Thunderbird 3 is International Rescue's single stage to orbit (SSTO) space vehicle, which is designed for space rescue, and also for maintaining the systems and crew of the space station (Thunderbird 5). The ship is is 87m long, with a 7m wide body and a 24m span (including engines). It uses chemical rockets for lift-off and boost, an ion drive for propulsion while in space and chemical retro rockets for reverse thrust in space. It could travel from Earth to within range of the Sun in 65 hours.
Thunderbirds was created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, and produced between 1964 and 1966 using marionette puppetry and scale-model effects. Two series of 50-minute TV episodes were filmed. A reimagined CGI series entitled 'Thunderbirds Are Go' has recently aired in 2015, giving us a further 26 20-minute episodes, and a second series is to follow. (Note: in the new series, the three protruding buttresses on Thunderbird 3 can fold out into grappling arms, which can be used to grab onto things in space. Useful! )