Battlestar Galactica (fictional spacecraft)

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Battlestar Galactica is a space battleship in the original and re-imagined science fiction television series Battlestar Galactica. The Twelve Colonies built approximately 120 Battlestars during their thousand-year war with the Cylons, whose own battleships are known as Basestars. Each ship is assigned to a Battlestar group, hence the prefix "BSG."

Battlestar Galactica (1978, 1980)[edit]

Galactica (1978 version)


One of twelve Battlestars constructed by the Twelve Colonies of Man, Galactica represents the Colonial planet Caprica, and is crewed mostly by Capricans. Galactica was launched more than 500 yahren before the close of the Thousand Yahren War (and the start of the pilot film).[1] It is believed to be the only Battlestar to survive the destruction of the Twelve Colonies, until Battlestar Pegasus is found. Galactica is commanded by Commander Adama.

In the pre-Holocaust Colonial Service, battlestars like Galactica operated as the flagships of numbered naval fleets (e.g. the Fourth Fleet), with each fleet assigned one battlestar and led by that battlestar's commander.[2] A typical fleet comprised 600 fighting ships,[3] and operated independently from other fleets.[4] Since the Holocaust, Galactica is the military's sole capital ship of any kind (except, briefly, for Pegasus).

Speed and armament[edit]

Galactica is capable of hyper jump travel,[5] although while escorting the refugee fleet she must limit her speed to that of the slowest ship.[6] She has a complement of about 150 Vipers:[7] 25 surviving fighters from her own pre-Holocaust squadrons,[8] 42 from the other battlestars at the Peace Conference,[8] and the remainder being transfers from Pegasus.[9] Galactica also has a complement of shuttles. Unlike similar civilian models, these transport craft include military gear for detecting electronic emissions from other spacecraft,[3] and drop chutes for paratroop assaults.[10] In addition, Galactica has armored, tracked ground vehicles known as "landrams"[11] and "snowrams."[12] These are armed with a single heavy laser cannon in an open turret on the roof, and are landed by shuttles. Galactica carries a large number of manually aimed[13] laser batteries, both for anti-aircraft defense against fighters and for engaging other capital ships.[1] As to purely defensive measures, Galactica is protected by both "electronic shields" and a heavy metal double-pocket hatch shield that covers its panoramic bridge viewport; the latter is closed in "positive shield" state and open in "negative shield" state. However, while these might provide limited protection, they are insufficient to guard against suicide ramming runs by Cylon raiders[14] or pulsar-cannon fire from Cylon base ships.[1] Galactica also has the ability to project a broad cone of energy, wide enough to cover much of one hemisphere of an Earth-sized planet, that is powerful enough to destroy ballistic missiles and their nuclear warheads.[5]


A battlestar such as Galactica has two sources of energy. Its engines are powered by Tylium, a highly volatile liquid fuel derived from minerals mined on a limited number of planets.[15] The Tylium is stored in two tanks located as far inboard as possible, since the detonation of either tank is sufficient to destroy the battlestar.[16] Other energy needs are met by energizers, which are self-contained generators roughly the size of a human adult. These are distributed in decentralized fashion across Galactica.[17] Networked to each other, they are able to supply sufficient power to meet Galactica's needs even if some of them should fail.[18]


Galactica contains a wide range of facilities that contribute to her mission. These include:

The Bridge. The Bridge of Galactica is located near the front of the ship, in a projection above the hull.[19] The Bridge is the location from which the ship is directed. It houses Core Command, which coordinates Viper operations and resource allocation for the Fleet;[20] sensor, weapons and communications controls; and the ship's helm.[21] The Commander and his executive officer occupy a rotating platform at the center-rear of the bridge, along with a Bridge Officer who controls the helm.[22] The bridge's rear is dominated by a large star chart, featuring glowing schematic representations of celestial bodies and their orbits on a clear substrate. The chart has the ability to display a red dot highlighting any given point, which a briefing officer can move simply by pointing his finger.[23] A battlestar's bridge is unlike those of other starships in science fiction in that it has no one "command chair" where its Commander would sit. The forward upper area of the bridge is dominated by a wide rectangular viewport window through which the ship's path can be observed. A heavy two-part (upper and lower halves) reinforced "shield" closes over this viewport to protect it during times of attack (seen in various episodes throughout the series including the first episode in which the Battlestar Atlantia either failed to deploy this shield, or it suffered catastrophic failure as the pressure in the ship is seen to rush out through the viewport seconds before Atlantia explodes). The shield normally serves well enough for Galactica, but it does have its weaknesses.[24]

The Landing Bay is a deck incorporating landing, hangar, repair and launching facilities for Vipers and shuttles. There are two of these, located amidships on both the port and starboard sides of Galactica. One is known as the Alpha Landing Bay (the other presumably would be the Beta Landing Bay).

After landing on the broad middle portion of the deck, Vipers are moved into launching tubes located on the outboard side of the bay. These are in a walled-off area, accessible from the main deck through garage-type doors opening onto each tube, which normally are kept closed.[25] The landing bays can accommodate visiting small craft from non-Colonial civilizations, as well.[26] The large portals on the aft end of each bay are equipped with devices that keep the bay's atmosphere contained, providing a shirt-sleeve environment in the bays.[27] These devices appear to be designed in such a way that their operation is mandatory.[28] Each bay contains decontamination booths; it is standard operating procedure for pilots who have visited an unexplored world on their mission to undergo a stint in these booths immediately after exiting their cockpits.[29]

The Life Station or Life Center features a surgery ward,[30] bone-fusing equipment[31] and cold-hibernation chambers to suspend critically ill patients until they can be treated.[32] It also includes a laboratory capable of analyzing pathogens and synthesizing antidotes,[33] and of performing DNA screening.[34]

The Cybernetics Laboratory. A research and fabrication facility for robotics. It was used to construct the android Muffit II,[35] analyze captured Cylons for weaknesses,[36] and reverse-engineer the technologies of newly encountered civilizations.[37] It also contains forensic equipment for analyzing weapons[38] and cleaning up garbled audio and video transmissions.[1]

The Computer Center. This holds a mainframe computer containing, among other data, fleet personnel records. The computer is able to interface via vocal conversation, as well as via CRT displays and paper printouts.[39] The computer is networked with the bridge.[40]

Bachelor Warriors's Quarters. Unmarried warriors live in gender-segregated quarters, regardless of rank.[41] These are standardized rooms equipped with bunk beds, individual lockers for personal possessions, a table and chairs. Each room sleeps twelve, with no personal privacy.[42] The sole exception depicted in the show is Commander Adama, who lives in a private suite comprising an office,[43] dining room,[44] bedroom and ready room with a star chart like the one on the bridge.[45] To minimize the amount of time required to scramble Vipers in an emergency, the bachelor quarters are served by open-topped trams running in dedicated tunnels, which lead to the ordinary elevators that connect multiple Galactica decks to the landing bays.[46] In the post-Holocaust fleet, married warriors are able to live with their families in joint quarters on ships other than Galactica.[47] After a decade without contact with the Cylons, conditions relax sufficiently to permit bachelor warriors to lodge on civilian ships.[48]

The Pilot Training Center includes a large classroom in which cadets's desks double as basic Viper simulators, and at least one gimballed Viper simulator with a full-scale cockpit.[49]

The Council Chamber is a meeting room for the Council of the Twelve, with an adjacent overflow area for observers.[50] One wall is reserved for a star chart identical to the one on the bridge.[51]

The Courtroom. A hearing room for courts-martial, this compartment has provision for a small number of spectators. It is provided with telecommunications equipment.[52]

The Brig consists of cells holding warriors who are confined for discipline, or awaiting trial on serious charges. Warriors convicted of major offenses serve their prison sentences off the battlestar—meaning the prison barge in the post-Holocaust fleet.[53]

The Chapel is a semicircular room with risers in the front, topped by large portholes providing a panoramic view of the stars. The risers bear many small candles.[54]

The Auditorium is a large assembly room used for ceremonies. The floor consists of many small squares which can be raised or lowered on individual posts to reconfigure the room at will. For example, one arrangement featured a stage in front with risers along the sides for spectators, plus a flat area in the center for ranks of warriors.[55]

The Rejuvenation Center is a game arcade for off-duty warriors and their families.[56]

The Officers's Club is a bar and lounge for off-duty warrior officers.[57]

Airlocks and Other EVA Provisions. When necessary, technicians can perform repairs on Galactica's hull. They can gain access to the general area of the problem via one of a system of airlocks. The airlock portals are the size of a residential garage door, making them large enough to accommodate repair materials and tools. Handholds are provided for locomotion during the EVA; the space-suited technicians normally are tethered for their own safety.[58]

The Children's Classroom. Some Colonists's children are taught in a classroom on Galactica. Their curriculum combines lectures, question-and-answer sessions and computerized lessons. The classroom is equipped with a computer terminal at each student's desk. To gain attention or permission to answer a question, a student flips a switch at his desk, which activates an adjacent light and sounds an electronic tone. Classes are taught by active-duty warriors, both here and on other ships.[59]

The Celestial Chambers. The Celestial Chambers are clear domes housing manual navigation equipment, used in earlier centuries to double-check the ship's navigation computer. Obsolete for at least a century, all but one of the domes have been dismantled.[1]

Other Battlestars[edit]

Eight other Battlestars are specifically named in the series. They are Acropolis, Atlantia, Columbia, Pacifica, Pegasus, Rycon, Solaria, and Triton. Of the other ships it is known that Atlantia, Acropolis, Pacifica, and Solaria were destroyed at the Battle of Cimtar in "Saga of a Star World." The Columbia is mentioned in the episode "Gun on Ice Planet Zero," but it is said to also have been destroyed at Cimtar by a Centurion. Rycon is mentioned in passing in the episode "Take The 'Celestra'" as the ship of Commander Kronus. Pegasus is encountered in "The Living Legend." Novelizations based on the original series, various comic books, and other sources have named several other Battlestars, including Bellerophon, Cerberus, Olympia, and Prometheus.

Battlestar Galactica (2003)[edit]

Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica - Re-imagined series.jpg
Battlestar Galactica (BS-75)
First appearance Miniseries, Part 1
Affiliation Colonial Fleet
References Miniseries, Part 2
The Eye of Jupiter
General characteristics
Auxiliary craft Colonial Raptors, Colonial Vipers
Armaments Primary KEWs
Point defense KEWs
Ship-to-ship missiles
Nuclear weapons
Propulsion FTL drives
Sublight engines; 1,000-1,500km/sec
Length 1,445m/4,740ft[60]

In the re-imagined series, there were about 120 Battlestars in service prior to the second Cylon attack.

Galactica (BS-75) entered service in the early years of the first Cylon War, under the command of Commander Silas Nash. During her service, Galactica formed a part of Battlestar Group 75 (BSG 75), a Colonial force described by series creator Ronald D. Moore as a mixed force of vessels somewhat similar to a US Navy carrier strike group. After graduating from the Colonial Military Academy, William Adama's first posting was to Galactica as a Raptor pilot.

Like many of her sister ships that survived the first Cylon War, Galactica underwent refits and upgrades (for example, at the end of her career, she was equipped with the latest Mark VII Viper space superiority fighter). However, the computer systems were never networked nor integrated during these refits.

Due to this lack of network integration at the time of the Cylon attack, Galactica was unaffected by the infiltration program used by the Cylons to disable Colonial vessels and defense systems, using the Command Navigation Program (CNP), developed by Dr. Gaius Baltar and subverted by Cylon operative Number Six as a back door into such systems.

At the time of the Cylon Attack, Galactica was fifty years old and was undergoing formal decommissioning from the Colonial Fleet following her retirement as an operational vessel. The ship had been due to become a museum commemorating the (first) Cylon War and an educational center. Due to its age and operating conditions, the ship is unofficially known as "The Bucket" by the crews of both Pegasus and Galactica.[61] Another nickname used by the crew is "The Big G"[62] (a possible reference to the U.S. Navy sailors' nickname for USS Enterprise, "The Big E"). Galactica's starboard launch pod was outfitted as a Cylon war museum; this exhibit remained intact until the final mission against the Cylon colony.

Since the Cylon attack, in keeping with the concept of the original 1978 series, Galactica became both protector and provider to a small fleet of civilian vessels searching for the legendary planet Earth.

Galactica took heavy damage during its raid on New Caprica, and her hull was now clearly darker with burn marks and missile hits, most notably the three large holes on top of the ship where its armor was weakest.

The starboard hangar pod (and possibly also the deck) had been converted into a museum prior to Galactica's intended decommissioning. The starboard hangar deck was used to house civilian refugees from New Caprica after the evacuation, and earned the nickname "Camp Oilslick".[63] In "A Measure of Salvation", which followed "Torn", Major Lee Adama informs Galactica that their Raptor was on approach to the starboard landing deck, which indicated that the starboard flight pod had started flight operations again.[64] However, this is likely a dialogue error because in the finale it was still shown to be a museum and Oilslick was never moved.

In the episode "The Woman King", 300 additional passengers were shown being moved to the starboard hangar deck, and the area was given the name "Dogsville" by the Galactica crew. Upon arriving, each passenger was checked for medical issues by civilian doctors and medical staff. Also now housed in the starboard hangar deck was a makeshift bar called "Joe's", located behind a storage area. Joe's was equipped with a bumper pool table, Pyramid arcade area, and a heavily damaged Mark II Viper hanging over the bar. The bar was first seen in the episode "Taking a Break from All Your Worries". The bar appeared to have an alcohol still, similar to the one Chief Tyrol built in the port hangar deck, in the center of it. The piano that Kara Thrace plays in the episode "Someone to Watch Over Me" is located in Joe's Bar.

In the episode "The Passage" Galactica was used to house fleet passengers during the trip through a star cluster, leaving the fleet vessels to be flown by skeleton crews with radiation medication. It is unclear if the passengers were returned to their vessels between "The Passage" and "The Eye of Jupiter".

Galactica was seen taking multiple hits from Cylon nuclear weapons and though the ship suffered damage, she was still operational. It is unclear exactly how well rated the Cylon nuclear weapons were versus Galactica's armor. Also, as the nukes detonated outside of the vessel, most of the energy would have been directed and attenuated out into the area of least resistance: space. However, the punishment has apparently begun to accumulate. In "Blood on the Scales", after disabling the FTL drive, Chief Tyrol noticed a large crack in an interior wall; in the subsequent episode, "No Exit", a more detailed inspection reveals hairline fractures and more obvious structural damage throughout the ship. The damage is aggravated by the fact that the original builders of the ship 'cut corners' during her construction. Tyrol suggests applying a Cylon organic resin that will insinuate itself into the hull, both repairing and strengthening the metal as it matures. Admiral Adama initially refuses the idea, but after finding cracks in the bulkheads of his own quarters, he gives Tyrol permission to do whatever it takes to repair Galactica. The repairs were not proceeding well, with numerous electrical faults occurring throughout the ship. When Boomer made her escape, she jumped her Raptor close to the port forward section of the bow, causing a spatial distortion which caused massive damage both externally (a large, visible crater in the ship's outer hull) and internally, exacerbating the already heavy structural damage.

At the onset of the series, Galactica's last operational squadron of Mark VII Vipers participated in the decommissioning ceremony before departing the ship for reassignment. The squadron was redirected to intercept a group of Cylon fighters and was subsequently disabled by the Cylon computer virus and destroyed. The Mark II Vipers meant for Galactica's museum display were pressed into service to defend the ship; these and a small number of Mark VIIs (presumably refugees from other battlestars or spares broken out from storage) comprised the ship's fighter complement until the arrival of the Battlestar Pegasus midway through the second season. Pegasus possessed construction facilities and flight simulators that allowed it to build and train new Mark VII vipers and pilots to strengthen the squadrons of both ships. When Pegasus was destroyed during the liberation of New Caprica, her nearly intact squadrons were transferred to Galactica, giving the latter a full complement of Vipers. By the time of the episode He That Believeth in Me, there were more Vipers available than qualified pilots, and trainees (known as 'nuggets') were pressed into service to defend the fleet. A significant number of pilots participated in the mutiny led by Tom Zarek and Felix Gaeta.[65] The pilots who refused to assist William Adama in retaking the ship were court-martialed and incarcerated aboard the fleet prison vessel. The further reduction in manpower forces Adama to allow Cylon heavy raiders from the renegade basestar to assist in CAP duties alongside Galactica's regular pilots.

Due to the ship's age, battle damage, and subpar materials used in her construction, Galactica eventually begins to show signs of severe metal fatigue. Attempts to seal the ship's multiple stress fractures with the Cylon resin fail, and Adama orders the ship to be abandoned and stripped of weapons and supplies. The discovery of the Cylon colony gives Galactica a brief reprieve, and a skeleton crew embarks on a mission to rescue the Cylon/human child Hera.[66]

The crew of volunteers is supplemented by Cylon centurions from the rebel base ship as well as a small number of civilians including Laura Roslin, Gaius Baltar, and Tory Foster. Samuel Anders, a Cylon left in a vegetative state due to brain damage, is connected to the ship's systems, effectively becoming the battlestar's version of a Cylon hybrid.

Galactica jumps to within point blank firing range of the colony, making it impossible for missiles or nukes to be utilized, and sustains more damage in the exchange of gunfire. Anders successfully disrupts the colony's systems and shuts down their weapons. A squadron of Raptors jumps from Galactica's starboard landing bay, destroying it in the process, and the battlestar is rammed into the colony. Marine and centurion assault teams from the Raptors and from Galactica are successful in rescuing Hera, but a counter-assault by the remaining Cylon forces in the colony results in a standoff. A truce is negotiated, but hostilities resume when the Final Five fail to transmit the plans for Cylon resurrection to the colony. The colony is hit by several nukes accidentally fired from a disabled Raptor, and begins being pulled into a nearby black hole. Kara Thrace jumps Galactica without retracting the landing pods, resulting in severe structure fractures along its length, effectively breaking the ship's back and rendering Galactica incapable of jumping again.

Thrace uses co-ordinates derived from the musical notes of a song that has haunted both her and the Final Five Cylons, resulting in the ship arriving at the planet that will eventually become modern-day Earth. A Raptor is sent to rendezvous with the fleet, and the survivors of the Twelve Colonies settle on the planet along with the remaining Cylon rebels. Galactica and the other ships in the fleet are abandoned. Admiral Adama flies the last Viper off the ship, and the battlestar and its fleet are scuttled by Samuel Anders, who pilots them directly into the Sun.


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Hand of God" (1978 TV series)
  2. ^ "The Living Legend, Part 1;" "Take The 'Celestra'" (1978 TV series)
  3. ^ a b "Take The 'Celestra'" (1978 TV series)
  4. ^ "The Living Legend, Part 1;" "Take The 'Celestra'" (1978 TV series) (dialogue recounts major battles with the Cylons waged by individual fleets)
  5. ^ a b "Experiment in Terra" (1978 TV series)
  6. ^ "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part 2 (1978 TV series)
  7. ^ "The Hand of God" (1978 TV series) (Cylon base ship's raider complement, said to be 300, is also said to outnumber Galactica's Vipers by a two-to-one margin)
  8. ^ a b "Saga of a Star World, Part 1" (1978 TV series)
  9. ^ "The Living Legend, Part 2" (1978 TV series)
  10. ^ "The Living Legend, Part 2" (1978 TV series)
  11. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 3 (1978 TV series)
  12. ^ "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero, Part 1 (1978 TV series)
  13. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 1" (1978 TV series)
  14. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 1;" "Fire in Space" (1978 TV series)
  15. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Parts II and III" (1978 TV series)
  16. ^ "Fire in Space" (1978 TV series)
  17. ^ "The Magnificent Warriors" (1978 TV series)
  18. ^ "Fire in Space" (1978 TV series)
  19. ^ All episodes of the 1978 TV series precede bridge scenes with a zoom into a projection on the foremost ventral portion of Galactica model's hull.
  20. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Parts 1 and 2 (1978 TV series)
  21. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 1" (1978 TV series)
  22. ^ "The Living Legend, Part 1;" "Take The 'Celestra'" (1978 TV series) (dialogue recounts major battles with the Cylons waged by individual fleets)
  23. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 1" (1978 TV series)
  24. ^ "Fire in Space" (1978 TV series) (The shield is apparently strong enough to withstand repeated laser hits from Cylon vessels, and in this episode some "friendly fire"; however while the shield remained intact after being rammed by a Cylon fighter loaded with solonite, a dangerous, high-yield explosive, the impact and ensuing explosion was sufficient to completely shatter the viewport "glass" behind it.)
  25. ^ All episodes of the 1978 series show the bays during landing approaches; Vipers are arrayed on the sides, perpendicular to the battlestar's direction of travel. Most episodes have Viper launch sequences that show, in an angle looking down on a landing bay, the Vipers exiting from its outboard side. Finally, all episodes with live-action sequences in the launching tubes show the doors as described.
  26. ^ "Baltar's Escape" (1978 TV series)
  27. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 1," "Baltar's Escape" (1978 TV series) (Starbuck's crashed fighter when he comes in hot, and the Eastern Alliance cruiser, both shown by FX footage to be in the middle of the bay, are accessible without pressure suits.)
  28. ^ "Fire in Space" (1978 TV series) (The crew is forced to detonate explosive charges on the hull to cut off oxygen to a fire in the landing bay, rather than simply deactivate whatever device keeps the oxygen in the bay.)
  29. ^ "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 1" (1978 TV series)
  30. ^ "Fire in Space" (1978 TV series)
  31. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part II" (1978 TV series)
  32. ^ "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part I" (1978 TV series)
  33. ^ "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part I" (1978 TV series)
  34. ^ "The Man With Nine Lives" (1978 TV series)
  35. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part II" (1978 TV series)
  36. ^ "Baltar's Escape" (1978 TV series)
  37. ^ "Greetings from Earth, Part I" (1978 TV series)
  38. ^ "Murder On The 'Rising Star'" (1978 TV series)
  39. ^ "Murder On The Rising Star" (1978 TV series)
  40. ^ "The Long Patrol" (1978 TV series)
  41. ^ "The Man with Nine Lives" (1978 TV series) (Raw recruits live in quarters identical to those of Viper pilot officers.)
  42. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 3" (1978 TV series)
  43. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 2" (1978 TV series)
  44. ^ "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 1" (1978 TV series)
  45. ^ "The Living Legend, Part 2" (1978 TV series)
  46. ^ Multiple episodes follow stock footage of the trams, carrying warriors, with scenes of the same warriors leaping from the elevator into the landing bay. The same elevator carries Baltar and the Nomen to the bridge deck in "Baltar's Escape" (1978 TV series).
  47. ^ "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 2" (1978 TV series).
  48. ^ "Conquest of the Earth, Part I" (1980 TV series)
  49. ^ "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 1" (1978 TV series).
  50. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 1" (1978 TV series)
  51. ^ "Saga of a Star World, Part 2" (1978 TV series).
  52. ^ "Murder On The 'Rising Star'" (1978 TV series).
  53. ^ "Murder On The 'Rising Star'" (1978 TV series).
  54. ^ "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 1" (1978 TV series)
  55. ^ "Take The 'Celestra'" (1978 TV series).
  56. ^ "Fire in Space" (1978 TV series).
  57. ^ "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part 1" (1978 TV series).
  58. ^ "Fire in Space" (1978 TV series).
  59. ^ "Greetings From Earth, Part 1" (1978 TV series); "The Super Scouts, Part 1" (1980 TV series)
  60. ^ BSG CGI designer Mojo reveals the size of the battlestars
  61. ^ "The Captain's Hand". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series). 
  62. ^ "Bastille Day". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series). 
  63. ^ "Torn". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series). 
  64. ^ "A Measure of Salvation". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series). 
  65. ^ "Blood on the Scales" and Ronald Moore commentary
  66. ^ Daybreak, parts 1 and 2, reimagined series.