Gerry Anderson Encyclopedia
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Gerry Anderson Encyclopedia
Vehicles & Vessels
Zero X
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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.

Design

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.

Appearances

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.

Crew

Thunderbirds Are Go

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

  • Captain Paul Travers: Overall mission captain
  • Space Captain Greg Martin: Space flight captain
  • Brad Newman: Space Navigator
  • Dr. Tony Grant: Astrophysicist
  • Dr. Ray Pierce: Astronomer

Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons

The 2068 mission only had three known crew:

Notes

  • 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.
  • To date, Zero-X is the only craft to appear physically in more than one Gerry Anderson production (not counting Thunderbird 6, the model of which was redecorated and reused as a completely different vehicle in The Secret Service).
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
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Characters:
Spectrum: Captain ScarletCaptain BlueColonel WhiteLieutenant GreenDestiny AngelCaptain BlackSymphony AngelCaptain BrownRhapsody AngelCaptain GreyMelody AngelCaptain OchreHarmony AngelCaptain MagentaDoctor FawnCaptain IndigoSpectrum Guards
Others: The MysteronsWorld President YoungerLieutenant DeanNavigator ConwayDirector-General Xian YohDelta Garage AttendantDT19 PilotDT19 Co-PilotAirport ChiefAirport OperatorDirector-General ImpersonatorSpectrum Agent 042AssassinMacey1st London Police Officer2nd London Police Officer3rd London Police Officer4th London Police Officer5th London Police Officer6th London Police OfficerWoman DriverHarris (Manhunt)Security Chief RichardsGeiger OperatorDelta Garage MechanicCulver Guard 1Culver Guard 2General WardEddieSergeant MarshallLieutenant BurroughsTrapperRed Deer Sentry JoeCariboo SentryBig Bear SentryDead BodyBob LynnTVR-17 ControllerHelijet PilotUSS Panther II CaptainLieutenant BelmontSoamesDavidsonClarkCommodore GoddardCaptain HoltMortonDistillery AttendantDr. Theodore MagnusGeneral TiempoDr. Turner1st Medical Student2nd Medical StudentPorter BensonRadiographerNurse (Operation Time)MorganDoctor (Operation Time)General PetersonDoctor Giadello1st Warden (Post 14)2nd Warden (Post 28)MasonSteeleKramerDice Club CroupierBarmanNuclear City Security ChiefAttendant Delta garageKrugerDoigCarlFire WardenLunar ControllerOrsonS.I.DShuttle PilotSupreme Commander of Earth ForcesColonel StormMajor BrooksGeneral CopeCaptain HasselPeteMCA Tanker Driver's MateArabAndre VerdainHelgaGabrielleCasino commissionaireModelFairfieldJacksonFire ChiefMajor StoneJoe JohnsonPhil MachinMajor ReevesLinda NolanFrazerShroederDoctor BreckDoctor CarterDoctor AngeliniDoctor KurnitzDoctor Kurnitz' SecretaryKinleyCharlie HansenJason SmithMajor GravenerDoctor BaxterDoctor MitchellNurse (Treble Cross)Harris (Treble Cross)Doctor Ernst ConradBill WilliamsNewspaper ReporterJoe (Flight 104)Doctor DentonJudith ChapmanAirport MechanicGeneral RebusNeilsonRhoadesCaptain (Expo 2068)Doctor SommersDriver (Expo 2068)Seneca PilotLumberjack (Expo 2068)RaynorMervin BrandPresident RobertsVice PresidentVice-president's WifeProfessor Gabriel CarneyPresident Conrad OlafsonPresident John L. HendersonSKR4 CaptainSKR4 NavigatorMajor MoranSergeant (Inferno)Commander WilliamsMaxwell Airbase SergeantColganMysteron Agent (The Inquisition)

TV Series Episodes:
The MysteronsWinged AssassinBig Ben Strikes AgainManhuntAvalancheWhite as SnowThe TrapOperation TimeSpectrum Strikes BackSpecial AssignmentThe Heart Of New YorkLunarville 7Point 783Model SpySeek and DestroyTraitorRenegade RocketCrater 101Shadow Of FearDangerous RendezvousFire at Rig 15Treble CrossFlight 104Place of AngelsNoose of IceExpo 2068The LaunchingCodename EuropaInfernoFlight to AtlanticaAttack on CloudbaseThe Inquisition

Audio Adventures:
Introducing Captain ScarletCaptain Scarlet and the MysteronsCaptain Scarlet is IndestructibleCaptain Scarlet of SpectrumCaptain Scarlet versus Captain Black

Books:
Young CorgiThe Vault

Locations:
CloudbaseMaximum Security Building

Vehicles and Craft:
Spectrum Saloon CarSpectrum Pursuit VehicleMaximum Security VehicleAngel InterceptorSpectrum Passenger JetSpectrum HelicopterSpectrum HovercraftSpectrum Radar VanMagnacopterZero-X

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