I've just recently started watching B5, and I'm near the end of season 2.

One thing that's seemed strange to me is that all five Babylon stations were built in the decade following the Earth-Minbari War, and it also seems to be implied that the stations were built sequentially ("They said it was daft to build a space station in the swamp, but we built it anyways. And it sank into the swamp, so we built another one..."), as opposed to all being under construction at the same time. Additionally, all five Babylon stations were on the same scale, so it seems likely they each took about the same amount of time to build.

That leads me to the conclusion that it took about two years to build B5... which frankly seems somewhat unrealistic to me.

How long did B5 take to create? When was it started? Is there a flaw in my reasoning somewhere?

  • They weren't on the same scale - or at least, not the same plans. Babylon 4 was larger than any of the others. – Izkata Aug 16 '11 at 23:54

You're right, it did take 2 years to construct, which strikes me as wildly optimistic. They wouldn't have started construction on Babylon 5 until after Babylon 4 vanished, which happened in 2254. Babylon 5 was completed in 2256, so there's 2 years for design tweaks (see comment), construction, and staffing/populating it.

  • It's worth noting that B5 was based on the same blueprints as one of the previous stations. They had only minor modifications to make, they didn't have to completely re-design the entire thing. At the point when it was decided to construct it, all they had to do was a brief period of refining the blueprints and then launch into construction mode. – Jeff Aug 15 '11 at 18:04
  • I've adjusted the ending of my answer per that information. Thanks! – user1027 Aug 15 '11 at 18:08
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    It was also constructed in microgravity, and did not have to be built like a building - parts could be constructed separately and joined later. – Jeff Aug 15 '11 at 18:08
  • B5 was the smallest & cheapest. They blew their wad on B4, & then it vanished. – jonnyflash Aug 15 '11 at 18:21
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    B5 was also likely a bit of a rush job. After all, Grey 17 was missing... ;) – Izkata Sep 11 '12 at 0:50

Babylon 4 was the biggest & most expensive, and when it vanished into thin space they had almost no funds left for Babylon 5. Also, keep in mind that Babylon 1-3 were sabotaged during construction, so they were never finished. So, lets say that Babylon 1-3 each were about 1 year into construction when they were sabotaged. That puts approx. ~3-4 years down, assuming that they had a quick turn-around to start a new project. That gives 4 years for Babylon 4 to be built and then 2 years for Babylon 5, which seems about right considering that Babylon 4 was supposed to be MUCH bigger & better than Babylon 5.

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    I wish I could accept two answers, because I think yours is the most informative, but given the way I phrased the question Keen's answer was the best (i.e. addressed the specific question with more detail). Sorry. :( – Asmor Aug 17 '11 at 19:31
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    Additional note (from Word of Great Maker and source material for the RPG): The sabotage of Babylon 1 did not completely destroy it; it's more like it broke the central spine and they had to replace that. So Babylon 2 was built mostly out of Babylon 1. 2 was destroyed, but it seems possible that 4 was built using a lot of parts from 3. – Tynam Jan 5 '12 at 14:11

It would be reasonable to assume that all the Babylon stations shared the same basic design, maybe with minor tweaks. I recall it mentioned in the series that Babylon 4 had the same layout as Babylon 5. This means that each successive station would not have been designed from scratch, meaning that it would have taken less time to build Babylon 5 than Babylon 1.

So yes, I agree that two years sounds very optimistic. On the other hand, given that this was the fifth attempt at building the same thing, there must have been a vast amount of previous design and engineering know-how to draw upon to speed up the process.

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