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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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.

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Cosmic Postage Stamps – 1

I was recently given some postage stamps, mainly covering the achievements of the Soviet Union during the early days of the Space Age.

It occurred to me that they might be of interest to those who read this blog. After all, there can’t me much astronomical art that is more widely seen. And probably no other space art that people get to lick…

Postage Stamp

Early Soviet satellites, on a 1 ruble stamp. Continue reading “Cosmic Postage Stamps – 1”

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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Earths of Distant Suns by Michael Carroll

eods1There’s a new book out by Michael Carroll, covering possible earthlike worlds around other stars, and how we might reach them.

And several of my images are in there, in the advanced propulsion sections! I’ve not got very far into it yet, but so far it’s impressive, and the artwork is very nicely printed.

It’s here on amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earths-Distant-Suns-Communicate-Travel/dp/3319439634

And here on Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/Earths-Distant-Suns-Communicate-Travel/dp/3319439634

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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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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

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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.

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