Spatial torpedoes were torpedo weapons carried aboard Starfleet vessels during the twenty-second century. Prior to the installation of phase cannons and photonic torpedoes on Earth starships, these torpedoes were the most powerful weapons in the standard vessel's armament.
Spatial torpedoes were a somewhat ineffective weapon against an opponent with deflector shields and would sometimes bounce off the shields at impact or detonation. Also, the torpedo engine made the weapon so slow that, in some cases, it could be shot down with point-defense particle weapons prior to impact. The range of the torpedoes was fifty times shorter than that of photonic torpedoes.
The warhead of a spatial torpedo could be removed and utilized as an explosive, though moving an armed warhead around was not recommended. The strength of the explosive yield could not be altered. These torpedoes were similar to the Romulan mine that Enterprise NX-01 encountered in 2152 deployed in orbit of a planet in a star system annexed by the Romulan Star Empire.
The loading and firing of spatial torpedoes was partly a manual process. Inactive torpedoes were stored on racks in the armory. When a ship engaged in combat, the torpedo was removed from its holding rack and placed on a launching rail, which inserted the torpedo into its firing tube. The torpedo could then be fired, either from the tactical console on the bridge or the firing console in the armory.
Spatial torpedoes were standard aboard Earth Starfleet vessels of the mid twenty-second century and were a part of the original armament inventory of Enterprise. Even as Starfleet began equipping vessels with photonic torpedoes, most continued to maintain a small compliment of spatial torpedoes available.