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Space Hardware Technology

Visual Guide – the Making of a DIY Space Capsule 40 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-your-space-on dept.
Kristian vonBengtson writes "Wanna build your own space capsule capable of doing an atmospheric re-entry on a suborbital mission? Well, here are some production hints and a visual guide." The initial stages begin with sketches on paper before moving to 3D design software. He writes, "A whole bunch of sketches were done to get some kind of initial idea of the size, subsystems layout and how to actually produce the capsule while keeping an open structure for further development and potential changes. One of the main concerns was the small size and the ability to easy install and replace avionics. This led to the decision that all external side panels will have to accommodate being taken on and off – no welding, only on the main structure." Afterward, he moves on to show the final metal cuts and how the pieces are put together via bolts and welding.
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Visual Guide – the Making of a DIY Space Capsule

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  • Stability? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Friday December 06, 2013 @10:44AM (#45618409) Homepage

    I like it. With such a high fineness ratio, I wonder a little about stability-- does it stay heat-shield down? Is there an alternate stable mode with the nose down?

    I do notice a ballute-- this is probably to stabilize the heat-shield-down attitude when it's too high for a parachute to open. This may work for stability for the relatively low entry velocities needed for suborbital, although I'd be curious about the ballute holding up in hypersonic conditions.

  • some notes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Thud457 (234763) on Friday December 06, 2013 @11:26AM (#45618759) Homepage Journal
    1. No mention of where they're sourcing their imipolex G from. Ex-NAZI rocket scientists are hard to come by these days.

    2. China & India, you really need to step up your game.
    It's not quite as big a boost to national prestige when hobbyist makers are getting their stuff launched. If SpaceX starts providing unused space for hobby payloads to fly standby, every school science project could get launched.
  • by John Bucsek (3455947) on Friday December 06, 2013 @02:50PM (#45620731)
    I recently attended a lecture about homebrewing a spacesuit. A professor from Portland State has always been fascinated by spaceflight and high altitude balloon flight and has designed a spacesuit. His group is called Pacific Spaceflight (pacificspaceflight.com). During his talk, he discussed what goes into designing a spacesuit and demonstrated the prototype suit they designed by pressurizing the suit (and the person wearing it) to 1-2psi above the ambient atmospheric pressure. From what they learned building the prototype they will build the flight version. Their suit is at about the tech level of a spacesuit from the Mercury program. One of his main talking points was that if everyone concentrates on one aspect of spaceflight, then it can be done affordably. Copenhagen suborbitals is working on the launch vehicle and capsule, he's working on the spacesuit. Others have other pieces of the puzzle. The Pacific spaceflight suit is the suit that will be used for a suborbital flight on the Copenhagen suborbitals vehicle hopefully some time in 2015
  • Ancient engineering (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {retawriaf}> on Friday December 06, 2013 @02:53PM (#45620753) Homepage

    One of the main concerns was the small size and the ability to easy install and replace avionics. This led to the decision that all external side panels will have to accommodate being taken on and off - no welding, only on the main structure.

    This is a technique known to aerospace engineers for fifty odd years.

    The timing of it's original discovery and implementation had a unexpected impact on space history though... NASA first encountered the same problems with Mercury - not so much because it's size, but because all the systems were packed inside one on top of each other with no provision for access. This caused many problems during assembly and launch preps as often connections had to be broken and unrelated equipment removed to get at a part that needed replacement, repair, or adjustment. So, when NASA and McDonnell (they hadn't yet merged with Douglas) were evolving the design into the Mercury MKII and eventually Gemini, they re-arranged things. They shrunk the pressure vessel a bit, enlarged the structural shell a bit, and packed as many systems as possible into the space between and behind access doors.

    But Apollo's design was already largely frozen - it retained the Mercury type design of having almost everything packed into the pressure vessel. (Yes, the design sequence goes Mercury-Apollo-Gemini, out of order from the flight order.) The result was that it was extremely difficult to work inside the Apollo capsule, to track work accomplished, and easy to damage adjacent systems and equipment - damage that was later believed to have been the source of ignition for Apollo 1.

  • by Kristian vonBengtson (3027633) on Friday December 06, 2013 @04:42PM (#45621669)
    Hey Anonymous Coward... We will eventually launch somebody in space on a suborbital ride. Everybody is interested in the story to be told, AFTER the success mostly because nobody is able to follow the process as it happens.. But here you can.. Why is that a problem? Even NASA was "little kids player NASA" when they started out... Yes, we are funded by people (mostly on the web) who find this interesting. If nobody found this interesting it would not work out - apparently it does... Thanks for the comment - love naysayers. They are the true indicator of new stuff to emerge successfully in the future.... K vonB

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