Delta-7 Jedi Starfighter
From the nimble X-wing starfighters to the behemoth Death Star, there are a lot of great spaceships in the "Star Wars" universe. In honor of Star Wars Day (May the 4th), here's a list of Space.com's favorite ships from the "Star Wars" movies. (There are many other ships to consider from the "Star Wars" TV shows, books, comics and video games, but for the sake of brevity we've limited our list to ships that appear in the films.)
Shown here, a Delta-7 Jedi starfighter, flown by a young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
#17: Y-wing starfighter
Not nearly as sleek as the X-wing starfighters and lacking the smart design of the B-wings, the Y-wing ship remains an important part of the Rebel Alliance fleet. The ship predates the X-wing (in the Star Wars universe), but the well-armored ships were still part of the Gold Squadron, the first ships to attempt to destroy the Death Star by hitting the weak spot in its exhaust port. You've got to give credit to these old workhorses for jumping headfirst into the fray. The ship appeared in "Star Wars: Episode— IV A New Hope," "Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back" and "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi." Most recently, it appeared in 2016's "Rogue One."
#16: B-wing fighter
Used extensively by the Rebel Alliance in "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi," the B-wing (or Blade wing) isn't as maneuverable as the more recognizable Rebel ship, the X-wing. However, the B-wing's long central body is equipped with a heavy-weapons pod at one end and a massive engine at the center, providing more firepower than some of the more agile Rebel ships. This ship gets points for creative engineering.
#14: Naboo N-1 starfighter
One of the more artfully designed ships in the "Star Wars" universe, these starfighters were part of the fleet protecting the lush planet of Naboo. The ships appeared in "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones," "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace" and "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," as well as the special edition version of "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi."
#15: Jedi starfighters
The Delta 7 starfighter was built specifically for use by the Jedi Order, and is thus also known as the Jedi starfighter. Obi-Wan Kenobi piloted one of these red-and-white ships, which have the sleek, simple shape of an arrowhead. Another Jedi starfighter, known as the Eta-2, (shown here in a clip from the animated show "Star Wars Rebels") appeared later, and has a slightly different design than the classic Delta 7. Both versions of the Jedi starfighter appear in "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith," and the original Delta 7 also appeared in "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones" and "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith."
#13: Tantive IV
This unassuming space cruiser is a favorite because it’s part of the famous opening shot and the setting of one of the most dramatic scenes from "Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope": After the Rebel Alliance has stolen design plans for the Death Star, Darth Vader and Empire stormtroopers board the Tantive IV, killing many of the Rebels and seizing Princess Leia Organa, who supposedly has the plans. But she's already sent them to Obi-Wan Kenobi, in the hands of two droids. Thus begins the story that launched the "Star Wars" franchise. The ship has also appeared in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," "Star Wars Rebels" and "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."
#12: Count Dooku's Solar Sailer
The gorgeous solar sailer used by Count Dooku in "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones," and "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" was a modified version of a Punworcca 116-class interstellar swoop, according to Wookiepeedia. In the real world, engineers have proposed designs for solar sails that use solar power to propel spacecraft around the universe. The real-world designs look somewhat related to Dooku's ship, so maybe that's why I'm partial to this particular ship.
#11: The Ghost
This manta-ray-shaped ship had a prominent role in "Star Wars Rebels," but it makes our list because of a few brief cameos on "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." The ship is "named for its ability to travel past Imperial sensors without detection," according to StarWars.com.
#9: Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle
Talk about an entrance. Kylo Ren's shuttle is first seen onscreen in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," slowly descending to Earth amid the fiery, bloody chaos of a Jakku village massacre carried out by the First Order. The ship's two side wings slowly rise from a flight position into a landing position, like a graceful bird of prey coming to rest. This ship is an Upsilon-class shuttle that appeared in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." It is more nimble than the Delta-class T-3c shuttle, which has a pyramid-shaped central body and appeared in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."
#10: Hammerhead Corvette
The importance of having a variety of ship designs within a single military fleet was displayed beautifully by the Hammerhead Corvettes in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." Armed with powerful engines and an extremely durable body, the ships acted like battering rams in the Battle of Scarif, sending an entire Star Destroyer crashing into a shield generator above the planet. The ships have also appeared in "Star Wars Rebels."
#8: Imperial Star Destroyer and Super Star Destroyer
While there are distinct differences between these two wedge-shaped Imperial ships, we grouped them into a single category. These powerhouses took design cues from WWII battleships, and served as the mobile headquarters of the Empire throughout much of the original trilogy. It was an Imperial Star Destroyer that helped set the tone of the franchise during the opening scene of "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope." The audience sees the massive ship enter at the top of the frame, stretching out like a storm cloud overhead, chasing a comparatively puny Rebel Alliance ship. That scene, illustrating the overbearing reach of the Empire and the underdog status of the Rebels, is a masterful (and now iconic) example of visual storytelling. These ships have also appeared in "Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back," "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi," and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."
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Calla Cofield joined Space.com's crew in October 2014. She enjoys writing about black holes, exploding stars, ripples in space-time, science in comic books, and all the mysteries of the cosmos. Prior to joining Space.com Calla worked as a freelance writer, with her work appearing in APS News, Symmetry magazine, Scientific American, Nature News, Physics World, and others. From 2010 to 2014 she was a producer for The Physics Central Podcast. Previously, Calla worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (hands down the best office building ever) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Calla studied physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is originally from Sandy, Utah. In 2018, Calla left Space.com to join NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory media team where she oversees astronomy, physics, exoplanets and the Cold Atom Lab mission. She has been underground at three of the largest particle accelerators in the world and would really like to know what the heck dark matter is. Contact Calla via: E-Mail – Twitter