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”

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”

Opening the High Frontier – the book is out!

The book is out!

I did all the custom graphics for this book, and am waiting for my copy to arrive.

Opening the High Frontier, by Eagle Sarmont.

It is about getting the cost of reaching orbit down to a managable level, and the history of how we have got here. It includes an extensive history or space exploration.

And there’s a considerable amount about the non-rotating skyhook, which was the focus of my graphics work.

I am particularly pround of the video, which shows a complete mission. This includes how a craft would rendezvour with the lower end of the skyhook, and get haulled up to the main station. It would then be transferred to the upper end, and reeled out before being released.

All visuals by me, and the soundtrack, (Done using the SmartSound system).

Continue reading “Opening the High Frontier – the book is out!”

HOPE VASIMR Guest renders and a short video

A couple of new items using the Human Outer planet Exploration vehicle, with VASIMR engines.

Graham Gazzard has done some wonderful renders of the mesh!

You can follow him on twitter here:

https://twitter.com/GrahamTG

HOPE-VASIMR render by Graham Gazzard
HOPE-VASIMR render by Graham Gazzard

Continue reading “HOPE VASIMR Guest renders and a short video”

Why did the Soviet manned Lunar program fail?

There is still much debate about why the Soviet Union – which was consistently way ahead in the early days of space exploration, failed to beat the USA to putting a man on the Moon. But while there is some disagreement over which factors were the most important, there is considerable consensus about which factors drove this.

They started later.

The USA made putting a man on the Moon the key national objective, from before they had even put a man in orbit. Pretty much the entire space program focused on this objective.  By the time this became a national objective in the Soviet Union, 2 years later, time was very tight to develop a powerful enough rocket, and get the required expertise in flight systems.

Kennedy Moon SpeechAlso, at the time the speech was made, the Soviet Union was so obviously far ahead, they did not take the US intention seriously.

Continue reading “Why did the Soviet manned Lunar program fail?”

HOPE-VASIMIR Finished Renders

OK! The modelling is done of HOPE-VASIMR, (at least unless I spot anything that neeeds fixing), so it’s time for some shots of the final version.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

distant-01xThe above image is a distant view of the whole thing.

To give you an idea of the scale, it’s very nearly 200 metres from one end to the other.

Continue reading “HOPE-VASIMIR Finished Renders”

Wernher von Braun’s RM-1 spaceship design

As you may have noticed, I love the designs from the dawn of the space age, particularly the fifties designs of Wernher von Braun.

This one is the RM-1, which includes the ‘bottle suit’, something halfway between as spacesuit and a spaceship, with a ring of articulated arms, complete with a selection of tools.  Seriously Cool!

The ship as a whole though is not as credible as most of the other designs, for a couple of reasons.

rm1-en-routeThe red cone at the nose is meant to be a radiation shield for an unfeasibly tiny atomic reactor in front of it.

Continue reading “Wernher von Braun’s RM-1 spaceship design”

HOPE-VASIMR Modelling done?

Right, I think the modelling part is pretty much done here on the HOPE VASIMR. I’ve been busy adding nurnies and greebles, and tweaking surfaces, and it’s looking good to me.

As usual, click on the images for a larger version.

hope-vasimr000For those who missed the earlier instalments, HOPE stands for Human Outer Planet Exploration, and is a serious design for a manned expedition to Callisto, the outermost of the large moons of Jupiter. (Far enough away from Jupiter that the radiation won’t fry the astronauts!)

Continue reading “HOPE-VASIMR Modelling done?”

A collaboration with David A Hardy

I was absolutely delighted a year or so back when the great David A Hardy suggested a collaboration!

I think the first art of his I came across was probably an album cover for the awesome Space Rock band, Hawkwind. Anyway, you really should check out his web site:

David A Hardy Website
David A Hardy Website

We went with his first suggestion, a combination of the landing craft from the famous “Colliers” articles from the 1950’s, as designed by Wernher von Braun, and modelled by myself, with a landscape that DH would make. Continue reading “A collaboration with David A Hardy”

VASIMR – HOPE

I realised I have very little that covers more recent concepts to get man into deep space. And when I started digging, I found there were not that many out there to cover!

The main one is the various designs covered by HOPE. Human Outer Planet Exploration, which covers proposals for a manned mission to Callisto, the outermost major moon of Jupiter.

It uses VASIMR nuclear engines, which are under current development, so as far as feasibility goes, I’d say highly feasible apart from the cost aspect.

VASIMR stands for:

Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket

and it’s a highly promising propulsion system.

The huge vanes are the cooling system, very reminiscent of Ernst Stuhlingers designs of many years ago. They come to a point to stay behind the heavy radiation shields, either side of the reactors.

backdrop Continue reading “VASIMR – HOPE”