The Defiant was a space shuttle complex vehicle and station used by G.I. Joe. Completed in 1987, the Defiant was actually composed of three vehicles. One was the Crawler unit which transports the shuttle to its designated location. Second was a booster shuttle unit on which the third component, the Defiant space shuttle, piggybacked on during launch. It is a common misconception that the Defiant shuttle's design is based on the X-33 proposed shuttle design for NASA. In fact, the Defiant was introduced nearly a decade before the X-33 Venture Star even started development; the Defiant's appearance is based on several lifting body designs from the late 1960s. The Defiant shuttle has been destroyed, but its design lives on in the Crusader.
PersonnelThe Crawler unit is operated by the G.I. Joe member Hardtop. The Defiant shuttle was commanded by astronaut Payload.
The Defiant complex was hidden under the desert near the Joe's Utah headquarters. Its knowledge was limited only to official members of the G.I. Joe team, raising suspicion among a new group of Joe rookies. After the Crawler almost ran over two Joe vehicles parked outside the top-level Quonset huts, rookies Chuckles and Psyche-Out snuck out. They discovered the machine's tracks leading to undisturbed sand. They did not understand that the crawler had hidden itself underground.
It was these very tracks which would later bring misery to the Joe team. Satellite photos of the vanishing treads are what led Cobra forces to know where the headquarters was located, leading to a later battle.
The Defiant and crew are featured in on of G.I. Joe's Special Missions. Payload, Slipstream and Ace took the Defiant into low orbit to discover if Cobra could detect a new military base in the country of Punta Del Mucosa. Payload broke off the mission to save several teammates, utilizing the Defiant's guns to destroy a Cobra jetfighter. At the end of the mission Payload made a safe landing on the USS Flagg.
Saving The World
The shuttle is used again when the team went into orbit to prevent the destruction of US spy satellites by Cobra, and again when a small team of Joes called Star Brigade launch. The crew included the aforementioned Payload, along with Spaceshot, the craft's co-pilot, Duke, Roadblock and Sci-Fi.
The Defiant landed inside an asteroid threatening to collide with Earth. It had become damaged, unable to fly. The Oktober Guard, which had also traveled to the asteroid, worked with the Joes; Payload and the Russian officer Dragonsky cannibalized the Defiant in order to effect an escape.
The Russian shuttle escaped with everyone on-board. The asteroid was destroyed and the remains of the Defiant were obliterated.
The success of the Defiant project led G.I. Joe to commission a second shuttle two years later, called the Crusader, which used the same specifications as the Defiant shuttle. This shuttle was also commanded by Payload. After the Defiant was destroyed, the Crusader was modified to use the same booster as the original shuttle complex.
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