Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
The Death Star (I & II)
First seen in: Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
The idea was so nice, the Empire went and did it twice!
Please excuse my lame rhyming but you get the point. The Empire twice went to the well of constructing spherical, massive, moon-sized space stations – armed with super lasers capable of destroying entire planets – in order to simultaneously destroy and incite fear in anyone audacious enough to oppose them.
By the order of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin, the devastating firepower of the original Death Star (DS-1 Orbital Battle Station) was used to destroy Princess Leia’s homeworld of Alderaan before itself being destroyed as a result of the Rebels taking advantage of and exploiting its Achilles heel (an exposed thermal exhaust port accessible via the battle station’s meridian trench).
The construction of the first Death Star wasn’t really touched on in the Original Trilogy but the standalone film, Rogue One, truly gives the epic battle station the backstory it deserves.
The second Death Star (Death Star MK.2) was actually larger and more powerful than its predecessor. The physical construction of its outer body was purposefully left incomplete (in order to trick the Rebels) though its weapons systems were fully operational. Its lasers were used to destroy a few command ships within the Rebel fleet during the Battle of Endor.
Eventually though, during that same battle, the Death Star II was also destroyed in a raid led by General Lando Calrissian.