How did the Millennium Falcon get from Hoth to Bespin without their hyperdrive? Are these locations so close together? I would think not, because Hoth is in the Hoth Sysem and Bespin is in the Bespin System.

The asteroid field in The Empire Strikes Back does seem to be in the Hoth System so there is not really an issue there.

I've looked on this site and on the Wookieepedia but I've yet to find a canon answer. This appears to be such a large plot hole, that there simple must be a canon (EU) explanation.

"Hoth", fandom.com

"Bespin", fandom.com

"Hoth asteroid field", fandom.com

There is a barely-satisfactory theory here: "Star Wars plot problems", mannveille.com but that does not appear to be endorsed by canon.

  • 2
    Maybe I'm nitpicking, but there's no plot hole in saying it did/could get to Bespin. Even without a hyperdrive, the ship DID have a functioning engine and power to get itself there. It just would have taken much longer.
    – phantom42
    Dec 6, 2012 at 13:40
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    @phantom42 I made my calculation here and it would take more than 1150 years to go there at sub light speed.
    – DavRob60
    Dec 6, 2012 at 13:43
  • 21
    The enormous concentrations of plot in that area of the galaxy created a bubble of space-time where the light-speed barrier did not exist. May 10, 2013 at 16:05
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    On the other hand, Han Solo really wanted to get into Leia's pants. Maybe the "malfunctioning hyperdrive" was deliberately planned to give him time to get busy with Leia during the trip to Bespin. :P
    – RobertF
    Aug 20, 2014 at 15:31
  • 1
    @ValekHalfHeart: And neither did relativity. Oct 17, 2014 at 11:27

9 Answers 9


According to wookieepedia's Millennium Falcon article (check the technical specifications table on the right) It was retconned by adding a backup class 10 Hyperdrive, which is extraordinarily slow, to the technical specifications of the Millennium Falcon. the source of this information is Dark Force Rising Sourcebook, a supplement to Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. A stock YT-1300 light freighter, the base model of the Millennium Falcon, is equipped with a Class 2.0 Hyperdrive and a Backup Class 12 Hyperdrive. I found a source for this information within the sample pages of the Millennium Falcon owners manual on the Starwars.com shop.

excerpt from Millennium falcon owners manual page 9

Its also noted, in the Hyperdrive article, Classes section that "many vessels mounted backup hyperdrives of much higher—that is, slower—class than their primary hyperdrive.", but no source is provided.

  • 14
    THis is the best answer, but begs the question: Why didn't Han and Chewie immediately engage the backup drive when the main hyperdrive malfunctioned? I suppose activating the backup required more work than simply throwing a switch, say if it was offline. This makes sense - there was no time to install the backup while inside the asteroid before they had to escape the space slug. After evading Vader's fleet, Han Solo finally bought himself enough time to properly activate the backup drive.
    – RobertF
    Oct 16, 2013 at 18:55
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    @RobertF maybe the backup hyperdrive is like an airbag: it's a one-shot deal and once it's deployed, there's significant cost in replacing it. Oct 17, 2014 at 13:23
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    According to The Essential Atlas (p. 186): "The journey to Bespin takes the Falcon weeks on its backup hyperdrive"
    – Wad Cheber
    Apr 26, 2015 at 0:08
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    @RobertF The most modern iteration of the Millennium Falcon has a Class 0.5 primary hyperdrive while the Imperial Star Destroyers are equipped with Class 1 or 2: The Falcon can jump 2-4x faster normally. With a Class 12 backup hyperdrive, it is 12x slower. If the Imperial fleet was watching the Falcon jump, they can calculate their trajectory and pursue, which will put them ahead of the Falcon and waiting for their arrival out of hyperspace - exactly what happened since Boba Fett managed to get a tracking beacon on them before they jumped thinking they escaped undetected. May 9, 2016 at 5:36
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    @RobertF It IS a tracking device. The Fetts have a long history of using tracking devices - they are the best bounty hunters in the galaxy! That said, I should point out as an aside that it took a while before Han gave up and checked the star-maps to see where he can conduct repairs - that's when he spotted Bespin nearby. This particular event happened either while waiting for the fleet to drop its garbage or after the fleet left. May 9, 2016 at 17:22

There is a train of thought by some fans to suggest that it actually took them a couple of weeks or even longer to get to Bespin without hyperdrive (though there is no supporting evidence to confirm this). This hypothosis is supported by Luke having more time to train with Yoda and seemingly reaching an advanced stage really quickly - ie controlled levitation and seeing the future.

When looking at how the film is edited, the Falcon flies off towards Bespin with Slave 1 in tow and then it dissolves to Dagobah and Luke's training. As a result it doesn't take much to imagine that between these two shots is a long expanse of time.

  • Now there's a sane answer. Have Bespin simply be the gas giant in the Hoth system and it all falls together. A few weeks is pretty fast for such a journey.
    – Joshua
    Dec 21, 2015 at 5:20

Quoting from the (fully Disney canon) factbook 'Star Wars in 100 Scenes';

The Falcon needed several weeks to limp from Anoat to Bespin with her backup hyperdrive.

As to where the three systems mentioned (Hoth, Anoat and Bespin) were in relation to each other, you can see from the Star Wars: Essential Atlas (alas no longer considered canon, but still an excellent and largely unsurpassed reference guide to the SW Galaxy) the three systems are actually relatively proximate, situated alongside the "Corellian Trade Spine".

enter image description here

  • @Praxis - DVK has a copy of the Visual Guide. It's like the gift that keeps on giving.
    – Valorum
    Jan 3, 2016 at 20:40
  • The question now becomes: "When did the Millennium Falcon travel hundreds of light years from Hoth to the Anoat system on its backup hyperdrive?" The asteroid belt chase takes place in the Hoth system, during which we never see the Falcon make a jump to hyperspace on screen.
    – RobertF
    Jan 4, 2016 at 16:51
  • I just picked up Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, which is also part of the new canon, and I see it says that Hoth is 50,250 light years from the Galactic Core, while Bespin is 49,100 light years from the Core. So they must be 1,150 light years apart at minimum (does the right hand image above have a scale indicated?)
    – Hypnosifl
    Jan 4, 2016 at 20:25
  • @Hypnosifl - My maths is relatively poor, but I don't think you can subtract one number from the other and work out how far apart they are (for example, they could be on opposite sides of the galactic core and yet be the same distance from it) There must be a minimum distance they could be apart from each other, but that's not 1000 light years.
    – Valorum
    Jan 4, 2016 at 20:31
  • @Hypnosifl - No scale is given in the book (that I can see) but a bit of simple maths is all that's required. We know from other references that the SW galaxy is approx 120,000ly wide. It's divided into 20 squares of approx 5000ly each. The SW universe exists solely in 2 dimensions (i know, I know) which means that Bespin and Hoth are approx 3000ly apart. That means that Anoat and Bespin are approx 1500ly apart, once again noting that SW: Essential Atlas is no longer canon.
    – Valorum
    Jan 4, 2016 at 20:42

Canon does not make this too clear, and the EU canon actually confuses the issue. The first thing to realise is that references to "Systems" do not necessarily refer to star systems, but can also refer to planet/moon systems. Earth is located in the Sol System, but can also be correctly referred to astronomically as the Earth-Moon System. If we ignore the EU retcon attempts for now, the movies leave a reasonable explanation which can easily be put in terms of our own Solar system. Hoth is a cold but just habitable environment, which would place it in the habitable zone, somewhere between Earth and Mars sized orbits.

The falcon flees Hoth to a nearby asteroid field due to a failed hyperdrive. If Hoth were in Mar's orbit the short burst of acceleration they did get from the hyperdrive could put that asteroid field in the same place as our asteroid belt.

Han searches his database for somewhere nearby that could be of help. We could assume that as the hyperdrive is offline, he looks for a solution within sublight range, which would mean within the current star system.

Bespin is a Gas giant, being mined by a floating city in its upper atmosphere. It is quite possible to surmise that Bespin is in the same star system as Hoth, If we take the system reference to mean planet and moons. We know that there are temperature and pressure zones in our own gas giants which would enable humans to survive without space suits if they were able to maintain altitude, and breathe the gas mixture. There is no reason a Gas Giant cannot be made up of a human breathable gas mixture, its just that our 4 aren't. This therefore does not limit Bespin to being within the Habitable zone of its star, as Gas Giants generate their own heat, and there is no requirement to have indiginous life forms, the inhabitants of cloud city being enabled to exist there by imported technology

We can also see from the lighting on Cloud City that the planet is much further away from its star than Hoth is, this supports the possibility that the two planets share the same Star System. Bespin would therefore be a bit outside Jupiters orbit. Travel between these two orbits for our technology level is from many months to years. For an advanced technology ship with a powerful sublight drive, travel time could be between a few days and a couple of months, but is realistically possible.

If we start considering EU sources, we find that bespin and hoth are at least 1150 light years apart, and the Falcon has a backup hyperdrive. nice try on the retcon, but at that distance on the outer rim of the galaxy, and given the apparent density of inhabited planets in the galaxy, why would they travel so far on a slow backup hyperdrive, when they would likely find a much closer planet not under direct imperial control, to find parts to repair one of the most popular light freighter models in the galaxy.

  • This should be the accepted answer. Clearly written, analogous to real-life data, simplest possible solution, works entirely with the film's events, and without any retconning needed. Well done.
    – 2540625
    Oct 14, 2014 at 6:04
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    They specifically refer to the entire star system as "The Hoth System", so it would be a little strange to use that nomenclature for other planetary groups in the same solar system. The location of the base is given as the sixth planet, presumably to explain its consistently frigid temperatures, so it's probably a little further out than Mars. Finally, when Leia asks where they are while Han is looking for a place to go, he gives the name of yet a third "System".
    – Mark Reed
    Jan 12, 2015 at 0:18
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    They went to Besoin because Han thought he could trust Lando, AND Lando probably would know what to give the Falcon to repair it. Mar 6, 2015 at 14:58
  • I It's safe to say everyone on the falcon would fetch a pretty bounty, so just going to some random planet would be Jar Jar foolish (Remember Tatooine in TPM, that punished us with Jake Lloyd) also remember that perceives are not cheap, and Han didn't have any money to spare anyway. If he thought he could get a repair job cheap, he' certainly take the chance Hence BESPIN FROM 1150 light years Mar 6, 2015 at 18:55
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    "somewhere nearby (...) within sublight range" - this should reduce the eligible choices to a very small set, and you'd think if you've got your secret hideout in a star system, you are already aware of which other planets are inhabited or at least feature some trade outposts of sorts. Jan 3, 2016 at 16:49

Regardless of any word-of-God or external retcons, it is worth noting that the timeline of events in The Empire Strikes Back seems incredibly compressed, meaning that it actually spans a greater amount of time than it seems. In the time it takes for the Falcon to leave Hoth and arrive at Bespin, Luke also undergoes an intense amount of Jedi training on Dagobah. It is not out of the question that both sequences take a few months and we only see the most pertinent bits and pieces of each. We really have no defined frame of reference as to how much time passes between both parties leaving Hoth and their subsequent arrivals at Bespin, but we can extrapolate based on certain aspects.

Upon leaving Hoth, and after spending an unknown time navigating the asteroid field and more time hiding inside the space worm, the Falcon emerges and is subsequently spotted and pursued by a lone Star Destroyer (referred to as Avenger). This all takes at least enough time for Luke to get to Dagobah, meet Yoda, and begin his Jedi training. It is also enough time for Darth Vader to put out a bounty on the Falcon, and for a large collection of bounty hunters to respond and arrive, as we see Boba Fett, Bossk, IG-88, Dengar, Zuckuss, and 4-LOM all on the bridge of Vader's flagship just before it is announced that the Avenger is once again in pursuit.

The Falcon then maneuvers into attack position, buzzes the bridge of the Avenger, and disappears from their scopes. Cut to Dagobah.

The next time we return to this story line, Vader's flagship and the rest of the fleet has regrouped around the Avenger, since this is the Falcon's last known position. Since most of the fleet exited the asteroid field or spread out within it in an effort to capture the Falcon, this obviously would also take an unknown amount of time. They obviously can't jump to hyperspace within the field, however, so we can assume at least some of the ships regrouped at sub-light speed.

We then find out that Han has evaded detection by attaching to the back of the Avenger's command tower. While still attached, Han and Leia try to figure out where they can safely flee to in order to repair the damaged hyperdrive, noting that they are now in the Anoat System - a completely different system than Hoth. This means that they have already traveled out of the Hoth System, through the asteroid field, and into the Anoat System while being pursued by the Imperial fleet. This could easily account for, say, half the distance between Hoth and Bespin, and could have taken a significant amount of time. We then see the Falcon detach from Avenger when they dump their garbage as the fleet begins to disperse, then make their way to Bespin, with Boba Fett in hot on their heels.

Now, none of this indicates a concrete timeline, but it does indicate that the entire sequence of events takes place over a longer period of time than it seems, and could easily be multiple months.

  • 2
    Sure, but a few months is still a lot less than the hundreds of years it would've taken them sublight, do you still need contrived backup generator theories... Dec 11, 2015 at 19:00
  • @WouterLievens how do we really know that it didn't take years? Han, Leia, and Chewie could have survived for years on the Falcon as long as they had enough water, food, oxygen, and fuel. I suppose someone could calculate how long three real life people could last if they were sealed inside a Millennium Falcon that was jam-packed to the roof with survival supplies (which it might have been, since they were just leaving from a planet with a brutal environment). Jan 14, 2017 at 0:45
  • First of all if that were the case, the movie would show it. Secondly, it would probably take dozens of years, not just one or two. Jan 14, 2017 at 6:33

I, too once thought as Bill Wyld did!!

And it IS an excellent answer, but I would like to, if I may - posit another - which I think is a little bit more fun, and JUST fits with only one tiny and quite possible retcon

Hope you enjoy this.


There is another way out of it, it's not perfect but it's feasible. When Han & Leia are going through the Falcon's System Directory, they specify that they are in the 'Noad' (Anoat?) system. As we know it is impossible to get inter-system travel at anything less than moving up into Hyperspace, because it would take centuries (you can't have entire solar systems within sub-light travelling distance of each other - the systems would just collapse gravitationally towards each other)

My proposition is, even though it appears to contradict the straight forward flow of events, is that the imperials have ALREADY made one hyperspace jump in an attempt to pursue the Millennium Falcon in the direction it was headed when they lost track of it. Because the falcon is tucked neatly behind the main tower of one of the Star Destroyer's* they are not in any danger of being"ripped" off the main vessel as the command tower protects then from any forces that would do that, assuming even that there are such forces in "hyperspace", or more to the point, accelerating to enter hyperspace.

In short, the Millennium Falcon is effectively "part" of the Star Destroyer it is magnetically latched on to for the purposes of that jump.

(*Star Destroyers - the empire are SO heavy handed ~ if they're not blowing up planets they're destroying "stars" apparently)

Having arrived at the first best "guess" point - probably taking into account how much fuel and the capacities of a craft like the Falcon - OR maybe this is simply the next safe Hyperspace "drop out" point - the Imperials scan the area, but can't find any trace of the craft. Cue the conversation about "every" drop out point in this direction to be calculated and visited. The reason the Imperials still have garbage to dump is because they made this "pursuit" jump in HASTE- it was a long shot and it didn't work. Thus Vader's insistence to sort of "keep this up".

So - We're near the Noad (Anoat?) system, having just piggy backed a short jump though Hyperspace care of the Empire. Bespin is a PLANET in the Noad (Anoat?)system, where Noad (Anoat?) is the name of the Sun of that system and not the planet. If I remember rightly Bespin is identified as the name of the planet not the system, even if it is referenced as such, we can put that down to people using lazy short hand. After all, wouldn't we refer to our Sol System as Earth's System*, because it's the planet with inhabitation**?

*(*see Bill Wyld's excellent answer above where he establishes a similar proposition)

(** I understand that BESPIN almost certainly does not have an indigenous population, as it really does appear to be a Gas Giant, but the Mining Operation is legit, and would be known about. So anyone travelling to the Noad/Anoat system would be talking about the only place to hang out as readily as the name of the sun. "You know - what's it called. There's a big mining city there. Er - the Bespin system. In Anoat.")*

So there you go. Bespin is a planet in the Noad (Anoat?) system, which the Empire has just unknowingly given their prey a free lift too. Dropping out of hyperspace just outside the Noad (Anoat?) system - which (Notwithstanding FORCE AWAKENS somewhat alarming emergence within the atmosphere of "Star Killer base"scene) is HOW YOU're SUPPOSED TO DO IT (!) - and the Falcon now only has to make the same sort of trip as they did to the rebel outpost on Yavin in SW4:"A New Hope". More or less. And they can spend months or weeks getting to know Lando, or be that bit further out from the Noad (Anoat?) system that it takes them however long you want to believe Luke needs to complete his training - the beauty of this idea is that the time frame is flexible depending on how far or near you think Vader's Fleet emerged from the System with a Sun called "Noad" (Anoat?), with Bespin as the "Jupiter" of that system.

I understand that there might be fiction and SW encyclopedia stuff that could contradict this proposition, but it is honestly the least painful retcon I can see.

While there is nothing to prove, or even indicate this unseen jump in a Bespin-y - direction, there is nothing to contradict it either - also the two "Vader Fleet" (+ Han/Leia cockpit scene) scenes are broken up by a Luke/Yoda scene, and that is how I was able to propose it - that little Hyperspace jump fits in neatly while we're away catching up with events on Dagobah. I mean - wouldn't you pursue your prey immediately if you were the Empire in that situation? And the disappointment of that long shot not working out leads to the conversations between Vader and crew. Admittedly, when we return after the Dagobah cutaway, poor old Captain of Vader's flagship is just falling to his knees care of Force Grip, but maybe that's because they've just made their pursuit jump (and his life was hanging in the balance, dependent on this pursuit jump yielding up the Falcon?)

Yeah, it's a retcon, and it's not perfect, but I want to submit it for consideration. The most important reason for putting this forward is that in this slightly flaky, "non-science" universe of Lucas-Space, the Story is telling us that all that chasing the Millennium Falcon around the place has gotten everybody FAR from their starting point, so far that we are now all nearer another system altogether, and Lando's place is now within Sub-light travel distance. That's essentially what the Narrative is telling us. All I've done is add one tiny possible explanation as to how this might be physically possible - because logically, so far, the Falcon has fled from Hoth, with Imperial Battleships in pursuit, into an Asteroid Field - and then DOUBLE BACKED and Headed Right Towards them the way they've all come to play Blink With Them!! So without this retcon - they're still knocking about around not far from the asteroid belt in the Hoth System! Have at me fellow Star Wars Cannonites!

May the Force Be With You.

mister w.t.f.

  • This looks like a fairly decent attempt to answer the question, but it's a bit hard to read. In particular, you shouldn't write your answers as "responses" to others; write yours to stand on its own.
    – KutuluMike
    Jan 27, 2016 at 1:22
  • Welcome to the SF&F site! You're answer is a little hard to read; try to avoid ALL CAPS or u n n e c e s s a r y s p a c e s. If you need to emphasize something use italics or bold. Bullet points and numbered lists also can help improve readability.
    – RedCaio
    Jan 27, 2016 at 1:26
  • I don't understand what you mean about not posting as part of an answer to someone else's question - I want to post this response on the same page as other people's theories. What do you mean?
    – MIster wtf
    Jan 27, 2016 at 1:59
  • Good grief, it's not THAT bad. I mean that BAD. bad.
    – MIster wtf
    Jan 27, 2016 at 2:01
  • @MIsterwtf You're supposed to write your answer as a post that stands on it own, not as a part of a discussion that responds to others. Jan 27, 2016 at 6:54

I know this is an older post but I would like to throw my 2 cents in.

As mentioned before the Falcon has a 10X backup hyper-drive. being it takes 7 days to get from the core to the outer rim with a 1x hyper-drive it would take 70 days to do the same with the falcons backup.

However, backups are probably like our doughnut spare tires and that would be like traveling form the east cost to the west cost on a set of four 50 mph for 50 miles tires. as mentioned before they had to lose the Imps to "get out and change the tires" (hyper-drive)

The star wars galaxy is 120000 light-years across, if divide this by two and we get 60000 light-years. It takes 7 days to get from the core to the outer rim

7/60000 = 8571.428571428571 light years per day @ 1x hyper-drive.

bespin and hoth are at about 1150 light years apart

8571.428571428571/1150 = 0.1341666666666667 * 24 = 3.22 hours @ 1x hyper-drive.

@ 10x hyper-drive Bespin would be approximately 32.2 hour away.

this would be a reasonable amount of travel time for a star wars universe ship that has only limited resources such-as food and water for the crew and passengers.

  • Welcome to SFF.SE! This is an interesting answer but would be better with citations (e.g. for the width of the Star Wars galaxy in light years).
    – Null
    Oct 17, 2014 at 3:27
  • I don't think tgey would've made such a fuss about the hyperdrive being defective if it had only cost them one day, though. Oct 17, 2014 at 6:07
  • I think have the journey go from 3 to 33 hours would poss anyone off. Mar 6, 2015 at 18:56

I'm all for the Falcon having a backup/inferior/alternate FTL system that allowed it to make it to Bespin in days/weeks, but any theory that has Bespin in the same star system as Hoth is just silly.

Han Solo knows his old friend Lando conned somebody out of the mining colony on Bespin. There's no way he was at the hidden, remote rebel base "just down the road" for months... the galaxy is huge, and the systems may be close to each other, but to have both the secret new rebel ice base on Hoth AND Lando's operation be in the same star system doesn't make any sense. Plus, the dialogue in the film referring to them being in the Anoat System completely refutes the idea that both Hoth and Bespin orbit the same system...

Basically, what I'm arguing is that any theory that puts Hoth and Bespin so close that they are in the same system ignores basic facts from the film - which means there must be another explanation than "it's a gas giant in the same system as Hoth."

Just because the Falcon couldn't jump to Hyperspace doesn't mean it couldn't travel FTL. The technology and science of Star Wars is barely explained in any of the films, and inconsistent/very lightly explained in the EU. There's a lot of possible explanations - one of which being that jumping to hyperspace is only one time of FTL technology. Perhaps Han's "she'll make .5 past light speed" comment really means that, without jumping to hyperspace, the Falcon's "slower" FTL capability still allows it to travel faster-than-light. In other words, while hyperspace systems allow the entire galaxy to be crossed in a matter of days, the back-up FTL technology at least allows ships with broken/no hyperdrives to travel between star systems in a matter of days/weeks.

This is further backed up by Han's comment to Leia that Bespin "is far, but I think we can make it." He's basically saying that with a hyperdrive functioning, it's a hop, skip and a jump away - but with a back-up system, it's a reasonable, realistic, reachable distance, but not one which they would normally travel without hyperdrive.


First of all: forget the EU, that has no binding effect on the films.

I'll go with the claim that Bespin was in the Hoth system. Hoth was an Earth-sized planet, and so if it was in about the same orbit as Mars, i.e. next to the asteroid field, then Bespin would be on the other side of it just like Jupiter.

After all, we didn't see the Falcon go into hyperdrive, so the idea of a "backup-hyperdrive" doesn't bear out.

Likewise, Boba Fett follows the Falcon to Bespin, once the Star Destroyers go into hyperspace; and there's no way to track a ship in hyperspace, without a tracking-device attached: in the Star Wars novel, written by Lucas himself, Han Solo says "ain't nobody can track a ship accurately at lightspeed." So if Boba Fett couldn't track the Falcon in hyperspace, that means it didn't go into hyperspace.

Likewise, it looks like Luke only underwent Jedi training for a few days on Dagobah, at most. All he did was do a little running and acrobatics, and some levitation, balancing Yoda on his foot while he stacked rocks with his mind.

  • 1
    The (canon) Force Awakens: Visual Dictionary clearly indicates that Hoth and Bespin are not in the same system. They are relatively close to each other (e.g. within a few hundred light years) but not very much so. The Essential Atlas backs this up, as does "Star Wars in 100 Scenes".
    – Valorum
    Jan 3, 2016 at 19:31

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