Skip to main content

The Spaceships of 'Interstellar' Explained (Infographic)

Diagrams show spaceships seen in the movie "Interstellar."
In the film, astronauts use a variety of spacecraft to cross the universe and explore alien worlds. (Image credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

Warning: SPOILER ALERT! This infographic contains details about the new space film "Interstellar."

The film "Interstellar" features several vehicles designed for interplanetary travel. Utilizing a wormhole that has appeared in Earth’s solar system, four astronauts take the spaceship Endurance across the universe to a strange planetary system orbiting a black hole.

"Interstellar" in Pictures: A Space Epic Gallery

The astronauts ride a rocket resembling NASA's 21st century mega-rocket, the Space Launch System(SLS), into Earth orbit to rendezvous with Endurance. The version of SLS seen in the film is lacking solid rocket boosters at the sides.

Endurance, meanwhile, is a wheel of 12 boxy modules with docking ports at the hub. The ship spins 5.6 times per minute to create Earth-style artificial gravity. If a habitable planet is found, Endurance could be disassembled and its component modules used to build a base on the planet surface.

The Science of 'Interstellar' Explained (Infographic)

The ship carries four auxiliary craft. The Rangers are fast and agile single-stage vehicles for reconnaissance and planet landings. The Landers are used for heavy-lift cargo drops to planet surfaces.

Defying today's fashion of 3D computer-animated spaceships, "Interstellar" relies on physical miniatures. A real model will catch the light and move in a more realistic way than computer graphics can.

Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+.

Karl Tate
Karl's association with SPACE.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. Starting in 2010, Karl has been TechMediaNetwork's infographics specialist across all editorial properties.  Before joining SPACE.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating  news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Karl on Google+.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.