Vehicles & Vessels
Zero X
Type: Martian Rocket
Affiliation: S.W.O.R.D.
Crew: 3
Appearances: Thunderbirds Are Go (1966)

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967)

Zero-X is a space exploration craft built for conventional take-off and landing. It is featured in two of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's Supermarionation productions; the Thunderbirds feature film, Thunderbirds Are Go and in the first episode of the next Supermarionation series (The Mysterons, Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons. It was the first manned craft to land on Mars, after the MSP project failed.

The first Zero-X was originally built for the Space and Solar Exploration Committee as a rival to the ill-fated Martian Space Probe. Two years later, the Mark II successfully reached Mars but was destroyed upon its return to Earth. Like its predecessors, the Zero-X Mark IV is built by the New World Aircraft Corporation and is based at Glenn Field Spaceport in the United States. It differs little from the previous versions except that the engines have been upgraded to use the same fuel as the Sun Probe—Toxerlene—and the Martian Excursion Vehicle has had a number of modifications to its internal layout, and carries extra armaments. As Zero-X lacks a faster-than-light hyperdrive, its range is limited to the solar system.


The metallic blue Zero-X spacecraft comprises a number of detachable sections which are stored in separate hangars near the take off site. They are a main body, a lander, two lifting bodies, and a heat shield. There are four engines on each side of the lifting bodies and eight on the main body.

The main body houses the chemical engines which provide the craft with the thrust required for lift-off and the subsequent journey to Mars.

The Martian Exploration Vehicle (MEV) is attached to the front of the main body where it serves as the spaceship's main control centre during space flight.

Two remotely controlled "lifting bodies" (self-propelled "flying wing" aerofoils) are attached to the main body at the front and rear of the craft, for assisting during atmospheric ingress and egress.

A heatproof nose cone with an aluminium exoskeleton protects the MEV during take-off and provides further aerodynamic flow to the vehicle in atmospheric ascent; it is jettisoned shortly before leaving Earth's atmosphere.

The lifting bodies act as wings to allow the craft to operate from a conventional runway, and carry multiple jet engines to reduce the amount of fuel needed for the main body's chemical engines. They separate from the main body when the craft is at a sufficiently high altitude and return to base; on re-entry, they rendezvous with the spacecraft and dock with it to again act as wings and provide propulsion in the atmosphere.

On reaching Mars, the MEV detaches from the main body, which is left in orbit piloted by a single astronaut, and descends towards the planet's surface. At the surface the MEV extends caterpillar tracks enabling it to negotiate most terrain.

Technical data

Length: 1,190 feet.


Thunderbirds Are Go

The first manned mission to Mars ended in failure after the Zero-X spacecraft was accidentally sabotaged by the Hood, who had stowed aboard the craft to photograph its wing mechanisms. The crew managed to escape and two years later a second Zero-X craft successfully reached Mars in September 2027 or 2066. However, soon after touching down on the surface, the MEV was attacked by Martian Rock Snakes. While the astronauts managed to escape, the lifting body control-systems on board the MEV sustained damage during the confrontation, causing the Zero-X to crash upon its return to Earth, landing in Craigsville, U.S., roughly 20 miles from its launch site, Glenn Field Spaceport, Nevada. The crew survived, having been saved at the last minute by International Rescue.

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons

A further Zero-X mission returned to Mars in 2068 sponsored by Spectrum in search of the source of alien signals detected from Earth. The crew's hostile actions lead to a "war of nerves" with the Mysterons.

Zero-X returned to Earth with Captain Black who vanished after the craft reached Glenn Field Spaceport, and it wasn’t long after this that the people of Earth received their first threat from the Mysterons from Mars.


Thunderbirds Are Go

In both missions, the Zero-X was manned by three crew and two scientists:

Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons

The 2068 mission only had three known crew:


  • A model of the Zero-X was included in the Project SWORD line of toys marketed by Century 21 Productions.
  • In Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet, a reference is made to Zero-X's lifting bodies.
  • A vehicle in Terrahawks was named after Zero-X called MEV (Martian Exploration Vehicle). The vehicle appeared in the Terrahawks episodes To Catch A Tiger, The Ultimate Menace and Space Cyclops.
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
CaptainScarlet Logo

Spectrum: Captain Scarlet | Captain Blue | Colonel White | Lieutenant Green | Destiny Angel | Captain Black | Symphony Angel | Captain Brown | Rhapsody Angel | Captain Grey | Melody Angel | Captain Ochre | Harmony Angel | Captain Magenta | Doctor Fawn | Captain Indigo | Spectrum Guards
Others: The Mysterons | World President Younger | Lieutenant Dean | Navigator Conway | Director-General Xian Yoh | Delta Garage Attendant | DT19 Pilot | DT19 Co-Pilot | Airport Chief | Airport Operator | Director-General Impersonator | Spectrum Agent 042 | Assassin | Macey | 1st London Police Officer | 2nd London Police Officer | 3rd London Police Officer | 4th London Police Officer | 5th London Police Officer | 6th London Police Officer | Woman Driver | Harris (Manhunt) | Security Chief Richards | Geiger Operator | Delta Garage Mechanic | Culver Guard 1 | Culver Guard 2 | General Ward | Eddie | Sergeant Marshall | Lieutenant Burroughs | Trapper | Red Deer Sentry Joe | Cariboo Sentry | Big Bear Sentry | Dead Body | Bob Lynn | TVR-17 Controller | Helijet Pilot | USS Panther II Captain | Lieutenant Belmont | Soames | Davidson | Clark | Commodore Goddard | Captain Holt | Morton | Distillery Attendant | Dr. Theodore Magnus | General Tiempo | Dr. Turner | 1st Medical Student | 2nd Medical Student | Porter Benson | Radiographer | Nurse (Operation Time) | Morgan | Doctor (Operation Time) | General Peterson | Doctor Giadello | 1st Warden (Post 14) | 2nd Warden (Post 28) | Mason | Steele | Kramer | Dice Club Croupier | Barman | Nuclear City Security Chief | Attendant Delta garage | Kruger | Doig | Carl | Fire Warden | Lunar Controller | Orson | S.I.D | Shuttle Pilot | Supreme Commander of Earth Forces | Colonel Storm | Major Brooks | General Cope | Captain Hassel | Pete | MCA Tanker Driver's Mate | Arab | Andre Verdain | Helga | Gabrielle | Casino commissionaire | Model | Fairfield | Jackson | Fire Chief | Major Stone | Joe Johnson | Phil Machin | Major Reeves | Linda Nolan | Frazer | Shroeder | Doctor Breck | Doctor Carter | Doctor Angelini | Doctor Kurnitz | Doctor Kurnitz' Secretary | Kinley | Charlie Hansen | Jason Smith | Major Gravener | Doctor Baxter | Doctor Mitchell | Nurse (Treble Cross) | Harris (Treble Cross) | Doctor Ernst Conrad | Bill Williams | Newspaper Reporter | Joe (Flight 104) | Doctor Denton | Judith Chapman | Airport Mechanic | General Rebus | Neilson | Rhoades | Captain (Expo 2068) | Doctor Sommers | Driver (Expo 2068) | Seneca Pilot | Lumberjack (Expo 2068) | Raynor | Mervin Brand | President Roberts | Vice President | Vice-president's Wife | Professor Gabriel Carney | President Conrad Olafson | President John L. Henderson | SKR4 Captain | SKR4 Navigator | Major Moran | Sergeant (Inferno) | Commander Williams | Maxwell Airbase Sergeant | Colgan | Mysteron Agent (The Inquisition)

TV Series Episodes:
The Mysterons | Winged Assassin | Big Ben Strikes Again | Manhunt | Avalanche | White as Snow | The Trap | Operation Time | Spectrum Strikes Back | Special Assignment | The Heart Of New York | Lunarville 7 | Point 783 | Model Spy | Seek and Destroy | Traitor | Renegade Rocket | Crater 101 | Shadow Of Fear | Dangerous Rendezvous | Fire at Rig 15 | Treble Cross | Flight 104 | Place of Angels | Noose of Ice | Expo 2068 | The Launching | Codename Europa | Inferno | Flight to Atlantica | Attack on Cloudbase | The Inquisition

Audio Adventures:
Introducing Captain Scarlet | Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons | Captain Scarlet is Indestructible | Captain Scarlet vs. Captain Black

Young Corgi | The Vault

Cloudbase | Maximum Security Building

Vehicles and Craft:
Spectrum Saloon Vehicle | Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle | Maximum Security Vehicle | Angel Interceptor | Spectrum Passenger Jet | Spectrum Helicopter | Spectrum Hovercraft | Spectrum Radar Van | Magnacopter | Zero-X

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