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"I've outrun Imperial starships, not the local bulk cruisers, mind you. I'm talking about the big Corellian ships now."
Han Solo[1]
Various ships-SWU

Various starship models, including three Allanar N3 light freighters, in flight

A starship, often referred to as simply a ship, was a manned vehicle used for traveling in realspace or hyperspace. Dating back thousands of years, the earliest starships transported spacers to new worlds through cryogenic freezing processes.[2] Upon the invention of the hyperdrive, those that were equipped could travel faster than light by entering hyperspace, drastically reducing the journey times between two solar systems.[3]

Due to the complex nature of ships, a variety of power sources were required to maintain and operate essential functions on board. The most common power sources were chemical, fission, or fusion reactors, which consumed a variety of fuels based on local resources, and dated back to the Republic's earliest days. Many large ships opted for fusion systems that contained hypermatter-annihilation cores, which could generate vast amounts of power. Despite all the benefits, most power systems required fuel hazardous to organic beings, often circulating in ship systems as corrosive liquids or combustible and poisonous gases.[4] At least some starships possessed safety protocols built into the computer system that prevented the pilot from taking dangerous and reckless actions, though these could be disabled.[5]

Individual starships were registered with the Bureau of Ships and Services (BoSS), an organization founded millennia before the Clone Wars responsible for maintaining ship registrations, transponders, and pilots' licenses.[6] The Corellian Engineering Corporation,[4] Kuat Drive Yards,[7] Sienar Fleet Systems[8] and Mon Calamari Shipyards[7] were major manufacturers of starships.

Types of starships included the shuttle, transport, freighter, yacht, starfighter,[9] bomber,[10] scout ship,[11] gunship,[12] assault ship,[13] warship,[1] frigate[14] and space station.[15]

Characteristics[]

DarkInk-HothEvacuation

Starfighters and larger transports fly over Hoth as capital ships take fire from the surface

A starship's first and foremost purpose was to ferry its occupants through the void of space.[1] For this purpose, starships were covered with an atmospherically sealed hull[16] and protected from space-borne debris[1] and radiation[4] by deflector shields.[1] To enter and exit a starship, its occupants had to use pressurized gates called airlocks; these took the form of hatches or doors in the hull.[17] Finally, to allow passengers to occupy the starship comfortably, most models were equipped with life support systems which converted the air,[18] ambient temperature,[19] and pressure inside the hull to levels survivable by most species.[20]

To propel themselves through space starships were equipped with engines, more specifically sublight engines, which worked by burning and expelling fuel from the starship's fuel tank or by mixing exotic components from an onboard reactor.[21] More complex drives such as the twin ion engine utilized accelerated ions and other subatomic particles.[22][23] Some starships were also equipped with a hyperdrive which allowed the craft to enter hyperspace and travel to a greater distance in less time,[24] while also requiring the use of a navigation computer to safely guide the ship through pre-charted hyperspace routes.[21] Finally, an important but often overlooked component of every space-borne vessel was the gyrocomputer, which utilized control momentum gyroscopes to provide a location reference while in the absence of planetary terrain.[25]

There were as many starship types as there were professions in the galaxy. These types were separated into classes, primarily denoting the starship's purpose (eg. starfighter, transport, freighter) as well as the Anaxes War College System which classified ships according to their size (eg. corvette, frigate, battlecruiser).[14] A starship's class affected its build; for example combat-focused classes such as starfighters included built-in weapons such as laser cannons and typically lacked a hyperdrive,[26] while freighters were equipped with larger reactors and engines to more efficiently carry heavier cargo.

Starship components included repulsorlifts,[4] artificial gravity,[27] deflector shields,[1] hulls,[1] sublight engines,[28] hyperdrives,[24] life support,[20] acceleration compensators,[4] reactors,[4] blaster cannons, laser cannons,[29] turbolasers,[26] missiles,[30] sensors,[21] flight computers[4] and tractor beams.[4] Carbon-freezing was once a critical part of a starship, before the invention of the hyperdrive.[2]

Appearances[]

Non-canon appearances[]

Sources[]