The Hoersch-Kessel ion drive was a popular sublight drive developed and manufactured by Hoersch-Kessel Drive, Inc.. The design was introduced to the galaxy thousands of years before the Galactic Civil War by alien merchants. The design was prevalent throughout the Galactic Empire, and most starshipwrights included Hoersch-Kessel-style motors into their products.
The drive created a fusion reaction that broke down the fuel into charged particles known as ions to drive starships through realspace. The energy generated by the reaction created thrust which propelled the ship. Directional movement was attained by the use of baffles or vectrals, or by smaller lateral thrusters on smaller vessels.
The Hoersch-Kessel could operate on virtually any type of fuel; while uranium or similar heavy metals were preferred, the drive could be easily modified to accept liquid reactants, energy conversion cells, or ion-collector pods as a replacement fuel source. The design was also highly adaptable, being able to be scaled down to fit in a starfighter, or enlarged to work on a capital ship. The design's common nature meant that repairing the drive was easy, as most technicians were intimately familiar with the workings of a Hoersch-Kessel ion drive. Replacement parts were also commonly stocked throughout the galaxy, although the drive featured few moving parts. Maintenance of the Hoersch-Kessel was essential, as the engine intake and firing cells were required to be in precise alignment, and the unit had to be tuned up regularly.
The exhaust from the Hoersch-Kessel was hot and slightly radioactive, but was safe to use within the atmosphere of an inhabited planet. The emissions were shielded using collector coils which were routinely scrubbed and replaced during maintenance. Maintenance personnel carrying out works on a Hoersch-Kessel usually wore radiation-proof garments and took regular anti-radiation inoculations.
Behind the scenesEdit
In 1987's The Star Wars Sourcebook by West End Games, it was stated that use of a Hoersch-Kessel ion drive in the atmosphere of an inhabited planet was illegal due to the radioactive nature of the exhaust. When the book was reprinted in 1994, updated for the Second Edition rules, this fact was removed from the description of the Hoersch-Kessel, and it was explicitly stated that the drive was safe to use in an atmosphere.
- The Star Wars Sourcebook
- Heir to the Empire Sourcebook
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition
- Galaxy Guide 7: Mos Eisley
- Star Wars Sourcebook, Second Edition
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia