Ron Cobb’s rotating Nostromo.



It is well known that Ron Cobb, conceptual designer for ALIEN (1979), brought the design very close to its final realization.

I’m sure you’ve seen these versions:


In an article at Den of Geek, Cobb describes his approach to the design of the now-iconic spacecraft:

My problem with designing Nostromo’s interiors, the control bridge, corridors, auto doc (or med lab), bulkhead doors, the food deck, etc., was that I grew up with a deep fascination for astronomy, astrophysics, and most of all, aerospace flight. My design approach has always been that of a frustrated engineer (as well as a frustrated writer when it came to cinema design). I tend to subscribe to the idea that form follows function. If I’m to arrive at a cinematic spacecraft design that seamlessly preserves, as in this case, the drama of the script, the audience has to experience it as something impressive and believable.


Hammerhead was one of my proposals for a rotating spacecraft providing stability and gravity for the crew of the Nostromo. (R. Cobb; from Den of Geek interview 22 Sep 2009)

While you may have seen this ‘Hammerhead’ design before, I wanted to point out that there are more concepts along this line to be found at Cobb’s web site. Here is a screen shot I cobbled together to give you an idea of what awaits:


Five clickable Cobb concept drawings of a rotating Nostromo.


Even Cobb admits that toward the end of their work on the film, he and fellow concept artist Chris Foss were influencing each other’s designs.

There’s lots more to see at Cobb’s site, so enjoy!




  1. Such a fantastic piece! Thank you so very much for sharing this wonderful article/interview with Ronn Cobb.

    Mr. Cobb is such a treasure trove of the fantastic and practical! I love that, despite a certain wimsey – and I mean that in a good way – his designs especially of space craft and their interior designs/functionality are all believable, useable environments that one can function effectively in.

    Even on films like ‘John Carter From Mars’, where one really gets to see his design’s on both creature and vehicle design I personally enjoyed this movie because of this. Despite it’s obvious flaws, I felt when viewed as purely as just a fun romp, with a story more meant for just sheer fun and to explore that fun through the possibilities of science fiction/fantasy it works wonderfully. Add Mr. Cobb’s incredible designs and stunning use of imagined yet fully practical and functional technologies and it becomes a great journey full of the possibilities of the fabulous.

    Like all his works, one can see the effective use of function and space. It’s also, again what I feel, what makes Alien (and I believe his works on Aliens as I thought he’d designed a lot of the interior of the operations/medlab center at Hadley’s Hope as well as the Solaco’s drop ships if not the Solaco itself, but please correct me if I’m incorrect about that and my apologies!) so much more visceral and alive.

    Truckers in space was what Ridley Scott was going for and that is delivered thanks to this vision of many, who came together, as if by kismet, including Ronn Cobb, without whom I truly believe there would have been a missing element in our beloved film, Alien.

    I apologize for MY “whimsical” and lengthy observations! Thank you once again for this fantastic look at the work of Mr. Cobb and I HIGHLY recommend folks take the time to visit his personal website on the link you so graciously provided! You’ll be filled with wonderment and really enjoy seeing his large body of other incredible work! Lady Anne ^^ö^^

    Liked by 1 person


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