Thunderbird 1 launch bay
he two essentials for all Thunderbird launchings are speed and reliability. For the fastest possible take-off, Thunderbird 1 is kept in a bay close to the Tracy lounge. Scott can thus get aboard fast and carry out all necessary pre-flight checks while the craft descends a ramp to the launch bay. Reliability is ensured by triplicated systems on all automatic gear and in addition separate manual control can be used. Power is supplied by atomic generators each of which could supply all necessary power on its own. These launch bays are strictly functional with no styling frills. The drawings below illustrate some of the main items marked in the key on the right.
A From the storage bay (1) a ramp (2) leads to the launch bay (3). Inset circle shows the jockey wheels (4) which ride on separate rails to the main load bearing rails. The jockey wheels are a safety device in case the computer-instructed ramps (5) fail to keep the rocket platform (6) level.
B There are a number of these launching trolleys in case the take-off blast damages the one in use. They differ slightly but the basic principle is the same. Thunderbird 1 sits on the ring (1) with its central flame duct leading to the blast pit (5). The brake, reduction gears and motor assembly is at the rear (2). Computers (3) served by armoured cable ducts control the trolley's movements and the position of the ramps (4).
C The computer galleries are on two levels. The top houses the automatic systems, the bottom, computer programming and manual override controls, a small section of which are shown in the circle. In addition to controlling launching, these computers also supply all pre-flight information that is required, ranging from wind strength over the take-off area to weather conditions over the danger zone.
D The motor room serving the movable swimming pool. Twin motors (1) drive toothed belts (2) through reduction gears (3). The belt ends are attached to the raft (4) which carries the swimming pool on its upper surface. The raft is suspended from wheel bearings on its outer edges. The drive motor layout is repeated at the other end of the pool. As Thunderbird 1 reaches take-off position the pool water basin is thus moved to one side. The ceiling (5) is attached to and moves with the 'raft'.
E Air duct systems. (1) Exhaust fume extractor fans with ducts (2) to outside air. (3) Maintenance access. (4) Blower fan replaces extracted foul air with fresh. Also provides forced draught from nozzles (5) to assist fume extraction through the vent ducts (6). (7) Fuel store behind fireproof door. One fuel arm is shown partly extended through the open hatch.
F Abort gangway. In the unlikely event of a serious breakdown the armoured door (1) swings down forming a platform supporting the retractable gangway (2) which slides out to an escape hatch in the nose of Thunderbird 1.
Launch bay specifications orginally published in British Annual