Pat Flannery's scratchbuilt Discovery

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By Pat Flannery

Take two MPC "Pilgrim Observer" kits,add four Revell "Space Operations Center"kits,two plastic "snowball" paperweights,some Micromachines,four bicycle reflectors, one model railway bridge,a Monogram "Orient Express",some Christmas tree ornaments, PVC pipe and a large iron rod.Pour in about 1/4 cup super glue and 1 cup assorted paints...shake well! Presto! One six foot three inch long model of a ion / fission drive space craft for the exploration of Saturn; in 1/144 scale, complete with manned landers for Titan riding on aeroshells,loads of atmospheric probes,manned landers for the smaller moons, a space tug, two EVA pods, and a transatmospheric vehicle. Also a real headache to move and clean. (you get a soft brush,lather the model up with thinned down dish soap, and take it into the shower!) Ship is the NASA/ESA DISCOVERY , 900 feet long and carrying a crew of 25 on a six year mission. Someday I'll build the nuclear pulse stage to boost it out of Earth orbit.

The top overall side view shows (Left to Right): bridge/command center,living quarters,atmosphere/water recycling and storage, docking and cargo area, more living quarters, avionics area, three slush hydrogen tanks, EVA crew low G acclimatization area, hanger bays for probes and landers, Titan landers, heavy fission powered lander, three aft slush hydrogen tanks, aft fuel and oxidizer tanks, nucleonic engineering area (uncrewed when nuclear motors running), radiation shield, closed cycle nuclear/electric power supply, three laminar flow fission engines and three auxiliary isotope electrical generators. The centrally mounted ion engines are used in cruise flight; the fission motors to enter and leave the orbit of Saturn, so as to minimize radiation exposure to the ship from Saturn's magnetosphere - the ship orbits Saturn in the Cassini division of the rings where the radiation is low. Four truss structures extend in a X arrangement from amidships- these support carbon fiber cables to rigidize the ships structure. The de-spun ion motor arrays also carry telescopes, communication antennae and synthetic imaging radar. The ion arrays are capable of sliding fore and aft on tracks so as to maintain a central position on the ship despite changes of position of axis due to depletion of consumables.

The view from front shows the bridge (foreground), four living quarter and two food/supply arms extended in ship spinup position (the whole ship rotates around center when under ion drive, for "artificial gravity"), upper de-spun ion motors, the "gangway" to the transatmospheric vehicle which folds down unto the DISCOVERY in flight, and the red (hydrazine) and green (nitrogen tetroxide) tanks for the smaller ships that are carried.

The close up of the amidships section shows the Titan lander staging area with the landers riding on there "surfboard" heat shields, and to the right the heavy fission powered lander with its surface rovers for landings on the smaller moons. Orange objects are micrometeorite protective covers to shield the windows in transit to Saturn.

The next shot is a close up of nuclear space tug on opposite side of ship from picture 4-space tug and heavy lander are same design modified to perform different missions;space tug is on loan from USAF,who know a doozy of a photo op when they see it. (Air Force space tug silhouetted against Saturn-"THE SKY IS NO LIMIT..."). Hydrogen tanks are mounted 1top,1bottom,1port on forepart of ship and 1top,1bottom,1starboard on the aft part of ship

The bottom picture shows two astronauts EVA'ing to help dock the supply shuttle to the gangway ( the shuttle is not carried to Saturn) This is for scale comparison.

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