The Death Star is a moon-sized starship, one of the largest in the Star Wars universe. Armed with a terrifying superlaser capable of destroying an entire planet, regardless of defences, it was intended to be a symbol of 'control through fear' in the Tarkin Doctrine. The first Death Star was used by Grand Moff Tarkin to destroy Princess Leia's home planet of Alderaan.
Death Star Specifications
- Diameter: 160km
- Power Generation: Hypermatter reactor generating at least 1E33W
- Hyperdrive Speed: Not as fast as the Millenium Falcon (need real data stat!)
- Sublight Acceleration: >100Gs
- Weapons: Main weapon yield approximately 1E38J
- Recharge Time (Planet Scattering): less than 24 hours
- Other Abilities:
Death Star 2 Specifications
- Diameter: 900km
- Power Generation: Hypermatter reactor
- Hyperdrive Speed: Unknown
- Sublight Acceleration: Unknown
- Recharge Time (ISD-destroying): several minutes at maximum
- Recharge Time (Planet Scattering): Unknown
- Other Abilities: Off-Axis Firing
The plans for the Death Star were first mentioned in Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. Toward the end, as the Trade Federation leaders were fleeing Geonosis, Count Dooku was given the technical schematics which would later go on to become the Death Star I. These plans were taken by Count Dooku to Darth Sidious, the Sith lord. Full scale construction on the Death Star would not begin for many years, however. Practical application of so many new technologies required a great deal of research and development first.
Early development of the Death Star was slow and frequently hampered by ill-fated sabotage efforts. Many of those working on the project or aware of its existence doubted its completion. Effective research and development was not possible under the current work conditions. Moff Tarkin, in an effort to combat this fact, recruited or forced a small number of scientists to work on its development in a new installation set in the middle of a cluster of black holes, the Maw installation. It was here that the many breakthroughs necessary for the completion of the Death Star occurred, namely a fully operation superlaser.
After the completion and demonstration of a workable prototype of the Death Star in the Maw Cluster, Bevel Lemelisk, one of the main researchers and developers, took the plans to the Outer Rim world Despayre. The metal needed for the construction was mined from this world by slaves. Bevel Lemelisk then oversaw the construction of the first Death Star above Despayre. To mark its completion and test the superlaser, Despayre, the cradle world of the Death Star, was destroyed.
The Destruction of the First Death Star
Shortly after its completion and declassification, a rebel mercenary, Kyle Katarn, stole a set of the plans from the imperial data vault located on Denauta. These plans were transmitted to rebels on Toprawa. These plans were combined with similar data obtained by Keyan Farlander and other spies to produce a complete schematic of the Death Star.
After its use on Alderaan in an attempt to coerce the location of the Rebel base out of Princess Leia Organa, Darth Vader placed a tracking device on the Millenium Falcon, the ship used by Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, and Obi-wan Kenobi to board the Death Star, rescue Princess Leia, and escape. The Death Star followed this tracking signal to the Yavin system, where the Rebel base was located on Yavin IV. Using the schematics constructed from the data obtained by Kyle Katarn and Keyan Farlander, rebel strategists had found a weakness in the battle station: a small auxiliary exhaust port located under the larger main exhaust port. If a proton torpedo was shot into this port, it could follow it in a direct line to the hypermatter reactor located in the core of the Death Star. This would set off what has been described vaguely as a "chain reaction", destroying the Death Star. Whether this phrase refers to a chain reaction located solely within the reactor or one throughout all the systems of the Death Star is unknown. Many believe it refers solely to the reactor due to the instantaneous destruction of the Death Star, but no consensus has been reached, and no statement has been made by George Lucas or any of his affiliated companies.
Small snubfighters were launched in squadrons in an attack at the Death Star. To reach the exhaust port they were required to advance down a trench along the equator of the Death Star, after destroying shield towers which prevented entry. The vast majority of the pilots sent on this mission were shot down by turbolaser towers, opposing fighters, or Darth Vader himself, piloting an Advanced TIE. Luke Skywalker was eventually able to successfully make the shot, and the Death Star was destroyed, killing Tarkin and many of the political and military elite of the Empire.
The Second Death Star
I will soon write this section, unless someone beats me to it.
The Death Star's main superlaser is shown in to be capable of destroying an entire planet. This feat requires, at the absolute minimum, that the gravitational binding energy of the planet be overcome by the power of the weapon. Further, a sufficiently higher quantity of energy must be added to ensure the pieces go far apart enough that they do not coalesce again. Finally, observation of the destruction of Alderaan shows that the planet explodes violently - at a significant fraction of 'c'.
Calculations for the lower-bound, and expected values.