When I was 11-years old I “designed” a space ship.
It had a modular design (see above right, drawn today from memory), which allowed for the center section to be disconnected from the front control module and the rear engine module. That way the center module could be purposed in many ways, and swapped out for other units – a process which promoted utility and efficiency. With my design, fewer ships were required. Never mind that the ship I created looked vaguely similar to the “Eagle” landing craft used in the TV show “Space:1999.” I was 11. I was impressionable.
My space ships were called the “Flying Tigers II,” and they were part of a story I never finished.
Like the original Flying Tigers during World War II, the story of FTII started with a volunteer group of humans helping an alien race in the 21st century – against the attacks of a vicious interstellar foe. The ships even carried the fabled “Shark’s Teeth” on the nose from the original Flying Tigers, an artistic treatment that I also went on to use in college for The Food Shark: my pizza delivery car. While the story of Flying Tigers II wasn’t completed, the space ship design stuck with me in countless doodles and drawings. When I read that NASA was designing a reusable orbiter, I sent them a picture of an FTII ship and a letter explaining why its modular design would be a good configuration to use.
And NASA replied.
“We like your submission very much,” the letter explained (paraphrased), “but unfortunately we have already designed our orbiter (space shuttle is drawn above left). Thank you for taking the time of sending it to us.”
They also sent along an entire folder filled with space shuttle books, magazines, and space info. Somewhere in my archives (aka “Plastic bin in garage”), I have those documents, my uncompleted story, and several drawn versions of the FTII ship. At the time I was learning about drawing in perspective, and many of the works show FTII in dog fights in space.
The fact that I was able to draw it today from memory – nearly forty years later – might give you an idea of how often I drew them. Just thinking about FTII today brought back many great memories of being that age, plus the wonder and limitless possibilities of creativity.