Star Wars

Building A Millennium Falcon: How To Really Do It by: GF Willmetts (article)


The Millennium Falcon wasn’t exactly new when Lando Calrissian owned it before losing it in a game of sabacc to Han Solo. It was a pile of junk brought through several centuries by many owners which I’m sure Calrissian was glad that was the only thing he had to part with as he sought a more expensive life style. To think you could make a new Falcon when the original was so depilated and made of spare parts that mostly works by a thump to a bulkhead tells its own story. Why would anyone want to build such an unreliable junk heap of a starship like that when you could make something new with fewer problems? I mean, what are you planning to do with it?

Get involved in a galactic civil war? You would be better off building a basic model and get the various needed upgrade components once you embark on your smuggling career…er…lounging around in seedy bars waiting for a better job offer. Although I do not condone smuggling, out in big wide galaxy, one planet’s forbidden products are wildly appreciated by another planet’s natives and make a lot more money than conventional cargo. The original model, the YT-1300 492727ZED, was a very light freighter compared to the armed version Solo flew. The estimates of making a similar starship on Earth and not on a galaxy far, far away, is that we barely have enough high-technology to get a manned spacecraft to the Moon let alone another star system.

It wouldn’t be a question of money but time which would end up being several generations. Even if this was possible, there is nothing in these estimates for a book of hyperspace co-ordinates to jump to different star systems. Such a guide is needed to ensure not only the right distance but the right time as well. This is the secret of Captain Solo’s assertion of taking twelve parsecs to do the Kessel Run and the needed time co-ordinate so he arrived relatively quickly. No sense arriving when a planet’s inhabitants haven’t evolved to space technology yet or in Solo’s assertion getting there briefly.

The estimated costs therefore in this case are far too low for what is really needed, although the spin-offs into other technology would get more than the costs spent back. One only has to look at the spin-offs from the Apollo space programme to see how that has changed the world. Your computer is one of its many bi-products. Imagine the spin-offs from any of this hyperspace technology. There is an easier way to build the Falcon and that is to do it as Solo and his predecessors did it and that’s ad hoc and replace only when needed or when something is available on the cheap. Check out the local junkyards and see what’s there. You never know your luck, you might well find a disused hyperdrive engine. Does it really matter who made it, as long as it can be repaired and flown?

I would certainly save a lot of money by not building armaments into the spaceship, at least without knowing who or what is out there first. You can plead ignorance of local laws on an alien planet but hardly when loaded with weapons and making a nuisance of yourself. Get out to the other inhabited star systems and then start negotiating for the parts that are really needed, even fifteenth hand or appendage, rather than spend a couple centuries trying to scratch-build on Earth. Chances are many of them can be found in their own junkyards and build up the starship in a similar way. As long as the right bargaining chips are brought, this could bring the price right down although at the top of the list would be a translator or you don’t know quite what you’d be buying.

Doing the estimates of such a cost now is problematic simply because who knows what is out there and whether they will sell to primitives. Some alien species will sell to anyone. However, one alien’s junk is a human’s goldmine. By trading, one should be able to get all the parts required at bargain prices but be careful of infringing any laws, especially relating to drugs. Oh and don’t forget the difference between light years and distance or you might never get home. Some people can really get them muddled.

© GF Willmetts 2015

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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