The rollover enlargement you see on this page is a good example of the level of technical ability that goes into creating an illustration of this nature.
The starting point was a photograph of an early Shelby GT Cobra. The astronaut/pilot was from another source file. The side graphics were generated in Illustrator, copied into Photoshop and distorted to match the perspective of the Cobra. The cow horns were drawn with the Pen Tool in Photoshop, colored using the Airbrushed tool and then enhanced using the chrome filter. The streaks, glow around the contour of the vehicle, flames and space background were all added using painting tools in Photoshop.