Airfix model, Orion spacecraft


Airfix Orion 2001 spacecraft model, original issue 1969.

This is an Airfix model of the Pan-American spaceplane Orion. The reusable Pan-American spaceplane is a curious blend of fact and fiction. It was created by ex-NASA employees Harry Lange and Frederick Ordway for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the spaceplane ferried passengers to and from an orbiting space station. The design - in which the spaceplane's winged-booster separates and the main stage climbs into orbit - drew heavily on Lange and Ordway's own technical expertise. However, this was, and remains, far beyond the capabilities of contemporary technology. The Space Shuttle, today's most advanced launch vehicle, is only partly reusable; the goal of developing a totally reusable concept similar to Orion remains. This model is the original Airfix version issued in 1969 and was made by Mat Irvine who went on to pursue a career in TV and film special effects.

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Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

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Space Technology
M. Irvine

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