Sunday, January 11, 2015

Behold Zero-X!

Image courtesy of Mike Burrows
      When thinking about Thunderbirds; it's hard not to appreciate the great guest aircraft and vehicles that appeared throughout the series and subsequent feature films.  By far, my favorite guest craft was the incredible Zero-X spacecraft that debuted in Gerry Anderson's feature film Thunderbirds Are Go.  This amazing ship was developed by the New World Aircraft Corporation and the Martian Exploration Council to achieve the first manned Mars landing.

      The craft is composed of four main components:

A.  The MEV (Mars Exploration Vehicle):  This serves as the ship's command module, living space, and       landing craft.  Once on the surface of Mars it uses caterpillar tracks to travel the Martian surface.

B.  The Main Body:  This contains the ship's interplanetary propulsion system, power generation, storage, long range communications, and life support systems.

C.  Two Lifting Bodies:  Positioned fore and aft; these remotely operated flying wings are what makes a horizontal take off possible for such a large spacecraft.  Once Zero-X reaches the correct altitude; they detach and return to Earth as conventional aircraft.  When Zero-X returns from space; they fly up an re-attach and allow Zero-X itself to land horizontally.

D.  Aerodynamic Nose Shield:  Covers MEV during takeoff.  Improves Zero-X's aerodymanic profile during ascent phase.

     It's an extremely unique and exciting design for a fictional spacecraft.  I have nothing else against which to compare it.  Over the years it has spawned numerous highly coveted models and toys.  Considering how much screen time is devoted to it; one could argue it was the REAL star of Thunderbirds Are Go!  Derek Meddings really outdid himself with this amazing design. It was given more close-ups and beauty shots than the Thunderbird craft themselves.  To continue celebrating the 50th anniversary of Thunderbirds; I've assembled a variety of images of the craft to display here.  Enjoy!

Awaiting MEV on launch apron 
MEV moving into position 
Proceeding down runway at Glenn Field
Take off!
What a beauty! 
Lifting body separation
En route to Mars!
MEV on Martian surface
Zero-X specifications
Zero-X appearing in Countdown
Small Zero-X Imai kit box art
Large Zero-X Imai kit box art
Specification sheet included with the large Imai Zero-X kit
A fan made Zero-X Series opening title sequence


  1. Replies
    1. Indeed my friend....unless you're a former resident of Craigsville.