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In The Empire Strikes Back, the Millennium Falcon hides on the back of a Star Destroyer. It then escapes by hiding in a garbage dump before the Star Destroyer jumps to hyperspace.

If the Millennium Falcon had instead stayed attached to the Star Destroyer, would it have been carried along by the latter's hyperspace jump?

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    What possible reason would it have for not? Note that if it were true that it would be left behind, they wouldn't have had to try to hide in the trash; they could simply have waited to get dropped off at the point at which they can no longer be spotted. – DavidW Nov 10 '20 at 16:19
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    @DavidW: Because the writers could make up whatever reason they want. (cough midichlorians) Maybe because it's not bolted to the SD's hull. Maybe because that's just how hyperdrive works. Star Wars is not the franchise that reveres logic. – DrSheldon Nov 10 '20 at 16:37
  • Are you interested in evidence from Legends or only Canon? – Cadence Nov 10 '20 at 18:29
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    @Cadence: Legends is fine here, but a canonical answer would have priority for the checkmark. In any case, I am looking for an answer based on evidence, not opinions. There is no excuse to VTC for that. – DrSheldon Nov 10 '20 at 19:37
  • Doesn't this depend on the missing details? Is the Falcon attached to the Destroyer magnetically, by a tractor beam or grappling hooks or how, and what controls Destroyer's drive? Go sideways to Star Trek where we too often hear "Three to beam up…" but nothing about the positions, sizes or other characteristics of the three, including whether they're holding hands or otherwise in contact. The drive can't work on a specified mass or volume, can it? Doesn't that leave whatever is in contact with it, and what "contact" means? – Robbie Goodwin Nov 12 '20 at 2:16
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In episode 2, Obiwan throws a tracking device onto Slave 1 (as shown in this clip on youtube), enabling him to follow it to another system. So we have a Canon example of something that is small relative to the ship it is attached to being carried through hyperspace without the ship needing to be aware.

To engage in a little bit of speculation (because I don't know if there's any Canon source for it), I'm guessing you need a stronger hyperdrive for a bigger ship, so there's no way for a ship like the Millennium Falcon to initiate a jump and pull the star destroyer along with it (a ship with a massively overpowered hyperdrive for maneuvers like that would make for an interesting tactical tool). This implies that there's a point at which a ship is too big to be carried along during a jump.

According to the Star Wars wiki the Millennium Falcon is about 35 meters long compared to a Star Destroyer's 1600 meters. Slave 1 is 21.5 meters long, so a similar comparison would be something 0.47 meters long attached to its hull. The tracking device was obviously smaller than that, so although we know it can be done we do not know it the Millennium Falcon is small enough to be carried along with the Star Destroyer it was attached to.

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    Since the Star Destroyer would, assumedly, be able to jump with the Millennium Falcon inside it (i.e. in one of its hangar bays), the mass should not be a problem here. You would need something larger/heavier for that to be a concern, probably large enough that it no longer fits into any of the hangar bays. Their size might even be designed specifically with that in mind. – Graipher Nov 11 '20 at 9:14
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    As an example for your second paragraph, consider the Jedi starfighters from Episode II. They did not have a hyperdrive, so they docked with a ring-shaped hyperdrive platform to travel long distances. The fighter was much more massive than the platform, but the hyperdrive was designed to be powerful enough to drag the fighter along with it. – bta Nov 11 '20 at 22:53
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    Do we know it was more massive? (I'm ignorant of all the various technical manuals that have been published.) From the movie, I think we only know that its volume was less. – chepner Nov 12 '20 at 1:15
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    @chepner I think it's safe to say that the typical hyperdrive is less massive than its ship, and the Jedi starfighters just happen to have a detachable hyperdrive. – Rob Watts Nov 12 '20 at 2:49
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    @RobWatts: Hyperdrive fuels tend to be of the supermassive variety (across science fiction), so it's unclear if the size really correlates to the weight here. Weight might actually be the main reason why fighters don't have them on board to begin with. – Flater Nov 13 '20 at 13:43
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In Legends, it is clear that any object fixed to the side of a ship that jumps to hyperspace is carried along with it (potentially without that ship's knowledge).

For instance, there are several examples in the X-Wing novel Wraith Squadron:

  • The pocket carrier Night Caller ends up carrying a number of TIE fighters (which have no hyperdrives of their own) by docking them directly to its escape pod hatches. It has no problem carrying these fighters through hyperspace jumps despite the jury-rigged nature of the docking ports.
  • Night Caller also carries around the shuttle Narra connected to an external docking port. Though Narra has a hyperdrive, it is explicitly not manned during jumps and is presumably shut down.
  • Most similarly to the ESB example,

an Imperial plot involves Parasite droids, which attach to the hulls of New Republic ships using claws, suggesting that the crew doesn't need to even know about their passengers to take them with. The guts of one opened Parasite reveal sensors and comm gear but nothing is said of any hyperdrive tech.

In short, as long as an object is attached to the hull of a ship, it will be taken with when that ship jumps, regardless of whether the crew knows about it or not, or whether the object itself has a hyperdrive.

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In the Rebels series, the hyperspace-capable creatures known as the purrgil were known to grab smaller starships and drag them through hyperspace with them. That might not be the best example for you, though, since it's a creature and not a mechanical starship.

The Carrack-class cruiser is a light cruiser used by the Empire. It was too small to have a hangar bay, but could carry a handful of TIE Fighters attached to external racks. That's the same general concept of a smaller vessel attaching itself to a larger vessel and hitching a ride through hyperspace.

A Carrack cruiser's racks are specifically designed for this, though. Whether this would work for the Falcon would most likely come down to how strongly it can hold onto the Star Destroyer. Han mentioned they were attached via a "docking clamp". That implies that it's strong enough to keep the two ships from drifting apart while stationary. I can't find any specifics, but I'd find it unlikely that it would be strong enough to hold on for a hyperspace jump. Even rapid maneuvering with the sublight engines could likely "sling" the Falcon off of the hull. Those are forces far beyond what a "docking clamp" would reasonably be expected to handle, so it's unlikely that such a system would be overengineered to that degree. You'd still want to detach before the Star Destroyer made the jump, though. Who knows what kind of damage that would do to your ship.

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