and first flight should really be unmanned and not manned like Phoenix.
It's possible that there were earlier unmanned warp flights before the Phoenix, but they simply are not celebrated.
The history of spaceflight has the Apollo Eleven moon landing in big letters, because it was manned. The earlier Luna Nine moon landing is a footnote, because it wasn't.
R. Star wrote:
I just figured he somehow reconfigured the nuclear warhead to fuel the thing.
Short of detonating the warhead inside of a force field (beyond Cochrane's technology) and channeling the high energy plasma to the warp coils, I don't see how the warhead would be useful.