|Image courtesy of Mike Burrows|
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|
|What a beauty!|
|Lifting body separation|
|En route to Mars!|
|MEV on Martian surface|
|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