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Difference between revisions of "Battlestar"

From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide
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[[Category:Colonial Craft]]
[[Category:Colonial Craft]]
[[Category:Colonial Craft (TOS)]]
[[Category:Colonial Craft (TOS)]]
[[Category:Colonial Military]]
[[Category:Colonial Military (TOS)]]

Revision as of 21:24, 10 February 2005

Colonial Battlestar (credit: Zoic)

Re-imagined Series


Battlestars are a heavy class of human-controlled Colonial warship, that combine the functions of aircraft carrier and battle cruiser.

The first five battlestars were laid down shortly before the start of the first Cylon War and saw action in the early years of the war (Mini-Series). Seven further battlestars were constructed during the war (Zoic), leading to a total fleet size of 12, one battlestar representing each of the colony worlds (Mini-Series).

All the original battlestar vessels deliberately avoided the use of highly-integrated or networked computer systems, as the Cylons were able to infiltrate and subvert such systems, disabling Colonial defensive capabilities (Mini-Series).

Following the end of the war, the battlestars remained in service, and their numbers increased. However, later vessels did include networked systems (Mini-Series), and while the term "battlestar" was used to describe these newer vessels, it is unclear as to whether they were the same overall size and form as the original battlestars. Several of the original 12 vessels were also upgraded (Mini-Series), with the exception of the battlestar Galactica, which retained its original command and control systems at the insistence of Commander William Adama

Possibly as a result of her "original" condition, the Galactica was selected to become a living museum / educational centre once decommissioned (Mini-Series). Following the surprise attack by the Cylons on the Colonials, the Galactica was left as the only battlestar capable of mounting a counter-offensive, although she was initially hampered by the lack of any defensive munitions on-board.

Battlestars are space-going leviathans. Some 4,500ft in length (Zoic), they combine the role of a modern airacraft carrier with that of a battle cruiser. Housing some 140-180 "Viper" space superiority fighters arranged in 6-8 squadrons of 20 apiece, and with 20 reserve aircraft (fan estimate), a fully-armed battlestar is capable of a wide range of offensive actions, while her defensive armaments ensure she is fully capable of both protecting herself from attack, and of engaging an enemy at close quarters.

Despite their massive size, battlestars are extremely manoeuvrable (Mini-Series - docking at Ragnar Anchorage) and, in the right circumstances, partially atmosphere-capable (Mini-Series - docking at Ragnar Anchorage). Their FTL systems are capable of incredibly-accurate jumps, able to place them precisely in synchronous orbit above an point on a planet (Mini-Series)and of placing them in the midst of debris fields, such as an asteroid belt, without risk of a devastating impact (The Hand of God).

Battlestars are intended to operate for long periods without resupply - their water purification capabilities alone mean that, barring an emergency or unforeseen event, they don't need to re-tank with water for several years (Water). They also appear capable of undertaking large-scale repairs following battle damage (Mini-Series), and may well have manufacturing / fabrication facilities on-board (Litmus).

Technical Specifications



  • Length (approx): (4,500ft) (Zoic)
  • Beam (approx): 1,680ft (flight pod to flight pod - extended)
  • Draft (approx): 585ft

Flight Pods:

  • Length (approx): 2,019ft
  • Beam (approx): 360ft
  • Draft (approx): 211ft


  • 2 x FTL engines and drive coils (Zoic)
  • 6 x sublight engines (observed - 33)
  • 40 x manoeuvring engines (10 "packs" of 4 apiece) (Zoic)

Aramaments - Defensive

  • 24 x primary railgun turrets (mounting 2 guns apiece)
  • 504 x point-defence turrets (mounting 2 guns apiece) (approx)

Armaments - Offensive

  • 6-8 squadrons of Mark VII "Viper" atmosphere-capable space superiority fighters (fan estimate)
  • 20 "reserve" Vipers (fan estimate)
  • 6-8 "Raptor" reconnaissance/assault vehicles (fan estimate).


(The following are fan estimates)

  • 6,000-7,000
  • Officers: (TBA)
  • Enlisted: (TBA)
  • Flight Crew: 3,500 (approx.)


Battlestar / CVN comparison (credit: Zoic / VF)
  • Viper squadrons comprise 20 vehicles apiece, generally supported by a single Raptor.
  • The Raptors can also be used to deploy Colonial Marine detachments to the surface of planets or to storm other vessels. Raptors are equipped with a docking collar and accessway in their undersides for this latter role (Bastille Day)
  • Viper operations are overseen by the CAG - Commander Air Group, the most senior pilot aboard a battlestar.
  • An appreciation of the size of a battlestar can be gleaned from the following:
    • A battlestar is over 4 times longer than a Nimitz-class US Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
    • The flight pod of a battlestar is almost twice the length of a Nimitz class carrier, is some 150ft wider and is approximately as tall as a Nimitz class carrier measured from the waterline to the top of the carrier's communications and ELINT tower
    • The beam of a battlestar's "alligator head" is as broad as a Nimitz-class carrier's flight deck is long
    • Each of the nacelles of a battlestar's outer four sublight engines is large enough to house a Nimitz-class carrier.


Battlestar forward view (credit: Zoic)

The original battlestar design common to Galactica and her sister ships can be broken down into two main sections:

  • Main Hull
  • Flight Pods

Main Hull

This comprises the bulk of a battlestar, and can itself be divided into three sections:

  • "Alligator head", containing the primary living space for the crew, recreational facilities, mess halls, shipboard operations centres (such as the CIC and Situation Room); water storage tanks
  • Midships area: containing the pod retraction mechanisms, crossways linking the hanger pods for the transfer of equipment, Vipers, personnel, etc. All the necessary hoists for such transfers; main munitions stores and distribution mechnanisms to "local" munitions stores for main and secondary batteries; fabrication facilities; etc.
  • Stern section: sublight engines, FTL drive coils, etc. Note that 4 of the sublight engines are mounted in distinctive nacelles of their own, with 2 more mounted between the nacelles, in the stern of the battlestar. The FTL drive coils appear to be mounted between the drive pods and between the hull-mounted sublight engines and the midships section of a battlestar.

The main hull houses all of a battlestar's offensive railguns, and also has a number of point-defence batteries mounted around it.

The manoeuvring thruster packs are located in the port / starboard bows of the "alligator head" (4 thrusters apiece), and on the poert / starboard extremities of the four sublight engine nacelles (2 "packs" of 4 thrusters per nacelles).

Flight Pods

These are mounted on either side of the hull and contain a battlestar's offensive Viper force. During normal operations, they are extended away from the main hull. During FTL jumps, the pods are retracted against the hull, to provide a smaller cross-section for the battlestar during the jump itself.

  • Each flight pod is approximately 2,000ft in length and has a maximum beam of some 360ft (fan estimates)
  • Each pod comprises two main decks for flight operations: the upper landing bay, which extends the full length of the pod; and the lower launch bays, which provide some 40 launch tubes per pod (Zoic)
  • The landing bay serves as a recovery area for incoming Vipers and Raptors, approaches are made from the stern. The preferred approach is a slow run into the hanger, prior to making a vertical landing on a defined landing area. However, in emergencies, "rolling" combat landings can be made, in which a Viper or Raptor approaches at speed and makes a running landing on its undercarriage
  • The forward end of the landing bay also serves as a launch area for Raptors and shuttles
  • Each hanger bay is large enough to accept a variety of other Colonial vessels, up to and including vessels classified as "heavy" (such as Colonial Heavy 798).
  • Docking collars are located throughout the upper sections of the landing bay in order to provide a pressurised connection between an docked vessel and the battlestar
  • Pods additionally contain a number of a battlestar's point-defence railguns - one turret being mounted above each Viper launch tube, and others being set along the length of the pod itself
  • The hanger bays in the pods are used as general dispersal areas for Vipers. There is potentially one hanger bay area per squadron of Vipers, giving each pod 4 bays apiece. The hanger bays are used for general maintenance of Vipers / Raptors and for re-arming operations, etc.
  • Viper launch operations are overseen by a senior LSO, with a launch sepervisor directly responsible for each launch tube.

Other facilities within the pods include fuel storage areas for the Vipers / Raptors (and potentially for refuelling large vessels docked within the landing bays); munitions stores for Viper weeaponry; munitions stores for the point-defence railguns; parts stores for maintaining Vipers and Raptors, etc.

List of Known Battlestars

Original Series

Original Series Battlestar (credit: Universal / ABC)

This section requires expansion


In the original series, battlestars were the direct response to the on-going war with the Cylons. The first battlestars were introduced into Colonial forces around 500 yahren into the war, and proved formidable when placed against the technically-superior Cylon basestars, although at least two battlestars were totally destroyed during significant battles, and a third, the Pegasus, was believed to have been destroyed at the Battle of Molecay.

Technical Specifications


  • Length (approx): 4,143-4,166ft
  • Beam (approx): 1,672ft (flight pod to flight pod)

Flight Pods:

  • Length (approx): 1,977ft
  • Beam (approx): 351ft


  • 2 x FTL engines
  • 2 x sublight engines

Aramaments - Defensive

  • 40 x turbolaser turrets (mounting 2 guns apiece)
  • 12 x Anti-Capital Ship Missile Turrets (mounting 4 missile tubes apiece)
  • 1 x Heavy Mega Pulsar Cannons

Armaments - Offensive

  • 2 squadrons of Viper atmosphere-capable space superiority fighters (75 in all)


  • 496 - 1,012

Notes on Dimensions

Calculating a Battlestar's size (credit: Todd Boyce / Universal ABC)

The length and beam figures given here are based on research carried out by Todd Boyce, a computer animator. There are many differing claims to the actual size of the original battlestars, ranging from some 2,000 (accepted length in a number of gaming systems) through to 2-3 miles in overall length.

Interviews with Glen A. Larson and John Dykstra, the Visual Effects supervisor for the original series stated that the original Galactica was around a mile long. If the scale of the master model used for filming was set at 1/960, then the overall length of the Galactica and her sister ships would be some 6,080ft - or one nautical mile. However, there is no confirmation available that 1/960 (1 inch = 80ft) was in fact the scale of the model, and the figures have thus been "back engineered" to fit the case.

In undertaking his work, Boyce utilised an established baseline for his calculations: the full-size mock-up of a Viper built for filming purposes. This mock-up measured some 28.5ft in length and a wingspan of some 12.5ft, and formed a means by which Boyce could take key shots from various episodes, combine them with a scale model of the Galactica and extrapolate a reasonably-consistent set of measurements. Thus: using film footage alone, Boyce was able to determine the length of the Galactica to be some 4,143ft, while use of a scale model produced a figure of some 4,166ft: an acceptable difference of some 23ft. What is more, these measurements appear consistent with the overall size of the Viper launch tubes (calculated at some 16ft in diameter, based on the wingspan of the full-size mock-up and images of Vipers being launched).

Given this degree of similarity in final calculations, these figures have been adopted here as the probable dimensions of the original series battlestars. However, in using these figures, it should be noted that:

  • Boyce also used a Cylon Raider as a benchmark for his calculations, and produced an overall length for the Galactica at between 12,818ft and 21,210ft (2.4 and 4 miles). However, these measurements can be discounted on the grounds that:
    • They are initially based on assumed data: a shot of a Cylon Raider apparently "overflying" a Colonial Viper. However, no vertical separation distance between the two can be calculated, leading to a completely arbitrary figure (39ft) for the wingspan of the Raider
    • These figures would yield launch tubes between some 50ft and 82ft in diameter - which is clearly not supported by film of Viper launches.
  • Boyce also used close-up shots of Viper launches to try and calculate the size of the Galactica, and arrived at a figure of 2,712ft, with the flight pods measuring 1,294ft. However, these figures cannot be taken at face value, as they would render the Viper launch tubes with a 10.4ft diameter, making them too small to contain Vipers.

Myth of the Twelve Battlestars

Within fan circles, it has always been assumed there were twelve battlestars. Given there are Twelve Colonies, and a Quorum of Twelve, twelve battlestars was perhaps seen as a logical extension of the motif of twelve. However, Glen A. Larson has stated that there was never any decision to have a specific number of battlestars, nor did the original series ever mention there only being twelve battlestars; indeed, only eight battlestars were specifically mentioned within the series. Given the length of the human / Cylon war, it seems only logical that overall, far more than twelve of these warships were constructed.

List of Known Battlestars

The eight battlestars specifically mentioned in the original series are:

The Costume Department at New West has indicated that three further battlestars may have been referenced had the show been renewed: the Solaria, Cerberus and Prometheus.

--Colonial Archivist 06:15, 8 Feb 2005 (EST)