Paper models, photos and musings of a Paper Kosmonaut

21 January 2014

Watchers of the Skies: Planck [1]

I have mentioned before how I am fascinated by deep space probes. I still can't tell you exactly why that is, but part of it must be that they're far away and all of them are pioneers. And I also have a fascination with pioneers. 
Some of them just head out and will forever roam away from their planet of birth, like Voyagers 1 and 2 and Pioneer 10. Some stay a little closer but also travel unspeakable distances. Lots of them pass Earth more than one time again to gain speed to catapult themselves into another orbit or trajectory to a planet, comet or some other celestial body.
Special ones are designated to spend their working life at the poetically named Lagrange points. These specific spots in the neighbourhood of a planet or moon are exactly where the gravitational pull is more or less cancelled. An object placed at such a point will travel around the sun with the same speed as the Earth and moon and will look stationary from the viewpoint of as well the Earth as the moon. Such points are ideal for stationing or observation.

Lagrange points around the Earth and its Moon.
Let's take point L1 for example. An object there always will be at the same place between the Moon and the Earth. By doing so it will be at a predictable spot so you can easily fly towards it and, for example dock. Imagine a journey to the moon and a little further than halfway there is a docking station. There you can get off and transfer to a moon taxi that will bring you to the surface. The ship you came with refuels and returns to Earth. Beyond the orbit of the Moon you'll find L2. It also is a very precise spot with a very precise purpose. Here, the moon cancels out the reflections of light coming from the earth. The object practically always is in the shadow of the moon*. So, no hindrance of excessive light. At such a spot you also could have a special kind of observation platform, like a space telescope.
Planck is such a space telescope. It was built by the European Space Agency to be placed there and survey the galaxy around us. 
In 2009 Planck was launched, together with its brother telescope, Herschel, on top of an Ariane 5 from Kourou. Planck was placed at the L2 point and there observed the phenomenons of the universe, mainly things like the cosmic background noise which is used to determine the age of the universe.  Planck was operational until august 2013. After that, it had run out of cooling fluid for its telescope parts and it could no longer function. It then was put into a parking orbit around the sun, to keep the L2 point free for successors and was powered down.

Well, that's just a little tip of the iceberg. Lots more to tell about Planck. But I started with a model of the telescope. And that is what this blog is about. Paper models.
Here's where it started, more after the jump.

*"practically always in the shadow of the moon": of course this is only partially true. In reality, the probe orbits in a special "wobbly orbit" around the imaginary Lagrange point, so it also can catch some sunlight to power its equipment.

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.

10 January 2014

Black Arrow 1/96 [3]

There it is, the little rocket that could but wasn't allowed to.
The nose cone is painted, there were some blemishes when I glued it all together. That sometimes happens. Of course there is a little surprise under its shiny red surface. More on that after the jump.

05 January 2014

Black Arrow 1/96 [2]

There's actually nothing really black about this rocket. Funny. The U.K. government just picked colours with a noun for their military projects. The thing could've just as well be named Pink Bracelet or Yellow Xylophone. Well, I guess Black Arrow isn't that bad...
On with the show. Engines, interstage and second stage. I like this one. It's got a good fit and it looks quite good. It looks even better with all the greeblies attached to it.
Here's one picture, the rest is after the jump.

I added the engine bells. Later on, I painted the insides anthracite.

03 January 2014

Bad/Sad British decisions - Black Arrow

Darn, that Saturn is the thing that holds me back the whole time. I guess it's because of the trouble I have with getting started up right. Oh well. Inbetweenie #2 is on its way.

Sidney Camm, the famous designer of aircraft manufacturer Hawker, once said that all modern aircraft had to get four dimensions right: Wingspan, lenghth, height and politics. The TSR2, which was the plane he referred to at the time, got the first three right. 
This aircraft happens to be one of my favourite planes. It is long, big sleek and it was ahead of its time. The same story could be told about the Miles M.52, a small aircraft that would have broken the sound barrier before the Americans were it not that it got cancelled, something I did a story on a while ago here. The third victim of politics was the small but promising Black Arrow.

01 January 2014

Onward and upward! A happy new year!

I have put the build of the Saturn V into a lower gear and as soon as I did, I stumbled upon this little model of the Skylon space plane that recently was released by Techikun. 
(-In .pdo format, which I detest because Mac users cannot easily acces these files. Luckily there was Doug on who came to the rescue and was so kind to convert it into a .PDF file for me. Why oh why is it so hard for everyone to just release their Pepakura model files in an overall accessible format?)

I immediately too off with this model because I really love the sleek shape and design of this futuristic hybrid rocket plane.
How the build went, is revealed after the jump.

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