Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

31 December 2011

...Friede; almost ready

Here's a last update on Friede this year. She's not finished yet, but I'm getting close.
The four stabilo's are ready, they're thick and sturdy. Unlike the real rocket whose legs could not carry the weight of the ship, these are quite up to the task.
Most of the work now is concentrated on the honeycomb engine cluster, which is a little more complex than the upper stage. it's coming together real fine but I need one more ring of engine bells to add. As it's getting a bit dark and I don't like working in artificial light alone, I call it quits for today. So, I'll pick up the work next year.
Keep it safe y'all and best wishes for 2012.
Here's a couple of pictures.

All white lines will be painted red in the end.

30 December 2011

On what's next!

On the brink of 2011 and with Friede almost finished (pics tomorrow, I think) I have wandered off again into the land of What's Next. 
Again, I think of an idea that leaves (real) space aside for a little while longer but has a lot to do with exploring and discovering new places.
Since I was young, I was fascinated by this picture of an orange vehicle on tracks in the snow, being trapped in a crevasse , hanging on to both sides with its tracks just barely touching the edges.

Oh sh*t.

The vehicle, I learned was a Tucker Sno-Cat, a means of transport specially designed for polar expeditions. These orange ones (three of them in total) were used in the epic Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1955 - 1958. It was a very daring undertaking.

26 December 2011

Friede on earth

What does PK do when he's got some time on his hands on Boxing Day? He does some work to get Peace on earth. The German one, Friede. The rocket. Of course. I already am peaceful enough. Okay, that's enough puns.

33 centimeters (approximately one foot) in length.

This is the bottom side. Here the 49 1st stage engines will reside.

Today the first stage hull was readied. Straightforward, easy to build. Oh, that circle cutter is marvellous. I made three big ones from thick cardboard to reinforce the long cylinder. They fit perfectly. On top of the first stage there is a platform to house the parachute - Oberth apparently thought of reusing his rocket!

23 December 2011

Friede comes together

-Slowly, but surely.
The upper stage is ready. It involved the folding of one gazillion little hexagonal engine cones, more than a N-1 had in its first stage. Well, with the right music on (Bach's Wohltemperirtes Klavier and, oddly enough, some African pop music) I managed to do them all.

The rings of the tapered end are just a little too rough for my taste, I would rather have a tighter fit so there wouldn't be ridges at the seams. Oh well. It sure fits well and there's always something to perfect in a next model.
I did some tweaking with the engine section, because I wanted it to be black instead of light grey. With that new circle cutter I've cut circles all day long.
Well, I haven't, but I could have.

Hmm. Circles. Nice. Small ones, big ones, medium-sized ones... Hmmm.
I got a nice little gem in the mail today for a testbuild. (thanks John!) 
This I will do first before I get on with Friede's first stage. That also will involve a busload of small red cones. Hurray!

On another uplifting note: André Kuipers has arrived at the ISS today. The press conference was particularly fun, when Kuipers' young kid started to sing a Sinterklaasliedje. Odd to hear Dutch spoken on the ISS airwaves. I guess when he is used to the microgravity environment and the headaches and nausea is over (if he has them), he'll have the time of his life there. Lucky bastard. (-;

21 December 2011

Bon Voyage, André!

There he goes, together with Don Pettit and Oleg Kononenko, on their way to half a year ISS. A great start, no troubles at all, a bit cold, maybe but that's nothing for a Russian rocket like the trusty Soyuz. The previous crew was launched in a blizzard. That's something a shuttle couldn't do!

Well, the whole thing was fun to watch, I watched at home, Dutch TV made a broadcast from ESTEC with a lot of  enthusiastic people attending and a countdown clock running 74 seconds ahead of schedule. I simultaneously watched NASATV for more accurate comments.
I didn't really like the way this flight has been shown by Dutch TV. They missed a lot of well-placed interesting comments about spaceflight. It's always a lot of stupid questions and trivial stuff which only distracts from what is really happening at the moment. I think I can do it better. I really do. There is no real regular space commentator any more since Piet Smolders and Chriet Titulaer retired. Perhaps I should apply as a space commentator...
Okay, I am ranting.

Fun thing I saw during the NASA broadcasts was that Don Pettit signed his hotel door in mirror writing! It seems he is that kind of man, unexpected practical jokes and a good sense of weird humour. I like that. Friday they'll dock at the ISS Rassvet docking port. It will be televised, I will be watching.

18 December 2011

André Kuipers - a real cosmonaut!

André Kuipers in business suit.
Now the second launch of André Kuipers, Netherlands' second spacefaring person is imminent I wonder whether the first Dutch astronaut, Wubbo Ockels, feels any envy.
He really wanted a second flight and after his seven-day trip in Challenger in late 1985 he started to lobby for a next one. Then his dream went up in smoke, just as Challenger did and his chance of another flight was gone, it seems. STS-61-A would remain Ockels' only voyage into space. After his resignation at ESA he started to work on the technical university in Delft and does a very good job promoting sustainable energy.
 Mustachioed Wubbo and his shuttle, around 1984. 

André Kuipers went to space in Soyuz TMA-4 in 2004 and stayed in the ISS for eight days. The trip up and down lengthened his stay in space to almost eleven days. He will return to the ISS with Soyuz TMA-03M for a long stay of about  six months. That must have made Ockels at least envy his colleague a little bit, I think.
Besides being able to write more space hours on his CV, Kuipers had to learn to fly the Soyuz. Now, how cool is that? In case of an emergency André is able to guide the capsule home by hand. He trained for it and he even excelled in flying the spacecraft, pulling less g's than nominally is measured. Good job!

The TMA-03M is a new version of the Soyuz, with completely new electronics and a full "glass cockpit". It will perform the 112th Soyuz flight since its first flight in 1967.
The "glass cockpit" layout of the new TMA-M Soyuz.
© Chris Hadfield

The panel in Soyuz as it used to look in the early days. Click for bigger.
© Yuri Tiapchenko
 The chance Kuipers will actually fly the Soyuz is small, since the Russians are very strict about who does what on board the spacecraft. In the old communist days, the story went guest cosmonauts (from satellite states or countries under the Soviet influence) always returned from space with blue knuckles because all the hits they received on them from their commander. But the fact he can fly a spacecraft makes him, at least in my eyes, a True Cosmonaut. He really can navigate and maneuver a spaceship through space.  He is not just a scientific researcher in space. Besides, if I could choose between a launch inside a shuttle or in a Soyuz, I immediately would go for the rocket.
The shuttle might have always looked impressive but however beautiful the returning shuttle looks, the launch stack feels to me like an aircraft strapped to a huge streamlined jerrycan of fuel, sandwiched by a giant firecracker tandem, asking for trouble. I really think it's a good thing that the shuttle retired.
© Patrick Chapatte / Intl. Herald Tribune
Allright, back to Kuipers. If all goes well, he'll launch on the 21st together with Oleg Kononenko and Dan Burbank. I'm looking forward to it. I think he might be too.
As we Dutchies say, "hij is een bofkont - en dat is ie".

PS. The first Dutch-born person in space wasn't Wubbo, but Lodewijk van den Berg, who became an American citizen in 1975. He beat Ockels into space just six months earlier...

(And as far as Astronaut or Cosmonaut, the latter means "space voyager" while the first term means "star voyager" - and we haven't even sent a crew to Mars!)

PS.2: As an addition, here's yours truly meeting his one and only astronaut up until now, for the first time* in 1979! Thanks for the picture, mom!
* I met him again in 2007 at a lecture.
Martinikerk, Groningen, 1979.
© Kiekert

Friede #1

Well, here's the first peek at what the grandmother of all spacecraft is going to look.
The diameter of the ship is nice, about nine centimeters, without the stabilizing fins, I think.
Today I worked on the top part, which is bi-coloured. I also coloured all the dark edges with a dark grey pencil to prevent ugly white edges.
A cone, a lot of red parts and some other stuff.

Just like the N-1, this model comes together very well. Ralph Currell has made an excellent paper model, I think. Inside the cone there are a lot of reinforcing circles. Up until recently I either cut those out free
hand or I tried and used my cheap compass cutter. The latter always was guaranteed to mess up a nice circle beyond recognition. Dull blade? Bad product? who knows? Anyway, I was fed up with this piece of junk and when I bought new blades for my Xacto I saw this thing in the shop. I could try it out and I really liked it. It cuts perfect circles and with a little more experience it's very easy to use. I used it on the reinforcers inside the cone of Friede and it works really fine.
No, I am not going to promote this gadget. But it works.
Next up were the engines. Although Stage 1 has the possibility to do the engines in 3D, the second stage, although detachable, has not. Just a flat rendition of the 42 hexagonal rocket cones. I did some photoshop magic and reduced the seven hexagonal first stage engines to 78% and copied them until I had 54 of them.  These were just the right size for the 2nd stage motor part and now it's cutting and folding and more of the same until I have enough for the whole cluster. Might take some time...
2D versus 3D. I prefer to have a paper model in 3D. So cutterdecut one gazillion little engine cones I will.

 Right, so far for the first update.
See you soon.

17 December 2011

Frau im Mond

One of the most interesting SF-movies before the birth of the A4/V-2 must be Fritz Lang's "Frau Im Mond" (1929). Besides a somewhat cheesy and melodramatic love story (and some very poetic license by giving the moon a breathable atmosphere) it clearly depicts how scientists thought a real launch of a real manned rocket would take place.
Fritz Lang wanted realism so badly, he even hired über-rocketscientist Hermann Oberth to get everything about the rocket right. For the film Oberth designed the H.32 - a realistic probe rocket, and a large two-staged monster, a silver and black bullet shaped projectile, with four large square hollow stabilization fins. The rocket, that was given the name of "Friede" (Peace - and the name of the female protagonist). Oberth provided the floor with numerous footholds for when weightlessness would kick in. Even the positions of the couches (more like military style stretchers suspended on springs) were quite well-envisioned. The instrument panel was a bit odd-placed, between the two pilot's couches, facing away from them., but full of interesting and realistically looking gauges and meters.
Mondschiff "Friede".
photo: © Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung / Eureka
more after the break -

11 December 2011

Tintin's moon rocket

... Or rather the rocket of Professor Calculus (for all you english speaking people), Professor Tournesol to all the francophones or, as we in Dutchyland call him, Professor Zonnebloem.
A nice and straightforward build. I did this one in 1/96th, while the original is 1/144. I am in luck with my A3 printer, so I am able to easily enlarge these things.
The model is designed by Jason "Jayo" Sutton and is not available on the interwebs anymore due to copyright issues with the heirs of Hergé's art. I sent Jason a mail about this build, I hope he likes what he sees.
There was an additional part in the download in which the interior of the payload bay could be detailed. There even was a suggestion to put in lighting. And I thought well, why not? So I got myself some 5mm LED's, nine all together, with the fitting resistors. A little later, after some soldering, the wiring was done and inserted in the rocket. The wires go through the rear fin down to the "teardrop" on which it stands and I made a construction using two cardboard rolls which fitted tightly into one another to house the 9V battery.

It's not perfect, it was just a fun build. All I need to do now is add a couple more layers of transparent gloss to seal and shine the skin. In the instructions Jayo mentioned "nothing in Hergé's world shines" but if not even gold in his albums has a shine, then it must be very dull. I decided gold is shiny and so this rocket has a shine, too.

I put my Xacto next to the teardrop leg to give an idea of size

Here's one pic, the rest is after the break.

10 December 2011

I'm fine

I am having fun building Tintin's rocket, pictures will follow when I am ready.
Just not feeling that 'pressure' of documenting this build is very effective and lets me get back on track. I like this build a lot. The rocket isn't really hard or anything but with what I did to it it has taken a little more time.
I already have some ideas for projects after this one, one even something completely un-spacey. But there are also plans for Skylab (as said before) and a new row of static and detailed launchers in 1/96th, old and new ones.
Besides that, I still wait for Rassvet to surface at AXM's site. Then I can finish my ISS model.
Well, enough for now, I estimate I have finished building the Tintin rocket tomorrow afternoon. I'll take some nice pictures of it then and show you what it looks like in 1/96th.
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