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The first Death Star was destroyed by a shot to the thermal exhaust. Why did the second have a similar design flaw: an exposed single point of failure?

I would have thought that some kind of grid in the path of Luke's X-wing, or smaller tunnels, would have been a prerequisite in the design phase.

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Didn't the 2nd one get destroyed by the Emperor falling and exploding? –  Loïc Wolff Jan 4 '12 at 10:49
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Besides, the 2nd one wasn't finished. The laser thingy was working, but it was missing huge chunk on other parts. –  Loïc Wolff Jan 4 '12 at 10:50
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Right! I remember now, with the Millenium Falcon escaping the explosion. –  Loïc Wolff Jan 4 '12 at 10:59

5 Answers 5

up vote 19 down vote accepted

While reading through your link in the comment, I found this part:

The most important revisions to the Death Star design made by Lemelisk were made to take into account and eradicate the technical flaws of the original battlestation which had enabled it to be destroyed during the Battle of Yavin. The first major change made in this redesign was the elimination of the two-meter-wide thermal exhaust port that was used to ignite a chain reaction in the main reactor of the first Death Star, destroying it.

So it's not the exact same flaw that destroyed the second Death Star.

And if I remember correctly, the Millenium Falcon (can't remember if he was the one who shot) escaped from the heart of the station, it wasn't an exhaust port right at the surface. They fired from the inside directly at the reactor core.

The pilots flew through a very tight passage to the center of the massive station, and detonated the core with well placed concussion missiles and proton torpedoes

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Remember the second Death Star wasn't finished and it may have been that they had plans to cover over the port the Falcon flew into but hadn't got to that point in the construction yet/maybe they still needed internal access to finish off some construction. –  PhilPursglove Jan 4 '12 at 11:36
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@Wikis single points of failure aren't always the same flaw, and almost every system has them at some level or another. They're a major concern in all engineering. –  Ben Brocka Jan 4 '12 at 16:49
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@JoshuaCarmody to be fair, the Death Star was the size of a small planet and would require dozens of engineers; flawless construction at that scale is very difficult due to human (and alien, I suppose) factors –  Ben Brocka Jan 4 '12 at 21:12
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It's highly likely they were using the "tunnel" to move equipment in and out for construction and they planned to close it off when construction was completed. Remember that they were relying on the force field from the forest moon of Endor to protect the second Death Star until it's construction was completed. They probably felt that was sufficient until it was completed. –  BBlake Jan 5 '12 at 13:19
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Also the first movie didn't have a tunnel so much as a "chain reaction which should destroy the station" represented as a line on the powerpoint presentation. –  Tyson of the Northwest Feb 17 '12 at 20:14

The second Death Star was purposely left vulnerable.

Emperor Palpatine used the unfinished, exposed, "vulnerable" second Death Star as bait to set a trap for the Rebellion. Nearly worked, too. He just never accounted for those pesky Ewoks.

It's not clear what vulnerabilities the second Death Star design had, since it never got completed.

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The 2nd Death Star, albeit a fully operational battle-station, was still under construction when it was attacked. Like most things under construction, it's vulnerable.

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It wasn't, really. It didn't have the same basic design flaw, and was only "vulnerable" because it was only about two-thirds complete and the Rebels had managed to knock out its main defense. Once complete it probably wouldn't have been approachable.

I also somewhat agree with Norby in that the idea of an attack against a half-finished, non-operational Death Star, with the Emperor aboard, is just too good a chance to pass up. I doubt Palpatine purposely left it unfinished, as he and Vader had to "persuade" Jerjerrod to redouble his efforts to get the station operational enough to be useful in the fight. But, he undoubtedly saw something in the future that he thought he could twist to his own ends.

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The truth?

RETURN OF THE JEDI was basically a rework of the original STAR WARS. George Lucas simply took some of the elements of the first film and made them "bigger".

The original fight of the wookies vs. the empire that was taken out was turned into the ewoks now fighting technological supremacy. The cantina scene was reworked into the Jabba the Hutt palace. The ending of the first film was done with more ships but fighting against basically the same Death Star.

It simply wasn't meant to be stronger... just more special fx.

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This is definitely (and sadly) true, but I think the OP was hoping for an in-universe answer. (I wonder how many people noticed that it didn't take much imagination to turn "Woo-kee" into "Ee-wok" when they decided that cuter versions would sell more toys? :) –  Django Reinhardt Jan 14 at 11:46
    
-1; we're looking for in-universe answers, not OOC justifications. –  Shadur Oct 5 at 11:18

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