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Old 22nd Jan 2012, 04:14 PM   #1
Drell-7
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Default Space - von Braun's 1969 Mars plan

In the spirit of Nick's (Starbase1) efforts recently, I decided to take a crack at illustrating some of the more dramatic moments from Werner von Braun's 1969 refinement of Boeing's 1968 Mars mission plan. (which Nick has all ready done some great images of)

After Apollo 11 and Apollo 12, NASA used the momentum of those triumphs to launch their proposal to develop several pieces of hardware, the Nuclear Ferry or Primary Propulsion Module, which could provide regular transportation to Geosynchronous orbit and the Moon, and the Standard Mission Module, which could serve as a planetary surface base or orbital station. These, combined with a Science Mission Module specific for the destination, could be combined to form Project Argosy spacecraft, capable of missions to Mars, Venus, asteroids and comets. For these deep space missions, a pair of Argosy spacecraft would launch from Earth orbit, with two PPMs boosting the main craft into its transfer orbit, then separating, to decelerate themselves to return to Earth orbit for reuse. The lone remaining PPM would provide power and propulsion for the rest of the mission. In this way, a robust compatible collection of manned craft would be available for standard missions, in a flexible architecture to meet varieties of mission needs. By using a pair of spacecraft, each with a 6 person crew, ultimate redundancy is achieved. Each ship carries enough consumables to support both crews, in the event of one ship being disabled. I've attached the name Argosy, or treasure fleet, to the project.

These first 3 images show the 2 Argosy ships undergoing final preparations in Earth orbit, theTrans Mars injection burn carried out by the Nuclear Boosters, and separation of the boosters. For a complete run-down of the mission, here's a link to a good synopsis:
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/vonn1969.htm
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Old 22nd Jan 2012, 05:20 PM   #2
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That's some awesome work Drell. Good Job!
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Old 22nd Jan 2012, 06:26 PM   #3
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Very cool, love the middle image.
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Old 23rd Jan 2012, 09:26 AM   #4
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Very nice work indeed. It's great to see some more of these designs brought to life.
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Old 23rd Jan 2012, 12:51 PM   #5
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This is very cool. Love the retro stuff.
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Old 23rd Jan 2012, 02:49 PM   #6
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Looking very nice.
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Old 23rd Jan 2012, 08:59 PM   #7
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Thanks, everyone, I really appreciate the feedback!
Here's the next batch of images. After the Argosy ships separate from the boosters (which return to earth orbit, to be refueled and put back on the Earth to Moon shuttle runs.) the ships are linked together and spun to produce 1/4 g (Mars gravity) for the crew. One week out from Mars orbit, the ships are despun and separated, and the upper portion of the mission shroud is blown to expose the unmanned Mars probes. The probes will be released just before entry into Mars orbit.
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Old 23rd Jan 2012, 09:05 PM   #8
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Another fine set....
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Old 24th Jan 2012, 12:43 PM   #9
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Here is the third sequence of images from the plan NASA fielded for a Manned Mars mission to fly in 1986. The 2 Argosy spacecraft, after deploying unmanned sample-return probes, and jettisoning the shroud that has covered the Mars Landers for the interplanetary cruise, fires their NERVA nuclear engines to settle into an elliptical orbit around Mars. The manned lander of the lead ship separates, maneuvers and fires its deorbit rockets, to start aerobraking and landing. After the ablative heatshield slows the lander sufficiently, a ballute (Balloon-parachute) is deployed to stabilize the descending lander, and the shroud that has protected the ascent stage is jettisoned, as is the part of the heatshield that has covered the descent engine. Finally, after a combination of parachute and rocket braking the MEM (Mars Excursion Module) settles onto Mars, its rocket engine having blown a radiating pattern of dust and pebbles in a wide circle around the landing site.

All of the images in this series were built and rendered in Lightwave 10, with post work in Photoshop. Thanks for taking a look!
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Old 24th Jan 2012, 03:45 PM   #10
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Excellent... Now I'm just waiting for the 10 Minute animated version...
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Old 25th Jan 2012, 03:37 AM   #11
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Awesome, awesome work!

I particularly love the way you have used such a wide variety of lighting, and got them all to work. The mix of close up and long shots also works very well, (I'm always tempted to fill the frame with the ships!)

*****

Great engine lighting too, I particularly like the banded exhaust from the Nerva's, and the attitude jets firing. How did you do those?

I hope you will consider putting these images up on the International Space Art Network?
http://spaceart1.ning.com/

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Old 25th Jan 2012, 07:49 AM   #12
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Excellent images.

In the fourth shot with the lander, the shadow on the lander is nearly vertical but the shadow on the planet is clearly horizontal; this suggests the light on the lander is coming from a different angle than the light on the planet.
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Old 26th Jan 2012, 03:04 AM   #13
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Pics 2 and 6 are real stunners, mate. My absolute favourites. I like the action shot too, but I like the other two more
Seriously cool pics, be proud of them!

Also, pic 2 reminds me of Homeworld. So cooooooooooool!
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Old 26th Jan 2012, 03:28 AM   #14
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I get the appeal of 2, you can't go far wrong with backlit against a crescent Earth.

But I think 1 and 3 are every bit as good, 1 for the highly unusual "brightly lit in space including background" look which is very unusual, and rarely done at all well, and the extreme angles of 3 give a wonderful sense of the elements floating in space ready for assembly.

Nick
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Old 26th Jan 2012, 02:21 PM   #15
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Drell, these are all seriously cool!
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Old 26th Jan 2012, 05:47 PM   #16
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I agree with Treybor bigtime
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Old 26th Jan 2012, 11:30 PM   #17
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Thank you, Nick! You're the one that inspired me to get into this project!
I'm afraid the NERVA and attitude jets are a complete cheat--composited and painted in Photoshop after the renders. I will post the whole series over at International Space Art Network, too! Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 26th Jan 2012, 11:32 PM   #18
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Treybor, Elowan, and Mook thanks a bunch for the positive words, and the interest in the project. I think 2 and 6 are 2 of my very favorites too, Mook. Sometimes the elements jell better than others. Thanks, too, to Rigel. I'm looking into my original scene to see if I can find weirdness in the light setup. The planet and lander were rendered in the same scene. Maybe my field of view is a problem?
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Old 31st Jan 2012, 01:12 PM   #19
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I just noticed something in number 2, the star backdrop just kinda stops towards the bottom of the image. It's near the very bottom, it sort of has this odd little rectangle.
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Old 6th Feb 2012, 10:19 AM   #20
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A bit late this month but congrats on the front-page slot!
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Old 6th Feb 2012, 09:06 PM   #21
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Wow! Thank you, Bob! That's a real honor.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 12:03 PM   #22
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Wow those are fantastic. Beautiful work!
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Old 19th Feb 2012, 06:02 AM   #23
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Absolutely awesome set of images.
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Old 19th Feb 2012, 02:21 PM   #24
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For anyone wanting background:

http://history.nasa.gov/monograph21.pdf

Excellent NASA freebie doc on the history of proposed Mars expeditions, lots of illustrations, lots of inspiration!

Nick
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