Bases & Space Stations
Death Star Prototype
The prototype Death Star was built at the Maw Installation before the construction of the first Death Star battle station at Despayre, a planet in the Horuz system. Many of the original Death Star’s systems were conceived and designed by famed starship engineer Bevel Lemelisk and others who worked at the Maw Installation. Under the direction of Tol Sivron, the Twi’lek chief scientist, the installation’s specialists built a limited prototype specifically to see if an operational planet-destroying superlaser could be created.
Initial construction efforts were a success, and soon Lemelisk and Tarkin were headed to Despayre for the construction of a full Death Star. The Maw Installation…and the prototype Death Star…were left behind and forgotten.
The prototype was never fully completed; its mission had been fulfilled, and it was simply anchored above the Maw Installation planetoids. The construct had an open frame with support beams forming a giant globe 120 kilometers in diameter. The only visible components inside the frame were the giant reactor core, a few engines for sublight movement, and the prototype superlaser itself.
The prototype superlaser had several disadvantages compared with the working model of the first Death Star. For example, the firepower was "only" sufficient to destroy the core of a planet: while the planet would inevitably be rendered uninhabitable, the weapon did not completely vaporize the victim world. The targeting system was never perfected, plus the superlaser was also incredibly wasteful of power and the weapon’s storage batteries took several hours to recharge fully. While the weapon could be fired at reduced power, the superlaser’s destructive ability was reduced significantly.
The prototype Death Star was never intended to be a practical weapon of war, so there was no need to install the maintenance and repair machinery, the immense computer core, or the hyperdrive engines that took up a huge amount of space in the actual Death Star space station. Instead, the prototype had only a small command cabin with slave-rigged computer systems to control the superlaser and drive units. This computer system minimized personnel requirements, but such linked computer systems are prone to failure without constant maintenance and are not practical for military starships.
The prototype was activated by Tol Sivron after the Maw Installation was attacked by a New Republic task force. The space station was finally destroyed when Kyp Durron, piloting the Sun Crusher, lured the prototype Death Star into one of the Maw’s black holes, where it was crushed by incredible gravitational forces.