Starships have two basic speeds: tactical speed and cruising speed.
Tactical speed only comes into play when two or more starships engage in battle or otherwise interact with each other. A ship’s tactical speed is measured in 500-foot squares and tells how far a starship can move in a move action. A starship’s tactical speed depends on the type of ship and the type of engines (see Starship Engines). Certain types of armor can reduce a starship’s tactical speed (see Starship Armor).
A starship normally moves as a move action, leaving an attack action to attack. It can, however, use its attack action as a second move action (see Starship Actions, below). This could let the ship move again, for a total movement of up to double its normal tactical speed. Another option is to surge forward (a full-round action). This lets the ship move up to four times its normal speed, but it can only surge forward in a straight line, and doing so affects its Defense (see Surge Forward).
Cruising speed determines how quickly a ship moves across vast distances, such as between planets or star systems. A ship’s cruising speed depends on the type of ship and its engines (see Starship Engines).
A ship can enter or leave a battle at cruising speed, but once it enters battle, it automatically drops to tactical speed. Cruising speed does not come into play during starship battles or in any other situation where two or more starships interact.