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I wouldn't even call it a design flaw. It was obviously still under construction. Odds are it would have been all but impossible to destroy had the Empire been able to complete it. On top of that, the entire story was more focused on the attempt to convert Luke to the Dark Side. Palpatine needed Luke there to be able to tempt him, and an unassailable target ...


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An aspect of the question not yet adressed by previous answers are the costs. Between Episodes 3 and 4 many institutions of the Old Republic did still exist, so the emperor could not spend too huge amounts of money into building Death Star, it had to be built in secret. In Episode 4, Tarkin informs his staff that the emperor had dissolved the senate, ...


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