This fourth page of my Space Is The Place website continues from the third page with photos of some more of my space models and some of the history behind them. The space models continue on the fifth and sixth pages. For information on the visits to space centres around the world that I have made, please return to the home page and the second page..
This fourth page continues with photos of some my space models and some of the history behind them.
This is a model of a Mercury spacecraft that is flightworthy, but was never flown. After the day and a half mission of Gordon Cooper in Faith 7 in May 1963, some consideration was given to flying a three-day mission with the Mercury spacecraft adapted to hold the additional consumables required (e.g. water, oxygen, fuel, batteries, etc.). This was eventually decided against and the Mercury Program was officially closed. But in the meantime, a spacecraft was prepared for the mission, and the name its pilot had given it was painted on the side (as was the tradition in the Mercury days), "Freedom 7 II". The pilot was to be Alan Shepard, the first American in space, who made a 15 minute sub-orbital flight in Freedom 7 on May 5th, 1961, and in honour of his earlier spacecraft he named this one "Freedom 7 II". To hear Alan Shepard give a brief history of plans for this flight, click here.
In the summer of 1996 I saw this spacecraft in the visitor's centre museum at the Ames Research Center in the bay area of California (it has since been moved from there), which was my inspiration for making this model. The model is based on the Collectaire resin kit, modified with the containers for additional consumables on the rear, much interior detailing and a light in the cabin.
The world's first spacewalk took place on March 18th, 1965 during the flight of Voskhod 2 when Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov entered an inflatable airlock attached the side of the spacecraft and then minutes later exited into the empty void.
The Voskhod spacecraft was actually a modified Vostok with safety features such as the ejection seat removed to accommodate more than Vostok's one man. At the time the configuration of the Voskhod was not known in the West. It was assumed that, once again, the Soviet Union had left the United States in its dust in the "Space Race", as had Voskhod 1 five months earlier when for the first time three men orbited in one spacecraft.
In retrospect, Voskhod 2 can be seen as the last of the great Soviet manned space spectaculars. The American Gemini program, the first manned flight of which (Gemini III) was launched less than a week after Voskhod 2, would equal and eventually surpass most Soviet-held manned spaceflight records before its two years of manned flights ended in late 1966. At the time of Leonov's spacewalk the plans for an "extra-vehicular activity" (or "EVA") in the Gemini program were still many months away. In the wake of Leonov's feat the US expedited its plans for EVA in Gemini and Edward H. White performed the first American spacewalk on only the second Gemini flight, Gemini IV, in June 1965.
This model is based on the East German Plasticart 1/25 Vostok kit which was available in the 1970s and 1980s. The Alexei Leonov figure is based on a 1/25th figure of General George Patton, with extensive modifications.
The Titan II was a second generation American ICBM. The Atlas, the first American ICBM, burned a mixture of kerosene and liquid oxygen. Readying the Atlas for launch was difficult and required several hours advance notice. Handling the super cold liquid oxygen was especially problematic as it would quickly boil off and thus had to be loaded immediately before launch. This was obviously not optimal for a strategic weapon, and so very quickly on the heals of the development of the Atlas efforts began to develop an ICBM which could be prepared for launch more quickly. Thus by the late 1950s development of the Titan II, which used propellants which could be stored in the rocket for long periods of time at room temperature without difficulty, was well underway. The Titan II's propellants were "hypergolic", meaning they burned on contact requiring no ignition source.
As a strategic weapon system the Titan II was a considerable improvement on the Atlas, and was in use for many years subsequently. Titan IIs were stored in underground silos, hardened against nuclear attacks, at a number of locations around the US. The Titan II was larger with a greater lift capacity than the Atlas as well, and thus was used as the booster for the second generation American manned spacecraft, the two-man Gemini spacecraft, which flew in 10 manned missions in 1965 and 1966.Eventually the Titan IIs were replaced in the underground silos around America with ICBMs which required even less preparation time before launch, the solid fueled ICBMs like the Minuteman (click for photo of a Minuteman at Vanderberg AFB) and Peacemaker. However, as a launch vehicle, the Titan in its various configurations continued to serve for many years, not being retired finally until the new millenium.
There are two models of the Gemini-Titan II in the Shrine. The first, which I built in the late 1980s, is 1/100 scale and entirely scratchbuilt, although the Titan II is a cast made from a mold taken off the core stage of the long unavailable MPC 1/100 Titan III C kit. The second, built in 2012, is in the much larger 1/48 scale and is from the Eagle's Talon "garage" kit which was available in the 1990s. By their nature such kits require a lot of additional detailing work to produce a good looking final result. I am particularly pleased with the metallic finish on this model, featuring two differing tints of aluminum, dull and polished, using airbrushed Alclad lacquer paint. The markings on this Titan are for Gemini 3, the "Molly Brown" with Gus Grissom and John Young, the first manned Gemini mission on March 23rd, 1965. This 1/48 Gemini-Titan is hung from the ceiling in the Shrine. In its two first stage engines are mounted bulbs taken from LED "tea lights" which flicker and are surrounded by cotton batting smoke highlighted with glow in the dark orange paint - this to simulate smoke and flame under the darked UV flooded night lighting in the Shrine (see photo below).
The American two-man Gemini Program was conceived, after the moon landing had been established as a goal, to bridge the gap between the early one-man Mercury missions and the far more sophisticated Apollo missions yet to come. The major purpose of the Gemini missions was to practice techniques that would be required for flights to the moon, including rendezvous and docking of two spacecraft, extra vehicular activity ("EVA" or "spacewalking") and long duration manned spaceflight.
This model depicts the Gemini 11 spacecraft docked with an Agena target vehicle with Astronaut Richard F. Gordon straddling the Agena as he attaches a tether between the two spacecraft for an upcoming experiment, based on a well known photo taken during the mission on September 13th, 1966 (see below). By firing this Agena's engine while docked to it, Gemini 11 was boosted to a height of 850 miles above the Earth, a record for manned spaceflight that stood for several years (until Apollo 8 took the first men to orbit the moon in December 1968).
The Gemini model is based on Revell's 1/48 kit with extensive additional detailing. The Agena docking target is entirely scratchbuilt.
The Proton booster (also known as the UR-500) was developed by the Soviet Union in the mid-1960s and is roughly comparable in lifting power to the American's smaller Saturns. The Proton is considered to be a heavy-lift launch vehicle and is still in use today. It has been used to launch the modules of the Soviet/Russian space stations (i.e., the Salyuts and Mir) and more recently the Russian-built modules of the International Space Station (e.g. Zarya and Zvezda). The Proton was also the booster for the Soviet manned circumlunar mission, which was planned but never flown in the late 1960s/early 1970s (for more on this go to page five).
Unlike many other Soviet boosters developed in the '50s and '60s, like the R-7 derivatives (e.g., Sputnik, Vostok or Soyuz launchers) or the N-1 (Soviet manned Lunar landing booster), all of which were designed by Sergei Korolev's design bureau OKB-1 and all of which burned kerosene and liquid oxygen in their lower stages, the Proton was designed by Vladimir Chelomei's OKB-52 design bureau and burned fuels that could be stored at room temperature. Archival information that has become available since the fall of the Soviet Union indicates there was intense competition between these two bureaus for the job of developing the booster for the manned lunar landing mission.
While Korolev's bureau was considered preeminent, having been behind virtually all of the early Soviet victories in the Space Race, and eventually was awarded the prestigious assignment of developing the booster for the Soviet manned lunar landing, Chelomei's bureau had important connections. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's son Sergei was an engineer with OKB-52 and, perhaps in part for this reason, it was also given a prestigious task - development of the booster for the manned circumlunar mission. (Note: for more on the N-1 rocket go to page five and for models of the Soviet Lunar landing vehicles, the LOK and the LK, go to page six)
Unlike the Americans, which used the Apollo-Saturn V for both missions, the Soviets planned to use entirely separate spacecraft and boosters for their manned circumlunar vs. lunar landing programs. Historians now view this duplication of effort as an important factor in the Soviet effort lagging behind the American program to land a man on the moon in the 1960s.
This model is built from a resin kit from one of the small "garage" space model kit manufacturers, now defunct, Rho Models of the Netherlands. You will note in the photo that displayed beside the model is the same photo of myself standing next to a real Proton rocket on the pad in Baikonour that appears on the home page of this website.
The Saturn family of boosters were developed by Wernher von Braun's group at the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama in the late 1950s and 1960s. The Saturn concept was to "cluster" tanks, engines and other components from smaller rockets to provide heavy lift boost capability. The Saturn I was the first of the series, with the model here depicting the "Block 2" version of this booster. This was the first of the Saturn family to use high powered hydrogen/oxygen fuels in the second stage (the S-IV stage), which was a pattern carried forth in all subsequent Saturns (i.e. the Saturn IB and the Saturn V "moon rocket"). All Saturn Is were launched unmanned.
This model is based on the Airfix Saturn IB kit, with new fins on the first
stage and extensive modifications to depict the upper stage and the boilerplate
Skylab was America's first manned space station. The Skylab Program, initially called the "Apollo Applications Program", used hardware originally developed for the Apollo moon landing program to place a manned scientific station in Earth orbit for extended spaceflight. Skylab 1 was launched unmanned on May 14th, 1973 using a modified Saturn V, (click for photo of model of the Skykab Saturn V) the rocket originally developed to take men to the moon. Three 3-man teams were launched on the smaller Saturn IB rocket in an Apollo Command/Service Module (CSM) spacecraft over the coming months in 1973 and 1974 to dock with Skylab 1 and occupy the station for periods of up to 81 days.
The large cylindrical part of this model, the "Orbital Workshop", is based on the S-IVB third stage of the Revell Saturn V kit much as was the real Skylab Orbital Workshop. The CSM is also from the Revell kit. The remainder of the model, the "Apollo Telescope Mount", "Multiple Docking Adapter", solar panels, strut work and so on is all scratchbuilt.
Click here to continue on to the fifth or sixth pages with more of my models of spacecraft and launch vehicles and the history behind them. To return to the models on the third page, click here. To return to the descriptions of my trips to space centres around the world, return to the home page or the second page.
This page will change and evolve over time, so check back periodically. I welcome any questions or comments and can be contacted at:Ken R. Harman last revision date: December 2013