Stanley Kubrick's 2001: a Space Odyssey has got to be the
perfect expression of the Space Age.
True, it came out in 1968, which
was four years after the Space Age had hit its watershed, but Kubrick
was a slow worker and the genesis of the film was firmly in the peak
years of the space race. Kubrick co-wrote his screenplay with
Arthur C. Clarke, who was well-established as a hard science fiction
Together they were determined to make the ultimate space
picture and it ended up as a remarkable marriage of some of the most
carefully designed technology ever
seen in a science fiction film with a
vision of man's place in the universe that was so large that it was
the film, Kubrick called on the expertise of any number of high-tech
companies, and he employed the services of technical artist Harry
Lange, who had been working on advanced designs for NASA.
One of his most memorable creations was the Orion orbital shuttle.
Bearing the Pan Am logo, the Orion was the Sanger space plane come to
So impressive was the design that many people in the aerospace field
firmly believed that such spacecraft would be common by the turn of
the century. Unfortunately, when the 21st century came, neither
the Orion or Pan Am were to be seen.