The National Space Centre, Leicester

I visited the UK’s National Space Centre, partly to get better references for a CGI “Skylark” rocket, and thought it was worth a blog entry. I’ll be publishing reference photos, for the benefit of other modellers, in a separate post.

It’s located on the outskirts of Leicester, and a bit of a pain to get to if you are not familiar with the local public transport system. Easy to spot by it’s distinctive shape, dominated by the Rocket Tower.

NSC Sign

The National Space Centre Web Site Continue reading “The National Space Centre, Leicester”

Soviet Manned Lunar Craft Designs

Galina Balashova

Before I get started I must give credit. The illustrations here are largely by Galina Balashova. Little known in the west, she was responsible for the interior design of pretty much every Soviet spacecraft. Combining Art and Architectural skills, it was her job to make the spacecraft a productive, pleasant environment.

Galina Balashova, left, presenting her designs
Galina Balashova, left, presenting her designs in 2017

If you have any interest in this area, the book “Galina Balashova, Architect of the Soviet Space Program” is absolutely essential, and is packed with elegant and informative paintings and drawings. 

Galina Balashova, Architect of the Soviet Space Program.
Galina Balashova, Architect of the Soviet Space Program.

Continue reading “Soviet Manned Lunar Craft Designs”

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.”

RN-2, the Nuclear R7, The Historical Reference Information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

Nuclear Soyuz – ЖРД / ЯРД, an unflown design

Not that long ago I got an excellent book by Alexander Schliadinski, who provided the core information for “N-1 for the Moon and Mars“.

N1 Czar of rockets, by A. Schliadinski
N1 Czar of rockets, by A. Schliadinski

Continue reading “Nuclear Soyuz – ЖРД / ЯРД, an unflown design”

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”

Progress with the UR-700 moon rocket

Right! The launch state version is coming together rather nicely. There are some deails still to be done, and the surfaces need some work, but I’m begining to see how the finished one will look.

It’s not going to be super accurate, but I was really pleased that my Russian friends like it.

The colours are arbitrary to a degree, but I think I have a sound justification for them.

Here’s an exploded view, to show all the elements:

Continue reading “Progress with the UR-700 moon rocket”

Chelomei’s UR-700

Back to the space hardware, and my latest major project.

Project History

This is Chelomei’s UR-700, intended as a universal rocket, (in various configurations), and a competitor to the N-1.

This was a real monster, and basically consisted of a cluster of no less than nine Proton rockets. This was done so they could be comprehensively tested at the factory near Moscow, and shipped on trains to Baikonur for assembly. The Proton started as the UR-500, an element of this design. The engines were built and tested, but there was no appetite to start again, cancelling the N-1.

Continue reading “Chelomei’s UR-700”