"Y'know, I always thought a failsafe system was supposed to be somewhat safe ... from failure."
Jack O'Neill[src]

A Failsafe mechanism or Fail-secure is a device or mechanism which minimizes the damage to machinery and personnel in the event of a failure in a system. Virtually all advanced technology has some form of failsafe.

List of known fail-safe programs and devices[]

Atlantis sub-aquatic fail-safe[]

The Lantean scientist Janus programmed Atlantis to rise to the surface of the ocean should the power level of the city fall to a critical point. By releasing the clamp holding Atlantis to the ocean floor, the city was allowed to float back up without any additional effort from the city itself. (SGA: "Before I Sleep")

Atlantis power supply fail-safe[]

The power supply systems of Atlantis have in place a program to ensure that if too much power is drawn from the Zero Point Module(s), they do not overload and destroy the city. This system does not appear to restrict the amount of power that the city can draw, so presumably protects the system in a different way to simply preventing too much power being drawn. (SGA: "Critical Mass")

SGC doorlock[]

The Stargate Command doorlock failsafe mechanism closes the base so, no one could get in and neither out. The device was activated when the Wraith broke into the base via the Stargate. (SGA: "Midway")

SGC self-destruct[]

The Stargate Command self-destruct device has often been referred to as a failsafe measure in that it will prevent any incursion coming through the Stargate by obliterating Cheyenne Mountain and either destroying or burying the Stargate under rubble. (SG1: "The Enemy Within")


The Asuran Base code had in place a fail-safe that prevented Asurans modifying their own programming. Relying on this function were programs to prevent the Asurans from harming the Ancients in any way, along with other restrictions. After Dr. Rodney McKay made changes to the base code, the Asurans were able to make changes to themselves and they disabled most, if not all, of their restrictions. (SGA: "Progeny")

304 beaming technology[]

The first 304, Daedalus, was equipped with Asgard beaming technology which had in place a fail-safe to ensure that it could not be used as a weapon-delivery method. At the insistence of Colonel Steven Caldwell and Dr. Lindsey Novak, Hermiod disabled this fail-safe to transport Nuclear warheads aboard Wraith Hive ships. (SGA: "The Siege, Part 3")


Destiny has a fail-safe pertaining to gate travel and the ships Faster-Than-Light engine. In the event that traveler is en route back to the ship but the jump countdown has expired, the ship will not engage it's FTL engine until the traveler has arrived. The ship, however, is put under tremendous stress. This indicates that this exploitation of the fail-safe should only be used in an absolute emergency. Eli Wallace held his arm in the event horizon in order to gain time for MSgt. Ronald Greer and Lt. Matthew Scott to reach the gate with the lime required to fix the CO2 scrubbers. Scott later exploited this same failsafe when the crew encountered an alternate Destiny and dialed into salvage critical parts for the prime Destiny. In this instance, the crippled alternate ship was falling back into the star it had refueled in, Scott was holding the wormhole open to give Nicholas Rush time to return safely. (SGU: "Air, Part 3", "Twin Destinies")

Stargate traveler reintegration[]

Dial Home Devices have a known mechanism in place to allow a traveller to the destination side if the dialing side of the wormhole loses power. The only known instances of this failsafe not functioning are during the destruction of a dialing gate's DHD by a crashing starship- and it was hinted that this was due to Earth's substitute dialing computers being unable to receive all of the signals that a true DHD would have detected- stranding the traveler, Teal'c inside the Stargate control crystals until a DHD was attached to the gate to allow it to complete it's reintegration. (SG1: "48 Hours")

Stargate solar flare detection[]

Newer model Stargates (sans-Destiny era) have the capability to detect whether a wormhole will intersect a Star, or a solar flare. This capability prevents a wormhole accidentally picking up superheavy stellar elements and accidentally depositing them into a star, or causing the wormhole to loop back on itself and trigger a time travel event with the travelers. On two instances this failsafe has been overridden unintentionally. (SG1: "Red Sky") (SGA: "The Last Man")