the Star Wars Encyclopedia
The Death Star
Designed and constructed in secret, the Death Star is the brainchild of the sinister Grand Moff Tarkin, governor of the Imperial Outland Regions. On board the Death Star, there are hundreds of prison levels capable of detaining entire populations. Metal cells line the prison levels like dark hives, encasing prisoners inside small black rooms of thick armor plate. Soundproof and escape-proof, the cells grip their prisoners with hopelessness and hide grim scenes of illegal interrogation and torture. Princess Leia Organa finds herself isolated in Cell 2187 in Detention Block AA-23. Each detention block is run from a local command post, where cells can be closely monitored. In the event of any disturbance or malfunction, central command is automatically alerted.
In orbital construction yards circling a remote planet code-named Despayre, this battle station was pieced together by technicians, slaves, and titanic robot factory machines. The completed Death Star is powered by a hypermatter reactor and is capable of destroying an entire planet with its prime weapon, a horrific superlaser. This abomination is the galaxy's ultimate weapon, and the greatest symbol of the Emperor's absolute power. Thousands of turbolaser battery emplacements speckle the rugged surface of the battle station, designed to defend it against capital ship assaults. Countless hangar bays house TIE fighters, shuttles, and other combat and transport craft. The station seemed invincible.
On first inspection by Rebel
leaders, the stolen plans of the Imperial Death Star only make the situation
look hopeless. The battle station is even larger and more heavily armed than
the Rebels expected. However, Jan Dodonna spots a
crucial weakness in the Death Star's design, which might allow a one-man
fighter to set off a chain reaction in the station's core reactor.
This single chink in the Death Star's armor is
the only hope for the Rebel forces to defeat the sinister Imperial battle
station before it uses its planet-destroying laser to obliterate the Rebel
Base on the Fourth Moon of Yavin. Thoroughly
ray-shielded against laser fire, the port can only be hit with proton
torpedoes, making split-second timing of the torpedo fire absolutely critical.
Death Star II
After the destruction of the first Death Star, the Emperor ordered the construction of a second planet-destroying space station even larger than the first. Assembled in orbit around the emerald moon of Endor, the second Death Star is protected by an energy shield projected from the planet surface below. This titanic weapon is only part of an insidious plan to draw the Rebels into doomed combat, for the Death Star's incomplete structure hides its full operational capabilities, and it is a giant trap waiting to fatally ensnare the Rebel Fleet.
But, the Rebels had other ideas; with Admiral Ackbar in command in his Mon Calamari Cruiser. On seeing that it was a trap, Ackbar first signalled for a retreat. But Lando Calrissian, piloting the Millenium falcon, had faith in Han Solo and his team on the Endor moon, who were at that moment fighting a battle to get Death Star's shield down. Lando persuaded Ackbar to stick around a while longer; and boy, did that pay off! Soon enough, the shield was down; and the second Death Star was history...