Orbit was also the second phase in a planetary assault and covered the gaining control of the orbital space around the target planetary system and the strategic orbital placement of the units in the invasion fleet.
- "Actually, an orbit is a very delicate balance between a planet's gravity and a spacecraft's speed."
Slipping into orbit required a delicate balance between the starship's straightforward movement and the planet's gravity. While the First Law of Motion stated that a ship in motion should normally stay in the same motion, the planet's gravity would pull down on it. The perfect balance for orbiting was achieved when the pull was not strong enough to make the ship crash, and yet strong enough to keep it from flying away.
Two types of orbital assault
Objective orbit consisted in placing the entire invasion fleet in the space above one single objective like a capital or a starport. This would allow the invasion fleet to target key points while remaining safe from raids by small groups of defending ships, but also only allowed for the control of smaller areas. Moreover, this strategy did not allow the invasion fleet to control enemy supply lines. One strategy to reduce the number of objectives was simply to bombard cities and starports as well as industrial facilities.
In a siege orbit, the units in the fleet are placed around the planet so as to prevent enemy ships from leaving and entering. Siege orbits thus reduced the number of logistic assets of the defenders and also allowed for the bombardment of enemy ground forces wherever they would concentrate.
Unther considered this a more risky alternative to the objective orbit, and argued that the orbital siege at the Battle of Hoth was an example of the weaknesses of siege orbits as Darth Vader's invasion force were somewhat handicapped due to Admiral Ozzel's mistake during the approach phase. Because the fleet came out of hyperspace too close to the Hoth system, the fleet units had to rush to get to their assigned positions, giving them little time for deploying fighter escorts. Several Rebel ships managed to escape the system before Imperial vessels had reached their planetary orbital positions.
An important aspect of this phase was, according to Unther, knowledge of the defending forces, as there were several different ways to defend a system from planetary assault. The unorthodox strategies of Carigan at the Battle of Bryx caused severe problems for the Imperial invasion fleet. The most common type of planetary defense, however, was the starfighter-based space-snipe strategy.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Han Solo at Stars' End
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (First appearance)
- Beyond the Rim
- (Mentioned only)
- Operation: Shadowpoint
- Allegiance audiobook
- Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
- The Empire Strikes Back: A Storybook
- (Mentioned only)
- Shadows of the Empire novel
- Shadows of the Empire audiobook
- Shadows of the Empire junior novelization
- "A World to Conquer"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 2 (Mentioned only)
- "Assignment: Decoy"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 7
- Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi
- Fate of the Jedi: Conviction
- Fate of the Jedi: Conviction audiobook
- Galladinium's Fantastic Technology
- Galaxy Guide 2: Yavin and Bespin, Second Edition
- Galaxy Guide 12: Aliens — Enemies and Allies
- Shadows of the Empire Sourcebook
- The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- Shadows of the Empire Planets Guide
- Pirates & Privateers
- Cynabar's Fantastic Technology: Droids
- Star Wars: Rebellion: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
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- The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett
- Enter the Unknown
- Suns of Fortune
- Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Beginner Game
- Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook
- Fly Casual
- Strongholds of Resistance