N-1 – Restarting work on the Manned Soviet Lunar Program.

I’ve restarted working on the models I did of the manned Soviet Lunar program, with a view to taking them to the next level.

I’m starting with the rotating gantry, here are the old and new versions of the hub:

hub2 hub1 Continue reading “N-1 – Restarting work on the Manned Soviet Lunar Program.”

Identifying the different N-1 variants.

Identifying N-1 variants. I mentioned this briefly in an earlier post, which featured some images I stitched together from video, but here it is in a bit more depth.

You are generally trying to distinguish between 5 different N-1 variants in photographs, the four that flew, and the weight model.  This is most easily done via the colours, though there are several other differences.

This post is not about ALL the differences between the variants, just about how to tell which rocket is which.

N1-3L, the first flight.

This is easy to identify, as it is the only one with entirely grey first and second stages. The third stage is half white, with the white part facing upwards on the transporter, which is the side away from the gantry once the rocket has been erected. It was transported to the pad in winter, and there are photos of it with snow on.

N1-3L being erected at the pad
N1-3L being erected at the pad

Note that there was no green on any of the N-1 variants! This is a widely held misconception, as many museums show it as green, (including the London science museum, and many Russian museums too). Olive green was only used to camouflage missiles, (and green would make lousy camouflage in Baikonur at the best of times). This error has spread to the point where photographs have been tinted to make them look green). And sometimes it was just poor quality film stock.

Continue reading “Identifying the different N-1 variants.”

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”

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?”

N-1 For the Moon and Mars – Part 1

Introduction:

I’m surprised to see I have not mentioned this yet here on my blog!

A few years ago Matt Johnson approached me with the idea of  putting together a book on the Soviet moon rocket, the N-1. I had previously given him some references for making a flying model, and he thought it would be cool to put together a book gathering the research, and using my CGI to illustrate it.

Here’s what we came out with!

N_1_Cover_front__66962.1401032885.1280.1280

(The picture links to the store at ARA Press, where I think you can still buy a copy).

The concept, and my role

The idea was that it would combine a history of the program with a detailed modeller guide. If I had known the effort it would take I would probably never have signed up! But with the help of some Russian friends, notably Axenadart Schliadinsky, we set about it. Continue reading “N-1 For the Moon and Mars – Part 1”

GIRD X – 1930’s Rocket by Soviet Group for the Study of Jet Propulsion

In the 1930’s the Soviet Union set up a group to study rocket propulsion, GIRD. (Lots more good info about it here!)

One member of the group was Sergey Korolov, who went on to become the chief designer, and mastermind behind all the early Soviet space firsts.

This rocket is the GIRD-X, the tenth project the group carried out.

SI-73-7133hThere’s only really one good photo, and Russian museum items have so many obvious errors, they are useless for reference. So the finer details in this model are somewhat speculative. (Though I think there are clearly some ridges and wider sections not shown in other plans or models I have found).

gird-x-bigx Continue reading “GIRD X – 1930’s Rocket by Soviet Group for the Study of Jet Propulsion”

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”

Two different images of Vulkan launching.

Two different renders of my Vulkan superheavy Soviet rocket taking off. The first has no recovery packs on the boosters, the second one does have the parachute packs.

These were NOT included on the designs for the Vulkan, but as they were added to Energia and Energia M I think it reasonable speculation to include them.

This version has the largest payload faring considered.

The Vulkan was not built but was downsized into the energia family.

vulkan-ascendant-3x

Continue reading “Two different images of Vulkan launching.”

The Energia rocket family – Vulkan

The Energia rocket was part of a family, apart from Buran and Polyus, no other versions flew. Energia-M was a cut down version, which got as far as a weight model – the colours and shape of my mesh are based on this.

But the original plan was to include a MUCH heavier rocket, the VULKAN.

This would have had eight of the boosters, and a second core stage that was basically an Energia-M.

vulkan-family-2x

I am working on this at the moment, though information is limited. The parachute packs on the boosters came after the Vulkan was cut down to become Energia, but I have done a version which includes these packs on the boosters. Seems VERY likely to me as the engines were designed to be reusable.

The boosters later underwent separate development, and evolved into the highly successful “Zenit”.

vulkan-family-0x

Continue reading “The Energia rocket family – Vulkan”