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In Rogue One, Jyn wants to find the plan for the Death Star among multiple plans in the Imperial citadel archives. She identifies which plan they need because the plan bears the codename Stardust, which is the same name her father Galen Erso used to call her. Jyn points this out explicitly in the film.

However, Galen Erso apparently didn't have access to the plans of the Death Star. How did he find out about that codename then, so that he can drop that hint to his daughter? Alternately, if Stardust was his daughter's nickname first, then why did the Death Star get that as a codename?

This question came up from the answer "Why did the rebels need the Death Star plans?", which claims that Galen didn't have access to those plans.

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    There's a difference between "having access" and "knowing the project/filename". – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 20 '16 at 13:17
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    There's no doubt he gave this codename to the project because of his daughter's nickname. And he can choose the codenane probably because of his rank - something like lead engineer / designer. – Neow Dec 20 '16 at 13:27
  • @Neow: that's what I'd have thought, but scifi.stackexchange.com/a/147899/4918 tells it's not so. – b_jonas Dec 20 '16 at 13:36
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There's no specific canon proof. But there are some rather plausible possibilities. I'll add novelization proof of any facts in a bit as quotes, but the conclusions/theories drawn from the facts are mine, they aren't canon proofs.

  • Krennic was Galen's frenemy. It is NOT unlikely that he knew Galen's nickname for his daughter - either Galen told him, or he overheard, or he saw surveillance recordings of the family before their escape.

    We also know that he very consciously and deliberately waged psychological warfare against Galen using threat of Jyn as leverage to make him behave, after re-acquiring Galen's services.

    As such, it is not impossible that Krennic named the project Stardust just so he could further psych out Galen.

  • Galen was a high level engineering lead. He could have been in a position to either name the project, or suggest its name to whoever named it (Krennic?).

    He planned his sabotage of reactor for years, and as such, may very well have also planned in advance to use that project name as a "bookmark" for Saw and Jyn - in the hologram, he explicitly noted that more likely than not Jyn was fighting in the Rebellion with Saw.

  • The Force cause the two names to synchronize without Galen's direct involvement. Because Force.

Just to be clear on a secondary subquestion:

  • Galen didn't have access to complete schematics. It does NOT in any way mean he wasn't aware of their existence, or even had accessed them before, as one of the lead engineers on main sub-projects.
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If I'm not mistaken, Galen originally developed the Death Star reactor under the impression that it was meant to be a new source of energy for civilian use, not a military weapon.

It stands to reason that, as the lead engineer, he might've codenamed the project after his daughter, and that the Empire later simply did not bother to rename it, as the name had no meaning for anyone else.

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