Century 21 Tech Talk – Episode Four: Fireball XL5 | Hosted by Brains [Thunderbirds] and Prof Matic
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Century 21 Tech Talk – Episode Four: Fireball XL5 | Hosted by Brains [Thunderbirds] and Prof Matic

(triumphant music) (tone beeping) – [Brains] Hello again folks, Brains here. Welcome to another episode
of Century 21 Tech Talk. In this briefing, we’re
gonna be discussing the technical specifications
of Fireball XL5. Fireball XL5 is an XL-class patrol ship used by the World Space Patrol. It is one of 30 identical
XL craft in the WSP fleet. Each patrol ship is usually crewed by at least two trained astronauts, although specific assignments often require additional personnel. One such person is
Professor Matthew Matic, chief engineer, navigator, scientist, and a vital member of Fireball XL5’s crew. Professor Matic is a close friend of mine and has kindly offered to
discuss the technical details of Fireball XL5 for this briefing. And now, without further ado, I present Professor Matthew Matic. – [Matthew] (laughs) Thank you Brains. It’s real boss to be here. Howdy folks! As Brains says, I’m
Professor Matthew Matic, and I guess I know just about everything there is to know about Fireball XL5. Commander Zero has given permission for me to share a few details
about the craft with you, and I gather you have
International Rescue’s full security clearance, too. Firstly, I have a small apology to make. It looks like some of the
material in my presentation has been exposed to
vinta-rays in my laboratory, and this has caused some of the footage to lose its colour. Still, it can’t be helped,
so let’s get started. Well now, it might be best if I told you a little about the regular crew of XL5 before we discuss the craft. The primary crew comprises
commanding officer, Colonel Steve Zodiac, our expert in space medicine, Dr. Venus, and finally, Robert, our copilot and a robot of my own invention. Oh, and I mustn’t forget
Zoonie, Venus’ pet lazoon. He was here a moment ago. I wonder where he’s disappeared to? I hope he doesn’t ’cause
any mischief for Brains. Like the other XL-class vessels, Fireball XL5 is based at Space
City in the South Pacific. The craft is launched via horizontal rail beside the control tower. Steve fires the main
motors in the carrier sled, and XL5 is propelled
along the launch rail. As the craft approaches the
incline of the end of the rail, the secondary sled motors fire, closely followed by XL5’s
newtomic hyperdrive, blasting Fireball into the atmosphere at a terrific velocity. The launch sled is then
recovered by an automated crane and returned to the launch rail. Returning to Space City
is a much simpler process. XL5 is brought into a hover position above the landing apron and descends on its powerful landing thruster. Conditions on board Fireball
are very comfortable, but then, they gotta be. We can be on patrol duty
for months at a time, and the ship is designed
with this in mind. Some of the areas in
which we spend our time include the relaxation
lounge, the sleeping quarters, and in my case, the navigation bay. The navigation bay is one
of the most complex areas on the whole craft. It is equipped with an
astroscope, spacemascope, radar telescope, language
decoders, and monitoring systems. Many of these sophisticated
systems are linked to the main sensor dome located
above the navigation bay. From the main navigation console, I can plot a course to any
sector of space required. I also use the equipment to
scan unidentified objects and obtain information. One of the hazards of exploring
uncharted regions of space is the chance of encountering
bacteria and viruses that may have adverse effects on our crew. That’s just one of the
reasons that it’s essential to have Dr. Venus with us
on Fireball at all times. What she doesn’t know about space medicine isn’t worth knowing. Venus spends a lot of time in her laboratory near the sick bay and has been instrumental in saving us from one nasty thing or
other on numerous occasions. Talking of nasty things, it’s not just space viruses we have to worry about on patrol. There’s also the danger of meeting some really unfriendly types, the kind of folks who
would rather shoot first and ask questions later, if you know what I mean. Of course, that’s something
we’re more than prepared for. XL5 is armed with a battery of powerful space interceptor missiles with a fantastic destructive capability. Anyone foolish enough to
tangle with an XL cruiser is likely to regret it mighty fast. However, leaving such
unsavoury things aside, one of the more pleasant
duties of a Fireball vessel is to investigate new planets, and boy, do we have the
right tools for the job! Fireball XL5 is capable of landing on the surface of a planet just as it does at Space City, but more often than not, the main craft remains in planetary orbit, and the landing is made by Fireball, Jr. Fireball, Jr. is a small scout vessel consisting of the forward
section of the main craft. It detaches from the main body of XL5 and makes its way to the
surface of the planet while the remaining crew pilot XL5 from the secondary control
room in the astrodome. Junior is equipped with
its own landing system, incorporating retro
rockets and landing struts. When the craft is landed, the crew can proceed with
their investigation on foot, but will usually scout the
area on their jetmobiles. Fireball, Jr. Is also designed to function as a submersible, which
has come in pretty useful from time to time. When it comes to extravehicular
exploration in space, the crew make use of the ejector bay, thruster packs, and oxygen pills. A lot of people ask me how oxygen pills protect from the dangers of total vacuum, space radiation, and so forth. The answer’s actually pretty simple. You see… (glass crashing) What in tarnation? – [Zoonie] Welcome home. – [Brains] Oh gee, I’m sorry for interrupting Professor Matic, but you see, Zoonie here
got hold of some OD60 while playing in close proximity
to some liquid alsterine, and well… – [Matthew] Say no more Brains. Come on you tootie lazoon,
time to get you outta here before you cause any more trouble. It’s been a real pleasure being here at International Rescue today, and I hope you all get a chance to come visit Space City very soon. So long for now!
(tone beeping) (triumphant music) (triumphant music)


  • Gerry Anderson

    Wait! Brains AND Professor Matic on one video! Worlds collide in the next episode of Century 21 Tech Talk. Are you excited?

  • Sonicguy001

    Great Episode… I don’t know how to ask this, so I’ll ask outright: do you think we’ll have a special episode on Scott Tracy, due to the unfortunate passing of Shane Rimmer? (That is, unless you guys primarily talk about machinery with this program?)

  • Robert's Video Madness

    Going to take a punt and say TB3 is next.

    This so far have been a great little series of technical information. Had two of my favourites so for (TB2 & SPV) can’t wait for Stingray and Supercar.

  • class87fan

    Been enjoying the series. Just out of curiosity, when all the main vehicles have been done, will guest vehicles such as Fireflash or the pod vehicles be featured?

  • Luke Green

    1:47 Jeff Tracy From Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds Thinks He Looks Like Captain Jon Luc Picard From Star Trek The Next Generation. Thanks Mate. X

  • Bob Bova

    darn those vinta-rays! thanks for another great video.as an older Anderson fan seeing these brings back some great memories.everyone involved did a great job here! I can hardly wait for the next episode.!

  • Alan Ruyten

    Another excellent episode! I loved XL5 when I was a kid and it was good to see the ship, crew and Space City in colour. Especially enjoyed the Professor’s explanation of the switch between colour and B&W footage ? Same with not getting info on how the Oxygen Pills worked… great scripting guys!

  • Nick Wood

    Amazing, just travelled to the 21st century for 10 minutes. Wow. Then sadly came back to the REAL 21st century where the the most amazing thing is an iPhone. What a crock of shite. Take me back Gerry Anderson..!

  • Simon G

    Great video as always.
    But at 6:55, where on Earth, literally, would Steve & Matt fly Fireball Junior off to? What episode was that from?

  • Thomas R. Skidmore

    I think you’re doing a fantastic job with this series so far. I’ve always liked learning about different things, and this is the best form of education.

  • knicknac95

    Not sure what the real life legal requirement' s would be needed to make it happen but i would be curious to see a crossover between classic Thunderbirds Brains and Thunderbirds are go' s own iteration of him.

  • Steve Strummer

    Heavenly (excuse the pun!). I have just been transported back 50+ years to a blissful Anderson-enriched childhood. Thank you Jamie for keeping the legend and the memories alive for us old buggers still fondly reminiscing of watching it all first time around.

  • MrNellie65

    Lest we forget Conrad Turner(Captain Black)was in charge of Fireball XL3 following his heroism in the 2047 English civil war.

  • Aaron Wood

    the connection goes even further. In the Haynes manual and probably supported by Fleetway and TV21, Captain Black was the captain of Fireball XL3

  • RocKiteman _ 2001

    At 06:15 in this video: I figured out what that visible wire is! Is a guidance wire just like a TOW missile!

  • Bondek

    Marineville would interest me -the logistics in making an entire town disappear beneath ground into huge subterranean caverns.

  • RoboP

    This was a fun little one to watch.
    I have Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet on DVD as complete series.

    I've always wondered if there's ever a chance of Fireball XL5 getting a full release?(either in colour or black and white)

    And hello from Australia!

  • Stephen Hill

    Lovely to see this BUT… How many g's do the crew have to endure when their trajectory is suddenly changed at the end of the ramp? I suppose unlimited fuel will get them into orbit eventually but unfortunately they won't need to worry about that. They will be dead.

  • Jon Dunning

    That was a classic show wonderful Puppet work and great Idea's. Wonder if they are going to colorize it and take strings out that would be fantastic.

  • Aaron Wood

    the other connection I noticed, was in the TV21 and Fleetway reprint of "We, The Mysterons, Shall Destroy Unity City". Fireball XL5 was sent to recover Captain Black and Scarlet from a trip to space.

  • C Nault

    Nice. Perhaps a future episode will tell us about the Dove/Doppelganger spacecraft. Very robust in appearance,but from the flights seen of the craft it doesn't land very well…

  • Lord Jock

    Fireball XL5 was the first Gerry Anderson TV series I ever saw I loved it The only other sci-fi TV series out was Space family Robinson which was OK but a bit repetitive FRireball XL5 was the best with the models actually spitting out fire and smoke they looked real to an 8 year old kid .I got a Fireball model kit for Christmas that year and had it for years It was still in my bedroom when I was a teenager but I dont know what happened to it .Even Zoonie was believable

  • Madoob

    There must be a niche for this in modern pop culture, like the Marvel films. I'm honestly surprised no Hollywood producers have snapped up these optimistic/heroic 60s treasures!

  • Dalek 2150

    XL5 is a beautiful ship, I can see the influence of the B-36 Peacemaker on it …..stunning….and Maglev launches, saves onboard fuel on take off.

  • Hari Seldon

    I remember a big row with my older brother about oxygen pills. He suggested they would not substituite for a space suit.

  • Melkior Wiseman

    Fun Fact: According to one episode, XL5's main engine is not intended to be run continuously at full power for extended periods of time. If this is done, the engine will eventually overheat and explode, although not in the totally catastrophic manner you might expect. A fire extinguisher is recommended for dealing with any internal fires caused by the explosion. Fortunately, the fire extinguisher is such a simple piece of equipment that even a Lazoon can operate one… 😉
    Another Fun Fact: According to a story in a TV21 annual, Zooney the Lazoon actually has a very high intelligence potential. It must therefore be presumed that he's so lazy that he prefers to be a pet. Or in other words, he's an interplanetary moocher. 😀

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