The current Interstellar Stargate was first constructed near the beginning of the Expansion Era in 4614 A.D. when scientists realized that the Salire Purpura crystals found in abundance in the Lumen System, the capital star system of the Republic, could be used to create wormholes without disintegrating upon use. When a ship uses them to create a wormhole to jump to the next system, they dissolved the moment they pass through, a fact that has been proven when Luna journeyed to the star cluster more than two thousand years prior. They found that if the crystals were built into a construct and their energy channeled on a single point, a wormhole could be generated and a ship can pass through without the crystals dissolving. To help with such jumps and to offer a stable conduit to send and receive vessels, the stargate was created.
The principles behind the stargates in simplified terms is that the gates generate a wormhole using graviton and tachyon particles generated by the Salire Purpura crystals to establish a junction or corridor between two gates, one sending and one receiving. Once the junction is created, the star gates create a distortion field from the largest ring around the ship or ships that are passing through to protect them from any distortions or “turbulence” within the wormhole before electromagnetic emitters “push” the ship or ships within the field through the wormhole. The tunnel only works one-way during transport so ships cannot travel both ways at the same time. Once the ship or ships reaches the destination gate, they appear within the star gate and the field disappears once the wormhole is closed, allowing the ship(s) to navigate out on their own towards their next destination. The stargates then prepare for the next ship or ships to pass through either the same way or the opposite direction.
The use of the stargates by military ships is usually at no charge and they take priority when it comes to who is next to use them. Civilian craft such as freighters are charged for use of the stargates based on their mass of their ship and their cargo. That cost is usually passed down to the people and companies as part of the shipping costs. Civilian transports unless registered as government vessels also pay a fine based on the total mass of vessel. Because of the cost, travel between systems is usually rather light except for the military, government, charter recreational, and logistical vessels. Distance to destinations within the Republic when gauging how far a trip is from Point A to Point B is measured in "jumps" rather than in Light-years in the past.