UFO and Space: 1999/Spacecraft

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Several spacecraft are featured in UFO and Space: 1999.

Spacecraft in UFO[edit]

Real life spacecraft[edit]

Voskhod spacecraft[edit]

Misidentified by an IAC spacecraft pilot as the "Vostock 2" spacecraft, a section of the Voshkod 2 spacecraft appears and is destroyed in the episode "Conflict".

Saturn V and Apollo[edit]

UFOs[edit]

Standard UFO[edit]

The standard directed-equipped flying saucer-shaped unidentified flying object is seen in all episode except "Court Martial" (as the episode is about an internal SHADO problem), "Confetti Check A-OK" (as almost the entire episode is a flashback about Straker's life) and "Sub-Smash" (as this episode features the submarine UFO).

Standard UFOs usually carry one or two aliens to Earth and, eventually (if SHADO doesn't interferes with their mission), return them to their planet (probably located in the Alpha Centauri star system) in a brief time, because if they stay for too much time in contact with Earth's atmosphere, they probably explode.

In the episode "A Question of Priorities" is featured a small escape pod, launched by the defector's UFO to safely land in Ireland.

Limpet UFO[edit]

This UFO appears in "Conflict", as it is hidden in the wreck of the Apollo 8 S-IVB(Saturn V third stage)/SLA (Spacecraft Lunar Module Adapter, a section that usually detached from the S-IVB shortly after the detonation of four explosive charges, but in this episode it is still there) section.

The Limpet UFO is projected to hijack and destroy SHADO's Lunar modules.

Submarine UFO[edit]

In the episode "Sub-Smash", a special UFO capable of underwater sailing attacks a ship and SHADO's Skydiver One submarine-airplane hybrid.

SHADO spacecraft[edit]

SHADO Interceptors[edit]

Also known as "Moonbase Interceptors", they are the primary defence system used by SHADO if an UFO enters the Earth system.

They are small one-seater spacecraft that cannot enter Earth's atmosphere for unknown reasons (but they have got an airplane tail), equipped with a selfdestroying nuclear missile.

Lunar modules[edit]

SHADO's Lunar modules are big VTVL (vertical takeoff, vertical landing; a term used in rocketry and astronautics) spacecraft launched from a VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing, a term used in aeronautics) Lunar Carrier aircraft to land on the launch pad of the SHADO Moonbase.

They can dock and dedock with the Lunar Carrier by attaching to its tail.

B-142 space probe[edit]

A modified NASA satellite/orbiter which is equipped by SHADO with an "electronic telescope" to discover and observe the aliens's homeworld in "Close-Up".

Funeral drone[edit]

A small rocket used during the funeral of Steve Maddox (who, in the original script "Zero Gravity", would be the Commander of Moonbase Alpha) in "Conflict".

Space Dumper[edit]

The Space Sumper is a small two-stage lander that can used to launch objects into space rapidly and without a launch complex, such as the one used to destroy the alien bomb in "The Long Sleep".

Spacecraft in Space: 1999[edit]

Terrestrial, Alphan and Thulian spacecraft[edit]

Saturn V, Apollo and Skylab[edit]

Several images and models of the U.S. Saturn V launch vehicle, Apollo spacecraft and Skylab space station are featured in the Year One episode "End of Eternity" and in the compilation movie Alien Attack (1979).

Eagle Transporter[edit]

The Eagle Transporter (better known as "Eagle") is the primary transport, reconnaissance and defence spacecraft of Moonbase Alpha. According to The Moonbase Alpha Technical Notebook, the Eagle's predecessor was the Space Shuttle Falcon (represented in the add-ons of the 2000 Orbiter spaceflight simulator as a sort of Eagle prototype), launched as the Space Dock's auxiliary craft, and, according to the Year One epidsode "Space Brain", Eagles with a standard passenger module have a combined mass of 328 tons. The Eagle Transporters (desgned by Martin Bower), which were influenced by the Space Odyssey franchise and influenced the Star Wars one, were build in many models of four different scales: three 44 inches (111.76 centimeters) models (nicknamed "Eagle 1", "Eagle 2" and "Eagle 3" by fans), two 22 inches (55.88) models, two 11 inches (27.94) models and a 5 inches (12.7) model. An unpainted Airfix Eagle model kit is also featured in the compilation movie Alien Attack (1979).

During filming, inside the 44 inches Eagles's command modules, there were one or two repainted 1:24 astronauts from Revell's 1966 Gemini capsule prototype model kit, which is the most used source of model parts present in the series.

Eagles are made of at least seven parts:

  • one detachable command module/lifeboat (we can see it detaching from the rest of the Eagle in the Year One episodes "Missing Link" and "Dragon's Domain")
  • one service module formed by
    • a metallic skeleton with, on the front side, a short access corridor where the command module's and the pod's hatchs dock;
    • four landing pods with a ladder and four auxiliary rockets;
    • an interchangeable pod consisting in an habitable zone and four hovering/landing rocket nozzles;
    • an eventual rocket engine with two horizontal nozzles that can be docked to the upper side of the service module to give it more speed if the Eagle has a booster pod docked or four vertical rocket engines docked to the transporter pod, as seen in the Year Two episode "New Adam New Eve".

There are six types of pods:

Transporter pod/passenger module

Designed for its first appearance in the Year One episode "Breakaway"'s scene with Koenig arriving at Alpha (which is clearly inspired by the scenes with Heywood R. Floyd on an Orion III spaceplane in 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968), the transporter pod is the most seen in the series: it has got seats for the crew, a computer, equipment and, sometimes, a moon buggy.

Rescue pod

Usually docked to Eagle 4, the rescue pod is a red-striped transporter pod equipped with many medical and rescue devices which first appear inthe Year One episode "Earthbound".

V.I.P. pod

An orange pod, identified as the V.I.P. (Very Important Person) pod, is seen docked to Eagle 1 ("Simmonds' shuttle") in "Breakaway".

Pallet pod

The pallet pod is seen in "Breakaway", "Black Sun" and "Guardian of Piri". It is designed to transport nuclear waste canisters in Nuclear Disposeal Area 2, on the Moon. The cargo pod is a modified version of this one.

Cargo pod

The cargo pod is a modified version of the pallet pod. It is usually equipped with a magnetic grab ("Breakaway", "Missing Link") or a mechanical grab ("Space Brain"). It has got four ladders that can be used if the Eagle undocks with the pod.

Booster pod

The booster pod is essentially a standard transporter pod with two side boosters and, eventually, an upper booster that can be docked to the metallic skeleton. It appears in the end credits of every episode (on the background of the "music by Barry Gray", "associate Vic Elms", "special effects Brian Johnson" and "production designer Keith Wilson" card) and in many episodes. It first appeared in the Year One episode "Guardian of Piri" during a continuity error (as transporter and booster pods alternate on Koenig's Eagle). The booster pod is often misidentified as the so-called "laboratory pod", which's existance is not confirmed.

Space Dock[edit]

The Space Dock (known in The Moonbase Alpha Technical Notebook as "the Centauri Space Station" or "the Centuri Space Station" and in the Space: 1999 addons for Orbiter as the "Centuri Space Dock") is the only terrestrial spacecraft (excluding the Eagle Transporters and the many spacecraft in the spaceship graveyards) to appear in more than one episode, as it appears in two Year One episodes: "Breakaway" and "Dragon's Domain".

It is a wet workshop space station (an habitable artificial satellite made using old rocket and spacecraft parts[1]) orbiting the Moon. The model used in the episodes is almost completely made of parts from the 1:144 Airfix "Apollo Saturn V" model kit, it can be noted by seeing its upper section, which is, ironically, the lower section of the S-IC (first stage) section of the rocket.

In "Breakaway"

The Space Dock (or "Meta Probe launch platform") is used as the site of the beginning of the Meta Probe mission, but it is destroyed by gravitatonal stress.

"Breakaway"'s version of the Space Dock is one of the main spacecraft in the 1979 compilation movie Alien Attack and in the trailer of the 1978 one Destination Moonbase Alpha, too.

Here, it rotates in almost all of its scenes (not in the Meta Probe docking sequence, seen on a monitor on Koenig's Eagle Transporter) and Eagles must dock to it.

In "Dragon's Domain"

The Interplanetary Space Station (a name which predicts the real life ISS, or "International Space Station"[2], which's construction begun in 1998), is slightly different from "Breakaway"'s Space Dock, appears in the flashback scenes.

It is used as the launch platform for the Ultra Probe. This version of Centauri does not rotate and it has got a landing pad for Eagles (which probably uses a gravity field that provides a 1 G gravity, like the one above Moonbase Alpha). This landing pad is, ironically, a modified dish from AMT's 1:650 "U.S.S. Enterprise Space Ship Model Kit", which represents the NCC-1701 version of the USS Enterprise, the main starship of the concurrent series: Star Trek (now known as "Star Trek: The Original Series", 1966-1969).

Venus Space Station[edit]

A space station orbiting Venus is mentioned in the Year Two episodes "The Exiles" and "The Lambda Factor" as sent (or build) in orbit in the early 1990s.

Space: 1999:Aftershock's mission to Venus

The 2012 first issue of the Space: 1999: Aftershock comic series features a symbolic scene of three probes (two of which identical to the Ultra Probe) departing from the Space Dock. The captions read: "New missions were launched to other worlds." and "Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Ultra--".

Voyager One and Voyager Two[edit]

The Voyager robotic space probes (which probably are not related to the real life NASA/JPL Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes, launched in 1977, that ironically have a similar engine to the fictional ones) are two interstellar probes launched by the terrestrials in 1985 (fourteen years before the breakaway). These probes are both orbiters (probes which orbit a celestal body, usually to study it) and landers (spacecraft designed to land on a celestial body or on another object), equipped with a normal takeoff and landing engine and a dangerous Queller Drive, designed by Ernst Queller.

As the 1975 Year One episode "Voyager's Return" states, the Voyager probes were probes designed to have a small crew, but they flown as robotic in search of signs of intelligent life in the universe. The Queller Drive engine used "fast neutrons" that can kill everything around the probe, such as the 200 people Voyager Two killed when the Queller Drive was erroneally activated during its launch and, then, Ernst Queller changed name to "Ernst Linden" and begun working as a scientist at Moonbase Alpha.

The Voyager One spacecraft later killed whe life on two inhabited planets of the Federated Worlds of Sidon, commanded by Chief Justifier Aarchon, by landing on them and, when it later reached the space-travelling Moon and the Alphans, including Linden, succesfully tried to shut down the Queller Drive, but Aarchon reached them with three long-range spaceships and, as Koenig declared they represent Earth, he condamned the Alphans, and all the Terrestrials, to death.

Linden, trying to save his people and all his planet, entered the Voyager One and flyed near to the alien spacecraft, destroying them using the Queller Drive and the self-destruction system.

The Voyager probes were designed and build by Martin Bower, who build a model in two halves: the cockpit and the engines. The model, including the Queller Drive, was made using some fuel tanks from Revell's 1:24 "Russia's First Spacecraft: Vostok" model kit, which represents a Vostok 3KA space capsule (like the one used by Yuri Gagarin in the Vostok 1 mission, 1961); some parts from Airfix's 1:42 "Apollo Lunar Module" (the reaction control pods are two main bodies of two different LM descent stages) and 1:144 "Apollo Saturn V" (the auxiliary chemical rockets are F-1 rocket nozzles from the S-IC stage) model kits; a plastic picnic set; and a system which sprayed nebulized water.

Uranus Probe/Phoenix[edit]

A manned terrestrial probeship was sent to Uranus, in the outer Solar System, in 1986. The spacecraft was commanded by Jack Tanner, a man which, as the probe lost contact with Earth, travelled through spacetime, and crashed on the icy world of Ultima Thule, becomed insane and the large[3] crew of the probe (now dubbed "the Thulians"), now leaded by Dr. Cabot Rowland, discovered how to became immortal.

Rowland's experiments for immortality transformed in zombie-like creatures some Thulians, but garanted resistance to death on all the other members of the crew, (which for an unknown spacetime phenomenon, maybe spacetime diliation, lived for centuries) that begun rebuilding the 1986 Uranus Probe as the new Phoenix in a cave on the planet.

After the breakaway, in the Year One episode "Death's Other Dominion", the space-travelling Moon approached Ultima Thule, and Rowland tried to convince the Alphans to became immortal like the Thulians and, with some inhabitants of the Moon, traveled on an Eagle to the Moon, but, as the Eagle entered space, he transformed in a frozen corpse.

Jim Stolfa's Uranus Probe

Space: 1999 fan Jim Stolfa rendered seven CGI images of the Uranus Probe before its crash landing, this version of the probeship is "made" of parts from the Meta and Ultra Probes and the Superswift and has got a big command module made of an Eagle one and of the bottom of an Ultra Probe one.

Space: 1999: Aftershock's Uranus Probe

The 2012 first issue of the Space: 1999: Aftershock comic series features a symbolic scene of three probes (two of which identical to the Ultra Probe) departing from the Space Dock. The captions read: "New missions were launched to other worlds." and "Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Ultra--".

Astro-class spaceship[edit]

The Year One episode "Matter of Life and Death" featured the only known survivor of the 1994 (10 July 1995, according to The Moonbase Alpha Technical Notebook) Astro 7 mission Lee Russell. It is only known that, during the Astro 7 mission to Jupiter, the crew lost contact with Earth and a sort of antimatter energy transported Lee Russell to a planet that the Alphans later codenamed "Terra Nova" (meaning "New Land" or "New Earth", a name that can also be found in the Year Two episode "New Adam, New Eve", in Latin).

The Moonbase Alpha Wiki website considers the Uranus, Ultra and Meta Probes as the Astro 1, Astro 8 and Astro 9 spacecraft, too.

Jim Stolfa's Astro 7 spacecraft

Space: 1999 fan Jim Stolfa rendered two CGI images of the Astro 7 spacecraft, which is a sort of heavily modified Eagle Transporter with a detachable command module, made of a repainted Eagle command module and a sort of airlock or docking adapter.

Space: 1999: Aftershock's Astro 7 spacecraft

The 2012 first issue of the Space: 1999: Aftershock comic series features a symbolic scene of three probes (two of which identical to the Ultra Probe) departing from the Space Dock. The captions read: "New missions were launched to other worlds." and "Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Ultra--".

1996 Star Mission spacecraft[edit]

In the Year Two episode "Brian the Brain" is told the complete story of the 1996 Star Mission.

In 1996, the same year of the departure of the Ultra Probe, a probably more secret mission[4], the 1996 Star Mission, departed from Earth with some Swift spacecraft and a Mothership, which was used as a support ship.

One of the Swifts was commanded by Captain Micheal, which decided to build a wheeled A.I. (artirobot, which will be later nicknamed "Brian" due to the fact that the first word he said was this name as a misspelling of "brain". The space fleet landed on a planet codenamed "Planet D", where the vitiated child-like Brian discovered that, on the Mothership, his "father" was working on a new version of it and killed him by hacking the Mothership's systems.

About 1150 days after Monday, 13 September 1999 (Wednesday, 6 November 2002), Brian approached the space-travelling Moon, landed there and hacked its computers. It told to the Alphans that he was part of the Star Mission and that, as they landed on Planet D, the crew instantly died.

He later kidnapped Commander John Koenig and Chief Medician Dr. Helena Russell and, using the Swift, he transported them on Planet D, where he submitted them to a deadly "love test".

Later, as the child-like robot wanted to live forever by travelling in outer space with the Swift, he forced Koenig to board the Mothership and take its fuel. On the Mothership, Koenig discovered that Brian killed the crew.

On the Mothership, he met the Alphan pilot Tony Verdeschi and the Alphan Metamorph Maya, from Psychon, and decided with them a plan: Maya transformed into a mouse and boarded with Koenig the Swift, then she changed shape to Captain Micheal and shocked Brian, which accidentally exited from an airlock in outer space, where it remained with only its wire-like "antenna" and surrended, de-hacking Alpha.

The Swift is one of Space: 1999's most mysterious spacecraft, for many reasons: the model's command module (here called "Pilot Section"), which is almost identical to the command module of the Altares spacecraft from The Day After Tomorrw: Into Infinity (as the Swift was originally intended to be "the landing ship" in that film), is apparently designed to undock from the rest of the craft (it has got two separation rocket nozzles), but the interior 1:1 set has not got any airlocks between the modules and the 1:1 "love test" airlocks of the set correspond to the model's rocket nozzles.

We see only the interiors and a small exterior section of the Mothership, which appears to be a specially-equipped Swift.

A notable element from the episode is that the Alphans (except Maya) rember Swifts, but they do not remember the 1996 mission (maybe it was secret and the Swifts were normally used, as they appear to be sorts of bigger versions of the Eagle Transporters, as they are featured in the 2012 first issue of Space: 1999: Aftershock as the spacecraft used to build the Space Dock with Saturn V parts).

Ultra Probe[edit]

The Ultra Probe, featured in the Year One episode "Dragon's Domain", is one of the series's most important Terrestrial spacecraft. It was launched after Professor Victor Bergman discovered a new planet, Ultra (which was probably a rogue planet, a planet that travels through space), in 1994.

In 1996, the World Space Commission (which's name is first mentioned in that episode), launched a highly technologic spacecraft which reached Ultra about eight months later. The probe (almost entirely made of recycled props from UFO) was divided in two modules: the command module , wich was designed to undock with the rest of the spacecraft in case of emergency, and the service module, wich was a long corridor-like section.

When the spacecraft's crew, commanded by Captain Tony Cellini, who won this title at John Koenig, after approaching Ultra and detecting some metallic objects, lost contact with Earth and Moonbase Alpha and its black box temporarily disactived itself. They orbited the planet and found many and many apparently lifeless spacecraft (many of which were recycled models from other episodes). Cellini and Darwin King detected breatable atmosphere in a big spacecraft and docked with it (with the left airlock of the probeship), but when they opened the airlock, a deadly mind-controlling monster (known in the episode as "the dragon" and in the German Zack and Italian AMZ comic adaptations as "the octopus", due to its tentacles) appeared and killed everyone except Cellini, who escaped by entering the command module and undocking. He used Ultra's gravity assist to return to Earth and he, still alive, was found in his lifeboat after six months.

The medical responsible of his case was Dr. Helen Russell (wife of the Astro 7 astronaut Lee Russell) and World Space Commission Chairman Commissioner Dixon declared his story a fake, as he though that Cellini really unintentionally caused depressurization in the service module by undocking and he invented the monster. Everyone except Koenig though the dynamic of the events was like what Dixon though, and Cellini was considered insane.

On 13 September 1999 Cellini (as an Eagle Transporter pilot), Koenig (as the Commander), Bergman (as a host scientist) and Russell (as the Chief Medician) were all at Moonbase Alpha as the Moon begun travelling through outer space. After about 887 days (in 2002), Cellini had an allucination of the lights the monster used to do appear before its own apparition and he tried to destroy it with an ax and, then, with an Eagle stole to Alphan pilot Alan Carter.

He had no success, but, after a short time, the Moon approached the spaceship graveyard and both Koenig and Cellini boarded an Eagle with Carter as its pilot. Cellini hit Carter again and he entered the command module, undocking with the pod and flying to the Ultra Probe's service module. There, he undocked with the Eagle's service module and docked with the probeship's one (at the frontal command module airlock). Then, the dragon appeared and Cellini tried, in vain, to kill it with his Alphan Stun/Kill Gun.

Meanwhile, Koenig and Carter's pod was intercepted and docked by a podless Eagle, escorted by three laser weapon-equipped Eagles and pursued Cellini. Then, the Eagle docked to the Ultra Probe's right airlock and Koenig tried to save Cellini, but he was too late and the monster killed the pilot, but it was later killed by Koenig.

Later, on Alpha, Russell wrote on her typewriter Cellini's story, Tony Cellini and the Monster, a story in the vein of George and the Dragon.

Two scale models of the probeship were build by Martin Bower for filming: a 2.7 foot (84 centimeters)-long one, used during the scenes of the departure and when the spacecraft is approaching or is docked to the alien spaceship (as it was in scale with the Space Dock and the dragon's ship) and a 5.3 foot (163)-long one, used during the scenes of the travel to Ultra.

There was also a model of the command module, which's undocking manouvers was inspired by the 1972 film Silent Running. For some reason, that model was striped of paintwork after filming and Martin Bower decided to repaint it similarly to how it appears in the episode, but he had no photographic footage, and he repainted it different from how it appeared. When designing the command module, Bower considered to modify an Eagle one, but he later did not.

Mark IX Hawk[edit]

The Global Defence Command Mark IX Hawks are the space fighter variants of the Eagles, and are apparently the successors of the SHADO Interceptors

References[edit]

  1. In the 2012 first issue of Space: 1999: Aftershock we see Swifts transporting Saturn V parts to build the station.
  2. The name "International Space Station" was used to identify the Space Dock in the 2012 first issue of Space: 1999: Aftershock.
  3. Maybe, the crew consisted of a lower nmber of people, but they moltiplicated themselves on Thule.
  4. As the crew of the Ultra Probe's commander, Captain Tony Cellini says "There are ships here that could make the dream of interstellar travel a reality. We could be liberated from our own solar system." as he sees the spaceship graveyard above Ultra.