17

With station as large as the Death Star, there's going to be a ton of hangar space. How big were the largest hangars? What size vessel could they accommodate? We see that the hangar that accepted the Falcon could fit a vessel several times its size, but presumably that's not the largest-size hangar in the station.

The Wookiepedia article on the Death Star mentions a Star Destroyer can "dock" with the Death Star, but "dock" makes me think of an external linkage between the vessels, not parking inside a hangar.

I'll accept Legends answers. Hopefully at least one resource has covered this.

  • 8
    No, I said "put it in bay ninety, not nineteen" – Valorum Mar 20 '16 at 20:20
  • A much smaller Death Star. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Mar 21 '16 at 2:28
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    @WadCheber That's no planetoid! – user867 Mar 21 '16 at 2:58
  • @Valorum Ah I just caught the reference. That's Scoundrels, correct? – user45623 Apr 5 '17 at 20:20
  • @user45623 - It wasn't a reference. I was pointing out that the Star Destroyer depicted appears to be crashing. I was pretending to be the ATC telling them that they're putting it in the wrong bay, that they'd mis-heard my instructions. – Valorum Apr 5 '17 at 20:23
5

Assuming the largest ships that can be accommodated in the Death Star I's hangars is equivalent to the largest ships in its permanent garrison complement, it is a medium cruiser class.

The following answer is Legends-only.

The Death Star Technical Companion (1991), a book published for use with the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, provided the following excerpts (emphasis mine):

Besides the huge amount of TIE fighters, the Death Star carried assault shuttles for boarding captured ships not deemed safe enough to tractor into a hold, blastboats for use as far-patrol craft, a limited number of small capital ships (specifically strike cruisers), drop-ships to carry troops and equipment to a planet's surface, land combat vehicles, and a wide variety of support craft such as shuttles, cargo haulers, repair platforms, and worker cabs.

enter image description here

Based on the strike cruiser's visual profile, it is identified to be the Strike-Class Medium Cruiser. As described in Wookiepedia, it is 450 x 90 meters in size, and tactically equivalent to half a Victory-Class Star Destroyer. By comparison, a Victory Star Destroyer is 900m long and an Imperial Star Destroyer is a mile long.

Additionally, it must be noted here that no Imperial hangar is ever needed to fit a Star Destroyer of any size because they have no landing gear (also why TIEs can only use purpose-built TIE hangar bays and not any ordinary hangars).

After the Clone Wars, the implementation of the Tarkin Doctrine led to a shift in the military ship design philosophy towards ever larger capital ships for ever greater fearsomeness (the Strike Cruiser capital ship is an exception developed in response to the weakness exposed by this trend during the Galactic Civil War). Star Destroyers of the Imperial era are too large to land on planets (the Victory Star Destroyer is the only class that can operate in the upper atmosphere). Since Star Destroyers are now permanently space-bound, landing gears are removed by default, since they are built in orbital shipyards and operate only in space). The Sentinel-Class Shuttle is designed to take over the Star Destroyer's former role as the Empire's primary planetary troop lander.

With a loss of landing gears, Star Destroyers will require purpose-built hangars like TIEs do, for jobs like ship-wide maintenance and repairs, or movement of supplies requiring faster throughput than shuttles alone can provide. These hangars are probably the "docking" you read of. Not external linkage like here when General Grievous is boarding Obi-Wan's ship:

enter image description here enter image description here

But docking bays, drydock style, akin to construction bays in orbital shipyards where the Star Destroyers themselves were constructed at places like Kuat and Mon Calamari:

enter image description here enter image description here

Sure, there's no proof that such bays actually exist on the Death Star. The Death Star I doesn't have a fleet escort (thanks to Tarkin's overconfidence) but they designed the Death Star II to have one. You can't have crippled Star Destroyers limp back to the orbital shipyard and leave the Death Star exposed, and you can't let crippled ships bog the Death Star down while the Rebels are busy evacuating their base a hyperspace jump away. There is a tactical need for Star Destroyers to have the ability to dock with the Death Star, so why reinvent the wheel?

  • You might want to include a link that makes it clear that the Death Star Technical Companion is a "Legend" source of info and one that was never especially canonical, even by EU standards. – Valorum Mar 22 '16 at 14:57
  • Strike cruisers also can't land (with the exception of certain modified models) - in about 1997 I asked West End Games if they could, they said no. – PhilPursglove Mar 22 '16 at 17:49
  • Whew, what an answer. The information on drydock-style bays alone is fascinating, I never put any thought into that before. I'll accept any West End Games source that isn't explicitly considered non-canon even by Legends standards, since my introduction to Star Wars was a West End Games sourcebook my father bought for me when I was young. – user45623 Mar 22 '16 at 18:34
  • @PhilPursglove What I read in that source is that ships in long-term inactive storage are stored floating in stasis fields, and when "withdrawn" they are floated out onto repulsor fields that bring them out for deployment. Theoretically, that means the DS's strike cruisers need not necessarily need landing gear either. Even if they do, the Death Star is certainly one such place you would expect specialised versions of the stock models of military ships. – thegreatjedi Mar 22 '16 at 18:44
  • @thegreatjedi Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about that (it's a long time since I last looked at the DSTC). Although frankly if you can already build a Death Star, problems like 'we forgot to put landing gear on this' aren't really going to give you much too much of a headache. – PhilPursglove Mar 22 '16 at 18:46
7

In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, during the scene where Krennic's shuttle leaves for Eadu, you can see a Star Destroyer docked in the equatorial trench. See the pictures in this reddit thread.

Star Destroyer on Death Star Star Destroyer on Death Star zoomed

  • Nice! Not only can you see a Star Destroyer in a large docking bay, but there are several sizes of smaller docking bays visible to give a sense of scale. – user45623 Oct 9 '18 at 19:36
4

We're not really shown a lot of hangars beyond the common ones used for shuttles

enter image description here

Furthermore, we never see anything larger than the Millennium Falcon in any Imperial Bay (and the Falcon took up a good portion of that bay)

enter image description here

From a practical standpoint, the Empire used shuttles for EVERYTHING logistics-wise (this isn't Star Trek, where we can conveniently beam stuff around). Want to move between ships? Shuttle. Want to get cargo or crew? Shuttle. Want to escape an exploding Death Star? Shuttle. So, from a logistics standpoint, you'd want to aim for shuttles coming and going.

What's interesting is this article which has quite a sizable fleet contained within the Death Star (list is from The Technical Book of Science Fiction Films, a non-canonical non-Legends book). The list is purely speculative

The starships listed in the blueprints are:

  • 6 Star Destroyers
  • 10 Battleships
  • 39 Heavy Cruisers
  • 17 Light Cruisers
  • 81 Fighter Tenders
  • 190 Troop Transports
  • 714 Corvettes
  • 509 Tanker Drones

The problem is we really don't know. There's a good point that we'd have to see some sort of hangar opening somewhere (or there's a giant movable section) but we're never shown any of it. From the same article later on (emphasis mine)

Both sets of numbers may be unrealistic underestimates. The surface of a Death Star is so vast — essentially an artificial world with a cavernous interior — that it could carry virtually unlimited numbers of docked craft. The only possible limitation on the carrying capacity for larger starships is the width of the hangar aperture that engulfs them. The equatorial trench is high enough to fit the standard mile-long star destroyers, but such ships would need a large-sized bay of a kind that hasn't (yet) appeared in closeup. Larger docking apertures could be consistent with the polar areas, which remain poorly observed. Alternatively, large warships may mate with the battle station at suitable mooring towers built a few hundred metres high

  • I don't know if I can believe the rather strange numbers and craft listed on that blueprint. Their diameter measurement is completely wrong - about half the actual diameter (maybe they mixed it up with "radius", but that's probably giving them too much credit). It's certainly interesting though. Thank you. I'll wait a bit and give you the answer if nothing better comes along. – user45623 Mar 21 '16 at 6:39
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    The article you're quoting is using a fan-book called "The Technical Book of Science Fiction Films - Star Trek/Star Wars" as the basis for their figures. It wasn't licensed by LucasFilm and I see no reason why the authors would have any special insight into the making of the film. This is a good answer, but everything from "what's interesting is..." downwards is deeply suspect – Valorum Mar 21 '16 at 10:53
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    @Machavity I'm afraid that unless you can prove the book is licensed by LucasFilm, it cannot be treated as canon, not even in the Expanded Universe canonicity, and thus an invalid answer for the associated sections. – thegreatjedi Mar 22 '16 at 12:26
4
+100

This is a question the guys working on Rogue One also pondered. To finally get an answer they claim to have included a large hangar with a star destroyer inside somewhere on the equator of the death star. Apparently, it can be seen in the shot with the white star destroyer.

For years I've wondered as you see Star Destroyers around the Death Star. Well do they dock? You know, how do they do it? Like how do they get on and off? [Now] you know the Death Star's big enough and the equatorial trench is big enough that there could be a giant hangar bay that could actually fit a Star Destroyer right? So in the background of the cut, as you look at the equatorial trench as it goes off into the distance there's a giant hangar with a star destroyer parked in it and that's a fact if you look!

John Knoll - VFX Supervisor

  • 1
    What's Innerspace? – Valorum Mar 28 '17 at 17:35
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    I've looked at the scene you're referring to and I can't see it. – Valorum Mar 28 '17 at 17:36
  • @Valorum innerspae is a talkshow form Space Channel (Canadian sci fi channel) – Matt Murch Apr 7 '17 at 3:40
  • The edit by @user45623 has the clip from the show – Matt Murch Apr 7 '17 at 3:41
  • A very good find. I've turned my frown upside down and my downvote into an upvote. – Valorum Apr 7 '17 at 9:35

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