The role of Lunokhod in Soviet Union manned lunar program.

It was not realised at the time, but the Soviet “Lunokhod” robotic moon rover was also a key component of the plans to put a cosmonaut onto the Moon.

Here’s how the mission sequence would work:

Identify landing sites.

Lunokhod would provide close up examination of prospective landing sites for a manned mission. This required a “Proton” (UR-500) class launcher.

Proton Rocket Ascending
Proton Rocket Ascending

Continue reading “The role of Lunokhod in Soviet Union manned lunar program.”

History of Manned Spaceflight, The Essential Books.

There are a huge number of books out there covering space exploration, but in my opinion, very few that manage to combine definitive coverage with an exciting read. So, here is my shortlist for books you should read if you want to enjoy finding out more about the history of manned space exploration.

I’ve included Amazon links, (I get nothing from these). Continue reading “History of Manned Spaceflight, The Essential Books.”

A letter from Yuri Gagarin…

While visiting the Cricova winery near Chisinau, the guide described Yuri Gagarin’s visit, and I thought this was worth blogging.

Cricova Entrance
Cricova Entrance

The Cricova complex is built into 120 kilometres of caves, where the temperature and humidity is stable at the best level for storing wine.

Continue reading “A letter from Yuri Gagarin…”

Krafft Ehricke’s Hyperion, a manned nuclear Mars mission

This is not the Hyperion by Phil Bono, (which you can read about here), but an earlier design from Krafft Ehricke, dating all the way back to the 1950’s. It’s for a manned mission to Mars, (no landing), and a fleet of 3 or 4 ships would be sent for mutual support. I got the information on this project from the always excellent “Atomic Rockets” site, including this plan, which is the basis for my mesh:

Hyperion Plans
Hyperion Plans

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Into the unknown, at the London Barbican. A review.

Yesterday I visited “Into the Unknown“, a Science Fiction exhibition which is currently on at the Barbican, London, and will tour later apparently. This is my review of what I saw there.

The space within the centre they have chosen to use is a bit odd, to say the least. They call it “The Curve”, and it’s not really good for this kind of thing. It’s fairly narow and tall, and feels cramped. Many of the exhibits are a long way up, making it difficult to see them properly.

A dome habitat from "Silent Running"
A dome habitat from “Silent Running”

Continue reading “Into the unknown, at the London Barbican. A review.”

RN-2, the Nuclear R7, The Historical Reference Information

Here’s the historical information on the nuclear Soyuz variants I have been able to find. My Russian is not great, in some cases the translation is awkward or not completely clear. Nick

The draft design of the rockets started on the basis of the Decree of June 30, 1958. Two bureaus, OKB-456, and OKB-670 were involved. The design chosen was based on direct heating of the working fluid, and it’s ejection through the nozzle. An open core reactor, in other words.

OKB-456 is now known as NPO Energomash, and at the time was run by the brilliant but prickley rocket engine designer, V P Glushko. OKB-670 was run by M M Bondariuk. Bondariuk had been working on nuclear ammonia rockets since 1954. Continue reading “RN-2, the Nuclear R7, The Historical Reference Information”

Some new Soviet Lunar program renders – N1 L3

After chatting to Matt, co-author of “N1 for the Moon and Mars“, I decided to dig out the meshes I did for that, and come up with some new renders. It was a mad dash to get it all out in time for publication, and I didn’t have time to explore all the options.

N1-3L at the launch tower
N1-3L at the launch tower, against a threatening sky.

I decided I have a bad habit of using good weather for most of my environments, this one is different! Continue reading “Some new Soviet Lunar program renders – N1 L3”

New reference information on the UR700

Quick introduction. I have recently been working on Chelomei’s UR-700, his Universal Rocket System, based on a design unit that eventually became the Proton. It was intended to replace the N-1 as the vehicle to take the Soviet Union to the moon.

Thanks to a comment left on these forums, I was refered to a website which had photos of something I never knew was built – a large scale model of the UR700, for vibration testing! It was made at 1/10th scale.

Before we get started, here’s a render I did, which shows you the overall configuration. I think this will help you understand the layout.

UR-700 Rocket, ortho views
UR-700 Rocket, ortho views
UR700 test model
UR700 test model

The rubber hoses were used to fill it with water, for when it was suspended, and given the vibration tests. It was also suggested that alcohol would be the correct liquid to use, instead of water. Continue reading “New reference information on the UR700”