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Babylon 5 (fictional space station)

Babylon 5 is a fictional space station and the primary setting in the television series Babylon 5. Its design is a variation of an O'Neill cylinder.

Babylon 5
Babylon 5 Space Station.png
The space station as it appears in Babylon 5
First appearanceBabylon 5: The Gathering
Last appearanceSleeping in Light (chronological)
AffiliationEarth Alliance, then independent, then Interstellar Alliance
Combat vehicles48 Starfuries
General characteristics
ClassO'Neill cylinder, one rotating section
ArmamentsTwin Particle Arrays
Particle Laser Cannon
Pulse Cannons
Plasma Cannons
Defenses8 to 12 meter armored hull
Mk.II Defence Interceptors
Maximum speedPlanetary Orbit
PropulsionAxial stabilization thrusters
Power8 Fusion reactors
Mass2.5 million tons
Length5 miles (8.0467 kilometers)
Population volume~250,000in. (under normal conditions)

Babylon 5 was designed as the "last, best hope for peace". It was the last of five stations to be built, with its predecessors either being destroyed by terrorists, or, in the case of Babylon 4, vanishing without a trace. The station is home to 250,000, including about 100,000 humans and 2,000 EarthForce personnel, and includes areas for business, residences and recreation.



Babylon 5 TV seasons and films

In order of series chronology:
2245–48 • In the Beginning (1st film)*
2256 • Babylon 5 station commissioned
2257 • The Gathering (Pilot)
2258 • Signs and Portents (Season 1)
2259 • The Coming of Shadows (Season 2)
2260 • Point of No Return (Season 3)
2261 • No Surrender, No Retreat (Season 4)**
2261 • Thirdspace (2nd film)***
2262 • The Wheel of Fire (Season 5)
2263 • The River of Souls (3rd film)
2265 • The Legend of the Rangers (5th film)
2266 • A Call to Arms (4th film)
2267 • Crusade (spin-off series)
2271 • The Lost Tales: Voices in the Dark
2278 • In the Beginning (1st film)*
2281 • Babylon 5 station decommissioned

* The framing story is set in 2278.
** The final episode of the season includes scenes of future events up to 3262 and beyond.
*** The story is set between the two wars in season 4.
The final episode of the series is set in 2281.

The last of the Babylon stations, Babylon 5 was constructed ten years after the Earth-Minbari War. Its purpose was to "prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully".[1] For this reason, it was situated in politically neutral space: in orbit around Epsilon III. It was a free port for a quarter of a million beings, and was co-funded by the Earth Alliance and Minbari Federation after the crippling financial loss of Babylon 4.


Babylon 5 is organized into six color-coded sectors. The corresponding colors usually appear in hallways.

Blue SectorEdit

Blue Sector contains station administration, docking bays, personnel housing, and the Medlabs. Babylon 5 is controlled from Command and Control, also called C&C, which is at the head of the station. At the center of the head of the station is the access hatch that ships enter through (because of its limited size bigger ships have to park outside the station, relying on shuttle and transfer services instead).

Red SectorEdit

The front part of Red Sector provides habitation facilities, shopping, and other leisure facilities. The following section of Red Sector crosses over into the vast interior of the station's habitat cylinder and is restricted to station and diplomatic personnel and those who live and/or work there. This section of Red Sector features "outdoor" recreation facilities, a lake pool, a baseball diamond, and a variety of buildings, including the station commander's office overlooking the artificial landscape.

Green SectorEdit

Green Sector is the Garden, a 12-square-mile (31 km2) agricultural facility, providing food and oxygen. This section showcases various alien designs and is the sector that contains habitation facilities for the alien ambassadors. Access to Green Sector is restricted to diplomatic staff and authorized guests and personnel.

Grey SectorEdit

Grey Sector houses various mechanical devices to support the station's functionality.

Yellow SectorEdit

The station's fusion reactor and fuel tanks.

Brown SectorEdit

Brown Sector is primarily used by the transient population of Babylon 5 for habitation and commerce. It contains the facilities for manufacturing, maintenance, and waste reclamation for the station.


Downbelow, located in brown sector, is a term used in Babylon 5 to refer to the unused sections of the Babylon 5 station, mostly nearest the hull, occupied by its equivalent of the homeless or dispossessed residents, commonly called Lurkers. Downbelow contains the station's slums and brothels. Commerce runs primarily on barter. As Earth Alliance contractors ran out of money, the Downbelow area was not fully developed, resulting in its utilization by businesses of a disreputable nature.

When people searching for a better life came aboard Babylon 5 and were unable to find it, they would assemble in Downbelow after running out of money. With no means of getting home, the denizens of Downbelow became a cheap labor force for illegal business operations, such as the trafficking of dust, an illegal drug.

Downbelow is a center of criminal activity on Babylon 5, though by no means is crime confined to that area. It is estimated that Downbelow accounts for nine-tenths of the station's crime. Most inhabitants in Downbelow die unknown and unremembered, trapped on the station for various reasons. The sector is mostly inhabited by humans, although a percentage of inhabitants include non-human species, such as Drazi, Brakiri, and Pak'ma'ra.

Institutions and governmentEdit

Much of the station is an Earth Alliance (and later, Interstellar Alliance) military installation, and as such those sections are under the direct control of the military commandant of Babylon 5, who is usually an EarthForce officer of command rank. During the Earth Alliance era, Earth security forces also served as police; upon Babylon 5's declaration of independence in season three, these became Babylon 5 security forces and ceased to wear EarthForce uniforms. Later, their duties were taken over by Interstellar Alliance forces. That said, much of the affairs of the station were governed by the Babylon 5 Council as well as other institutions.

The known commanders of the station during the series run are:

  • 2257-2258:
  • 2259-2261:
    • Captain John Sheridan, commanding officer
    • Commander Susan Ivanova, first officer
  • 2262-unknown:
    • Captain Elizabeth Lochley, commanding officer
    • It is unknown who Lochley's XO (executive officer) actually was, although Lieutenant David Corwin appeared to fill this role in Season 5, set in 2262
  • 2272:
    • Colonel Elizabeth Lochley, commanding officer
  • 2281:

The Babylon 5 Council was set up along with the station, and consists of the station commander (who is ex officio Chairman of the Council and representative of the Earth Alliance) and the ambassadors of the four other Great Powers:

The Vorlon seat was removed upon their departure from the galaxy. When Babylon 5 declared independence, the station commandant continued to sit on the Council, representing humanity in general rather than the Earth Alliance in particular. The Babylon 5 Assembly includes the whole Council and adds a single collective vote to the League of Non-Aligned Worlds. The Council and Assembly concern themselves both with matters of station operation and of interstellar diplomacy.

Upon the dissolution of the League and the establishment of the Interstellar Alliance, the Council's structure changed somewhat, but not significantly.

This setup appears inspired by the United Nations and its Security Council.


Upon its commissioning, Babylon 5 contained three Starfury squadrons. A fourth was added when President Santiago made his visit to the station in 2258. These are launched vertically, making use of the centrifugal effect caused by the revolving of the station. The station also had its own defensive grid system and was mainly capable of taking down enemy fighters and smaller capital ships. When Raiders, who were an organized group of pirates, attacked the station in 2258, these turrets were used to back up the Starfury squadrons.

In 2259 following the arrival of EarthForce marines, the station's defensive grid received an upgrade, giving the station the capability of taking on a capital ship, though the new commander, Captain John Sheridan, was reluctant to use it. The strength of the new defensive grid was shown in the final episode of the second season when the captain launched the whole defensive grid onto a Centauri Primus class battlecruiser and destroyed it, after the station suffered damage in the unprovoked attack.[2]

The real test came in 2260 when President Morgan Clark ordered Babylon 5 seized before the station could declare independence. A fleet of EarthForce ships attacked the station and two other EarthForce ships that were present and aiding Babylon 5 at the time, the EAS Alexander and the EAS Churchill. The EAS Agrippa was the victim of the new defensive grid as the station, with some help from the Alexander, completely destroyed the Agrippa after it took five direct hits from the station.


  1. ^ Voice over by Jeffrey Sinclair — all season 1 episodes.
  2. ^ "The Fall of Night". Babylon 5.

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