Friday, January 31, 2014
Ironman One From Marooned
Built from Dragon Models 1/48 scale Apollo 11 Command/Service Module.
I couldn't swear to its accuracy as there doesn't seem to be very much information on it.
Still I think it gives a reasonable facsimile.
Marooned is a 1969 American film directed by John Sturges and starring Gregory Peck, Richard Crenna, David Janssen, James Franciscus, and Gene Hackman.
The film was released less than four months after the Apollo 11 moon landing and was tied to the public fascination with the event. It won an Academy Award for Visual Effects.
It was based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Martin Caidin; however, while the original novel was based on the single-pilot Mercury program, the film depicted an Apollo Command/Service Module with three astronauts and a space station resembling Skylab. Caidin acted as technical adviser and updated the novel, incorporating appropriate material from the original version.
Three American astronauts—commander Jim Pruett (Crenna), "Buzz" Lloyd (Hackman), and Clayton "Stoney" Stone (Franciscus)—are the first crew of an experimental space station. While returning to Earth, the main engine on the Apollo spacecraft Ironman One fails. Mission Control determines that Ironman does not have enough backup thruster capability to initiate atmospheric reentry, or to re-dock with the station and wait for rescue. The crew is marooned in orbit.
NASA debates whether a rescue flight can reach the crew before their oxygen runs out in approximately two days. There are no backup launch vehicles or rescue systems available at Kennedy Space Center and NASA director Charles Keith (Peck) opposes using an experimental Air Force X-RV lifting body that would be launched on a Titan IIIC booster; neither the spacecraft nor the booster is man-rated, and there is insufficient time to put a new manned NASA mission together. Even though a booster is already on the way to nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for an already-scheduled Air Force launch, many hundreds of hours of preparation, assembly, and testing would be necessary.
Ted Dougherty (Janssen), the Chief Astronaut, opposes Keith and demands that something be done. The President agrees with Dougherty and tells Keith that failing to try a rescue mission will kill public support for the manned space program. The President tells Keith that money is no factor; "whatever you need, you've got it".
While the astronauts' wives (Lee Grant, Mariette Hartley, and Nancy Kovack) agonize over the fates of their husbands, all normal checklist procedures are bypassed to prepare the X-RV for launch. A hurricane headed for the launch area threatens to cancel the mission. However, the eye of the storm passes over the Cape at the last minute during a launch window, permitting a launch with Dougherty aboard.
There is insufficient oxygen left for all three astronauts to survive until Dougherty arrives. There is possibly enough for two. Pruett and his crew then debate what to do. Stone tries to reason that they can somehow survive. Lloyd offers to leave since he is "using up most of the oxygen anyway", but Pruett overrides him. He orders everyone into their spacesuits then leaves the ship, ostensibly to attempt repairs. When Lloyd realizes what Pruett is really intending, he attempts to go after him. Before he can reach Pruett, the latter sacrifices himself by tearing open his space suit, and his body drifts away into space. With Pruett gone, Stone takes command.
A Soviet spacecraft suddenly appears and its cosmonaut tries to make contact. It can do nothing but deliver oxygen since the Soviet ship is too small to carry additional passengers. Stone and Lloyd, suffering oxygen deprivation, cannot understand the cosmonaut's gestures or obey Keith's orders.
Dougherty arrives and he and the cosmonaut transfer the two surviving and mentally dazed Ironman astronauts into the rescue ship. Both the Soviet ship and the X-RV return to Earth, and the final scene fades out with a view of the abandoned Ironman One adrift in orbit.