|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (February 2015)|
|First appearance||Battlestar Galactica|
|Auxiliary craft||Colonial Raptors|
Ship to ship missiles
A battlestar is a battleship/carrier hybrid starship in the reimagined science fiction television series Battlestar Galactica. The reimagined series' battlestars and the series' other visual effects were designed and created by Zoic Studios for Battlestar Galactica.
The battlestars Galactica, Atlantia, Triton, Solaria and Columbia were named in the miniseries; battlestars Pegasus and Valkyrie were seen during the subsequent television series. Twelve battlestars were built at the start of the first Cylon War, one for each of the Twelve Colonies, Galactica represented the colony of Caprica. The fleet had grown by the time of the miniseries, as over thirty were confirmed to be destroyed during the opening wave of the Cylon attack, a loss which Kara Thrace describes as "a quarter of the fleet".
A Colonial battlestar is an immense capital ship and is constructed as a series of discrete modules. The wedge-shaped fore section contains the CIC, among other facilities. The aft section contains both conventional (sublight) and FTL propulsion systems. The midsection is where the battlestar's flight pods are mounted, with large support pylons connecting them to the rest of the ship. There are internal transit corridors large enough to move Vipers (and presumably Raptors) from one flight pod to the other. Thus large-scale flight operations are possible even if one flight pod is crippled or otherwise unusable: the battlestar Galactica is able on numerous occasions to hold off massive Cylon attacks, and even to conduct several offensive operations, with her entire starboard flight pod converted to a museum.
Battlestars are seen to possess two or four flight pods, depending on the class. Galactica-type batttlestars' flight pods retract during an FTL jump, though the same is not true of the Mercury-class. The flight pods serve as landing bays for smaller spacecraft such as Vipers and Raptors. Each flight pod appears somewhat as a large, rounded triangular tube, with a flat deck running inside the length of the pod, completely open to space at the ends. This deck serves as a landing pad for Vipers, Raptors, and small civilian ships such as Colonial One. After touching down, Vipers and Raptors move to a side elevator lift and descend to an enclosed, pressurized lower hangar bay, where they are maintained. The Viper launch tubes are also located on this level. Each tube has a large, reinforced airlock at the hangar end, while the other end is open to space. Once a Viper is mounted on the airlock's launch catapult, an airtight blast door closes behind the Viper and the space door opens, clearing the Viper to launch. The Mercury-class battlestars, such as Pegasus, have "doubled" flight pods, with landing decks on both the dorsal and ventral sides. In contrast to other classes, the Mercury-class's flight pods have a second landing deck running the length of each pod that is situated "upside down" relative to the ship and its two "rightside up" landing decks. Vipers on approach to these secondary decks roll 180 degrees ("on their backs") prior to landing. It is unclear whether there are two hangar and maintenance decks per flight pod as well, or whether ships landing on the second deck must be flipped over into the gravity field of a single pressurized hangar bay.
As originally constructed, Galactica's hangars contained overhead storage bays for its Vipers. These bays were eventually removed sometime before the close of the First Cylon War.
While it is possible for Galactica to jump without retracting her pods, heavy damage occurs the one time the ship is seen to jump this way. This may explain why Galactica always retracts them before a jump is initiated; though the heavy damage to Galactica following her final jump may instead be due to the advanced deterioration and decay of her structure and armor after more than forty years of service, four years of continual heavy combat, a desperate atmospheric reentry, and no access to an orbital shipyard.
Galactica was shown to possess six sub light engine pods (though in the miniseries, only four were visibly active) while Pegasus had eight. Battlestars were highly maneuverable and were capable of docking with space stations, such as the Ragnar Anchorage.
Battlestars of Galactica's class were protected by ribs covered by armored plating designed to catch and detonate incoming ordnance away from the armor and hull. Newer battlestars were covered with smooth armor plating. The miniseries shows Galactica withstanding a direct nuclear detonation with little apparent damage to its command structure and fighter bays. The newer Mercury class battlestar Pegasus was apparently more resilient and withstood at least three nuclear hits during a Cylon ambush; not only did Pegasus remain operational, she inflicted heavy damage to a Cylon Basestar with her forward batteries. Early in the First Cylon War, Galactica had smooth armor plating over more of its forward section and flight pods. By the end of the war, this plating had either been damaged or removed.
- Gun batteries: A single turret is outfitted with two guns that fire in tandem. The guns were stated to possess at least two settings: suppression fire mode, where they fire explosive flak rounds, and a salvo mode where the guns fire anti ship rounds, which demonstrated a high effectiveness against Cylon Basestars. Mercury-class battlestars like Pegasus also mount 8 heavy cannons inside the bow sections; combined with other turrets, that gives an extremely powerful frontal attack.
- Point-defense guns: The primary function of these guns were in an anti fighter/missile role, such as destroying incoming ordnance or Cylon Raiders. Battlestars carry hundreds of them.
- Nuclear warheads/missiles: Galactica has at least ten missile launch tubes. She has five nuclear warheads aboard as of the outbreak of the war. By the time Galactica reaches the algae planet, her stockpile has increased to at least seven nuclear missiles.
- Ship to ship missiles: Both the Valkyrie and Pegasus are fitted with ship-to-ship missile tubes. It is unknown if Galactica is also equipped with anti ship missiles, though presumably she is capable of launching them via the same tubes that are used for nuclear ground-attack missiles.
The battlestar Galactica was originally equipped with 80 Viper Mk. I fighters. During the First Cylon War these were replaced with the Mk. II, and later, the Mk. III versions. In addition to improved maneuverability, the Mk. II fighters are also equipped with two light missile racks.
Before the destruction of the Twelve Colonies, Pegasus 's fighter squadrons were flying the newer Mk. VII Vipers. Most of Galactica's Mk. VIIs had been reassigned with the battlestar's pending decommission; the Galactica's remaining squadron of Mk. VII fighters were destroyed by a pair of Raiders immediately after their avionic systems were incapacitated by the Cylon computer virus.
Following the outbreak of the Second Cylon War, the Vipers in the ship's starboard hangar museum were aging Mk. II's which were pressed back into service. These fighters, supplemented by a small number of retrofitted Mk. VII's, gave Galactica an effective air group of roughly forty Vipers. Attrition over the following months reduced this number as the ship and her fleet of civilian craft were pursued by the Cylons. The arrival of Pegasus with her mostly intact squadrons and Viper production facilities were a huge boost to Galactica's dwindling air group. With the destruction of the Pegasus her squadrons were subsequently transferred to Galactica, giving the latter a full complement of fighters that were largely Mk VII Vipers.
Galactica was also equipped with numerous FTL jump capable Raptors, multi-role spacecraft used for transportation, reconnaissance, scouting, and electronic countermeasures.
Galactica's crew complement prior to its scheduled decommissioning was around 2,000. This figure would be much higher for a fully equipped battlestar, exceeding the 5,000 mark. After the Cylon attack, Galactica's crew complement rose to over 2,500 as civilians joined the service.
After the settlement of New Caprica, Galactica's crew was gradually reduced as personnel left the ship to join the civilians on the planet surface. When the Cylons returned after the colonization of New Caprica, Galactica was manned by a skeleton crew.
After the rescue of the civilian population from New Caprica, Galactica's crew was bolstered by the return of the retired crew members from the planet as well as the survivors of Pegasus. It is implied that most if not all the Pegasus crew escaped the loss of their ship, bringing Galactica's crew close to full strength.
A battlestar's crew, aside from the Colonial Marines component present aboard the vessel, consisted of Colonial Fleet personnel. As such, the crew falls into a common, hierarchical, military rank structure. This hierarchy was divided into two broad groups: commissioned officers who exercise command oversight; and enlisted personnel (including non-commissioned officers) who performed technical duties or exercise first line supervisory authority.
When separated from their Raider groups, Cylon baseships appear to be no match for Colonial battlestars in ship to ship combat. Indeed throughout the series Colonial battlestars demonstrate a marked superiority over their Cylon counterparts in this area. In the season two episode "Resurrection Ship, Part II", with both sides' fighter groups engaged elsewhere, the battlestars Galactica and Pegasus successfully engaged and destroyed at least one basestar and at least heavily damaged a second. The battlestars used the tactic of isolating and circling one basestar at a time and maintaining a constant barrage of gunfire until it was destroyed. A similar tactic of having Cylon Raiders occupied elsewhere was used in the battle of New Caprica. Galactica was able to fight four basestars simultaneously (albeit with heavy damage). With the later arrival of Pegasus, three of the four basestars were destroyed, although with the loss of Pegasus as well.
The role and performance of the basestars indicate that they are not nearly as well armored or armed as battlestars. Their offensive and defensive capabilities are dependent mainly on their Raiders. Although basestars possess missile silos that can be used in ship to ship combat and in orbital bombardment, once deprived of their Raiders, basestars are vulnerable because they have no heavy guns and virtually no armor. In contrast, while Colonial battlestars are dependent on their Viper squadrons for offense and defense, they are also heavily armored against both nuclear and conventional weapons, and possess an array of both light and heavy gun batteries. Battlestar heavy gunfire and missiles have proven very effective in ship to ship engagements. Moreover, the high volume and rate of gunfire permitted a battlestar to establish and maintain a defensive perimeter, shielding it from both Raider and missile attacks. Battlestars' fighter hangars are located inside the heavily armoured flight pods, while Cylon baseships carry their Raider complements in "slots" in their outer hull, half-outside the baseship itself.
Additionally, a basestar appeared to be much less maneuverable than a battlestar. It is possible to surmise that the design of a basestar is intended to optimize Raider storage and maintenance space, at the cost of armor, firepower and maneuverability. Battlestars, conversely, are much bigger targets and cannot field as many fighters, but have clear superiority in maneuverability, armor, and firepower.
One exemplar of a battlestar's toughness is Galactica. Though fifty years old and scheduled for decommissioning, she proved remarkably resilient. Galactica successfully engaged in battle after battle, continually taking damage and only able to perform makeshift, ad hoc repairs before the next attack. During the Battle of New Caprica, Galactica took serious structural damage, enough for Colonel Tigh to remark that it would take six weeks in dry dock "just to bang out the dents", indicating it would likely take months of work to repair her completely. After these events, Galactica was still capable of defending the fleet against a major Cylon attack at the end of the third season. Towards the end of the fourth season, it was revealed that the ship was slowly falling apart due to stress fractures, presumably a result of cumulative battle damage and the fact that the original builders 'cut corners' during the ship's construction. Despite her weakened condition, Galactica was able to engage the much larger Cylon Colony. The ship took an enormous amount of fire from the colony and was further damaged when she was deliberately rammed into her Cylon adversary. Galactica managed to jump away from the destroyed colony, but without proper preparation (her flight pods were extended) and sustained severe structural damage. This was enough to 'break her back' - the battlestar would never be able to jump again. Despite this, the ship remained operable, with sublight engines and life support still intact, and was even able to resume limited flight operations during the colonization of the world the Colonials dubbed Earth.
List of battlestars
Four classes of battlestars are portrayed in detail in the reimagined series. The Galactica-type is the only class shown for the first season and a half; appearing later are the Mercury class and the Valkyrie-type, while the Orion class appears in Blood & Chrome. There is also one class of ship shown in the game "Diaspora-Shattered Armstice".
- Battlestar Atlantia
- Became the flagship of Admiral Nagala and the surviving Colonial Fleet after Picon Fleet Headquarters and much of the fleet are destroyed during the first wave of the Cylon assault. Like almost all of its sister ships, Atlantia was subsequently destroyed.
- Battlestar Archeron
- Destroyed soon after construction ten years into the First Cylon War in an ambush attack by Cylons.
- Battlestar Columbia
- The first battlestar Columbia served during the First Cylon War and was destroyed during Operation Raptor Talon, the last battle of that conflict. William Adama was involved in this action on his first mission as a Viper pilot, and witnessed the ship's destruction. This Columbia appears to belong to the same ship class as Galactica.
- The second battlestar Columbia was destroyed along with the Atlantia during the destruction of the twelve colonies. Columbia's executive officer some time before the events depicted in the show was William Adama.
- Battlestar Galactica
- The Galactica survived the Cylon attack on the Colonies. During its service in the original Cylon war, the Galactica was a part of Battlestar Group 75 (BSG 75). At the time of the attack, Galactica was the last ship of its class, undergoing formal decommissioning and slated to be converted into a museum. The Galactica was commanded by William Adama. It became the protector of a fleet of civilian ships carrying the last remnants of humanity. For the next four years Galactica served as the fleet's primary (and for the most part only) capital ship, holding off Cylon attacks during the long journey from the Colonies. In concert with Cylon rebels it inflicted a crippling defeat on the Cylons at the Battle of the Colony, and following the settlement of Earth, Galactica was flown into Sol with the rest of the fleet.
- Battlestar Solaria
- Destroyed along with the Atlantia.
- Battlestar Triton
- Destroyed along with the Atlantia. Triton was part of Battlestar Group 39 (BSG-39) and she was Crashdown's original posting. Starbuck also served on the battlestar Triton once.
- Battlestar Valkyrie
- Commanded by William Adama three years prior to the fall of the Twelve Colonies. Valkyrie was ordered by Admiral Corman to launch a black operation to penetrate the Cylon Armistice Zone to gather intelligence on Cylon battle readiness. The operation ended in disaster, and Adama was 'downgraded' to command of Galactica to oversee that ship's retirement (and his own). Battlestar Valkyrie was assigned to Battlestar Group 41 (BSG-41). The Valkyrie was destroyed over Caprica just prior to the fall of the Twelve Colonies, as seen in Battlestar Galactica: The Plan.
- Battlestar Yashuman
- Destroyed along with battlestar Valkyrie over the planet Caprica just prior to the fall of the Twelve Colonies. Yashuman initially detects the Cylon assault force on DRADIS during the engagement, and launches its Vipers. However, after being scanned by Cylon raiders, CNP backdoors are activated and Yashuman's systems are shut down, paving the way for the Cylons to destroy her without a shot fired in return.
All other battlestars except Galactica and Pegasus fell prey to the Cylon virus. The virus disabled the battlestars, making them vulnerable to attack.
- Battlestar Pegasus
- The battlestar Pegasus also survived the Cylon attack, and later joined Galactica and her civilian fleet for a time. It was more advanced (a Mercury class battlestar) than Galactica and was part of Battlestar Group 62 (BSG-62). Originally commanded by Rear Admiral Cain, her former Executive Officer, Colonel Fisk became commander of Pegasus following her death. Commander Fisk was murdered in a conflict related to his illegal black market trading activities and was replaced by Chief Engineer Garner. Garner himself was killed in action shortly thereafter, sacrificing his life to save Pegasus from a Cylon ambush. Under its final commander, Lee Adama, Pegasus intentionally rammed a Cylon Basestar, being destroyed in the process, although the crew escaped before the collision.
- Battlestar Theseus
- The battlestar Theseus was shown in the game Diaspora-Shattered Armstice to have survived the initial Cylon attack. Being a late Cylon War era ship, it has armnaments similar to the Galactica and does not have the CNP installed in its Vipers, Raptors, or central computers. Before it can jump to Ragnar Anchorage, however, it is destroyed by three Cylon basestars.
- "Zoic Studios - Visual Evolution in VFX".
- "Mini Series, Part 1". Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries.
- "Mini Series, Part 2". Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries.
- Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, Battlestar Galactica: Razor webisodes.
- "The Captain's Hand". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.
- Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome
- "Scattered". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.
- "Resurrection Ship, Part 2". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.
- "Bastille Day". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
- "The Eye of Jupiter". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.
- "Season 1". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.
- "Season 3". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.
- "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
- Aired in online release of Battlestar Galactica:Blood and Chrome episode 2
- "Razor Flashbacks". Battlestar Galactica, 2004 series.
- "33". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
- "The Son Also Rises". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
- "Battlestar Galactica: The Plan". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
- "Exodus". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
- Official Elevations of the battlestar Galactica by Zoic Studios.
- Galactica type battlestar at BattlestarWiki.
- Mercury class battlestar at BattlestarWiki.