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The Best Ship to Save a Cat In – The Nostromo Breakdown

3 Minute Read
May 13 2024

One modified Lockmart CM-88B Bison freighter may have made the most impactful, if lethal, discovery in human history–the Nostromo.

Before Colonial Marines had to outfit themselves with heartbeat sensors, and before Predators and giant rolling stones that hinted at the extra-terrestrial origins of life in the galaxy, there was an ill-fated mission to Neptune and Beyond. And at the heart of it all? A lowly CM-88B Bison M-Class star freighter, better known as the USCSS Nostromo.

The Nostromo’s mission was one of the most disastrous and most impactful missions in all of human history. This became especially true once the Weyland-Yutani Corporation came onto the scene. But how did this mission come to be? The answer starts with the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

USCSS Nostromo Design and Capabilities

The USCSS Nostromo was first built in 2101. It was originally designed by the Lockheed Martin Corporation as an interstellar cruiser. But after 15 years of interstellar cruises, the ship was refitted in 2116. This time, the Nostromo was outfitted to be a commercial towing vehicle. This meant removing and replacing the original engines, a pair of Saturn J-3000 thrusters.

In their stead, a pair of Rolls-Royce N66 Cyclone thrust engines, with built-in bipolar vectoring for those times when midline lift function was needed. The Rolls-Royce N66 was a powerful design. A single N66 engine could develop 65,830 metric tons worth of thrust. Water was the primary reaction mass. At full power, the Nostromo was capable of impulse thrust measuring 131,660 kN.

This retrofit made her perfectly suited to hauling resources from Earth to the outer colonies and back again. But such trips could be quite long. Thus seven hypersleep chambers for the crew were included in the retrofit. Accompanying the hypersleep array, a MU/TH/UR 6000 artificial intelligence computer mainframe to oversee the background and autopilot functions of the ship.

Mission to Thedus

In 2120, the Nostromo left Earth on what would turn out to be a final voyage. After a nine-month-long mission to Thedus, the crew had a nice, heavy load to haul back to the Sol System. But, before the ship could return, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation detected a strange warning signal emanating from Acheron, also known as LV-426.

Weyland-Yutani, ever-concerned with profit, not the lives of its employees, replaced the science officer with Ash, an android sleeper agent in disguise, and gave a secret missive: Special Order 937 which was an order to recover a Xenomorph by any means necessary.

Crew, expendable.

On June 3, 2122, the Nostromo landed on LV-426, suffering damage from dust entering the engine intakes. The crew investigated the source of the distress signal while a few remained behind to repair the ship.


Once the ship took off, an Alien burst from the chest cavity of Thomas Kane, the ship’s former executive officer, who was brought aboard in violation of quarantine protocols and against the advice of Ellen Ripley. When the Alien began to systematically hunt and kill the crew, Ash made it harder to fight. Only Ellen Ripley and the ship’s cat, Jones, made it out of the Nostromo, which was completely destroyed via reactor overload.

In space, it turns out, people can hear you scream under the right circumstances.

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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