The USM Auriga, registration number USMRV118,[2] was a classified Medical Research Vessel (MRV) in service with the United Systems Military. It was notably where the USM project to recreate the Xenomorph species, by cloning the deceased Ellen Ripley, reached its completion.

The ship was ultimately destroyed in 2381 when Annalee Call deliberately set it on a collision course with Earth in order to stop the Cloned Xenomorphs on board from spreading and jeopardizing the human race.


The USM Auriga was a 2,658–meter–long stealth–capable medical research vessel.[2] It maintained a constant crew of forty-two enlisted soldiers under the command of General Martin Peréz, along with a seven-personnel science team led by Dr. Mason Wren.[4] The Auriga was controlled by an artificial intelligence program, Father, which oversaw the ship's autopilot, life support and personnel organization systems. The ship had a combination galley/recreation hall, sleeping quarters, chapel, numerous laboratories and several containment cells used to hold the Cloned Xenomorphs bred aboard the ship. The Auriga also featured numerous maintenance areas, including a large waste tank at the bottom of the ship.[5]

The vessel's complement of lifeboats, installed primarily to evacuate the crew in case of emergencies, were fitted with systems that enabled remote control of the Auriga from outside the ship.[6]


The USM Auriga was commissioned in 2369.[2] In 2379, Wren and his science team were moved onto the vessel to continue work on the Xenomorph recreation project. By 2381, the ship was in orbit around Pluto during the final stages of the project.[7] It was there that the ship rendezvoused with the Betty, a smuggling vessel delivering kidnapped civilians to be used as hosts for the Xenomorphs.

Following the escape of the Cloned Xenomorph specimens, Peréz immediately gave orders to abandon ship. While several members of the crew successfully evacuated in the Auriga's escape pods, a large number of the crew were killed or captured before they could get off the ship, including Peréz and most of Wren's team. Following standard operational protocols, Father subsequently set a course for Earth, where the ship would dock and almost certainly unleash the Xenomorphs upon the planet. As a result, the surviving crewmembers from the Betty rerouted the ship to crash straight into the planet and ensure the destruction of the creatures. The Auriga ultimately ploughed into an uninhabited region of Africa, completely destroying the ship and everything on board and causing an estimated $300 trillion worth of damage.[2]


Knowledge of the Xenomorph experiments conducted on the Auriga was covered up, while the destruction of the ship itself was blamed on terrorists.[8] Nonetheless, the devastation caused by its impact with Earth, as well as a growing sense of dissatisfaction with the USM, eventually led to the collapse of the organization and the re-emergence of corporate entities such as Weyland-Yutani Corporation.


USM service members[]

USM science team[]

Test subjects[]

Behind the scenes[]


The original design for the Auriga by Nigel Phelps incorporated an unusual vertical, cross–shaped midsection, designed to mimic a Christian crucifix as a reference to the film's theme of resurrection.[9] However, the unusual shape led to problems with scaling the model on camera, and also led to difficulties framing the tall shape in the film's 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Eventually the idea was scrapped and concept artists Jim Martin and Sylvain Despretz were tasked with redesigning the ship with a more traditional hull layout.[10] The final design was a mixture of the two men's efforts. The ribbed side panels located at the mid-point of the ship's hull were supposed to mimic the spindly fingers of a Facehugger.[10] In the novelization of the film, the Auriga is repeatedly described as a space station rather than a ship, likely tying in to the original, vertical design.[11]


The model used for filming was constructed from foam core and cardboard[10] and measured 12 feet from bow to stern.[12] Unlike many movie spacecraft models, which are constructed through "kitbashing"—that is, taking pieces from existing off-the-shelf models kits and trimming and assembling them to create a spacecraft design—the Auriga was built completely from scratch using custom–made components.[13] The myriad illuminated portholes on the ship's hull were created with fibre optic cables, the ends exposed to the outside, which were then illuminated to give the impression of on–board light.[14]


The ship's internal corridors were designed to mimic those of the Nostromo, whilst still feeling different; most notably, they utilize a similar hexagonal cross–section.[15] The ship's docking bay, where the Betty arrives near the start of the film, was modelled after a submarine pen, an idea proposed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.[16] The miniature set was constructed to the same scale (1/32) as the Betty miniature, so the two could simply be filmed together instead of requiring expensive compositing at a later date.[13]

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 9.09

Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc.'s design and display room.

After filming on Alien Resurrection wrapped, some of the walls from the Auriga interior sets were taken by Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. and used for the walls of their design and display room at their California studio.[17][18]

Impact site[]

The precise location of where the Auriga hits Earth varies across sources. In the novelization of Alien Resurrection by A. C. Crispin, the Auriga crashes into the Australian Outback rather than Africa, while the junior novelization states that the ship hits the Pacific Ocean, and in the novel Alien: Sea of Sorrows, the Auriga is said to have crashed into France.




  1. Alien Anthology - Alien Resurrection Special Edition - main menu
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 S. D. Perry. Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, p. 144 (2014), Insight Editions.
  3. S. D. Perry. Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, p. 9 (2014), Insight Editions.
  4. Joss Whedon (writer), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (director). Alien Resurrection (1997), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  5. A. C. Crispin, Kathleen O'Malley. Alien Resurrection, p. 219 (2015), Titan Books.
  6. A. C. Crispin, Kathleen O'Malley. Alien Resurrection, p. 140 (2015), Titan Books.
  7. A. C. Crispin, Kathleen O'Malley. Alien Resurrection, p. 8 (2015), Titan Books.
  8. James A. Moore. Alien: Sea of Sorrows, p. 38 (2014), Titan Books.
  9. Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Sylvain Despretz, Darius Khondji, Pitof, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr.One Step Beyond: Making Alien Resurrection (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Mark Salisbury. Alien: The Archive, p. 300 (2014), Titan Books.
  11. A. C. Crispin, Kathleen O'Malley. Alien Resurrection, p. 67 (2015), Titan Books.
  12. Paul Taglianetti, Geoff Topping, Bob Gould. Sci-Fi & Fantasy FX #48, p. 22 (2000), Next Millennium Publishing.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Paul Taglianetti, Geoff Topping, Bob Gould. Sci-Fi & Fantasy FX #48, p. 21 (2000), Next Millennium Publishing.
  14. Paul Taglianetti, Geoff Topping, Bob Gould. Sci-Fi & Fantasy FX #48, p. 23 (2000), Next Millennium Publishing.
  15. Mark Salisbury. Alien: The Archive, p. 303 (2014), Titan Books.
  16. Mark Salisbury. Alien: The Archive, p. 132 (2014), Titan Books.
  17. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWfD2eBUlGA
  18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVagC0txdBc