  • Just out of curiosity, do we know how far away (in lightyears) is the colony supposed to be? That would give us an upper limit on the FTL communications speed.
    – Hans Olo
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 19:19
  • @Loki - Actually it would give us one point on a potential range.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 19:20
  • True, but still better than nothing. Excellent answer, btw thanks.
    – Hans Olo
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 19:22
  • Also in Aliens, Burke messaged the colony on LV-426 to tell them to go and investigate the alien ship. That must have been by some kind of FTL communication otherwise it would have taken years to arrive.
    – user22478
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 2:06
  • @Nathan - Good point. Also, some good info about messaging times.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 7:31

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