In the span of 5+ decades, the galaxy witnessed the completion of construction for at least 3 planet-destroying superweapons: Two Death Stars and Starkiller Base, each one several orders larger and more powerful than the last.

Their construction are massive operations with massive labour and resource costs, yet somehow the galactic economy didn't seem too dented by their construction (in how resources are siphoned off in secret) nor destruction (in how the news could have rocked Imperial economy), in the sense that poverty and economic woes were never mentioned as the primary reasons for revolt and rebellion against the Empire.

Even the First Order, who inherited the terms of the Galactic Concordance, could somehow afford Starkiller Base, a brand new fleet and a new army of stormtroopers (apparently superior to the Palpatine era version in training).

So how easy is it for the galaxy to afford and build a planet destroying superweapon? We know the cost isn't negligible, since Death Star I was already expensive enough to compromise on the Imperial Navy's budget, which some officers felt would have been a better use of credits towards crushing the Rebellion.

  • 4
    Much easier than it would have been if only they re-engineerd them with inaccessible therma access ports or heat oscillators.... Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 5:01
  • 1
    Seven. It is seven easy.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 6:59
  • I was thinking a similar thing. Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 10:49
  • 4
    A star base is nothing, Grand Moff Tarkin destroys the entire planet Alderaan just to demonstrate imperial might, the empire had 50 million planets. And by looking at this question had immense wealth. Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 13:29
  • Starkiller used a planet, so cost shouldn't be high.
    – user931
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 14:00

3 Answers 3


So how easy is it for the galaxy to afford and build a planet destroying superweapon?

Let's try to estimate:
1. Cost of the device, estimate 1012 credits.
2. Imperial income 1017 as the low estimate for taxable beings.
3. Say 10,000 credits tax, gives 1021 credits.

A death star costs 0.000000001% of the annual imperial budget.
By comparison, cost of US Carrier 4.5 billion (1975), US GDP (1975) 1.6 trillion.
That's 0.0028125% of the US 1975 budget.

Let's put that in perspective:
For the cost of a single US Nimitz class super-carrier in 1975 you could build 2,812,500 Death Stars.
Ya Palpatine could afford it.

  • 2
    Having the better part of a Galaxy under your heel does have its perks.
    – Nigralbus
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 14:13
  • 2
    If it is really that cheap, they would have literally thousands. These numbers don't pass the sniff test. (Yes I'm aware they are sourced)
    – Lighthart
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 18:19
  • 1
    @Lighthart I think Palpatine would have a thousand if he could. Problem is 1) he chose not to mass produce Death Star I (which he actually could opt for) in favour of building a bigger, more powerful Death Star II that builds on what they learnt from building and testing Death Star I (all this happened before Yavin). 2) Death Stars use giant kyber crystals. Not so easy to find and deliver them. Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 2:01
  • 1
    @Lighthart A thousand Death Stars certainly work well psychologically, but isn't practical - one dead planet scares the rest, but a thousand dead planets will maybe build up to a permanent 1% drop in galactic GDP, lol. Killing everyone as a solution will eventually hit the payroll of the killers. And Death Stars are slow. If you scrap the Star Destroyers in favour of Death Stars, the Rebellion can just scrap their larger ships and convert everything to starfighters and operate with near-impunity. Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 2:04
  • 1
    Even if he had the money, specialized resources (like the previously mentioned kyber crystals) and crew might not be as readily availalbe. Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 20:38

It's difficult to judge the real scale of those superweapon costs (and to what degree the weapon platform serves other purposes) but I think a valid comparison is that the US Apollo space program was a $20 billion effort that spent most of it's budget on one-trip vehicles (enormously valuable in many ways, but you couldn't drive it around the universe frightening the peasants). That's 50 cents per week from every US citizen for a decade (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_program in the "Costs" section).

Work out how much you get to spend when you take 50 cents a week off every person in the galaxy. I think you'll find that death stars can fit in the "coffee and toilet paper" section of the entire military budget.

Of course I've got no numbers to back this up so feel free to nuke this opinion from orbit.


Fairly easy.

The galaxy has 1000s of planets 100s at least the resource base is simply unimaginable.

Keep in mind the bases do not use any advanced technology they are simply huge so any budget that calls for replacing vessels on a regular basis will probably be able to handle a death star or other planet destroying base in universe.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.