Author Topic: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'  (Read 6100 times)

Offline tea monster

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UPDATE EDIT: I've posted the finished renders of the project up on ArtStation for those who want to 'cut to the chase': https://www.artstation.com/artwork/dA2DK

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I'm making a digital model of Ernst Stuhlinger's 1950's era Mars ship. The ship was conceived from 1953 to 1959 at the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency. The ship was made famous by Walt Disney in 1957 when it was featured in "Mars and Beyond".

The model is going to be made in Blender. I'm initially going to be doing a faithful representation of the Disney version (which seems to have some differences from Stuhlinger's design documents). Later I hope to make a more modern representation, or maybe something closer to an updated version closer to Stuhlinger's original documents. I'm not the first person to make one of these, but I find it fascinating and I decided eventually that I had to take a crack at it.

Thanks to Winchel Chung and the Atomic Rockets site for information!

Mars and Beyond (ship appears at 40:09):


Astronautix entry: http://www.astronautix.com/s/stuhlingermars1957.html

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Here's where I'm at currently. Most of the major parts are in place. I've got to get some details like the reactor pipes sorted out and none of the upper hull details are done yet.

All textures are Work In Progress (WIP).







« Last Edit: 08/02/2018 11:08 PM by tea monster »

Online KelvinZero

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Why do you think they put the nuclear power at the opposite end of the radiators?

It would seem more natural to me to put the nuclear power and radiators together, and put the crew section at the opposite end of both, and the electric thrust plus the docked lander at whatever point along the axis defined the center of mass.

Offline tea monster

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If it were designed today, it would probably look very much like the HOPE designs. From what I've learned, it looks like this was the first study on a 'real' nuclear electric spaceship. It could have been that they didn't think of this till later.

In 1962, he designed a more traditional looking vehicle, more like what you described - http://www.astronautix.com/s/stuhlingermars1962.html

Offline tea monster

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Some progress on the lander.


Offline tea monster

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Some progress. Again, all textures are WIP.

Started working on the top deck.


In flight shot

Offline tea monster

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Started on the Bottle Suits.


Online Bob Shaw

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The lander design is very Blue Origin in some ways. Not forgetting BO's nod to Flesh Gordon!

Offline tea monster

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Got arms on the bottle suits.

Online Lar

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The lander design is very Blue Origin in some ways. Not forgetting BO's nod to Flesh Gordon!

Flash. :)  (google what you said if you dare)
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline tea monster

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Pretty sure he meant 'Flesh', due to BO's sub-orbital vehicles resemblance to a sex-toy.

Working on the top deck. All textures are WIP.

Offline tea monster

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Re: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'
« Reply #10 on: 01/23/2018 10:40 PM »
Doing extra passes on the hub and the lander. I'm working on the hub to cut in the portholes so that I can have some light coming out from within. That means a lot of fooling around to create the geometry to cut the windows out and create separate frames and glass windows. Should be worth it in the end.

Getting the ion drive to look good from all angles is a challenge. I've tried a few methods and nothing seems to look really authentic.

I'm itching to start changing things. The antenna - I don't know where the design came from for that thing! Also I'm keenly aware that the ion drive shouldn't be a yellow-white colour. The other thing is that the lander really needs some attitude jets built into the hull for basic maneuvering.




Offline tea monster

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Re: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'
« Reply #11 on: 01/24/2018 05:00 PM »
Found some node-fu and got the ion engine working.

Offline tea monster

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Re: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'
« Reply #12 on: 01/27/2018 12:45 AM »
Starting to do some proper renders. Still some detail work to do for close-ups.


Offline tea monster

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Re: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'
« Reply #13 on: 01/31/2018 06:01 PM »
Got some 'set dressing' completed. Just one cargo rocket and I'll have a complete 'retro space' thread.

Offline tea monster

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Re: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'
« Reply #14 on: 01/31/2018 08:32 PM »
Got a bit more detail on and refined the support wires.

Online Bob Shaw

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Re: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'
« Reply #15 on: 01/31/2018 08:57 PM »
The lander design is very Blue Origin in some ways. Not forgetting BO's nod to Flesh Gordon!

Flash. :)  (google what you said if you dare)
Um, no, I meant exactly what I wrote! BO's New Shepard is stunningly similar to the ship which Flesh, Dale and Dr F take to Planet P. I can't believe that it is entirely a coincidence...

Offline tea monster

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Re: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'
« Reply #16 on: 02/03/2018 01:36 AM »
Another render.
This time of the fleet heading out from Earth past Luna.

« Last Edit: 02/03/2018 01:37 AM by tea monster »

Offline tea monster

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Re: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'
« Reply #17 on: 02/26/2018 01:28 PM »

The lander is attached to it's mount on the propulsion module in Earth orbit, prior to departure.


After finally arriving at Mars, the lander is undocked for a surface sortie.


Offline tea monster

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Re: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'
« Reply #18 on: 03/13/2018 12:03 AM »
I wasn't happy with the Wheel, so I've revamped it significantly. I've adjusted the ring diameter and thickness and I've added some surface detail, including antennae and maneuvering jets.

Offline tea monster

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Re: Digital Model of Ernst Stuhlinger's Nuclear 'Umbrella Ship'
« Reply #19 on: 08/02/2018 10:46 PM »
I've updated the renders and have posted them up on Art Station: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/dA2DK



The original idea was to extend this project with a more modern take on the umbrella ship, with sectional aluminum hab section, modern reactor design, etc. I may or may not pursue this.
« Last Edit: 08/02/2018 11:05 PM by tea monster »