Making a dwarf planet – Tutorial

I wanted to make a dwarf planet, using elevation maps from the Moon, (and maybe Mars?) for realistic craters. I thought it may be helpful to save out the steps, so that others can follow along. Tutorial time!

You will need:

  • The 3D program of your choice, it should support displacement maps.
  • A high res source elevation map, these are available online.
  • An image editor that can edit 16 bit grey scale images.

Getting started

I started with a slice of elevation map from the rear of the moon, (less recognisable), in the proportions of 2:1

This will have seams at the left and right edges. To fix this we need to first use an offset filter, with wrap, to move the whole thing 50% to the right. Continue reading “Making a dwarf planet – Tutorial”

Next project – Phil Bono’s Hyperion

Next up, another classic design from the fertile mind of Phil Bono, the Hyperion.

This is a large single stage to orbit (SSTO) design, which can launch via a rocket sled, (should there be a convenient nearby 1 mile high mountain, anyway).

Continue reading “Next project – Phil Bono’s Hyperion”

NASA – PRANDTL Flying Wing for Mars

This concept is a flying wing, or bodyless plane, currently being tested for a possible flight to prove the concept. It is intended to work well in the thin atmosphere of the planet Mars, and would be tested at very high altitude on Earth, where the pressure is similar.

You can find out more about the project here:

https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/features/mars_airplane.html

Here’s the current state of my quickie project, I’m still very unsure on what to do on the bottom of the craft.

Mars flying wing WIP - Front on
Mars flying wing WIP – Front on

Continue reading “NASA – PRANDTL Flying Wing for Mars”

Classic space cruiser, finished renders

Right! The space cruiser is now done. I struggled a bit with the nose until I decided to make it a dome, and then added the spike, and the scallopped textures around it.

These renders are deliberately not done in a very realistic style. To be specific:

  • The environment reflected in the chrome is not in the scene
  • The lighting is very broad, not accurate for a smape scene.
  • Lighting directions may not match properly, I’ve gone for drama over realism.

Continue reading “Classic space cruiser, finished renders”

Classic 1930’s space cruiser

It occured to me that I really don’t remember ever seeing one of those really old pulp SF cover space cruisers done in a modern CGI style. You know, the ones that look like a cross between a Zepellin and an express steam train:

db_094_07_amazing_stories_1920

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Krafft Ehrike – 1958 Space Station design

This is a design by Kraft Ehrike, which appeared in “Life” magazine in 1958. From what I understand, the idea was to use the kind of cylindrical hulls and spherical ended tanks from upper rocket stages as basic units of contruction.

ke-tube-station0500xEhrike worked with Wernher von Braun at Peenemunde on the V2 rocket program, and continued to work with WvB after they had moved to the USA.

Continue reading “Krafft Ehrike – 1958 Space Station design”

Delta II rocket complete!

Right, I may twiddle and tweak a bit, but I am calling this one done.

mars-pathfinder-rocketI’ve done various configurations, but (at least so far), I am only doing one fully textured version. And that’s the Mars Pathfinder version above!

The others use generic textures, rather than depict one specific mission.

Here are a couple of perspective free sets:

Continue reading “Delta II rocket complete!”

Progress withe the Delta II rocket mesh

Working on various elements of this rocket, with no particular plan.

I’ve also started looking at the various differing elements, such as the fairings and the number of boosters.

Anyhow, here are a selection of renders!

Delta II WIP Continue reading “Progress withe the Delta II rocket mesh”

Lunar Escape Device

This is a design that was considered for the (much) later Long Stay Apollo missions, where the LEM would be on the Moon for a long time. And there were concerns about reliability.

So they came up with a light weight design that would be a few bits strapped together, to get the astronauts up into munar orbit, where the command module might be able to rendezvous with them.

But it would not have been needed for the cancelled missions, and the ones beyond that were not studied in any great detail, so the design was not taken any further.

There are some interesting variations described on Wikpedia here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Escape_Systems

Continue reading “Lunar Escape Device”

“AVIAVEENTO” “АВИАВНИТО” Historic soviet rocket

Finishing up the historical Soviet rocket from 1935, “Aviaveento”.

As usual everything done in Lightwave 3d, this one os based on some old Russian language books I bought on Ebay.

I’m a little unsure abut the long indented areas along the main hull. The references were a bit contradictory. But all those knobbly rivets were really there!

Continue reading ““AVIAVEENTO” “АВИАВНИТО” Historic soviet rocket”