Even before the first space shuttle was launched, science fiction filmmakers and authors were featuring the craft in their productions and books. The laws of physics have traditionally been no impediment to creativity, as some of the following demonstrate:

On screen[]

The first television appearance of an unseen X-20 Dyna-Soar space shuttle was on a 1959 The Twilight Zone episode titled And When the Sky Was Opened.

The first major appearance of a space shuttle on the big screen was the Pan Am "Orion" shuttle that dazzled audiences with its balletic flight maneuvers in Stanley Kubrick's epic space drama 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). In Kubrick's film, one of the first to attempt to portray space flight as realistically as possible, the Orion shuttle is used to transport scientist Heywood Floyd from the earth to a giant revolving space station. Reportedly, Kubrick went to great effort to portray the appearance of the shuttle (at that time in the early design phase at NASA) as accurately as possible, relying on expert technical advisors from NASA.

The first appearance of spacecraft closely resembling the NASA space shuttles in a major motion picture was in the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker, in which a fleet of privately produced shuttles was used to ferry personnel to a space station operated by the evil Sir Hugo Drax. That film was actually intended to premiere concurrently with the first shuttle launch, which was ultimately delayed. The cold open shows a shuttle, being carried atop a jetliner, being launched with the firing of its engines and destroying the jetliner; in reality, the shuttle would not have had a fuel supply in such a piggy-back arrangement. Also, six shuttles launch from the Amazon jungle, their fiery exhausts less than a quarter mile from the control room.

That same year, a new version of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century produced for television had the titular hero frozen in space for 500 years aboard Ranger 3, a deep-space probe that looked similar to a traditional shuttle. However, Ranger 3 is shown landing under power; the real-world shuttle lands as a glider. Ranger 3 and the shuttle-styled vehicle used extensively in the show's second season were much smaller than the real shuttles.

The shuttle used in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century appears to be a redress of the prop used in the two-part Battlestar Galactica episode, "Greetings from Earth".

The spaceship Stardust in the 1979 Disney comedy Unidentified Flying Oddball is quite similar in appearance to the shuttle.

The low-budget 1980 film Hangar 18 features a shuttle crew that encounters an alien craft in orbit. The fourth Quatermass serial also included a sequence where a shuttle is used to attempt communication with an alien force but is destroyed during the effort.

In another 1980 film Simon, the title character (played by Alan Arkin) was convinced he was an alien, and arranged to have the Space Shuttle return him to space. The shuttle shown was the Challenger with its original white tank. But the footage of the launch was from an earlier Apollo mission.

A version of the shuttle also appeared in the comedy film Airplane II: The Sequel in the early 1980s (call Mayflower One), in which it was used as a passenger liner between Earth and the Moon and experiences a traditional "airline disaster film" scenario en route.

After the shuttle's launch, the craft played a role in a number of NASA-themed films such as SpaceCamp (in which a group of teenagers are launched aboard a shuttle into orbit after a robot fakes a "thermal curtain failure") and a late-1990s series titled The Cape that followed the lives of a group of fictional shuttle astronauts. The 1999 science fiction series Farscape featured footage of an actual shuttle launch in its first episode, although the name of the craft shown was digitally altered to the fictional Collaroy. The 1983 TV movie Starflight One also uses actual shuttle launch footage when Columbia is used to rescue an experimental plane that gets trapped in low Earth orbit.

In the 1985 horror movie Lifeforce, a highly modified shuttle (a British vehicle named Churchill) is sent on a mission to Halley's Comet, and Columbia is later launched to rendezvous with the returning shuttle in orbit.

In the 1989 movie Moontrap, the main character commands the Shuttle Camelot on a satellite recovery mission, and a Shuttle equipped with a laser weapon battles with an alien spacecraft.

Columbia was seen in episode 19 ("Wild Horses") of the 1998 anime series Cowboy Bebop, where it was presented as an "antique aircraft" undergoing refurbishment by a local plane lover. In the episode, the disabled space fighter of main character Spike Spiegel docks inside the payload bay. This episode was temporarily pulled from the rotation on Cartoon Network after the real shuttle was lost.

Another modified version of the shuttle, which was named Aries, was featured in the Walt Disney Pictures movie RocketMan that carried the lander Pilgrim 1 to Mars.

In the BUGS episode, "What Goes Up...", a European space shuttle code-named Excalibur is a major plot point of the episode.

The 1998 film Armageddon features two spacecraft resembling shuttles, called Freedom and Independence, which are used to carry a crew of astronauts and oil drillers to an asteroid where they plant a nuclear device. Independence is destroyed but Freedom carries the survivors back to Earth after the successful completion of the mission. Digitally modified footage of actual shuttle launches is used in the launch scene. At the beginning of the film, the shuttle Atlantis is destroyed in orbit by asteroid debris. Armageddon producer Jerry Bruckheimer revisited the shuttle theme later that year with the TV movie Max Q. The similarly themed movie Deep Impact, released that same year, also featured shuttle Atlantis which carried a crew to the spaceship Messiah (which itself is a shuttle-derived vehicle in design), but which is actually propelled by another space technology that was designed but never built in real life - the Orion Drive.

In the 1999 film October Sky, a Space Shuttle is shown launching at the end of the film, prior to the epilogues of all the characters.

In 2000, the movie Space Cowboys featured a shuttle mission (STS-200) to repair a failing Soviet satellite. Among other things, it features a damaged shuttle re-entry and a complete power loss on landing, with results markedly different from what happened three years later to Columbia. The space shuttle's name in this film was Daedalus.

In the same year, Space Shuttle Odyssey was used to transport passengers from the Earth to the Moon in the comedy film 2001: A Space Travesty.

The 2003 disaster movie The Core features the Space Shuttle Endeavour losing navigation systems and ends up crash landing in Los Angeles instead of at Edwards Air Force Base, overflying Dodger Stadium in the process. After the loss of shuttle Columbia, references to this in the film's trailer were removed.

A version of the shuttle call Perseus also appeared in the catastrophic film Earthstorm in 2006.

The 2007 science fiction film The Invasion begins with the space shuttle Patriot exploding upon re-entry, the debris of which includes an alien organism that becomes a catalyst for the film's plot.

The movie Star Trek: The Motion Picture paid tribute to the test vehicle Space Shuttle Enterprise. On the recreation deck of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) are five illuminated paintings depicting previous ships named Enterprise. The space shuttle is third. Likewise, in the series Star Trek: Enterprise, Captain Jonathan Archer's cabin has charcoal drawings depicting the same ships. The series paid tribute to Columbia in a 2004 episode by giving Starfleet's second Warp 5 starship that name.

In the toy and cartoon franchise The Transformers, three robots transform into space shuttles: Decepticon Triple Changer Astrotrain, Combaticon Blast-Off, and Autobot Sky Lynx. There have been even more space shuttle Transformers in the Transformers toyline but they have not appeared in the cartoon. In Transformers: Armada however, the Autobot Jetfire's vehicle mode incorporates elements from both the American and Soviet shuttle designs, and the character's alternate mode in Transformers: Energon is also shuttle-derived. In another Transformers series only aired in Japan called Transformers Victory a Cybertron (Japanese for Autobot) called Galaxy Shuttle also transforms into a Space Shuttle hence the name.

In another toy and cartoon franchise, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, the G.I. Joe Team have their own space shuttle to carry on orbital missions, the space shuttle complex Defiant. The Defiant is featured in several G.I. Joe comic books. It ends up destroyed, with no loss of life.

The series The West Wing featured Columbia in its season 1 final episode ("What Kind of Day Has It Been", 2000). The shuttle was trapped in space, first because one of its payload bay doors failed to close, then due to a failure in its Orbital Maneuvering System when the door was closed manually. Atlantis was also mentioned in the episode as potentially mounting a rescue mission, but apparently this was unnecessary and Columbia landed safely. Late in the show's sixth season, a super-secret military space shuttle was mentioned, which could theoretically be used for long-range and undetectable bombing from space.

A shuttle (vehicle name unknown) also made a brief appearance in episode "The Shock Will Kill You" of the 1980s TV series The Greatest American Hero. The main character discovered an alien aboard that super-electrified him, and killed all crew aboard.

In the TV movie Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later, Tony Nelson agrees, over Jeannie's objections, to make one more space flight aboard the shuttle before retiring. However, something goes wrong, and the shuttle is on collision course with a meteoroid (that seems to be in orbit of Earth). It miraculously survives when Jeannie gets special dispensation to save Tony's life, and for some reason, right after the meteoroid explodes, the shuttle's OMS engines are functional again and it can brake to return to Earth.

In the two-part series finale of the television series Family Matters, "Lost in Space", a fictional Space Shuttle, called Explorer (Note: There is a mockup shuttle called Explorer), takes Steve Urkel and two astronauts into space to test Urkel's artificial gravity producing machine.

In the short-lived Showtime television series Odyssey 5, the crew of the space shuttle Odyssey are the only survivors of the human race after witnessing the destruction of the planet. They are later rescued by a man called the Seeker, who sends them five years back in time to stop the destruction of Earth.

In the second season premier of the Showtime/Scifi Channel show Stargate SG-1, three members of the SG-1 team and one of their Jaffa allies, Bra'tac, were rescued by the shuttle Endeavour along with two Death Gliders.

In the short CG-animation 2001: A Space Oddity, created by the South African company Atomic-vfx, one of the Space Shuttles, (Atlantis), makes an emergency landing in Cape Town.

In the anime Magical Project S, villain Pixy Misa steals the shuttle Endeavour and uses it to chase after Pretty Sammy.

In the recent movie Superman Returns, the space shuttle-like craft Genesis is launched from the back of a Boeing 777. The launch goes wrong, causing the shuttle to take the plane with it on its way to orbit. Superman comes to the rescue, lifting the shuttle to space, and then bringing the plane to a halt in the middle of a baseball field.

In the 1992 anime OAV series All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku, a fictional space shuttle owned by "Mishima Heavy Industries" (a fictional weapons manufacturing company owned by one of the main characters) appears in the 6th and final episode, on a mission to disable an orbiting weaponized satellite. During the course of the mission, the shuttle is flung away by the satellite and ends up re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, landing in the ocean where it is seen partly-submerged with two of the show's characters sitting on it.

In the short web-anime series URDA, a time-travelling spaceship that resembles the space shuttle, wearing the name "Constitution" (Note: the Space Shuttle Enterprise was originally to have been named Constitution) appears, and is later repainted in the colors of the WWII German military.

The fourth season of Lexx featured several shuttles with odd names, most of which were destroyed. Controls were similar to automobiles with steering wheels, accelerator pedal, and gear shift.

In the Fairly Oddparents episode "Cool Jobs," Timmy's Dad gets a job as an astronaut and is sent on a fourteen-year mission to Uranus aboard a space shuttle.

Homer Simpson rode a space shuttle (named Corvair) when he was chosen as an astronaut in "Deep Space Homer". Although in the initial episode, the shuttle in question looks like an entirely new type of spaceplane, a flashback in a later episode, accompanying Homer's comments about sabotaging Mir, looks like a standard space shuttle.

In the 1990 horror movie The Dark Side of the Moon, the crew of the Space Core One rendezvous with a space shuttle that has been lost in the Bermuda Triangle a few decades earlier.

A space shuttle brings back a space rock and the alien symbiote in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series.

In the Danny Phantom movie Reality Trip, a shuttle was brought to life by the "Gem of Life".

In the Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode "Life's Ruff", Hip and Hop Koopa turn on the radio in a car and hear that a shuttle is going to be launched at Kennedy Space Center. Later in that episode a shuttle looking very similar to our own, is seen.

In the 2008 film Stargate: Continuum, Samantha Carter is killed in an alternate timeline while piloting the fictional shuttle Intrepid after a launch failure causes it to crash into the Atlantic Ocean.

In the 1987 anime Lily C.A.T., a space shuttle is used for escape from the Saldes space cruiser. Despite taking place in the 23rd century, the shuttle is identical in appearance to the current fleet, possibly due to it being an ancient craft.

In games[]

In 1983 Activision released Space Shuttle: A Journey into Space for the Atari 2600 VCS game console system. Your goal once in orbit is to dock with a satellite one or more times before returning to Earth. The player needs to take care that their shuttle is properly configured for reentry to avoid burning up in the atmosphere or crashing upon landing. A player who managed to complete four dockings and return with at least 4,500 units of fuel would earn a Space Shuttle Pilot patch from Activision upon submitting a photo demonstrating said requirements were met. If a player was truly good enough, and completed six dockings and returned with at least 7,500 units of fuel, they would get a special message, and sending a photograph of that would allow them to receive a special Space Shuttle Commander patch.

The game was written by Steve Kitchen. The game was so complex for the early 8bit game console, that it required overlays to be placed over the console switches on the Atari 2600 which acted as additional controls in the game. The original Atari 2600 joystick only has one fire button and the additional control inputs for actions such as: Primary and backup engines activation and shutdown, opening and closing the cargo bay doors, raising/lowering the landing gear and activating the launch sequence were all required during the gameplay.

The 1995 Lucasarts computer game The Dig features a space shuttle on a mission to divert or destroy an asteroid menacing Earth.

In the video games Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow for the Game Boy the space shuttle Columbia can be found in the space museum in Pewter City, though following the disaster, new edited versions of the game have removed the Columbia and replaced it with the Discovery. For the FireRed and LeafGreen versions, its just an ordinary space shuttle.

Also Space shuttle orbiters can be found in the video game for Nintendo NES "Space Shuttle Project." The orbiters include; Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour, and Enterprise.

There is also a space shuttle in Vigilante 8: Second Offense in the Florida level inside a hangar. The level also contains other NASA spacecraft and a lunar lander.

Williams Electronics produced a pinball machine named "Space Shuttle" that was released in 1984. The player scored points by completing a series of "missions" aboard a fictional shuttle named Defender, while being guided by the voice of mission control. Depictions of the shuttle on the machine's artwork were identical to NASA's design, except that a plastic replica on the playing field lacked the vertical tail fin for space reasons. (The name of the fictional Shuttle is most likely a reference to Williams' earlier space-themed arcade game Defender.)

Space Shuttle Mission 2007 is a detailed stand-alone space shuttle mission simulator, allowing the player to carry out many of the shuttle's actual missions.

In the Orbiter free software spaceflight simulator, space shuttle Atlantis is a default shuttle which can be piloted. Other shuttles (real and fictional, as well as unrealized conceptions or purely fictional) can be downloaded from the fan sites.

In Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight, At Kennedy Space Center's 39-A&B launch pads, You see 2 space shuttles, however, they are not player or computer-usable. A commercial add-on which enables the player to fly the shuttle is available.

A bonus mission in the Nintendo 64 game Blast Corps. deals with destroying a small town so that an unnamed fictional shuttle can make an emergency landing.

The second bonus mission in the Nintendo 64 game Aero Fighters Assault involves defending a shuttle takeoff from attack.

In the game Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, Sonic and company are launched to Space Colony ARK by a space shuttle.

In the Nickelodeon game Rugrats: The Search for Reptar, there is a mini-golf game, where there's a space shuttle seen at the first hole.

In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, if the player watches the news reports throughout the game, they will overhear that a rescue shuttle is due to arrive at the International Space Station following a meteor strike that damaged both the station and the shuttle docked with it. However, in Mission 3, it is overheard that the shuttle is delayed due to technical problems. The game's final level reveals that the station personnel are rescued by a Chinese capsule.

In "007: Nightfire", James Bond faces a villain named Raphael Drake, who's Phoenix International intended to use a commandeered U.S. missile platform in Earth orbit to annihilate NATO installations in an attempt to take over the world. Drake and his personnel construct three space shuttles to ferry crews and supplies to and from the space station. Several of these shuttles are destroyed when Bond destroys the missile platform.

In HAWX, the pilot is in charge of defending a Space Shuttle while it takes off to repair the SLAMS anti-missile system.

In Gungriffon Blaze for the PS2, one of the missions has you invading a shuttle launch site where the main mission is to destroy the shuttle before it can, which in this case is dependant on whether the mission time runs out before you destroy the shuttle.

In Tom Clancy's Endwar for Xbox 360 and PS3, there is a mission where the U.S. forces must protect the second shuttle launch to complete the fictional space station in the game.

In print[]

In the 1970 novel The Throne of Saturn by Allen Drury a space shuttle makes a medical emergency flight. With a critically injured astronaut being transported onboard it lands at Washington National Airport where he is moved to Walter Reed Medical Center for surgery. The novel implied that shuttle flights (c. 1979) were routine enough to land at commercial airports as well as take reporters to the space station. As the title would suggest manned Saturn V rockets were still in use for heavy payloads. This could mean the space shuttle of the novel lacked cargo capability.

David Onley wrote Shuttle: A Shattering Novel of Disaster in Space, a bestselling novel about space travel, published in 1981. It was nominated by the Periodical Distributors of Canada as book of the year. He was founding president of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Canada and was the lieutenant governor of Ontario, Canada.

In A Flag Full of Stars (Classic Star Trek #54) by Brad Ferguson, the Space Shuttle Enterprise is retrofitted with impulse engines and serves as an important element of the story late in the book.[1]

In Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's alien invasion book Footfall, all the shuttles except Enterprise (Endeavour did not exist at the time of writing) are used as spacefighters launched from a carrier spacecraft derived from Project Orion to attack the alien mothership. The shuttles used External Tanks as microwave and laser shields.

In Uncanny X-Men #'s 100-101 (1976), superheroine Jean Grey piloted the fictional shuttle StarCore within which parts of her personality merged with a cosmic force to become the all-powerful Phoenix.

In Shuttle Down by Lee Correy, the space shuttle Atlantis is forced to make an emergency landing following a failed launch attempt. Since its a polar orbit launch, they have to land on Easter Island.

David Brin's novel Earth uses a modification of the Shuttle Down scenario; in this case, a shuttle that had made an emergency landing on an island years earlier was abandoned in place because it was impractical to retrieve it from there. The shuttle eventually winds up back in orbit under highly exotic circumstances.

Ignition by Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason centers on a terrorist attack on the shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center.

Storming Intrepid, a novel by Payne Harrison, concerns the hijacking of the fictional shuttle Intrepid.

A fictional Space Shuttle Gettysburg appears in a sub-plot of the novel Cyclops by Clive Cussler. The crew is cut off from communications with Mission Control Houston while a secret Soviet control center on Cuba uplinks false reentry procedures to facilitate a landing on the island. The Gettysburg transports a crew from a secret moon base and their research back to earth. The U.S. president orders the Shuttle to be shot down to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Soviets but in the last moment, the command center is taken over and communications reestablished. The crew guides the ship to a successful emergency landing at the NAS Key West when it becomes clear that the Kennedy Space Center is out of reach.

In Dale Brown's novel Silver Tower, Enterprise appears as a retrofitted vehicle, supplying the military space station Silver Tower. It is severely damaged in an attack by soviet space planes but is able to shoot down one of the attackers after being revived when the station is under attack again. Given that the first attack exposes the crew cabin to the vacuum of space and the onboard electronics are not qualified for use in vacuum, the scenario in the book is highly implausible.

In Encounter with Tiber, written by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes, the shuttle Endeavour crashes into the Atlantic off Spain after two main engines fail. The shuttle was taking the US Habitat Module to the International Space Station and the book describes in detail the abort options available to the shuttle. The book goes on to describe a variety of alternative launch vehicles that are produced to replace the shuttle fleet.

In Stephen Baxter's novel Titan, the shuttle Discovery is reconfigured using Apollo capsules and International Space Station modules to make the trip to Saturn's largest moon Titan.Columbia is lost during re-entry in the novel's opening chapters, while the other surviving shuttles are converted to Shuttle-C for launches supporting Discovery's mission.

In Homer Hickam's novel Back To The Moon, the shuttle Columbia is hijacked by former astronaut Jack Medaris who takes it on an unscheduled trip to the moon. At one point, NASA decides to send up Endeavour to try and capture the crew of Columbia.

In Jerry Ahern's The Survivalist series, an emergency program to guarantee the survival of the human race uses space shuttles to send a few hundred people in cryonic suspension into a long-term orbit which will bring them back to Earth centuries after a nuclear war.

In David R. Palmer's post-apocalyptic novel Emergence, a stripped-down space shuttle is launched on a one-way suicide mission to disable an orbiting Soviet 'doomsday bomb'.

The 1982 novel The Descent of Anansi by Steven Barnes and Larry Niven features a fictional space shuttle named Anansi.

In Warday by Whitley Strieber, the space shuttle Enterprise was destroyed by a Soviet anti-satellite weapon during the deployment of an anti-missile system.

A comic of Little Dee involves Dee (a girl) and her caretakers (a bear, a dog, and a vulture) finding and going on a space shuttle.[2] It was probably made in honor of the Return to Flight mission STS-114.

The fictional Space Shuttle Venture appears in the 2003 graphic novel Orbiter.

The novel Final Orbit by S. V. Dáte (Avon, New York, 1997) is a thriller involving sabotage, politics, and a cover up in the space shuttle program. It includes a landing of Atlantis and a Columbia mission makes up the climax. The author's detailed knowledge of the subject matter comes from his having covered NASA as a newspaper reporter.

In the amusement industry[]

File:Space Shuttle America.jpg

Space Shuttle America was a motion simulator based on the NASA Space Shuttle.

Six Flags Great America operated a motion simulator ride named Space Shuttle America, which featured a life-sized mock up of a real space shuttle sitting outside the ride's building. The shuttle was so accurately replicated that it used real fireproof "tiles" used on the space shuttle to protect it from the heat of atmospheric reentry. However, it was just a hollow fiberglass shell and would never have been capable of space flight.

In Dubai (United Arab Emirates), the amusement park Dubailand has a reproduction of a space shuttle. Dubailand is slated to be open in 2010.

In the Philippines, there is a theme park in Santa Rosa, Laguna named Enchanted Kingdom with a roller coaster ride named the Space Shuttle.

Other vehicles[]

A number of spacecraft are often referred to in science fiction as "shuttles", yet bear no resemblance to the current Space Shuttle orbiters. The Star Trek franchise, for example, has portrayed numerous small landing craft called shuttlecraft, used to descend from and return to larger orbiting starships. This began in the first season of TOS however and as such predates the space shuttle by more than ten years.


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