The Orbit Jet
was a fictional spaceship
in the 1954 TV series Rocky Jones, Space Ranger
. It strongly resembled a V-2 rocket
in overall form, with a very prominent exhaust plume when flying, but had wings in addition to tailfins (even its radio callsign, "XV-2" relates it that seminal World War II
design). There were references in the dialog to the engines being "atomic". The Orbit Jet
had a crew of two (pilot and copilot), but often had three or four others on board depending on the mission and destination. It often flew from Earth to inhabited moons of Jupiter
, which it seemed to reach in hours or days of time within the story.
The Orbit Jet introduced many features that would become standard equipment on later TV and movie spaceships:
- An electronic viewscreen (instead of a simple window or porthole)
- A fantastically complicated control panel (without an airplane-styled control wheel or stick)
- Power doors opening side-to-side as one approaches
- Subspace radio (the "Astrophone") that allowed instantaneous communications over interplanetary distances
- Artificial gravity as an explained feature and plot element
- A cloaking device that rendered the ship invisible.
The first screenshot below shows the Orbit Jet in flight. The second shows pilot "Rocky" and copilot "Winky" at the controls. The side-by-side crew positions facing the viewscreen, with other workstations and sliding doors behind, presage part of the bridge layout of Star Trek's Enterprise a decade later.