Autonomous Entry Vehicle C728 is a small two-person entry craft that disappeared from the Castores around the time of a mysterious electrical fire. A smaller version of the Buran, STS, or Dream Chaser, the AEV is a reusable lifting body designed to transport a pilot and passenger or two passengers via a pre-programmed entry plan from planetary orbit to a planetary landing strip. It cannot attain orbit under its own power, relying on a booster like the X-20 or riding in a payload fairing like the X-37.
Development Notes: The shuttlepod was a joy to develop. It has working landing gear, a sensible stow configuration and tow hook, a nice-looking cockpit and instrumentation, and decent looking seats. The seats were responsible for a last-minute retcon, actually – the original design was much more automotive much less aircraft, and just didn’t fit, so new seats were modeled after production began and all prior shots were re-rendered to accommodate the design change.
The pod has very minimal texturing – decals only, with some minor airbrushing around the extrudable ladder steps on the port side to make them stand out a bit.