Publicity Poster for '2001'
Concept Sketch of the German Silverbird
Orion's Ascent to Orbit
First Glimpse of Orion in '2001'
With no computer-generated imagery available in the 1960s, the exterior of Orion seen in the film is always a physical model about 44 inches (111 centimeters) long. The model had no lights or interior. The scene visible in the windows of the passenger cabin was composited in optically. In most of the handful of shots in which Orion appears, the space plane is a still photo rephotographed on an animation stand. Only when the Orion is shown matching its rotation to the space station is the model filmed in motion.
Interior Passenger Cabin of Orion
Pilot's View from Orion Spaceship
Copy of the Orion Miniature
Orion's Twin Main Rocket Engines
Rectangular outlets are visible on the top surface of the wings, presumably for atmospheric flight. The raised fins along the rear edge of the wings are "wing fences" that control airflow when Orion travels faster than Mach 1 (the speed of sound).
Orion's Wing Intake Ports
The model features a lit interior cockpit with one pilot figure. The flat surface forward of the cockpit is a sliding heat-shield cover that protects the windows — a feature inspired by the XB-70 Valkyrie supersonic nuclear bomber. The oval opening at the very front of Orion's nose houses a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) tracking system used when docking with Space Station 5.