Photo: Moonraker 1979 Danjaq, LLC, & United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved
It all started with the painting of the Duke of Wellington by Goya.
In 1961 it had been stolen from the National Gallery, but it was cleverly placed in Dr No’s secret lair in the movie of the same period.
Fast forward to 1979 and James Bond movies were still ahead of the game. This time the whole premise of the film was based around space exploration and travel and the unique Columbia Space Shuttle, which was first due for launch in 1979.
The timing of Moonraker was impeccable. And it remained so for a further two years when the US Shuttle eventually made it to space.
The Shuttle itself, was named Columbia, after the late 18th century ship captained by Robert Gray. Columbia was the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe.The efforts to get a Space Shuttle into space was a decade long process. The contract was awarded in 1972 and the construction phase after design, began in 1975. The final assembly, when the public first saw images of the craft, began in 1977. The 1979 launch was re-scheduled after the thermal protection system was discovered to have faults.
Moonraker was launched in June 1979, Columbia was scheduled for launch in December 1979. The world was full of anticipation and excitement. Sadly, the film would become to be considered among the worst in the canon. Oh, and people were looking forward to the Space Shuttle taking off as well - the modifications that took place would delay its first flight for two years. The video is above.