James Bond, the world's most famous fictional secret agent involvement in space has ranged from nothing in From Russia With Love to satellite weapons in Goldeneye to actually being in space in Moonraker. In Casino Royale, the first Daniel Craig Bond film, he uses satellite imagery to locate who sent a message to the Madagascan terrorist. In the movies, there have been a number of nods towards space from the slightest mention of a satellite used by the antagonist (Eliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies) to a climax at the Arecibo Telescope where James aims to prevent 006 Alec Trevelyan from detonating a nuclear device high above. In 'Casino Royale', James is injected with a tracking device which is tracked by which I presume satellite technology but its not enough to warrant inclusion here. For information on Bond related material here not covered here, I can suggest Mi6 - The Home Of James Bond 007 or for those fluent in Portuguese, James Bond Brasil.
Ian Fleming, the author created the character as a hard-drinker, a smoker and described him having a tattoo over his eye. The first attempt at turning him into real-life came from the United States; his nationality changed from British to America and was named Jimmy Bond with Felix Leiter becoming a British agent. The first bond was played by Barry Nelson. The first attempt was an hour long TV special but the first person to play Bond at the cinema was Sean Connery. The /film were never that faithful to the stories. In Moonraker, although the antagonist was Hugo Drax, James never got into space. The book was about a missile that James had to stop from being launched.
James Bond is known for his drink (Vodka Martini, shaken not stirred), his car (Aston Martin), his gadgets (watches, cars, lasers) and the women (e.g. Honey Rider, Dr. Holly Goodhead). The gadgets were supposed to be discreet and believable, however in Die Another Day, Bond's gadgets got ridiculous such as an invisible car. It might seem ridiculous sending bond into space but at least, the equivalent of the moonraker shuttle existed. Hugo's space station with its own gravity doesn't exist; the International Space Station without its own gravity does exist.
James was born on the 11th November to proud parents Andrew and Monique Bond and was brought up in Glencoe, Scotland. When his parents are killed in a mountain climbing holiday, he goes to live with his Aunt. She sees to his education, putting him through Eton and then University of Cambridge studying Oriental Languages where he was awarded a first class honours. After University, he goes to work for the Royal Navy then transferred to Naval Intelligence with which he becomes associated with until MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service) is officially recognised by the British Government. In the /film and books, he is mainly single but he does become a father in 'You Only Live Twice', In the film 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', he weds Countess Teresa (Tracy) Di Vicenzo who is subsequently killed off to make him single again.
As mentioned before, James makes one trip into outer space to prevent Hugo Drax from killing off humans so he can return later and rebuild the world's population according to his teachings. The gravity on the space station is not possible yet as testified by the countless videos you see of life on board the International Space Station. It is said that you need an object the size of the Earth to generate the necessary gravity. The fight on the space station is celebrated in the video game '007 Legends'. In 'You Only Live Twice', James travels to Japan to investigate the disappearance of space capsules in space. They are being "stolen" by Spectre and brought down to the planet and held in an extinct volcano.
Arecibo Observatory Radio Telescope provides the backdrop for the climax of the Goldeneye film. The telescope is where the Goldeneye nuclear satellite is being controlled on the ground. It provides a perfect place for James Bond to battle it out with his old friend, now adversary 006, Alec Trevelyan. The telescope is situated on the north west part of Puerto Rico and its official name is the William E. Gordon Telescope. The pictures below are taken from using Google Maps and from the official website. It boasts it is the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world and has been in use since November 1963.
In the climax of the 'Quantum of Solace', Bond confront Dominic Greene and General Medrano at a hotel complex in the Bolivian desert, The hotel complex is actually in the Chilean desert by the European Space Organisation's Very Large Telescope. In the picture below, you will be able to just make out the actual telescope building in the background. The hotel is where the workers stay. It is situated high above sea level and where there is little cloud. The photo has come from ESO rather than from the film. The Observatory is maintained by the European Southern Observatory section of european space agency.
Much of the Space involvement with James Bond has been satellites, either to use for communications which is never explicitly seen or mentioned or as a weapon. The earliest involvement is 'You Only Live Twice' where Blofeld has managed to gain control of a laser satellite which he controls from an oil rig in the Pacific Ocean. In Goldeneye, the satellite is a nuclear bomb which when it explodes will send an (Electronic Magnetic Pulse) EMP wave destroying all electronic equipment below thus destroying all of the Bank of England's records. Die Another Day sees a North Korean Colonel use a laser satellite to clear the minefield separating North and South Korea. With the minefield gone, the Colonel believed his army would be unstoppable from taking over the South.
Remember Ronald Reagan's 'Star Wars' project which although didn't get off the ground so we are led to believe is similar. HIs plan was to put satellites into space that would detect and possibly destroy incoming missiles. What brought that to a halt was the thawing of East-West relationships and also the cost.
Recently both the U.S. and China have been experimenting with ways of knocking out satellites. One such attempt by the Chinese to blow up the Fengyun 1C satellite now count for a third of all space junk orbiting the planet. It created at least 2,317 track able items of space junk of at least a golf ball size. There are numerous untrackable space junk that orbit the planet that can cause just as much damage as those that are track able. The ISS has on occasions had to move because of incoming space debris. A Russian satellite was hit by debris from the satellite. There have been as yet no human casualties as a result of space debris but time will tell.
Attempts are being made to remove the debris from space but as mentioned earlier, there are at least 2,317 objects and that's only about a third. As these objects are made from a non-magnetic material, magnets can't be used to pick them up, they need to grabbed, and a net would not do.
Americans are now talking of a different kind of shield, one that will use ground radars and missiles to shoot down the incoming missiles. In the eighties, it was the threat from the Soviet Union, now they talk about the threat coming from Iran and North Korea and future unstable countries.
|1962||Dr. No||Dr. No||Attempt at preventing US Mercury Programme|
|1963||From Russia With Love||Spectre||No Space|
|1964||Goldfinger||Auric Goldfinger||No Space|
|1965||Thunderball||Emille Largo||No Space|
|1967||You Only Live Twice||Ernst Stavro Blofeld||Kidnap of space craft|
|1969||On Her Majesty's Secret Service||Ernst Stavro Blofeld||No Space|
|1971||Diamonds are Forever||Ernst Stavro Blofeld||Satellite Weapon|
|1973||Live and Let Die||Dr. Kananga||No Space|
|1974||The Man with the Golden Gun||Scaramanga||No Space|
|1977||The Spy Who Loved Me||Karl Stromberg||No Space|
|1979||Moonraker||Hugo Drax||Space Shuttle Theft|
|1981||For Your Eyes Only||Aris Kristatos||No Space|
|1983||Octopussy||General Orlov, Kamal Khan||No Space|
|1985||A View to a Kill||Max Zorin||No Space|
|1987||The Living Daylights||Brad Whitaker||No Space|
|1989||Licence to Kill||Franz Sanchez||No Space|
|1995||Goldeneye||Alec Trevelyan, General Ourumov||Nuclear Bomb Satellite|
|1997||Tomorrow Never Dies||Elliot Carver||References to Satellites|
|1999||The World is Not Enough||Renard, Electra King||No Space|
|2002||Die Another Day||Gustav Graves||Satellite Laser|
|2006||Casino Royale 2006||Le Chiffre||No Space|
|2008||Quantum of Solace||Dominic Greene||Climax at Hotel used by ESO Observatory|
|2012||Skyfall||Raoul Silva||No Space|
|2015||Spectre||Oberhauser||Oberhauser's base a meteorite Impact + Meteorite|
We should mention other spy /film with a space connection. The most recent being Mission Impossible : Ghost Protocol which has a Swedish Born Russian scientist wanting to start World War 3 by ordering the firing of a nuclear missile at Seattle, Washington State. The plot might seem similar to 'War Games', the 1980's film about a teenager who hacked into the U.S. Defence Department and nearly starting World War 3. The difference between those two films (MF & WG) is that War Games didn't feature satellites. The other film is Austin Powers : The Spy Who Shagged Me where Dr. Evil has built a base on the boom. Austin Powers does a send up of 'Star Wars V - The Empire Strikes Back' where Luke Skywalker finds out about his father. There are others but none spring to mind at the moment but have decided not to detail them at the moment.