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In the Stargate science fiction universe, the Puddle Jumper is a small craft capable of space travel created by the Ancients. Several of these ships were discovered in the Atlantis hangar, which is located above the control room in the central tower, and accesses the Stargate through a retractable door in the room's floor. The hangar bay is also a maintenance facility for up to twelve of the craft. There are six bays on the main floor of the two-story structure. The name "puddle jumper" is a pun on the ship's ability to travel through Stargate event horizons, which visually resemble pools of water. It was named by Major John Sheppard, an Air Force pilot, in the Stargate Atlantis pilot "Rising". The nomenclature of the ship was protested by Dr. Rodney McKay, who preferred the name "Gateship One", (which was coined by Lt. Aiden Ford) but Sheppard's name appears to have been favored.

It should be noted that "puddle jumper" is also a term for small commuter floatplanes. Given the size and practicality of the Atlantis spacecraft, Major Sheppard (an experienced pilot) found a serendipitous double meaning when describing the craft. It's also been said that they are named for an Air Force General.
General Characteristics


Drone Weapons


Cloaking device
The Puddle Jumper is a small cylindrical ship smaller than a Tel'tak but large enough to transport a small strike force. Like the Telítak, it is split into two sections: the hull and cargo hold, with a bulkhead door to separate them. This door is capable of retaining atmosphere against the vacuum of space or holding back the pressure of deep ocean water. The vessel is tube-shaped with an angled front and rear allowing it to slide perfectly through open Stargates. Entry and exit to the Puddle Jumper is provided through the use of the cargo bay door on the rear. The cargo bay door can be lowered and raised in normal operation or can be jettisoned by use of the emergency release located in the rear section of the cargo bay. The cargo area also serves for additional seating within the Jumper for more than the flight crew. It is safe to assume that the Jumpers have limited power source due to the power depletion of Jumper Six in the episode "Grace Under Pressure". The power source of a Jumper is unknown, but it is presumably rechargeable because Atlantis has taken the other jumpers from its sister city which were powerless.


It is also unknown how many Jumpers the Atlantis team own, although we do know that they own at least 10 if not more, despite a number of them being destroyed during the course of the series. Additional Puddle Jumpers have been acquired by Sheppard during the second-season episode "The Tower" along with the explicitly mentioned Drone Weapons. They also managed to acquire one from the Asuran city ship in the episode "Progeny".
Throughout the series of Stargate Atlantis, there have been 3 different designs of front control consoles for the jumpers:
The original front from season 1 featured many colored panels and knobs which would glow when the jumper was started up by a person with the ATA Gene.

The second jumper front featured a rigid gray panel without any type of lights, this front was featured in the beginning of the 2nd season of the series, the reason for the change was not explained in the show but it is most likely a design change made by the creators of the series. The light colored buttons and dials were replaced with gray sliders and other controls.

It should be noted that not only the jumpers sported the different design, control panels onboard the Orion and the control panels at the center of Project Arcturus were similar. It is odd that the design was suddenly changed, because they do not look like Ancient design and in fact look more like the Earth-based technology. It is implied by Dr. McKay that these control panels were "the Ancients latest stuff, latest being 10,000 years old."
Puddle Jumpers have two retractable thruster pods that power the craft to sublight speeds allowing interplanetary travel, and has an inertial dampening system to shield its passengers from sudden accelerations and stops. This system can also alter the weight of the Puddle Jumper. While the thruster pods are responsible for propelling the craft, the pods must be closed to allow the ship to fit through the Stargate. Limited thrust is apparently possible with retracted pods, as seen on several occasions in the Atlantis control room. Though it has not been confirmed, it is likely that the Jumper operates on an auto-pilot for this maneuver, explaining how Lieutenant Aiden Ford was able to use one to escape Atlantis in the first episode of season two, in spite of his lack of the ATA gene. It is possible to fly a Puddle Jumper with just one functioning thruster pod.

Two weapons pods, located in front of the engine pods, house at least eight Ancient Drone Weapons, and must be extended to use the weapons. There are also control crystals throughout the jumper in places behind the benches and seats, in cubbies, and most likely on the control panels that even a Wraith can use (as seen in episode 1.14, "The Defiant One"). Also, as seen in "Hot Zone" the jumpers can be used as bombers. Major Sheppard put a Naqahdah Generator on the bottom of the jumper and dropped it in space over Atlantis.

It is believed that a puddle jumper can be powered by using ancient drones as its propulsion; although it would not be maneuverable or fast it would require very little power. It has also been theorized that the Puddle Jumpers can be "remote controlled" by the Ancient chair platform in Atlantis. Dr. Rodney McKay stated that the Drones would be the required method of propulsion in order to control the Puddle Jumper while under control of the Ancient chair platform.

In addition to the drone weapons and the other Ancient Technology in the jumper, there is a large amount of Earth equipment in the jumper; for starters the team equips all of their jumpers with plenty of food, medicine, weapons and other supplies that is suspended over the seats in the rear compartment by rubber netting and behind the seats in the forward compartment. On board the jumpers, there is a healthy supply of weapons, ammunition and tactical vests to fight a war, including P-90's, M4 carbine rifles, and Pistols. In addition, there are at least two AT4 rocket launchers on either side of the rear hatch in the back of the jumper. There is also enough equipment in the jumper; including laptops, and tools to fix the jumper incase of a break down.
Puddle Jumpers have a neural interface that essentially reads the pilot's thoughts and controls the ship based on those commands, assisted by two control joysticks built into the ship's "dashboard". Like a great deal of Ancient technology found in the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies, the Puddle Jumper requires the user to have the ATA gene to initialize. After that, many of the Jumper's systems can be used by anyone. However, since piloting requires the mental interface, only one with the ATA gene can actually fly the craft.

There are also two control panels at the rear of the jumper, one on each side that appear to be used by people that do not have the ATA gene. For Example, Dr. Zelenka who we know does not have the Gene has been seen using the equipment.

The Puddle Jumper DHDs are very similar to the Atlantis DHD without Atlantis' extra control-crystal. The ship's DHD is used for travel through an orbital Stargate, possibly in conjunction with a Stargate Power Node, since orbital Stargates have no constant DHD. The Jumper DHDs seem to be tailored (either automatically or by design) to the galaxy they are in since the Puddle Jumpers from Atlantis have the Pegasus set of chevrons, where as the Time Jumper (a Jumper equipped with a time travel device) found by SG-1 in the episode "It's Good to Be King" had the Milky Way set with the earth point of origin.

Puddle Jumpers utilize an advanced cloaking generator. A puddle jumper has no true shields at all, suggesting that it is an exploration and trading ship. However, on one occasion ("The Defiant One"), a Wraith tampered with a Jumper's controls thereby somehow generating a shield around it, causing Major John Sheppard to run into the vessel. Also, the cloaking generator can be "reversed" to act as a shield, but this drains the Jumper's power far too rapidly making it almost useless in a combat situation. The generator can only perform one function or the other because the shield and cloak are generated the same way, just at a different frequency, therefore it is impossible to have both at the same time.

However, as revealed by The Return Part 2. A puddle jumper can still perform maneuvers at full speed, while utilizing a shield. The shields also have enough power to deflect drone impacts.

The Puddle Jumper can also be used as underwater submersible using the drive pods as the means of propulsion. A damaged Jumper dove to a little over twelve hundred feet without a shield before the front window cracked. Using the jumper as an under water vessel requires a copious amount of power. A damaged Jumper has a minimum of three to four hours before its power source becomes completely depleted. The heat the jumper puts out can be adjusted and the inertial dampeners deactivated to preserve power.

The Jumper has enough power to sustain on average 30 minutes of the inversed cloaking shield. It also has the ability to increase the area which the shield protects, at least enough to encompass another jumper though at a significantly increased power drain.

We assume that if a Jumper is connected to a ZPM or naquadah generator or other sufficient power source, the shield could be powered constantly. It is also likely that if the jumper's shields were removed from the main system and not connected to the power supply, it could protect the ship. An example of this is the Personal Shield

  • Note- shielding in the stargate universe: So far noted in the series, there have been two prominent types of shields in the stargate universe: Asgard shields and Ancient shields. The Asgard shields simply work as another layer of protection, and unless connected to a ZPM the shield diminishes until the hull is the only protection. An example of this is during The Siege, Part III, on board the Daedalus in battle with a lone Hive ship and numerous cruisers, Dr. Novak is seen in the engineering room and the shield status is on display behind her, it reads just below 90% While later in the episode, while in battle with 10 hive ships and countless cruisers the shields fall from 100% to 40% and 20% in minutes. This is because the hives were at point blank range and there were more of them. As for Ancient shields, they so far have not been breached by anything, but require lots of power, therefore, they are only on Ancient City Ships and Aurora class ships and not puddle jumpers. But if the jumper was connected to a large power source such as a ZPM or Naquadah Generator the shield would be sufficiently powered.
Originally, one of the Puddle Jumpers had an experimental time travel device installed. The Ancient who built the time machine was named Janus. In the Stargate Atlantis episode "Before I Sleep" it was revealed that in an alternate timeline the Pegasus team discovered this Puddle Jumper in Atlantis when they first arrived. That version of Atlantis quickly suffered destruction when the shield failed without the city surfacing first, and Dr. Weir became the only survivor when she used the Time Jumper to escape and accidentally traveled back 10,000 years to the time of Atlantis' original evacuation. Due to concerns about altering history further it was ordered to be dismantled by the Ancients before departing for Earth. However, found later by SG-1 in "It's Good to Be King", raising the possibility that this jumper was modified by Janus, the creator of the original time traveling jumper, as the Ancients most likely had more jumpers in the Milky Way galaxy after abandoning Pegasus and Janus last action in Atlantis was to collect all his research material on time travel, before returning to Earth. Atlantians evacuated through their Stargate. This Jumper was later used to go back to ancient Egypt for a ZPM in the Stargate SG-1 two-part episode "Moebius".