"And when we throw the switches, how long before the ship blows?"
"Ten minutes."
"No bullshit?"
"If we ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space."
Ripley and Parker, regarding the Nostromo's emergency destruction (from Alien)
Nostromo Self Destruct

The instructions to the self destruct mechanism aboard the Nostromo.

An emergency destruction system or a self destruct system was present aboard most commercial starships. Initiating the self destruct on a spacecraft disengages its engine coolant system, quickly causing the vessel's power core to overload and explode, destroying the spacecraft entirely.


Aboard the Nostromo[]

Nostromo explosion

The Nostromo's self destruct system detonating.

The emergency destruction system aboard the USCSS Nostromo operated on a ten-minute delay, with an initial five-minute fail-safe window during which the process could be aborted. However, after these five minutes had elapsed, the meltdown of the ship's core was irreversible and could not be stopped. When the ten minutes ended, the ship's core would explode with tremendous force, utterly destroying the spacecraft. In 2122, Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley engaged the self destruct aboard the Nostromo in an attempt to kill the Alien, which had stowed away on board.

Aboard the Legato[]

The USS Legato possessed had a self destruct system, which was activated by colonist Lisbeth Hutchins in order to destroy both a Xenomorph outbreak aboard the ship and the Weyland-Yutani mercenaries aboard. Though it used a similar activation method to that of the Nostromo, the Legato exploded within less than a minute of the system being activated, instead of the ten-minute countdown used by the Nostromo. The actual explosion was also a lot less powerful, only blowing the Legato in half, though this was still more than sufficient to kill everything on it.

Aboard the Nova Maru[]

The space freighter Nova Maru's self destruct system was activated by sole survivor Selkirk following a Xenomorph infestation on the planet PCW9512. The device also had a ten minute countdown, with Selkirk using that time to pray for salvation. The following explosion ultimately obliterated all traces of Xenomorph activity within the province.

Aboard the UNCSS Ìyánlá[]

The United Nations Interstellar Settlement Corps colony ship UNCSS Ìyánlá was fitted with a self–destruct system.