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'Star Wars' Science: Risk Analysis Gone Wrong

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'Star Wars' Science: Risk Analysis Gone Wrong

Dec. 15, 2015
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UA space systems engineer Roberto Furfaro examines the Death Star and points out the key design flaws that spelled the fictional spacecraft's doom.

As the world awaited the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Roberto Furfaro, UA associate professor of systems and industrial engineering and director of the Space Systems Engineering Lab, explained some of the problems with the fictitious Death Star design.

In real life, a good space engineer would do a thermal analysis, starting by studying the mission, said Furfaro, a systems engineer on NASA’s New Frontiers mission, OSIRIS-REx.

From a defense perspective, the Death Star is flawed. The thermal exhaust ports are a weak point, and so they were exploited.”