Mars Nuclear Thermal Spacecraft

I recently realised that I hadn’t blogged this design, which I did a few years ago. I realised this after seeing an image I had provided of it for a board game had been bodged onto a new background, and looked awful. So I figured I should get my version online ASAP!

This is a serious NASA design for a nuclear craft capable of reaching Mars.

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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).

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NASA PRANDTL Flying Wing – finished renders

Some finished renders of the flying wing design. See previous posts for the work in progress, and sample reference images.

The sky was the most difficult part here. I was compositing onto panoramic photos, and had to make my own sky. I really liked the dark greyish green, but it’s not very realistic.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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