Star Wars: How Does Hyperspace Work, Exactly?

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - The Rebel Fleet Enters Hyperspace
Credit: Disney

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - The Rebel Fleet Enters Hyperspace
Credit: Disney

You love watching it – individual white dots of distant stars stretching into straight lines as a spaceship goes into hyperspace. But in the universe of Star Wars, how does hyperspace work, exactly?

In this article, we will go into extreme ends, even make the Kessel Run, to explain what hyperspace is and how hyperspace travel is done in Star Wars.

Punch it, Chewie!

What Is Star Wars’ Hyperspace?

Star Wars space ships
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Credit: Disney

In the broad mythology of Star Wars, powerful ships are capable of going into hyperspace to get from one point of the galaxy to another in a matter of minutes or hours.

You’ve no doubt heard a number of characters make a reference about reaching lightspeed, which basically means the same thing as hyperspace travel.

But what exactly is hyperspace? And how do you navigate it?

According to the Star Wars official website, hyperspace is a specific dimension of space that can bypass the usual speed limitations.

When pilots access this space, they need to go into lightspeed or even beyond it. Entering hyperspace allows them to reach other solar systems or planets light years away in an instant.

Of course, to get into hyperspace, you need to equip your ship with a hyperdrive.

Star Wars Millennium Falcon
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Credit: Disney

Whereas modern aircrafts use a jet engine to break the sound barrier, Star Wars’ ships utilize a hyperdrive engine to go past the lightspeed barrier and enter hyperspace.

A hyperdrive takes full advantage of hypermatter articles to propel a ship into hyperspace. These particles are important because they keep the ship’s mass and energy profile intact while inside hyperspace.

If a hyperdrive engine fails while in transit, the ship will instantly exit hyperspace and be brought back to realspace (regular space bound by normal laws of physics).

How Fast Is Star Wars' Hyperspace?

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi - The Rebel Fleet Enters Hyperspace
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Credit: Disney

Okay, let’s crunch some numbers.

First of all, you’ll need to reach lightspeed to enter hyperspace. The speed of light is 1,080,000,000 kilometers per hour or about 671,000,000 miles per hour.

Once you’re in hyperspace, you can reach other areas of the galaxy within hours or days. But a lot would depend on how powerful your ship’s hyperdrive is.

Civilian ships typically have the slowest (but still quite fast) hyperdrives in Star Wars mythology.

Much faster are military or government ships like X-wing fighters or Imperial Star Destroyers.

The Millennium Falcon, famously piloted by one scruffy-looking nerf herder and his trusty Wookiee, has a hyperdrive that’s been upgraded and customized.

No wonder it is considered one of the fastest in the galaxy, provided its hyperdrive doesn’t malfunction.

Check out Hyperspace in action in this clip:

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