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Tractor beam: Misc


Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

A tractor beam is a beam of energy projected from a vessel or device which can tether and pull another object. The Doctor's TARDIS has had the ability to create a tractor beam. The Doctor used his TARDIS' tractor beam to pull a neutron star away from Chloris, in the process burning out the tractor beam. (DW: The Creature from the Pit) It had been repaired by his tenth incarnation when he appeared to used it to save the Sanctuary Base 6 Rocket from a black hole. (DW: The Satan Pit)

The Daleks used a tractor beam to pull the Doctor's TARDIS on board their ship. (DW: Journey's End)

This article uses material from the "Tractor beam" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Up to date as of February 02, 2010

Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek content.

The USS Melbourne in a Borg tractor beam

A tractor beam is a focused linear graviton beam which can be used by starships and space stations to physically manipulate objects in space.

The use of tractor beams was generally restricted to sublight velocities. However, tractor beams could be safely used to tow objects at warp speed, but only if both vessels were traveling at exactly the same speed. Because of the risk involved when engaging tractor beams at warp, Federation starships restricted it's use. (TNG episodes: "Final Mission", "The Emissary")

However in 2266, the First Federation vessel Fesarius was able to tow the USS Enterprise at high warp for prolonged periods without stressing the hull of the Enterprise. (TOS episode: "The Corbomite Maneuver") In 2374, a Borg cube was able to tow the USS Voyager for some distance while traveling at high-warp velocity. (VOY episode: "Scorpion, Part II")

By the 24th century, most Federation starships were equipped with a tractor beam emitter on the aft ventral hull, as it was the best location for towing objects. Secondary emitters were also placed in other locations. Smaller tractor beams are installed within shuttlebays to assist in docking and landing maneuvers. (TNG episode: "Time Squared")

The USS Defiant uses its modified tractor beam

A carefully modulated tractor beam can be used to affect ship-to-ship weaponry. In 2372, Lieutenant Commander Worf of the USS Defiant suggested using such a beam against a Vor'cha-class attack cruiser. When put into practice his plan was successful, deflecting some of the vessel's disruptor fire and reducing its effectiveness by fifty percent. (DS9 episode: "The Way of the Warrior")

Tractor beams may also be used in pressor mode, to push an object instead of pulling it. The USS Titan used this in an attempt to push an asteroid off of it's course towards the planet Droplet. (TTN novel: Over a Torrent Sea)

See also

  • grappler
  • mooring beam

External Link

This article uses material from the "Tractor beam" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

ST Expanded

Up to date as of February 07, 2010

The Star Trek Expanded Universe Database is for fanon and related content. See for the canon Star Trek wiki.

  1. REDIRECTmemoryalpha:Tractor beam

This article uses material from the "Tractor beam" article on the ST Expanded wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


Up to date as of February 04, 2010

From Wookieepedia, the Star Wars wiki.

A B1 battle droid uses a tractor beam.
"We're caught in a tractor beam! It's pulling us in!"
Han Solo

A tractor beam was a modified force field projected from spaceports, planetary bases and starships to help guide vessels to a safe landing. They could also be used to capture enemy ships. The first Death Star was equipped with 700 tractor beam generators, enabling it to pull ships such as the Millennium Falcon with ease.


Application and use

"They've got a tractor beam on us. I can't break free!"
Kyle Katarn

The most common use for a tractor beam was to help guide spacecraft into a safe landing at spaceports and docking bays, as well as for aid with loading and unloading of cargo. Some ships also had personnel retrieval tractor beams which enabled them to rescue extravehicular pilots.

Warships, such as Star Destroyers, boasted powerful military-grade tractor beam projectors that could capture ships; disabled or not, and drag them into a hangar or hold them in position for boarding.

Technical description

A tractor beam drew upon the inertia of the target as well as the ship from which it emanated. Ships with high inertia, typically meaning high mass, could affect smaller vessels with little strain on their own propulsion. Capital ships could tractor small freighters, for example, but if a freighter attempted to tractor a capital ship, it would actually affect the freighter's trajectory. For two ships of roughly equal size, the attraction was equal, but could be affected by the speed of the ships, which is where momentum plays a role.

Counter measures

There were several novel ways to escape from a tractor beam. Very small craft with powerful engines could out-maneuver tractor beams if the ship's pilot was more cunning than the tractor beam operator or targeting computer.

A Shroud was a counter-measure device fitted to some space vessels. It functioned to confuse and displace the tracking lock of a tractor beam, enabling a ship to escape the hold of the beam.[1]

The tractor beams aboard the Death Star took energy from the main reactor, giving them a constant flow of power and making it impossible for a vessel caught in it to escape. However, if one of the tractor beam's seven links to the reactor was severed, the projectors would be inactive and vessels would be allowed to escape, as Obi-Wan Kenobi discovered.

Tractor beams could also be disrupted by a Stage Three torpedo. These instances, however, were rare in relation to the number of times tractor beams reliably captured small vessels.

Another countermeasure was the covert shroud gambit. While difficult to perform and requiring extensive preparation, the covert shroud was highly effective. It involved using the shell of a larger ship to contain a smaller one, along with a relatively weak self-destruct mechanism. Once the larger ship was caught it a tractor beam, the pilot (and any other crew) would transfer to the smaller ship and activate the self-destruct. This would release the smaller ship and cause the tractor beam to catch the debris of the larger ship. The resulting delay would allow the smaller ship to escape to hyperspace before the tractor beam could be re-targeted.[2].


In 0 BBY, the Death Star's tractor beams captured the Millenium Falcon. This led the the duel between Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi, during which Kenobi was killed.

In 9 ABY Luke Skywalker was almost captured twice by the tractor beams of Grand Admiral Thrawn's flag ship the Chimaera. In the first instance Luke fired a proton torpedo and at the very same instant reversed his sublight engines in an unorthodox manner. This caused the tractor targeting computer to lock onto the torpedo, destroying the tractor beam projector. In the second instance, Luke used a large freighter as a disguise with his X-wing hidden inside. After the freighter was locked by the tractor beam, he destroyed the outer hull of the ship and escaped in the shielded X-wing, while the operator uselessly tried to regain the lock through the debris field of metal.

In orbit around Selonia, Han Solo found himself in a crippled Selonian cone ship with no propulsion, orbit decaying, rapidly descending into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, Leia Organa Solo and Mara Jade in the Jade's Fire looked on helplessly, unable to affect the cone ship's trajectory with a tractor beam because the ships were of roughly equal size and the cone ship was already accelerating toward the planet, thus it had the greater momentum. A tractor beam would only have pulled both vessels to their doom.


Non-canonical appearances

  • LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
  • LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga


See also

Notes and references

This article uses material from the "Tractor beam" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Star Wars Fanon

Up to date as of February 04, 2010

The Star Wars wiki of fan invention.

Tractor beams were a form of technology which allowed larger vessels to capture smaller objects. The Nihr'Vash housed a tractor beam.

This article uses material from the "Tractor beam" article on the Star Wars Fanon wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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