Thunderbird 1 is International Rescue's rapid-response vehicle, and is usually the first to arrive at the danger zone. Thunderbird 1 is piloted by Scott Tracy, although it can also be piloted by his younger brother, Alan.
- Diameter: 12 feet
- Engines: 4 variable-cycle gas turbine engines; 4 booster rockets; 1 variable-mode engine operating as a high-performance sustainer rocket for launch or boost as a variable-cycle gas turbine in flight; 1 vertical take-off variable-mode engine operating as a rocket or variable-cycle gas turbine hover jet; pitch and yaw jets: 20 forward and 25 rear
- Length: 115 feet
- Maximum altitude attained: 150,000 feet
- Maximum speed: 15,000 mph
- Power source: atomic fusion reactor
- Range: unlimited
- Weight: 140 tons
- Wingspan: 80 feet
Thunderbird 1 is mainly controlled with four flight levers - two control steering and altitude, while the other two control engine throttle. The cockpit also has two viewing hatches - one on the left and one to the right of the pilot's control seat.
4 variable-cycle gas turbine engines
4 booster rockets
1 variable-mode engine operating as a high-performance sustainer rocket for launch or boost or as a variable-cycle gas turbine engine in flight
1 vertical take-off variable-mode engine operating as a rocket or variable-cycle gas turbine hover jet
Pitch and yaw jets: 20 forward and 25 rear
TB1's wingspan, when fully deployed, is debated to be between 24 and 35 meters.
Thunderbird 1 has a wide variety of gadgets at its disposal, notably an Automatic Camera Detector - which can tell Scott immediately when someone's photographing his ship - and an electromagnetic beam, used to wipe any forbidden photo or video.
In Atlantic Inferno, Alan moves up to pilot TB1 as Scott assumes command of International Rescue, when their father leaves Tracy Island on holiday. Jeff had reasoned that Thunderbirds 1 and 3 were rarely used on the same rescue assignment; so Alan was directed to control whichever of the two craft any rescue would require (which, in the event, turned out to be TB1).
Cockpit underside-mounted International Engineering Ltd TBM6 20mm swivel machine cannon.
From time to time, Thunderbird 1 underwent minor changes to its design.
- Graham Bleathman, in his book FAB Cross Sections, claimed that the landing gear was interchangeable between skis and wheels.
- Main article: Thunderbird 1/Launch Sequence
The Perils of Penelope
TB1 makes a cameo appearance in The Perils of Penelope, when Scott is returning home from leave.
- Main article: Thunderbird 1/Missions
- The large air purifier/air intake on the wall to the right of Thunderbird 1's launch pad is - in fact - a lemon squeezer.
- The two silos either side of the lemon squeezer are upside-down "sooper snooper" periscopes.
- Most Thunderbirds merchandise claims Thunderbird 1 to be 115 feet long, but in Introducing Thunderbirds Jeff claims Thunderbird 1 to be 90 feet long.
- A similar case happened in 2019, when a video uploaded by the official Gerry Anderson Facebook and Youtube also claims Thunderbird 1 to be 90 feet long
- Only four people have been seen in Thunderbird 1's pilot seat - Scott, Alan, Chip, and Kyrano.
Thunderbird 1 has appeared in no less then seventeen different publications - but in only four basic designs, three of which are illustrated by Graham Bleathman.
For a full list of books and magazines which the cross-sections (cutaway drawings) appeared in, see:
- Main article: History of the Cutaway Drawings (Classic Thunderbirds)
The Models of Thunderbird 1
- Main article: The Models of Thunderbird 1
The Construction Kits of Thunderbird 1
- Main article: Construction Kits of Thunderbird 1