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).

Continue reading “Next project – Phil Bono’s Hyperion”

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

Continue reading “Earths of Distant Suns by Michael Carroll”

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”

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?”

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”