'Star Wars' X-wing fighters claim victory over Death Star on Kic - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

'Star Wars' X-wing fighters claim victory over Death Star on Kickstarter

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(NBC) -- Sorry, "Star Wars" fans: A real-life Death Star and the X-wing fighters to bring it down won't be built anytime soon. First the White House snubbed a petition calling on the government to build the Death Star. Now two Kickstarter projects aimed at building a fully operational battle station as well as an X-wing fleet have fallen far short of their multimillion-dollar funding goals.

That means nobody is out any money, which probably comes as a huge relief to those who pledged their backing to the joke projects.

Both the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance have something to brag about: The Death Star project, associated with Nick Petkovich's Gnut.co.uk in Britain, won pledges from 2,388 backers amounting to £328,613, or just under a half-million dollars. The X-wing fund-raiser, created by Simon Kwan in Shanghai, had fewer backers but raised more money — $721,036, to be exact.

"While we didn't meet meet our funding goal, we soundly beat the amount raised by the Empire for their Death Star!" Kwan wrote. "Take THAT, Dark Side ;-P"

The final tallies when the campaigns concluded on April Fools' Day would send most Kickstarter project creators over the moon, but the way Kickstarter's fund-raising system works, the creators can't cash in on those pledges unless the project goal is met. The goals were set high on purpose — about $30 million for the Death Star, and $11 million for the X-wing fighter fleet — so that backers could get in on the joke while staying off the hook for the money.

Even if they raised $30 million, that sum wouldn't even be enough to buy just the protective covers for a real-life Death Star's thermal exhaust ports, or a single sub-light propulsion thrust engine for an X-wing fighter. In the real world, the cost of building the comparatively puny, 450-ton International Space Station has been estimated at upwards of $100 billion. The estimated development cost for NASA's next-generation launch system is in the neighborhood of $35 billion. And for that price, you don't even get laser cannons.

A while back, college students calculated that it'd cost $852 quadrillion just to buy the steel for an armed and fully operational Death Star. Transterrestrial Musings' Rand Simberg says that estimate is grossly inflated — but in any case, Darth Vader would find the lack of Kickstarter funds disturbing.

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