|Fate:||Destroyed, Battle of the Resurrection Ship, Circa YR02 (2 ACH)|
Frustrated at the dwindling number of available Vipers due to loss and wear-and-tear, Galen Tyrol begins to build a new fighter from scratch.. The fighter design evolves due to supply shortages as well as improvisation and the imagination of participating crew members. The new fighter becomes more a reconnaissance vehicle than an actual fighter craft.
The Blackbird is designed to use the Viper launch tubes, and therefore shares the same general shape. Unlike the Viper, it is built more for speed than for maneuverability and is not equipped with guns but is later fitted with a missile launcher (TRS: "Resurrection Ship, Part II"). Upon the suggestion of Karl Agathon, the Blackbird uses black-colored carbon composite materials that make it largely undetectable by DRADIS and unaided visual viewing. This was a practical consideration in light of all metal being reserved for Viper repairs.
Along with the usual RCS mechanisms for directional control, the Blackbird is powered by four obsolete DDG-62 engines that came from the flight deck of the Baah Pakal. Further, unlike other ships of its size, the Blackbird is FTL-capable.
Laura and her flight history
The Blackbird is dubbed "Laura" in honor of President Laura Roslin. Kara Thrace pilots the maiden test flight, where, after some initial difficulties with handling the ungainly craft, she demonstrates the stealth capabilities, eluding chase pilot Lee Adama and Galactica's DRADIS.
The following individuals aid Galen Tyrol in Laura's construction:
- Karl Agathon suggests the use of carbon composite materials for the Blackbird's skin.
- Brendan "Hot Dog" Costanza
- Anastasia Dualla improves communication systems.
- Anthony Figurski
- Cally Henderson
- James "Jammer" Lyman
- Diana Seelix
- Saul Tigh offers the DDG-62 engines.
- Kara Thrace aids in a few design principles and tests the craft.
Colonel Tigh originally denounces the project as frivolous, but later provides assistance in procuring the DDG-62 engines. Others among Tyrol's own deck crew also at first consider the project a waste of time, as noted through their initial reactions to Tyrol's proposal. However, Commander Adama believes that the endeavor offers hope and purpose, and therefore permits it to continue despite the crisis with the Cylon logic bomb that has infected Galactica's systems (TRS: "Flight of the Phoenix").
When commissioning a reconnaissance on the Cylon fleet (containing a mysterious ship) Pegasus's CAG Cole Taylor, although knowing of the Blackbird, chooses to use Raptors for his mission despite Thrace's protests. Before his plan can be put into action Thrace, with assistance from Lee Adama, absconds with the Blackbird, claiming she is running a test flight for Admiral Cain. In reality, she undertakes the mission single-handedly without being detected, taking several close-range pictures.
The sudden, unexpected return of this Colonial craft causes it to be mistaken for a Cylon craft, bringing an end to the standoff between Galactica and Pegasus. Thrace transmits the images, and appeals over the comm that she is not a Cylon vessel. From discussing these photos with Gina Inviere, Gaius Baltar eventually details the name and purpose of the Resurrection Ship (TRS: "Resurrection Ship, Part I").
Laura is later piloted by then-Lieutenant Lee Adama in the battle to disable the Resurrection Ship's FTL drive, preventing her escape so that Vipers can destroy it. While Adama is successful, a collision with a disabled Raptor destroys the Blackbird and Adama is forced to eject (TRS: "Resurrection Ship, Part II").
- Since the Blackbird was designed for speed over maneuverability and possessed stealth characteristics, it is logical that an FTL drive was added for reconnaissance capability. An FTL drive might have been salvaged from a scrapped Raptor, such as Raptor 305.
- The Blackbird's ungainly handling characteristics are quite evident during Thrace's first test flight, as she spends the first several seconds out of the launch tube attempting to gain control over the craft (TRS: "Flight of the Phoenix").
- Instability actually adds to a vehicle's maneuverability in an atmosphere; an extremely stable aircraft resists any maneuvering. Modern real-world fighters are deliberately designed to be unstable with the flight surfaces constantly adjusted by the flight control system. The Blackbird's controls might have been initially uncalibrated for the plane's configuration (e.g. center of mass), and spent more fuel maintaining a desired attitude.
- Carbon composites are a family of materials used in lightweight or high-temperature-resistant construction, of which a type is used in the nose and leading edges of the wings of NASA's Space Shuttle Orbiter. Carbon composites are somewhat fragile, so impacts (even one from a champagne bottle, which Laura Roslin jokingly attempts to do as she christens the ship) may cause the material to splinter or break. It was damage to this material that caused the destruction of Space Shuttle Columbia on STS-107.
- Executive Producer David Eick stated in his video blog that the Blackbird is "not a Viper", so it is not classed as a modified Viper model ("Viper Mark VIII", etc), but is an entirely distinct craft.
- The fighter's nickname creates a curious comparison with Laura Roslin, the person for whom it was named. The ailing but influential President Roslin and her rapid, secretive actions in her quest for Earth's location (including diverting Lt. Thrace from her original mission to destroy the Kobol basestar) as well as her savvy political work in "Colonial Day", are humorously similar in perspective to the abilities of "Laura", a structurally weak, but highly agile and initially underestimated stealth fighter.
- From a behind-the-scenes perspective, the Blackbird is most likely named after the SR-71 Blackbird, an actual high-speed reconnaissance aircraft. The SR-71 not only shares the principle but also many design features. These include the engines pointing forward from the wings and also the swept long nose smoothing out on the sides.
- Unlike newer battlestars, Galactica is not equipped with Viper construction facilities.
- See Bradley Thompson's answer to a video effects gaff in "Flight of the Phoenix" where the Blackbird is mistakeningly shown flying about the Great Cylon Turkey Shoot. Thompson confirms that the Blackbird has no guns and its poor maneuverability makes it unsuitable as a dogfighter.
- See Also
- props:Blackbird|Blackbird at Props Wiki
- Stealthstar|Stealthstar, a stealth craft