The Phantom Zone Projector was the device used to transport criminals into the Phantom Zone. It was located above the planet Krypton, and was composed of three large satellites that transfer a beam to subspace where the Zone is located. It was later turned into a Phantom Drive by General Zod to power the Black Zero across space.
After Zod and his followers were arrested for staging a movement in order to lead Krypton to peace in Zod's image, the Council of Five declared them guilty of treason and sentenced them to 300 years within the Phantom Zone. Zod and his men were synthetically frozen before being sent aboard the Black Zero, which was then taken to Krypton's outer atmosphere, where the Phantom Zone Projector separated into three separate pieces to allow the Black Zero to enter.
When Krypton exploded, the Phantom Zone Projector was affected by the blast, thereby releasing the Black Zero and its occupants. Realizing if they did not act they would die drifting in space, Zod and his followers retrofitted the Phantom Zone Projector into a Phantom Drive for the Black Zero, similar to what Jor-El did for Kal-El's Starcraft.
- In any Superman media, the Phantom Zone projector is shown to be a large, black crystal that wanders around the void of space.