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Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

02 April 2011

What ifs

In the last years I became quite fascinated with what could have been in space. The blog Beyond Apollo has a lot of very interesting stories about that (link in the sidebar). I already did an early variant of what was to become Skylab. this 'Wet Orbital Workshop" idea consisted of a SIVb stage that was used to get into orbit and then modified inside for housing a crew of astronauts. I tried to find more about this configuration but there was hardly any illustrative material around. I came up with a pretty decent depiction of the Wet OWS, though.


Now there were a lot of other interesting things that were considered in the seventies and early eighties. For instance, what eventually became the ASTP - or Apollo - Soyuz, as most people call it, also had some interesting variants involving the space stations of those days. There were wild plans for letting Skylab dock with Soyuz or even a Salyut! Also a docking of a shuttle with a Salyut was considered.
Besides that, NASA also had plans to improve Skylab for a next decade if the whole shebang hadn't plummeted into the atmosphere and burned up in 1979.
This set me thinking. It would be nice to make these models and make them able to
dock in all of these configurations. An Apollo, a Soyuz, but also (an improved) Skylab and Salyut 6 or 7 and a shuttle. The docking mechanisms would be easy to make with some small magnets. Just make sure the magnets don't repel each other.

Here's some sketchwork I did around this theme. Doodling about in my sketchbook gives me a lot of insight in how to display a model and how to construct these non-existent ones.

these drawings show my take on the actual plans NASA might have had with Skylab around 1985. A giant power block would have been added on the front end, causing to have to retract towo of the "helicopter" solar panels of the Telescope Mount. The power block would have had huge solar panels which would have rendered the old ones quite useless. Also at the front end would have been an extension for the shuttle to dock. I wonder whether they also would have wanted to wrap Skylab in white thermal blankets.


(these drawings are about 3x3cm so bear with me about the detailing in it... I like to build 'em small, I like to draw 'em small...)
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