international Rescue is a secret organisation devoted to rescuing disaster victims in the most difficult circumstances and was founded by one-time American astronaut Jeff Tracy who made his fortune in the construction industry during the first decades of the 21st century. Its headquarters are based in Tracy Villa, perched on an island situated at an unknown location in the Pacific.
The villa is home to the members of the Tracy household who together form IR's staff: Jeff's five sons, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John, each manning one of the Thunderbirds, Horatio 'Brains' Hackenbacker, the genius who invented and oversaw the construction of the rescue machines and who serves as advisor during difficult rescue missions, Kyrano, Tracy Sr.'s valet, Kyrano's daughter Tin Tin who holds a position as Jeff's secretary and, last but not least, Grandma who is in charge of domestic affairs. This team is complemented by International Rescue's London based agent, lady Penelope Creighton-Ward and her butler Aloysius 'Nosey' Parker.
Apart from serving as nerve centre for each rescue operation, the house hides from prying eyes the various installations needed to launch, store and maintain the rescue machines. In order to effectively handle even the most complicated or dangerous missions, IR has at its disposition an impressive array of advanced technological devices, the five most important of which are the socalled Thunderbird machines: Thunderbird 5, a spacestation ceaselessly circling the Earth, monitoring the airwaves for distress calls; it is periodically serviced by Thunderbird 3, a spacefaring vehicle; Thunderbird 2, a freight plane hauling one of six different equipment pods (one of which houses the Thunderbird 4 submarine) and Thunderbird 1, a reconnoitering rocket.