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In the 21st century, Zero X, the first manned spaceship to Mars, is sabotaged, and International Rescue, an organization headed by millionaire ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his five sons, is requested to be present for the followup launching. Assisted by London agent Lady Penelope and her Cockney servant Parker, the I. R. prevents enemy forces from causing a second disaster, and the spaceship makes a successful landing on the distant planet. Once there, the lives of the interplanetary explorers are endangered from unknown rock formations on the Martian landscape that emit spouts of flame. Their homeward voyage is jeopardized when their remote radio control unit fails, and they appear to be destined for a crash landing on Earth; but the I. R. is once more ready with help. Flying underneath the spaceship in a "Thunderbird" rescue plane, young Alan Tracy succeeds in separating the escape unit containing the astronauts from the main body of Zero X. As the spaceship crashes, the Thunderbirds guide the escape unit safely back to Earth.