Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

14 January 2014

A small milestone

When you are a model maker, there is just one real problem you run into at a certain moment. Space. Or rather, a lack of space. In my case, I have a tiny 4 by 3 meter room I make my models in. And because the room is small, my models are too. And they more or less never leave that room, unless I want to make some pictures of it.
Gathering dust under a plexiglass hood.

I have nowhere else to put them. In my living room they would certainly be destroyed by my little but ferocious feline housemates.

I can haz Falcon?

A little while ago, I got into contact with the Dutch National Space Museum.

-Now bear with me for a moment. I know the Netherlands are not the biggest spacefaring nation, especially not when you compare us to the US or Russia but we do actually have quite a history in space engineering, we even have built two satellites and there are three astronauts who were born in this little country. (I think we might score quite well on amount of astronauts per square km of country, heh heh heh!). Nowadays, we closely work together with other European countries in the ESA, but forty years ago, in aerospace engineering, we actually were state of the art on our own.

Anyway, I told the people of the
National Space Museum (NSM) about my models and sent them some photos and they got enthusiastic about maybe having some of my models in their collection. For a pilot, I was asked to come and bring along  two models they had chosen.
Today was the day.

Diorama and rocket in the back seat
I walked to the car with in my hands my 1/48 Curiosity & Sky Crane Mars diorama and the 1/96 SpaceX Falcon 9 V 1.0 COTS mission. Off we went to Lelystad!

Arrived! Outside, this big fella was looking over the runway at all the little single props taking off and landing.
At the entrance you are welcomed by some Fokker. Oh boy what a lame pun.
The National Space Museum is housed inside the Aviodrome, the only serious aerospace museum in the Netherlands. It used to be at Schiphol but it coudn't expand any further there, so they moved to an airfield in the open polders of Flevoland. On the premisses and inside a large building they house lots of aircraft out of Dutch aviation history and some more technical artifacts that more or less indirectly are connected with flying and all. I saw a pretty Hawker Hunter, an F-104, a beautiful Lockheed Constellation, lots of well-maintained Fokker aircraft and a couple of helicopters. But that of course was not what I came for.

The NSM exhibition floor.
The Space Museum has a nice, wide top floor balcony full of show cases, filled with models and lots of spaceflight artifacts, some scale models and life size mock-ups of IRAS, Gemini and ANS. They even have a used training model of Columbus, the European part of the ISS. For a small museum, it all actually is quite impressive.

I was welcomed by staff members of the NSM who all were amazed and enthusiastic about the Mars diorama and the Falcon 9. We had a very nice afternoon talking about space and their experiences with it, since they all were (retired) space engineers and worked on lots of Dutch and international space programmes, some even in the time ESRO and ELDO still were active (They merged into ESA in the mid-seventies).
I was really fascinated by their stories and kind of regretted I never really had the ability to study engineering. These men lived through such intriguing, pioneering times. Standing at the cradle of spaceflight. Designing components they knew would go into orbit on unproven satellites and wobbly rockets. I would really love to hear more of their stories. I actually would love to document it and make a film on how the Dutch paved their own little way into space. They can tell so much.

"...And this is really all made of paper?"

"Hey look at that!... He even got the exhaust plumes right - they come out of the right four nozzles!"
Anyway, they really seemed to like my models and after some pleasant talks they decided to include them in their collection. But they said they wanted to wait until after refurbishing the exhibition floor to display my models, maybe even together with some more of my models.
I would really like that to happen, to be able to show more people what I make and inspire them.
For now, Progress has been made. I have two of my models in a museum...
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