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Space Hardware Technology

Visual Guide – the Making of a DIY Space Capsule 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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  • Really? "Wanna"? You may slur the words together like that when you speak, but please try to use the written language properly - especially if you are representing a legitimate magazine/internet site like Wired.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      "our mouth"?

      I think you meant "your mouth". When you're trying to be a language nazi, do try not to fuck it up so bad.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by oodaloop (1229816)
      It's called vernacular, and it makes it easier to read as it's more relatable. Sorta like using contractions and incomplete sentences. Like your first sentence. And your second one.
  • 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.

  • by shadowrat (1069614) on Friday December 06, 2013 @11:06AM (#45618585)
    I'd use my apple II computer to generate some kind of force field / inertial dampening bubble around my capsule. Then the capsule can be hastily cobbled together from household items.
  • I wonder if the 500 kg weight for the final model is inc. or ex. the payload and what the ratio is.
    Good luck and lets hope it's not "Per aspera ad astra".
    Long live the workers control over the means of production ; ).

    • Good luck and lets hope it's not "Per aspera ad astra".

      Better "Per aspera ad astra" than "Per defectum, in flammas"

      • There's a fantasy shop somewhere in the UK that is supposed to be named in latin. The owners thought 'too the stars' a good name, so they named it accordingly: "Ad astrae."

        Unfortunately they made a critical error: In attempting to pluralise astra, they didn't realise that astra is already a plural. The singular is astrum.

        So what they actually called the shop is 'To the starses.' Or possibly 'To the altar.'

  • some notes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Thud457 (234763)
    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.
    • 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.

      I'm trying to parse your meaning here... Are you seriously suggesting that because amateurs are now able to do what the professionals were doing sixty plus years ago... China and India (who are doing stuff far more advanced than the amateurs) are falling behind? That's like claiming Boeing and Airbus need to be worried because someone has bui

  • by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Friday December 06, 2013 @11:29AM (#45618797)

    "THAT is a spacecraft, sir. We do not refer to it as a 'capsule.' Spacecraft." - Alan Shepard in "The Right Stuff"

  • by Saethan (2725367)
    Personally, I use Kerbal Space Program to design my re-entry modules.
    • I got a kerbal stranded in orbit once, without any fuel left. Then I realised there is a simple way down: Jump. I used his MMU to provide the required delta-v to deorbit.

      It was an eventful flight down. He made a perfect descent, right up until the point of landing at three hundred meters per second.

  • I knew all about making my own space vehicle back in 1985 when the docu-drama "Explorers [imdb.com]" came out. An expert tale crafted by the 'Gremlins' director Joe Dante, and staring a young Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix. It explains how a dream of a circuit board can manifest into "ThunderRoad" and I can make smoochie faces at extra terrestrial life.

    Movie poster [imgur.com]

    • by Megane (129182)

      I learned about it back in 1979 that you can make one out of stuff you can find at a junkyard, like a a cement mixer drum. [wikipedia.org]

      And Andy Griffith > > > Ethan Hawke + River Phoenix.

  • The initial stages begin with sketches on paper before moving to 3D design software. He writes, "A whole bunch of sketches were done

    Now hold it right there.

    Kids these days don't know how to draw with pencil and paper.

  • 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) <fairwater&gmail,com> 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.
     
    /paulharvey

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