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How the Death Star Works


The Death Star Surface
A Turbo laser turret on the Death Star's surface tracks enemy starfighters.
A Turbo laser turret on the Death Star's surface tracks enemy starfighters.
Photo courtesy © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

In the original design, the Death Star measures 120 kilometers (roughly 75 miles) in diameter. A huge equatorial trench splits the surface of the station into two hemispheres. This trench is used to house many of the Death Star's main systems:

  • Landing bays
  • Drive thrusters
  • Sensor arrays
  • Tractor beam systems

In addition to the main trench there are two supplementary trenches halfway between the equator and each pole that are used mostly for maintenance and secondary reactor ventilation.

There are thousands of weapons emplacements scattered all across the Death Star's surface, including:

  • 10,000 turbolaser batteries
  • 2,500 laser cannons
  • 2,500 ion cannons
  • 768 tractor beam projectors

Most of the surface of the Death Star is covered with buildings of varying size and purpose, so that it closely resembles a sprawling metropolis. Now let's look inside.