Gerry Anderson Encyclopedia

Thunderbird 3' is a red reusable, vertically- launched SSTO (Single Stage To Orbit) spaceship, which appears in the TV series Thunderbirds. It's used for space rescues, and in conjunction with International Rescues orbital listening-post, Thunderbird 5.

Technical data[]

  • Type: Space rescue and satellite shuttle craft
  • Designer: Brains
  • Built: 2024 or 2063


  • Length: 287 feet
  • Nacelle span: 80 feet
  • Diameter: 23 feet
  • Weight: 562 tons


  • Power source: Atomic fusion reactor
  • Engines: 3 chemical rockets (used for launch), 3 ion-drive particle accelerators (used in deep space)
  • Pitch and yaw rockets: 12 in middle ring (for course-correction), 20 in nose and 24 at rear (for attitude adjustment)


  • Standard acceleration: 1g
  • Max sustained acceleration: 6g
  • Emergency acceleration: 10g
  • Range: Unlimited

Crew and Accommodation[]

Alan Tracy is TB3's primary pilot. He and his brother John trade duties aboard TB3 and TB5 every other month. Big brother Scott often co-pilots.

John is seen at TB3's controls, as he arrives at TB5 in The Mighty Atom.

Their brother Virgil takes a break from his usual Thunderbird 2 duties, for a turn at piloting TB3, in Ricochet.

But it's in space-rescue scenarios, that IR's big red rocket truly shines - as it does in Sun Probe, The Impostors and Ricochet. TB3 is also seen escorting the massive Mars-bound Zero-X safely on its way from Earth orbit, in the film Thunderbirds Are Go.

Launch Sequence[]

Main article: Thunderbird 3 Launch Sequence



  • As Thunderbirds 1 and 3 are rarely deployed simultaneously, Alan gets the call to pilot TB1 - while Scott is acting IR boss in their father Jeff 's absence - in the episode Atlantic Inferno.

Read More...[]

Thunderbird 3 on Thunderbirds Wiki:

v - e - d
Thunderbirds logo
International Rescue: Jeff TracyScott TracyVirgil TracyAlan TracyGordon TracyJohn TracyBrainsTin-Tin KyranoLady Penelope Creighton-WardAloysius Parker
Others: Lucille TracyKyranoGrandma TracyThe Hood
TV Series Episodes
Season 1

Trapped In The SkyPit of PerilThe Perils Of PenelopeTerror In New York CityEdge Of ImpactDay Of Disaster30 Minutes After NoonDesperate IntruderEnd Of The RoadThe UninvitedSun ProbeOperation Crash-DiveThe Mighty AtomCity of FireThe ImpostorsThe Man From MI.5Cry WolfDanger at Ocean DeepMove - And You're DeadThe Duchess AssignmentBrink Of DisasterAttack of the Alligators!Martian InvasionThe Cham-ChamSecurity Hazard
Season 2
Atlantic InfernoPath of DestructionAlias Mr. HackenbackerLord Parker's 'OlidayRicochetGive Or Take A Million

Anniversary Episodes
Introducing ThunderbirdsThe Abominable SnowmanThe Stately Homes Robberies]
Thunderbirds Are GoThunderbird 6
Audio Adventures
Introducing ThunderbirdsF.A.B.Thunderbird 1End of the RoadThe Stately Homes RobberiesSun ProbeTerror in New York CityThe Perils of PenelopeVault of DeathDesperate IntruderThe ImpostorsDay of DisasterThe Cham-ChamAlias Mr. HackenbackerBrink of DisasterAtlantic InfernoRicochetMove and You're DeadThirty Minutes After Noon
Compilation films
Thunderbirds To The RescueThunderbirds In Outer SpaceCountdown to Disaster
Young CorgiThe Vault
Thunderbird 1Thunderbird 2 (Pod Vehicles: MoleFireflyDOMOElevator CarsTransmitter TruckRecovery VehiclesMonobrakeExcavatorMobile CraneFire TruckLaser CutterThunderizerNeutralizer TractorJet-Air TransporterFire TenderYellow Trailer TruckRed and Black TruckRed Curved Vehicle) • Thunderbird 3Thunderbird 4Thunderbird 5Thunderbird 6
Other Craft and Vehicles:
Tracy IslandCreighton-Ward MansionThe Hood's Temple