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Spaceship design inspired by NASA “Space 1999”

If you haven’t seen “Space 1999”, we recommend that you watch it before reading further. For those of you already there, let’s explore the reasons behind some of its spaceship designs.


How is a spaceship designed?

Before we start trying to give a brief overview of this giant subject, it will be very helpful if you really define what the term “spaceships” really means.

According to NASA, a spacecraft is “a vehicle or device designed to travel or operate outside of the Earth’s atmosphere”.

This can include anything from manned or unmanned ships, to Space Shuttle, to nano satellites.

spacecraft 1<div class="e3lan e3lan-in-post1"></div>999
Artist’s impression of “Starship” by SpaceX. Source: SpaceX

The design of a spacecraft that was guided by the ship’s intended purpose was built. For example, will spacecraft go to low Earth or Moon orbit? How will it get there? By its own power or by carrying a rocket-like launch vehicle? When in space, how will it be powered? If so, how many people will it carry, and for how long? Will it be outside of Earth’s atmosphere for a long time? How much will it carry and what payload? What scientific tools will it need?

1999 space station
Source: NASA

These are just a few of the key questions that will affect the design of a spacecraft. Typically, however, most spacecraft designs will have a few major subsystems that need to be considered.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Superstructure
  • Control system
  • Remote measuring, monitoring and command system
  • Communication systems
  • Life support system
  • Energy systems
  • Heat control
  • Thrust

Once a mission plan is in place and goals are in place, engineers from a variety of disciplines will start working to ensure work can meet the plan’s requirements.

This will include considerations for:

  • Astronaut
  • Aerodynamics (if relevant)
  • System engineering
  • Communication engineering
  • Computer engineering
  • Software technology
  • Electrical engineering
  • Control theory
  • Heat engineering
  • Pushing techniques
  • Mechanical Engineer

For example.

Space rocket 1999
Source: Grizzzley / Flickr

Since spacecraft types and designs are so different, it is not possible to give a general explanation for how they were all designed. That said, here is an overview of Northrop Grumman’s satellite design.

What are the different types of spaceships?

As you may have noticed, there are quite a few different types of spaceships.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Crew – Also known as a space plane, like the now retired Space Shuttle.
  • Spaceship for sale crew Includes things like space stations or space station parts (aka. Modules)
  • Flyby spaceship These ships provide the early reconnaissance phase of the discovery of the solar system. Examples include the Mariner and Pioneer quests.
  • Orbital spaceship These spacecraft are designed to travel to a distant planet and go into a stable orbit around it. Examples include Mars Global Surveyor, Magellan Venus Orbiter, etc.
  • Atmospheric spaceships These spacecraft are designed for relatively short “suicide” missions into the atmospheres of distant planets. Examples include the Gallileo Atmospheric Probe Vessels and Pioneer 13.
1999 space station
Source: NASA
  • Landing spacecraft – As the name suggests, these spacecraft are specifically designed to actually land on distant planets and moons, etc. Examples include the Mars Viking Lander and Surveyor Moon Lander.
  • Rover spaceship Usually powered by electricity, these spaceships are designed to land and explore distant worlds. Examples include Mars Rover.
  • Spaceship Penetrator These crafts are designed to enter the surface of a body, like a comet, and last long enough to take measurements and send data back to Earth. Examples include the profound impact Mission.
  • Spaceship observatory – These crafts are designed to observe worlds and distant celestial bodies from the safety of Earth orbit. Examples include the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
  • Contact spacecraft By far the most popular spacecraft include Earth orbit satellites.

There are also a number of spacecraft that have been canceled and are in development. Some of the most notable cancellations included multilayer spacecraft such as the Soviet Spiral Shuttle or ESA’s Space Shuttle Hermes.

1999 space rovers
Artist’s impression of Perseverance of the NASA Mars Rover. Source: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Notable spacecraft during development include the Dream Chaser of Sierra Nevada Corp. (an orbiting spacecraft), New Shepard of Blue Origin and Starship of SpaceX.

What is “Space 1999”?

If you have never heard of “Space 1999”, or plan to watch it, you will enjoy. It’s a British sci-fi series created in the 1970s by the great Gerry and Sylvia Anderson (famous for the Thunderbirds).

Based on the success of their puppet-based creations of the 1960s, “Space 1999” featured real-life actors and various models and props to create a TV series. Immersive sci-fi and radical entertainment.

space 1999 series
Still from “Space 1999” “The Full Circle”. Source: Paul Carsola / Flickr

It was first broadcast in 1975 and included guest stars like Christopher Lee, Joan Collins, Peter Cushing, Ian McShane, Leo McKern, Patrick Troughton, and, believe it or not, Brian Bless.

The series follows the trials and arduous difficulties of the crew “Moonbase Alpha” after a massive nuclear explosion throws the Moon out of Earth’s orbit and into deep space. It received mixed reviews from critics and spectators, and only ran for two seasons before being canceled.

There are currently rumors about a reboot of the series in the not too distant future titled “Space 2099”, but production has not yet begun.

How did the “Space 1999” spaceship designs stand with the real spacecraft?

The TV series “Space 1999” featured many iconic designs for spaceships. But while the series is purely fictional, some real-world considerations have been incorporated into their design.

The most famous spacecraft, “The Eagle Transporter”, for example, can pass by like a real spaceship today. And for good reason.

The model was designed by Brian Johnson, who served as a special effects supervisor on the set of “Space 1999”. In an interview with Den of Geek in 2009, Gerry Anderson explained how design came into being.

space eagle 1999
Model “The Eagle Carrier” from “Space 1999”. Source: Phil Parker / Flickr

I talked to Brian and told him how I saw it, and he left and he came back with something completely different, not like rockets or cars. , car or whatever, “Anderson explained.

“Because it’s designed for space travel, it doesn’t need to be aerodynamic, and therefore there is no point in carrying all of the extra weight of the fuselage.”

This spaceship certainly looks plausible, and it is very popular among fans of the series. In fact, according to Gerry Anderson, this toy model is selling very well.

Many of the other crafts in the series are also inspired by real-life spaceships. The series was made at a time when the Apollo program was still a very recent event.

For this reason, you can see the influence of NASA’s technical designs in the 1960s and 1970s incorporated into some of the “Space 1999” work.

space interceptor 1999
“Moonbase Interceptors”. Source: The Gerry Anderson’s official website

Another iconic spaceship in the series is “Moon Mobile”. A cross between tanks and trucks, these are the main water vehicles for the crew of “Moonbase Alpha”.

Designed by Mike Trim, these cars are partially designed from his previous work on other Gerry Anderson products and hinted at their abilities from the script.

When I came to design UFOs Cell phones, the scripts say they are very small and are monitored and I remember Joe 90 Trim said in an interview.

“I know they were supposed to be wading and can drive on any kind of terrain. I remember Derek had a metallic blue car at the time and it was very light blue and it had looks that match the color of the Mobile Phone. “

Trim is also responsible for another spacecraft design called “Moonbase Interceptor”. Also known as SHADO Interceptor, they are believed to be the primary defense system for “Moonbase Alpha”.

space ship 1999 another
Source: Phil Parker / Flickr

According to the series, each is a small, single-seater spacecraft that cannot enter Earth’s atmosphere, even though there appears to be a tail plane. Interceptor missiles are also equipped with self-destructing nuclear missiles.

Many other spacecraft, in addition to alien ships, have followed a similar design concept to the ships mentioned. Partly inspired by NASA, and partly due to the needs of the plot in the series, their design process somewhat resembles real-day spacecraft.

Of course, designers are only really concerned with their physical appearance and don’t need to care about the intricacies of their multiple subsystems or having any of them actually working.

If we piqued your interest in the classic sci-fi series “Space 1999”, you can check it out at Amazon or buy yourself a DVD set.

Who knows, could it become your next favorite TV series of all time?


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