David A. Hardy «The First Moon Landing» 1954.


The vehicle seen above has now landed on the lunar plain, and is being unloaded. The influence of Bonestell on the 18-year-old Hardy is clear, with jagged mountains because the Moon has no air or weather; artists did not take into account billions of years of erosion by micrometeorites.

«When we -- Patrick Moore and David A. Hardy -- first discussed the idea of a book to be called The Challenge of the Stars, as long ago as 1954, we hoped that we could make forecasts with reasonable accuracy. First, an orbiting space-station and then an expedition to the Moon, establishing a base, small at first but growing steadily. Building upon the lunar experience, humankind would send an expedition to Mars, perhaps setting up a base there too. Jupiter's satellites and the outer Solar System would be the next targets and perhaps, eventually, the stars.» ~ Patrick Moore.

At this time (1954) Britain still had a space programme, of sorts, and launch facilities in the Australian desert. So it was natural to assume that a 'ferry' or shuttle rocket would be launched into orbit from there. The vehicle was designed by R.A. Smith of the British Interplanetary Society, but Hardy added larger, delta-shaped wings, making it look more like today's Space Shuttle.

source: infinityplus.co.uk