The NASA "Cassiopeia" is an interesting vessel. The images are taken from the introductory BLINK format video that accompanies the UBISOFT produced PC computer game "PLANET OF THE APES". This video game has much more in common with the 1968 classic movie than the more forgettable Tim Burton remake. As I watched the opening video to the story, I realized that the artists who put this introduction together must have had their own ideas about what should have been added to the 1968 version, or how they could make it better. Overall, it comes off as a more passable example of the POTA mythos than Tim Burton's movie could ever hope to achieve.
In Greek mythology ... Cassiopeia
was the wife of Cepheus, the Ethiopian king of Joppa (now known as Jaffa, in Israel), and
the mother of Andromeda. The queen was both beautiful and vain, and the story of how her
vanity caused great distress is told in relation to the constellation Andromeda.
After promising her daughter in marriage to Perseus, Cassiopeia had second thoughts. She convinced one of Poseidon's sons, Agenor, to disrupt the ceremony by claiming Andromeda for himself. Agenor arrived with an entire army, and a fierce struggle ensued.
In the battle Cassiopeia is said to have cried "Perseus must die". At any rate it was Perseus who was victorious, with the help of the Gorgon's head.
Perseus had recently slain Medusa, the Gorgon, and had put its head in a bed of coral. He retrieved the head and waved it in midst of the warring wedding party, instantly turning them all to stone. In the group was both Cepheus and Cassiopeia.
A contrite Poseidon put both father and mother in the heavens. But because of Cassiopeia's vanity, he placed her in a chair which revolves around the Pole Star, so half the time she's obliged to sit upside down.
Again, we have a crew of four astronauts; Ulysses (commander), Romulus, Sophie, and Martinez. The last two are women, a first in the POTA series as being a half and half mix. All are, again, NASA personnel this time. ANSA is not mentioned. Shortly after launch, all communications is lost with the "Cassiopeia" and she is considered lost in space along with all crew onboard. Fast forward almost 2000 years. The "Cassiopeia" and her crew arrive back on Earth almost two millennia after they left, minus the token female astronaut ("Martinez") who dies when her hibernation capsule somehow malfunctions (and again the onboard computer doesn't awaken the other crew to deal with the problem before it is too late...)
Surviving the crash landing of the "Cassiopeia" are her commander, "Ulysses", a brunette female astronaut named "Sophie", and another male astronaut named "Romulus", a black male who apparently is molded along the lines of the "Dodge" character from the first movie. There isn't much integrity to the crew portrayed in the opening video, not like what is presented as the underlying tension between Taylor and Landon, or Dodge's own individualistic stoicism. The relationship between Sophie and Ulysses is hinted at, but neither character comes close to the depth of verbal exchanges expressed in the original movie between Landon and Taylor.
The other interesting thing to note is what the "Cassiopeia" apparently is. While the design will be unfamiliar to some, to others, they will recognize the classic lines instantly (as I did). Named for yet another character from Greek mythology (notice that NASA names their ships while ANSA apparently does not (in the movies, that is)), the "Cassiopeia" is none other than the prototype design concept for the United States NASP National AeroSpace Plane, better known as the X-30 or the "Orient Express". I won't bore you with details on the X-30, suffice to say that it was cancelled long ago and that there are plenty of websites out there dealing with information on it if you are interested (and you should be, it was an amazing project). The NASP / X-30 / "Orient Express" was a single stage surface to orbit and back to surface reusable design intended to not only service space stations, but also to be a hypersonic commercial passenger liner that would have made the Concorde look like a single engine Cessna in comparison for speed. There was a rather bland movie done along the lines of the old "MAROONED" movie, where a NASP type vehicle suffers a malfunction and is stranded in orbit with all the passengers aboard. I think the name of the movie was "Starflight One" and it starred Lee Majors (of "Six Million Dollar Man" fame) as the pilot. It might be an interesting brain dead adventure if you have nothing better to do, or worth renting if you find it purely for the nostalgic value and to see how one of these vessels might have operated.
The original prototype images are apparently what the design for the "Cassiopeia" was taken wholesale from, as the latter 'evolved' version of the X-30, before its cancellation, did not resemble the more exotic prototype images. The only difference is that the artists at UBISOFT apparently removed the rear tail stabilizer, or perhaps it was lost in deep space, after all, the ship does suffer a major failure of its thrust components, and the tail is right back there with all that equipment...
I have included several images of the prototype X-30 / NASP / "Orient Express" model below for you to look at before you carry on to the images of the "Cassiopeia" and her crew. I'm sure you'll find some amazing similarities.
NASP / X-30 IMAGES- A collection of images of the prototype of the cancelled American National AeroSpace Plane.
INTRO / THE "CASSIOPEIA" -four astronauts return to Earth aboard their long lost spacecraft.
REENTRY / EMERGENCY LANDING- The "Cassiopeia" returns to Earth.
ABANDON SHIP- The Astronauts learn of their fate.
THE JOURNEY- The Astronauts explore a strange world.
THE DISCOVERY / HUMANS AND APES- The Astronauts become part of the hunt.
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