Xenopedia - The Alien vs. Predator Wiki

USCSS Nostromo

2,302pages on
this wiki
"This is commercial towing vehicle Nostromo out of the Solomons, registration number one-eight-oh-niner-two-four-six-oh-niner."
USCSS Nostromo
USCSS Nostromo
Production information



CM-88B Bison[1]





Technical specifications

243.8 meters (800 ft.)


164.6 meters (540 ft.)


72.5 meters (246.4 ft.)


63,000 metric tonnes




Early 22nd century




The USCSS Nostromo, registration number 180924609, was a Lockmart CM-88B Bison M-Class starfreighter registered to the Weyland-Yutani Corporation out of Panama.[1] The Nostromo operated as a tug, connecting to and pulling loads like a tractor truck rather than carrying those loads on board like a traditional freighter.

The ship was destroyed in 2122 when its engines were set to self destruct by Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley in an attempt to kill the lone Xenomorph that had gotten loose aboard the vessel. The ship and its cargo were completely destroyed in the resulting explosion.


Nostromo cryo chambers

The Nostromo's hypersleep chambers.

The Nostromo started life as an interstellar cruiser, but was refitted in 2116 as a commercial towing vehicle and was subsequently operated as a commercial hauler, transporting automated ore and oil refineries between outer colonies and Earth.[1] As part of this retrofit, the ship's original Saturn J-3000 engines were removed and replaced with the more powerful N66 Cyclone powerplants.[2] The seven hypersleep chambers that would accommodate the crew during long-duration flight were also installed at this time.

Final voyageEdit

When Weyland-Yutani detected and partially decoded an unidentified warning signal emanating from LV-426,[3] the Nostromo was selected (unbeknownst to its crew) to investigate and hopefully recover a potential Xenomorph specimen from the moon. To help ensure the recovery of the creature, the Nostromo's science officer was replaced two days before the ship left Thedus with Ash, a Synthetic sleeper agent under secret company orders to assist in the recovery of a Xenomorph through any means necessary, even at the expense of the rest of the crew.

Nostromo above LV-426

The Nostromo above LV-426.

The Nostromo set down on LV-426 on June 3, 2122.[1] The ship was damaged during landing when dust entered one of the engine intakes, causing it to overheat and eventually triggering an electrical fire in the engineering section.[4] When Executive Officer Kane was later brought back aboard the ship with a Facehugger attached to him, Captain Dallas elected to take off, despite the fact several non-critical systems had yet to be repaired.

Nostromo explosion

The Nostromo exploding.

Once under way, the Alien that birthed from Kane began stalking and slaughtering the crew, whose efforts at fighting the creature were hampered both by Ash and, more generally, by the fact it remained on the lower engineering decks, where the security camera systems were still inoperable following the electrical damage caused on LV-426.[5] Eventually the few survivors decided to set the ship for self destruct in an attempt to kill the Alien while they themselves escaped in the ship's light shuttle, Narcissus. Only Ellen Ripley survived to make the escape, along with the ship's cat Jones, while the ship and cargo were completed destroyed by the detonation of the Nostromo's reactor.


"I remember reading about your ship, actually, when I was a kid. It's gone down in the 'lost without trace' files."
Hoop to Ripley, regarding the Nostromo[6]

Following its destruction, the Nostromo incident was subject to a cover up. The Weyland-Yutani personnel who had given the ship its secret mission to LV-426 destroyed all records of ever having done so, along with any information regarding the emergency beacon being transmitted by the Derelict Ship.[7] The Derelict itself was later damaged by volcanic activity and its beacon went offline as a result.[8] In time, the loss of the Nostromo was relegated to the pages of history where it "went down in the 'lost without trace' files",[6] until Ripley was rescued from deep space some 57 years later.


Behind the ScenesEdit

The Nostromo's name was taken from the eponymous hero of the 1904 novel Nostromo by Joseph Conrad. The ship was originally called the Snark, then later the Leviathan, before the production team finally settled for Nostromo.[10] People and places from Conrad's works would go on to feature repeatedly as the names of space-going vessels in the Alien franchise, inspiring the names of the Narcissus (also from Alien), the USS Sulaco (from Aliens), the Patna (from Alien3), the USS Verloc (from Aliens versus Predator 2), the USS Marlow (from Aliens vs. Predator) and the USS Sephora (from Aliens: Colonial Marines).

The Nostromo was originally painted yellow. However, after the model unit had spent several weeks filming the model, Ridley Scott decided to repaint the ship grey and reshoot all of the model work himself. The main Nostromo model, which was chiefly used for the landing sequences, was some 16 feet in length and weighed a quarter of a ton; it was so heavy that it had to be manoeuvred on a forklift truck, which would plug into two slots on the back of the model.[10] An additional 4 foot model was also used for several scenes. At one point, the refinery being towed by the Nostromo featured towering spires considerably higher than those that appear in the final film, but just before filming Ridley Scott personally removed the upper sections (allegedly with a hammer and chisel).[10] The refinery miniature contained parts from several Star Wars model kits in its construction — the release mechanism that secures the Nostromo to the refinery featured the legs of R2-D2 as decorations on its upper surface,[10] while the refinery's underside incorporated panels from Darth Vader's TIE fighter.[11]

The interior set of the Nostromo constructed for filming was all interconnected and largely sealed, meaning cast and crew had to walk through the various corridors and chambers to reach other areas of the ship. Several crew members commented that the confines of intricate set meant filming was more akin to shooting on location than in a studio, and that the interior's enclosed nature helped to create a feeling of claustrophobia appropriate to the film.[10] The look of the Nostromo's corridors was designed to evoke the feeling of a World War II submarine.[11] Much of the interior was dressed with various aircraft parts, acquired by the production team from RAF stock that was being decommissioned at the time.[10] Just before filming, Ridley Scott had the production crew drop the ceiling of the originally spacious bridge set by some 4 feet, creating the far more enclosed space seen in the film.[12]


  • One of the opening scenes of Alien shows the computer waking-up, after which a console reads "CAPACITY. 200 000 000 TONNES". This means that, even with the weight of the refining equipment factored on top of the load of ore, the Nostromo was likely not hauling its full potential capacity.
  • Some of the computer displays from the Nostromo were reused in Ridley Scott's later film Blade Runner.
  • Some moviegoers mistake the refinery for the Nostromo, and have confused the Nostromo itself when it detaches from the refinery for the shuttle Narcissus. The refinery is never actually inhabited in the film, as even the Alien remained on the Nostromo itself.
  • Originally, there was supposed to be an eighth member of the crew, a security officer called Fazio. He was scripted to be killed by the fully grown Alien not long after Kane's death while searching through the ship. However, the character was cut from the movie early in production.




Behind the scenesEdit

External LinksEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood (1996). Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual. HarperPrism, 135. 
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named CMTM136
  3. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 261. 
  4. Alan Dean Foster (1979). Alien novelization. Warner Books, Inc., 45. 
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named A1
  6. 6.0 6.1 Tim Lebbon (2014). Alien: Out of the Shadows. Titan Books, 55. 
  7. Lee Brimmicombe-Wood (1996). Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual. HarperPrism, 143. 
  8. "Weyland-Yutani Archives - James Cameron's Responses To Aliens Critics". Retrieved on 2013-07-01.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Ian Nathan (2011). Alien Vault: The Definitive Story of the Making of the Film. Voyager Press.  - USCSS Nostromo schematic
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Ridley Scott, David Giler, Walter Hill, H. R. Giger, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald ShusettThe Beast Within: The Making of 'Alien' [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ridley Scott, James Cameron, H. R. Giger, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald ShusettThe Alien Saga [DVD]. Prometheus Entertainment.
  12. Ridley Scott, H. R. Giger, Dan O'Bannon, Ronald ShusettAlien Legacy [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki