Take the Celestra

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Take the Celestra
"Take the Celestra"
An episode of the Original Series
Episode No. Season 1, Episode 20
Writer(s) Jim Carlson
Terrence McDonnell
Story by David S. Arthur
David G. Phinney
Jim Carlson
Terrence McDonnell
Director Daniel Haller
Assistant Director
Special guest(s)
Production No. 50929
Nielsen Rating
US airdate USA 1979-04-01
CAN airdate CAN {{{CAN airdate}}}
UK airdate UK
DVD release 2004-12-28
Population survivors
Additional Info
Episode Chronology
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Experiment in Terra Take the Celestra The Hand of God
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Starbuck encounters long-lost love Aurora amidst a mutinous rebellion aboard the Celestra.


  • In a formal dress ceremony aboard the Galactica to honor Kronus, captain of the Celestra and former commander of the battlestar Rycon, Adama and the Council of Twelve bestow upon Kronus the Distinguished Service Medallion; he is also appointed executive commander of three industry ships in the ragtag fleet.
  • During the proceedings, Starbuck recognizes former love Aurora standing among the ranks of the Celestra crew; when she leaves during the ceremony, Apollo and Boomer must physically restrain Starbuck from breaking ranks to follow her.
  • Aurora goes to the control room and, in a sinister manner, requests navigational data for the beta sector.
  • At the reception following the ceremony, Kronus mildly berates Tigh for drinking before duty; he then reminds Adama of his strict adherence to regulation and discipline.
TV Guide ad for Take the Celestra
  • Starbuck (re-)introduces himself to Aurora, who has become the pilot of Kronus’ shuttle, but the two old flames are interrupted by Cassiopeia with concert duckets; annoyed, Aurora walks off, but is chased after by Starbuck.
  • Shuttling back to the Celestra, Kronus informs Charka, his second in command, the he (Kronus) will be retaining command of the ship; he chides an obviously disappointed Charka, asking him to bide his time before getting his own command.
  • Aboard the Celestra, Aurora and her fellow mutineers make last-centon preparations for their takeover attempt.
  • Starbuck convinces Apollo to accompany him to the Celestra for a "maintenance scan" — and to speak with Aurora; although unconvinced, Tigh agrees to the request, but he also informs Cassiopeia, who reclaims the concert duckets — both concert duckets — from Starbuck in the viper launch bay.
  • On the Celestra bridge, Hermes informs Kronus of a turbodyne problem; Kronus communicates their problem to Adama and requests that the fleet not slow down for them.
  • Aurora and her lover Damon begin their mutiny by taking hostages in the landing bay; however, another crewman successfully alerts the bridge amid laser fire.
  • Kronus is able to send security reinforcements to corner the mutineers; he and Charka personally grab laser pistols and take part in the melee.
  • Apollo and Starbuck, who had landed aboard the Celestra during the uprising, walk into the middle of a firefight; Starbuck comes face to face with Aurora, each holding a laser blaster, but neither willing to fire.
  • The mutineers are captured and rounded up for transport to Galactica; since a senior commander must be present to bring charges of mutiny, Kronus accompanies the prisoners aboard the shuttlecraft, being piloted by Apollo and Starbuck.
  • Charka, who had been placed in temporary command of the Celestra during Kronus' absence, orders that the shuttlecraft be given bogus navigation coordinates in order to strand its occupants, including Kronus, in deep space.
Starbuck's long-lost love Aurora.
  • Apollo and Starbuck pilot the shuttle away from the Celestra and, unknowingly, away from the fleet into oblivion.
  • Aboard the Celestra, Charka begins to openly boast of his coup with his de facto second-in-command Hermes, as they change the ship's course toward the fleet, effectively stranding the shuttlecraft; Charka orders all laser pistols confiscated and brought to the bridge.
  • Restrained as prisoners, Aurora and Damon try to convince Starbuck that their mutiny was undertaken for noble causes, specifically to protest the oppressive living conditions imposed by the ultra-strict Kronus; Starbuck reluctantly broaches the subject with Kronus.
  • To ensure (buy) the crew's loyalty, Charka promises each crewmember a promotion in rank and pay.
  • Kronus begins a dialog with the former mutineers, learning that they had planned to steal a shuttle and escape to a nearby, remote planet (the 21st planet in its system); Kronus learns, apparently for the first time, of Charka's inhumane oppressiveness toward the Celestra crew.
  • Apollo is disturbed when the fleet does not appear on his scanners as expected; trying to reverse triangulate their position, they are unable to locate the Celestra, which has "gone dark" to avoid detection.
Starbuck and Cassiopeia patch things up.
  • Having lost its last reference point to the fleet, the shuttlecraft runs low on fuel; the mutineers agree to alter the shuttle's computers to act as ion tracking sensors to locate the Celestra, in exchange for fair hearings regarding their mutiny.
  • Aurora, while acknowledging her previous love affair with Starbuck, nevertheless pledges her love to Damon; she convinces Starbuck to speak to Damon about the matter.
  • The shuttlecraft locates the Celestra and touches down aboard her landing bay just as fuel expires; Apollo, Starbuck, and Kronus make their way to the bridge, accompanied now by former mutineers Aurora and Damon.
  • Using Hermes, Apollo gains access to the confiscated laser pistols; a firefight breaks out on the Celestra bridge, damaging the steering control and sending the Celestra veering wildly off course.
  • Kronus crawls to the steering control and rights the vessel, but not before taking a lethal laser blast.
  • Apollo tackles Charka and disarms him, ending the (second) mutiny.
  • Aboard Galactica, a funeral is held for Kronus, as his casket is shot into space.
  • Starbuck patches things up with Cassiopeia, who has two (new) concert duckets ready for that evening.

Adama's Notes

Morale continues to rise, due in part of the number of habitable planets we encounter and the reintroduction of amenities we enjoyed before the destruction of the colonies. Once again, although on a limited scale, we are able to partake of music and the theater and when the occasion warrants, even indulge in ceremony.


  • This was the last episode to air before the announcement of the original series' cancellation.
  • The notion of fleets was introduced in "The Living Legend." The existence of Rycon reinforces this concept of separate battlestar fleets.
  • The Viper joystick on a pole in the center of the Celestra's bridge is about as silly as anything ever seen in this series. A comparison can be made to the "manual steering column" used by William T. Riker in Star Trek Insurrection.
  • Celestra is first seen in the Fleet in the opening credits, following Terry Carter's on screen credit, and at the end of each episode during Adama's monologue, "Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny..."
  • The network censors did not want Kronus to die, but the writers won out.
  • The firefight in Celestra's landing bay proved troublesome for the writers as ABC censors insisted that every cut to the firefight from other scenes was a new "incidence of violence," putting the episode well over its allowed limit.
  • Ana Alicia (Aurora) later appeared in the Galactica 1980 episode Space Croppers as Gloria Alonzo, a farmgirl with a crush on Dillon.
  • Sheba appears in a dress uniform for the first time.


  • "Take the Celestra," filmed late in the series, is another episode that was designed to save budget money by making use of existing sets. The episode is set in only a few locations, all of which are in the Fleet, and involve no location shots and few new special effects. Celestra's bridge, corridors and landing bay are redresses of existing sets, and a few new uniforms and judicious use of matte paintings help to save money. However, with the possible exception of the hall where Kronus receives his award at the start of the episode which is largely unseen and seems to consist mostly of black curtains, these measures are not distracting.
  • We meet yet another one of Starbuck's love interests, this one a jilted one from his past, who wants nothing to do with him, a young technician named Aurora. This provides an interesting look into Starbuck's character, as we see the perspective of one of his conquests, who claims he didn't care enough for her to look for her after the Destruction of the Colonies. Although Starbuck claims he did look for Aurora, after the attack, her claim that she was listed in the computer (the equivalent of being listed in the phone book) is an unavoidable assertion. Of course, we know from "Saga of a Star World" that Starbuck seemed more concerned about two-timing Athena and the refugee socialator Cassiopeia than in any searches for Aurora, but perhaps this occurred off screen.
  • Kronus is a somewhat less interesting character, a Galactican version of Captain Bligh, who seems to have completely lost touch with what is actually happening under his command. This reflects badly on Commander Adama as well, who saw fit to give Kronus an award without even checking his former commander's credentials.
  • All in all, another Fleet episode that reveals more about the motivations and passions of the survivors beyond the people on Galactica.


  • Was Kronus always in command of the Celestra before the Cylon attack? If not, who previously commanded the Celestra?
  • Does Starbuck honestly attempt to look for Aurora?
  • How many other romantic acquaintences of Starbuck's are in the Fleet?
  • Given the situation on the Celestra, how many other ship's crews share the same situation as they do?
  • The mention of the battlestar Rycon again asks the question, how many battlestars actually were built throughout the course of the Thousand-Yahren War? How many battlestars were left or believed destroyed before the Battle of Cimtar?
  • How many battlestar fleets were there?


  • Tickets are called duckets (which is a bit confusing in itself), yet Cassiopea accidently calls them tickets at the end.
  • When Apollo and Starbuck land on the Celestra and the vipers slow to a stop, your attention is naturally drawn to the far viper, but the viper nearest to the camera is the cockpit shot Viper and it has an incomplete outer skin. You can see the wooden skeleton at the bottom of the screen.
  • After the battle ends, in a wide shot of the bridge we see Kronus laying next to the viper joystick with one arm wrapped around it. Then in a close-up shot, the arm is down at his side.

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • Adama’s opening narration:
Adama: The morale of the fleet continues to rise, due in part to the increasing number of habitable planets we are encountering, and the reintroduction of some of the amenities our people enjoyed before the destruction of the colonies. Once again, although on a limited scale, we are able to partake of music, and the theater, and, when the occasion warrants, even indulge ourselves in ceremony.

Deleted Scenes

See: The deleted scenes from this episode.

Official Statements

  • Jim Carlson discusses an attempt by ABC's censors to interfere with the series that Carlson fixed:
Jim Carlson: In doing "Take the Celestra" we had a firefight going on, and this goes to the quota of violence that’s involved and ABC had some kind of formula that you could have x number of incidents of violence within a show, and I think it was like four or five but I’m not sure. But meantime we had a ‘B’ story going on back aboard the Galactica and we had to cut away from that firefight, then we come back to the firefight and then finish that. Well, I got a call from this young lady at ABC who was new at that time in the Standards and Practices division and probably very imbued with ‘follow the rules and regulations as they’re set down on paper.’ And she was counting that firefight as two instances of violence because we cut away to go back to Galactica and she said you have to drop either the beginning or the ending of the firefight. And I said we can’t do that, it’s impossible, besides, it’s only one incidence of violence with this cutting away, it’s not two. And she said no, it’s two, you have to drop one, and I said we can’t, it’s impossible, and she said, no, it’s not. And she became very adamant about it and finally I lost my cool, I didn’t swear at her or call her names or anything, I just said I didn’t think this was going to work and invited her to come over and write the episode. So she hung up on me and I picked up the phone again and called her boss and explained the situation to him. And he listened to what I had to say and I didn’t say a word about her except that she didn’t agree with me and he listened to my explanation and said, ‘that’s fine, go ahead.’”[1]

Guest Stars


  1. Paxton, Susan J.. Battlestar Zone Interview: Jim Carlson (backup available on Archive.org) (in ). Retrieved on 12 August 2007.

External Links