(All stats related to movement have been summarized and grouped on this page.)
The game uses an adjusted model of Newtonian physics, which determines the way movement works in this game. Just remember:
Thrust is the basic output of your engine, in the form of Force. As we all know from physics, The greater the force, the greater the acceleration.
Acceleration is proportional to your thrust, but affected by mass. The more mass your ship has, the harder it will be to change its velocity.
Your dampeners are your brakes in space. They also apply Force, but in the opposite direction to your velocity, slowing you down.
Unlike in real life, you can't keep accelerating forever. Your ship will reach a terminal velocity.
The terminal velocity is a function of your Acceleration. The more acceleration and the less mass you have, the faster the game will allow you to go.
Your cruise speed is your terminal velocity when not applying thrust. Activating engines will allow you to go faster, activating afterburner will let you go faster still.
Your mass affects how much acceleration will occur when a force is applied to your ship. Forces can come from thrust and dampening, or from abilities used by you or by enemy ships. The greater the mass, the less the ship will move.
Your ship will have an initial mass depending on Archetype.
Engine thrust, energy drain and heat generation can be changed in the Engine Node.
Afterburner Thrust, energy drain, and heat generation can be changed in the Auxiliary Drives Node.
Interatial dampening power and heat generation can also be changed in the Auxiliary Drives Node.