• Mattie Stu

How Pilots Travelled Quickly WITHOUT Hyperspace...

So expansive was the galaxy far, far away that the only way to travel from one corner to another was to utilise hyperspace. But surely there were other methods of traversing rather large distances in a relatively short period of time, right? Well, yes! In fact, there was one strategy in particular that was so effective it was often referred to as a 'gravitational slingshot' or a 'swing-by'... Here is a detailed look at gravity assists!

When travelling through planetary systems at sublight speed, pilots often called upon gravity assists as a practical way to conserve energy, fuel expenses and time. By taking advantage of the natural gravitational forces of planets, moons and other celestial bodies, starships could rapidly change their speed and trajectory. This was firstly done by approaching a planet either at its front or at its rear, depending on its orientation to the nearest sun, which altered the acceleration and deceleration of the craft. And secondly, navigational computers which calculated where to enter the planet's orbit, or when to redirect away from its gravitational influence, plotted a precise elliptical path for the pilot to follow.

Gravitational assists were most commonly used for two reasons: decelerating upon arrival into planetary orbit, and decelerating through a planet's atmosphere. However, they could also be used to divert ships into hyperspace portals, providing extra calculations were carried out to ensure they entered at the correct trajectory. It's also worth noting that by combining gravity assists with the gravitational pull of a star greatly magnified the thrusting power of spacecraft. A 'solar slingshot' – as it came to be known – was only ever attempted by the most daring of pilots and desperate of pirates. For one, it required nearly all of the ship's energy to be diverted to its deflector shields. Also, those on board had to be strong enough to withstand extremely high levels of radiation. It truly was not for the faint-hearted...

So there is a detailed look at gravity assists and what exactly they had to offer that hyperspace did not. Let me know in the comments below whether or not you would carry out this method as a pilot in the galaxy far, far away, as well as what ship in particular you would enjoy flying!

Source(s): YT-1300 Corellian Freighter Owner's Workshop Manual

#StarWars #InsideStarWars #Hyperspace #Pilot #Canon #GravitationalAssists #GravitationalSlingshot #Planet #Swingby