Mini-shuttle lifting bodies like the Dream Chaser are what we thought spaceflight's future was going to be when I was a kid, but a whole new level of futuristic is a lifting body optimized for the hypersonic part of the trip, like this late 1990s concept for NASA. Ooh...

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Probably the most famous example of this spaceplane class in science fiction is (of all things) the Icarus from "Planet of the Apes". And all this time I thought it was just shaped like that to look cool. Hmph. Pan-Am's space clipper from "2001" also bears a slight resemblance.

Image at left is the Icarus, image at right the space clipper.


Space clippers as they appear in 2001 almost exist here in the future. It turns out the science fiction element is that Pan Am, projected to charter that space clipper, closed its doors in 1991.

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Adamas Nemesis

A personal node in the decentralized social network of the future for Adamas Nemesis: blogger, science-fiction writer, artist, and more.