Join 3,436 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


My god, it's full of scifi nerds!
December 1, 2012 6:51 AM   Subscribe

What’s your favorite non-aerodynamic spaceship design?
posted by Brandon Blatcher (131 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nostromo.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:55 AM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Liberator. Or the Nostromo.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:56 AM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Or the Sulaco!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:00 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sol III.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:01 AM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cylon Basestars are fucking sweet looking.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:05 AM on December 1, 2012


GSV or ROU.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:06 AM on December 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


Nebula B Class Frigate
posted by KingEdRa at 7:08 AM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nebulon B frigates.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:08 AM on December 1, 2012


Borg cube, hands down.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:08 AM on December 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


JINX OWE ME A COKE
posted by nathancaswell at 7:09 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


What could be less aerodynamic than a cube?

Hmm, now I wonder – what would be the least aerodynamic aircraft/spacecraft design?
posted by deathpanels at 7:09 AM on December 1, 2012


The planet-sized borg cubes. They don't even make gravitational sense.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:10 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


shit... to... do... today... must... close... thread...
posted by nathancaswell at 7:11 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It has attitude jets, so I think my favorite just barely qualifies...
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:13 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This ship from the Fifth Element.
posted by dhruva at 7:17 AM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Let's just make that 3 votes for the Nebulon B and close this one up.
posted by barnacles at 7:17 AM on December 1, 2012


I noticed it in the thread:

The LEM
posted by mrzarquon at 7:18 AM on December 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


What could be less aerodynamic than a cube?

The Borg shop has an admirable "fuck you, I'm a cube"-ness to it - no concessions to having wing like structures or even a pointy bit at the front.

I'm gonna go for The Entire Works of Chris Foss as having a similar pleasing blockiness, though admittedly most of them have a clear front.
posted by Artw at 7:20 AM on December 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


I liked some of the First One ships from Babylon 5. There was one that was shaped kind of like an hourglass and rotated end over end, and I though "they are a massively advanced race who never developed an inner ear." Or maybe their message to the Younger Races was "When you can stand this, then we'll talk."
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:25 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Though it doesn't really match the criteria laid out (it is an atmosphere capable space ship) I vote for the Firefly.

deathpanels writes "What could be less aerodynamic than a cube?"

A parachute is less aerodynamic than a cube. That spiky ship from the new Star Trek movie (the Narada) would probably be less aerodynamic.
posted by Mitheral at 7:28 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


It would be helpful to me (and probably others too) if people would give the name of the movie, TV show, or whatever their favorite spacecraft came from. Thanks!
posted by Daddy-O at 7:31 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any ship suggested that operates entirely in space should be disqualified, since there's no need for aerodynamics.

I have to go with the Close Encounters mothership. It's so damned huge and festooned with, like, a bajillion antennae, booms, extensions, laundry lines, and god-knows-whatnot hanging off it, all of which should have probably either burned-off or snapped-off when entering the atmosphere. And, then, the damned thing does a complete 180 flip near ground-level. The whole behemoth should have rendered itself asunder under such pressures.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:32 AM on December 1, 2012


What, no love for the Discovery One? Definitely a space-only vehicle.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:32 AM on December 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ship from District 9 is amazing.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:34 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Vogon Destructor Fleet.

Red Dwarf.
posted by goethean at 7:38 AM on December 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is a sphere aerodynamic?
posted by goethean at 7:41 AM on December 1, 2012


Any old GSV.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:43 AM on December 1, 2012 [11 favorites]


A parachute is less aerodynamic than a cube. That spiky ship from the new Star Trek movie (the Narada) would probably be less aerodynamic.

The carbon based units will remember V-ger.
posted by Artw at 7:45 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the Y-Wing counts, then definitely the Y-Wing.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:48 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Voyager from life
posted by nathancaswell at 7:49 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


It took a shamefully long time for someone to post Voltron. Shamefully long.
posted by the painkiller at 7:55 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mega Maid. I win the thread.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:57 AM on December 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Firefly always reminds me a little of Dragonfall 5...

Does it count if it has sheilding? If not then Atlantis (stargate) wasn't exactly an aerofoil.
posted by titus-g at 8:04 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am choosing to interpret 'non-aerodynamic' as 'phallic' and voting The Lexx.

Also all OUs ever. Post-scarcity does not mean post-overcompensating.

The Battleship Condescension is both non-aerodynamic and kind of Betty Crocker themed, so that wins too.
posted by emmtee at 8:04 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tom Swift's Challenger.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:08 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interdictor Cruiser from TW2002! MEGA NERD POINTZ
posted by nathancaswell at 8:10 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've always liked Larry Niven's General Products hulls.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:10 AM on December 1, 2012


The Galactica drops like a brick once it's in atmosphere, so that probably counts as non-aerodynamic.
posted by curious nu at 8:11 AM on December 1, 2012


And in Spelljammer, dwarves flew around in space inside of hollowed-out mountains.
posted by curious nu at 8:13 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a soft spot for the Black Fortress. It's designed to land, but then it teleports to different points on the surface rather than flying.
posted by stebulus at 8:14 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Any ship suggested that operates entirely in space should be disqualified, since there's no need for aerodynamics.

I disagree. There is still stuff in space, and if you're going at high speeds, so is all that stuff. Making a spaceship "aero"dynamic will, in many ways, make it more resistant to the interplanetary equivalent of birdstrike. If you have a flat face moving forward at high speed, anything that gets in the way hits that face at full force. If you have a wedge or conical shape presented forward, things are more able to glance off.

If you're handwaving all that away via teleportation (actual or effective) or force fields, then sure, no reason to make it any shape in particular.

So the ones that really offend me are the ones that try to have it both ways -- the ones where the designer was clearly thinking, "Okay, it has to look like it flies, but that doesn't mean I'm actually going to make it utilitarian." Essentially, any "capital ship," up to and including Galactica.
posted by Etrigan at 8:18 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thorzdad writes "Any ship suggested that operates entirely in space should be disqualified, since there's no need for aerodynamics. "

Ya, the point of the article was that interstellar/interplanetary ships can be all freaky because they aren't beholden to wind tunnel design.
posted by Mitheral at 8:22 AM on December 1, 2012


Liberator. I was just thinking about Blake's 7 the other day, after I heard that Orb track "An ever growing, pulsating brain that rules from the centre of the Ultraworld."
posted by marienbad at 8:27 AM on December 1, 2012


Is a sphere aerodynamic?

A teardrop is; a sphere, not so much.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:29 AM on December 1, 2012


Chenjesu Broodhome
posted by nathancaswell at 8:32 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


An oblong that's survived a couple of atmospheric re-entries.
posted by titus-g at 8:42 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know which one I'm going to say.
posted by KHAAAN! at 8:46 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Kaylee: Catalyzer on the port compression coil blew. It's where the trouble started.
Mal: Okay, I need that in captain dummy talk, Kaylee.
posted by Ber at 8:49 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps there are conditions in which an X-Wing is aerodynamic, but it's definitely a cool looking ship and a sentimental favorite of mine.

I like Discovery One a lot for actually looking like a spaceship in a form-follows-function way.

Also, as previously mentioned, the Borg cubes are pretty awesome. Nothing asserts your indifference to the universe which forces concessions upon lesser beings like a giant cube.
posted by wobh at 9:00 AM on December 1, 2012


No love for the B-Wing?
posted by vibrotronica at 9:34 AM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Any ship suggested that operates entirely in space should be disqualified, since there's no need for aerodynamics.

Actually, this is probably false, at least for interstellar ships.

Turns out space isn't empty, just nearly so. Even at interplanetary speeds, colliding with gravel or even dust is a really big deal. At interstellar speeds, shooting a dust cloud at someone might actually be a viable weapon. k = mv^2, so where v is big, m can be really, really small and still have k be a killshot.

Which is why I think Alastair Reynolds's concept in his Revelation Space books is probably accurate. Lighthuggers are basically shaped like cones, many times longer than they are across, and most things that protrude from the hull are retractable. They're also encased in sheath of diamond and ice to deal with the impacts with interstellar dust at 0.9c.

And leaving aerodynamics aside for a minute, there's still structural dynamics. You gotta get most of the mass in a line with the vector of the engine thrust or the thing is going to be way unbalanced.
posted by valkyryn at 9:41 AM on December 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Don't forget Project Daedalus (some fusion required) and Project Orion (aerodynamics in the artist's conception are for module launch purposes, not flight-related) -- not to be confused with this Orion project, or even this laser broom.
posted by 1367 at 9:44 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Culture capital ships, definitely. Although to be honest I still can't tell what the average GSV looks like. This, this or this?
posted by infinitewindow at 9:45 AM on December 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Whatever my latest ship in Kerbal Space Program, it's always my favorite.
posted by anthill at 9:48 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


No love for the B-Wing?

Much, much love!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:51 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, spoiler for Anathem.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:52 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I do dig the Lighthuggers.

Why Alastair Reynolds Doesn’t Do Star Trek Physics
posted by Artw at 9:58 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


NCC one seven O one. No bloody A, B, C, or D.
posted by bowline at 10:19 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Eagle 1 Transporter, of course.
posted by jquinby at 10:29 AM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Rama, and the Event Horizon.
posted by HFSH at 10:41 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Valley Forge
posted by humboldt32 at 10:56 AM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Puppeteer homeworld cluster.
posted by sourwookie at 10:56 AM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


NCC-1701 (Refit)
SDF-1 and the Macross Galaxy
Your mom in a spacesuit.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 11:31 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The GCU Very Little Gravitas Indeed.
posted by dazed_one at 11:43 AM on December 1, 2012


Dune.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:45 AM on December 1, 2012


This a thread I could live in.

The Pride of Hiigara (not technically, but close)

The Great Harborship of Bentus

Both from Homeworld 2
posted by Chutzler at 11:45 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Space Battleship Yamato
posted by fieldtrip at 11:46 AM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


A Culture Orbital Big AND it is not phallic. I WIN!!
posted by helmutdog at 11:46 AM on December 1, 2012


Kronos_to_Earth: I've always liked Larry Niven's General Products hulls.

There's also his integral trees, through I guess they aren't technically spaceships, or designed.
posted by titus-g at 11:47 AM on December 1, 2012


The Magic School Bus

(not actually the space going bus I was looking for, but hey)
posted by titus-g at 11:54 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who remembers a story from Deadline magazine featuring a spaceship in the shape of Michelangelo's David, crewed by artists, the bridge was a living room with a couch, the controls were a videogame (Atari 2600 if I recall correctly), the pilots would fly it while smoking a bong and they had art adventures in space, best spaceship design eva
posted by Tom-B at 11:55 AM on December 1, 2012


Also the spaceship from Kin Dza Dza, basically an outhouse with a rotating radar on top
posted by Tom-B at 11:59 AM on December 1, 2012


Who remembers a story from Deadline magazine featuring a spaceship in the shape of Michelangelo's David, crewed by artists, the bridge was a living room with a couch, the controls were a videogame (Atari 2600 if I recall correctly), the pilots would fly it while smoking a bong and they had art adventures in space, best spaceship design eva

Was this by Shaky Kane?
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on December 1, 2012


Although to be honest I still can't tell what the average GSV looks like. This, this or this?

Nice Images. I like that IMB is vague enough in his descriptions to let you paint your own GSVs. I don't know if there is such a thing as an "average" GSV?
posted by ovvl at 12:23 PM on December 1, 2012


I'm gonna go for The Entire Works of Chris Foss as having a similar pleasing blockiness, though admittedly most of them have a clear front.

I loved those many generic SF paperbacks from the 70's with virtually interchangeable Foss paintings on the cover. Um... maybe I'll go look at Google Images now...
posted by ovvl at 12:26 PM on December 1, 2012


I prefer a spacecraft with a sleek, running-shoe shape.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 12:36 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Intergalactic Planetary.
posted by Smart Dalek at 12:37 PM on December 1, 2012


There was a clever SF novel where all the big cities launched themselves into space, some kind of force field. Blish? But that's gotta be as non-aerodynamic as it gets. Especially all those bits of subway tunnels and dangling plumbing infrastructure.
posted by sammyo at 12:44 PM on December 1, 2012


Prometheus is pretty awesome.
posted by grubi at 12:46 PM on December 1, 2012


Brocktoon mentioned Dune before I could, which has some funky looking ships for both House Atreides and Harkonnen. But the Spacer Guild Heighliners don't actually move through space in the conventional sense. Therefore they especially don't need to adhere to any type of aerodynamics.

But for my contribution consider this video where Carl Sagan proposes a space vehicle that relies on nuclear explosions to propel it through space.
posted by PipRuss at 12:57 PM on December 1, 2012


That would be Project Orion.
posted by Artw at 1:04 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The big smiley-face ship from Heavy Metal
posted by P.o.B. at 1:05 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, if we're going to do Niven, we can't not mention the Puppeteer Fleet of Worlds. I'm pretty sure, somewhere in his non-canon material, there's a discussion of using Ringworld-type structures (towing a star) as intergalactic spaceships in the same way.

And I have a soft touch for the Earth slowboats used to colonize worlds like Plateau, and the one that was used, hovering, to burn the "road" on Destiny.

The aerodynamic quality would probably exclude the organic rockets called "stage trees", but then there is also the almost unknown quantity called the Starseed (which has a symbiotic relationship with the awesome Outsiders).

I guess my favorite -- not strictly Known Space -- would be Niven and Pournelle's INSS MacArthur, though. Much as I love my Star Trek conglomerations with artificial gravity, this seems like a much more likely thing to arise, even if the Alderson Drive is about as much magic as warp drive or hyperdrive.
posted by dhartung at 1:43 PM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


This Chris Foss beauty from Alejandro Jodorowsky's unmade Dune movie has got to be the best.
posted by Yesterday's camel at 1:55 PM on December 1, 2012


There was a clever SF novel where all the big cities launched themselves into space

They Shall Have Stars by (yes) Blish, ca. 1955. It and a few sequels (collectively the Okie stories) were collected in a fixup titled Cities in Flight, which coincidentally I just finished reading a few weeks ago. The space drive put a roughly-spherical force field kinda thing around the uprooted cities, though.

Making a spaceship "aero"dynamic will, in many ways, make it more resistant to the interplanetary equivalent of birdstrike.

Only if your spaceship is basically at rest with respect to the stuff it's hit by. Space junk isn't going to "glance off" an angled prow at multiple km/sec.
posted by hattifattener at 2:05 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure, somewhere in [Niven's] non-canon material, there's a discussion of using Ringworld-type structures (towing a star) as intergalactic spaceships in the same way.

It appears in canon too, in Ringworld Engineers:
"Have you guessed the worst of it? I compute that the sun can probably be moved. The sun can be made to jet plasma, and the plasma can be made to act as a gas laser, forming a photon drive for the sun itself. The Ringworld would be pulled along by the sun's gravity. But even the maximum thrust would be minuscule, too little to help us. At anything over two times ten to the minus fourth power gravities of acceleration, the Ringworld would be left behind. In any case, radiation from the plasma jet would ruin the ecology. Louis, are you laughing?"

Louis was. "I never thought of moving the sun. I never would have. You actually went ahead and worked out the math?"

Wintry-cool and mechanical, that voice. "I did. It can't help us. What is left?"
posted by stebulus at 2:13 PM on December 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yesterday's camel, that link is 403 Forbidden from here. Was it from here?
posted by titus-g at 2:14 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The hype is kind of silly, but as far as asethetics go, the Alcubierre drive looks pretty slick.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:16 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, the space ship I am most excited about right now: The Orion.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:27 PM on December 1, 2012


Yes, the flying head from Zardoz - now there's a memory!
posted by the noob at 2:30 PM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks to that list for re-acquainting me with The Starlost, which I vaguely remember watching (on PBS perhaps?) many many moons ago. I recall almost nothing about it except those bubble-pods colonies. Was it really The Worst Science Fiction Series Ever?
posted by stargell at 3:11 PM on December 1, 2012


The day the earth stood still before your time.
posted by francesca too at 3:27 PM on December 1, 2012


Lexx!
posted by brundlefly at 3:30 PM on December 1, 2012


fieldtrip mentioned Space Battleship Yamato, which you have to admit is pretty hard to beat, considering that it's a Japanese World War II-era battleship retrofitted for space flight.
posted by JHarris at 3:59 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. I noticed the reference to Intergalactic above, a song I'm not quite familiar with.
2. So I load the music video from the link. It's funny and cool, but then
3. midway through the 'rap' part starts, and I realize I've heard that before.
4. On Procatinator! Yes! I head there.
5. That's when I notice, Procatinator seems to be down, which is very sad.
posted by JHarris at 4:09 PM on December 1, 2012


If we're talking time actually spent in one, I have to nominate the Tarsus.
posted by bystander at 4:15 PM on December 1, 2012


I've always been a fan of the original BSG ships.

JHarris: " mentioned Space Battleship Yamato"

There are so many great designs from Leiji Matsumoto, though in the reverse of the Yamato he's recently been making boats that look like spaceships.
posted by the_artificer at 4:43 PM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


NASA counts? Oh, oh, oh, I got one! Call on me! Call on me! Yeah, the MMU. Hardcore.

I don't think there's anything got it beat except the rescue ball. Can you even fucking imagine?

Speaking of the MMU, the thing most like it from sf is possibly the haunted spacesuit of Arthur C. Clarke's classic short -- illustrated thusly, although another collection interpreted the description a little differently -- which brings me to the work bee seen briefly in the "drydock" sequence in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I totally lusted after one of those.
posted by dhartung at 4:45 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nothing asserts your indifference to the universe which forces concessions upon lesser beings like a giant cube.
What's scary about the cubes isn't that they aren't at all optimized with respect to the universe, it's that they are optimized, for one thing: packed tiling of three-dimensional space. Nothing says "we're going to assimilate you" like "we've already assimilated so many that we need to be able to stack everyone like bricks".

But my vote is for The Michael. Start with an Orion design, the only current option for "we need to get a few thousand tons into space ASAP, even if it means leaving nuclear destruction in our wake". Add whatever scrounged spacecraft are most handy, because we mean ASAP. Then add more nukes than you needed for propulsion, because nuclear destruction is going to be necessary for more than delta-V.
posted by roystgnr at 5:01 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Arcadia. The blue one, not the green.
posted by jabah at 5:25 PM on December 1, 2012


dhartung, I still have nightmares over that rescue ball after being exposed to the idea 30 years ago.
posted by mollweide at 6:14 PM on December 1, 2012


Space Box!
posted by Divine_Wino at 6:58 PM on December 1, 2012


The Arcadia. The blue one.
posted by the_artificer at 8:08 PM on December 1, 2012


I like the green Arcadia.
posted by cazoo at 8:38 PM on December 1, 2012


Chenjesu Broodhome

Spathi Eluder.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:57 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Spathi Eluder.

And yet another thread becomes about B.U.T.T.s
posted by nathancaswell at 9:01 PM on December 1, 2012


The Great Space Coaster was a little aerodynamic, but its completely open cockpit should ensure that all passengers arrive dead.
posted by SharkParty at 9:31 PM on December 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


What, no love for the Babylon 5 Omega Class Destroyer? Rotating hull sections win.

Also, starfuries.

It's a real shame Babylon 5's CGI files were lost, so the SFX can't be re-rendered at HD resolutions.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 10:09 PM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


108 comments and no tie fighter. For shame Metafilter, for shame.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:24 PM on December 1, 2012


The Azhanti High Lightning. Because the name rocks.
posted by moonbiter at 10:46 PM on December 1, 2012


I was thinking about the Earthforce destroyers and the Starfuries, too.

Also, Imperial Star Destroyers.

And the Event Horizon.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:20 AM on December 2, 2012


Thanks to that list for re-acquainting me with The Starlost, which I vaguely remember watching (on PBS perhaps?) many many moons ago. I recall almost nothing about it except those bubble-pods colonies. Was it really The Worst Science Fiction Series Ever?

No... not in my opinion. The Starlost was awkward/clunky and plagued by production problems, but there were some intriguing concepts in the narrative that Harlan wrote, which he complained about at length when he was frustrated by the production problems. It wasn't slick and looked kinda odd (I was okay with that myself). Some of the stories were pretty interesting. It was loosely based on Heinlein's story 'Universe', and if it had been a hit, there might have been a swell lawyer-fest. I can think of some worse SF series.
posted by ovvl at 1:44 AM on December 2, 2012


Terran Trade Authority ships FTW.
posted by gen at 2:13 AM on December 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually this is a better link for the Terran Trade Authority ships.
posted by gen at 2:17 AM on December 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm going for something more recent - Sanctuary from Borderlands 2 - it's a spaceship that turns into a mining town and yet can still fly! Very unaerodynamic, even if it does stay aloft for a lot of the game.

Okay, so it does actually fly in air, but I think it still counts.
posted by YAMWAK at 3:00 AM on December 2, 2012


Also, Imperial Star Destroyers.

Possibly undermining the non-aerodynamic bit: When the delta winged Avro Vulcan used to do low altitude fly-bys over my house at improbably low speeds for the local air show I would always think of those.
posted by Artw at 7:09 AM on December 2, 2012


What, no love for the Babylon 5 Omega Class Destroyer?

Obviously at some point Sulaco and Leonov got together and decided to start a family...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:25 AM on December 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


So... Which is the best WH40K fleet?
posted by Artw at 8:33 AM on December 2, 2012


ALL OF THEM
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:17 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It belies my age, but for me, it's the Cygnus, hands down. Sitting in the theater in 1978, when that unbelievable gorgeous, delicate, and monstrous derelict lit up? Holy shit. My set of Lego built nothing but variations on the theme after that. Inside and out, that's a ship, man—art direction from the last leftover designers of Disney's golden age. The script is horrendous, but this just strengthens my resolve to one day find a talented video editor on my wavelength and recut it as a silent film with a remixed version of the brilliant John Barry score in the place of the gay robot and Ernest Borgnine.

I second Valley Forge, though. Great ship, despite some of the dumb concept.

The cities from Cities in Flight also grabbed me, with that book a favorite of my youth and a lingering love even now, to the point that I've sketched out a novel I may write sometime set in that universe. Grungy, dieselpunk, vacuum-tubes, shipyards and steel furnaces—Baltimore in flight could be quite the thing.

The flying Tilt-A-Whirl from Explorers was a good trick, too.

Of course, you can hardly get more anti-aerodynamic than the Outerscope. How can you possibly go wrong with a PBS sci-fi serial with a wooden spaceship and awkward multi-cultural puppet children with oversized real human hands?
posted by sonascope at 2:07 PM on December 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'll also add a vote for the cute-scary derelict from a film from my wayward youth of UHF television—the wrecked alien ship from Terrore Nello Spazio, marketed as Planet of the Vampires in the US market. It's pink, it's crusty, it's been there a long, long time, and Mr O'Bannon and Mr Scott have a lot to answer to in regards to this amazingly moody and stylish film. It's currently available on Netflix, and like Ikarie XB-1, it's a film you really need to see if you're serious about SF film.
posted by sonascope at 2:46 PM on December 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The earth is my favorite spaceship design, non-aerodynamic or otherwise. I just wish it was easier to steer.
posted by fartknocker at 3:19 PM on December 2, 2012


My answer is the Aluminum Mallard, which I named my first car after.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:15 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Outerscope! It's been a long time since I've heard anything about that.
posted by JHarris at 6:43 PM on December 2, 2012


I think that it might be shorter just to list all the spacecraft that are aerodynamic in the sense that they can be operated in atmosphere. You'd exclude things like rockets and missiles that only get craft out of the atmosphere, and things like re-entry capsules, but not the Space Shuttle, even though (according to some of the pilots' accounts that I've read) it was really barely aerodynamic. So, just looking at Star Trek, you'd include:

- All shuttlecraft, of course, and the DS9 runabouts
- Intrepid-class (Voyager)
- Defiant-class; the Defiant did land on a planet once, although they didn't show it
- Klingon Bird-of-Prey (Star Trek IV)

Interestingly, Voyager was almost as big as the original NCC-1701, at least in length, but had a much smaller crew. The Constitution-class Enterprise wasn't meant to operate in atmosphere at all, and had a couple of close scrapes when it came into the very upper reaches of a planet's atmosphere.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:03 PM on December 2, 2012


So... Which is the best WH40K fleet?

ALL OF THEM


Necron Tombships appear to have a replica of the valley of the kings on top. Win!
posted by Artw at 3:18 AM on December 3, 2012


<nitpick>I'm pretty sure the Valley of the Kings doesn't have any pyramids in it. Maybe you meant the Giza Necropolis?</nitpick>
posted by stebulus at 8:18 AM on December 3, 2012


Yes, yes...

They probably have another one for that as well though.
posted by Artw at 8:25 AM on December 3, 2012


Would breasts be considered aerodynamic? (NELL from "Battle Beyond the Stars")
posted by ShutterBun at 5:59 PM on December 3, 2012


sammyo: "There was a clever SF novel where all the big cities launched themselves into space, some kind of force field. Blish? But that's gotta be as non-aerodynamic as it gets. Especially all those bits of subway tunnels and dangling plumbing infrastructure"

Wasn't this also a thing in one of Ken MacLeod's books? Possibly The Execution Channel?
posted by HFSH at 2:59 AM on December 4, 2012


Battle Beyond the Stars has so many great spaceships! Er... NELL isn't one of them.
posted by Artw at 7:52 AM on December 4, 2012


« Older "It feels strange to be active and highly visible ...  |  There's been a lot of talk in ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments