|Illustrations commissioned by Grumman to depict advanced lunar module/taxi's|
For this month's installment of The Ohio Valley Spaceport I would like to launch a short series of articles on modeling space missions that never flew but, were on the drawing boards of NASA and the U.S. Air Force in the 1960's.
During the heyday of Project Apollo NASA had and its contractors produced many amazing concepts for American lunar bases, advanced spacecraft concepts based on Apollo hardware, and vehicles that could have been developed and utilized had funding and U.S. government policy turned out differently in the 1960's and 70's. Below is a chart from David Shayler's book 'Apollo: The Lost and Forgotten Missions'. This chart illustrates NASA post-Apollo plans from the assumption that funding and public interest remained at the same level as it was in 1965.
|Those were the days... manned lunar bases in the 1970's, missions to Mars in the 1980's, nuclear-powered NOVA rockets...|
|A lunar "hopper" concept by the Bell Company|
Many of these concepts are quite interesting to me and have served as a basis for "kit-bashing" scale models of them. Over the coming months I will showcase modeling projects in 1/72 scale that reflect some of these lofty yet plausible designs. For part one I will feature a model of a lunar shelter concept based on the descent stage of the Apollo lunar module called 'Shelab'. Shelab was developed in 1964 by the Hayes International Corporation under a contract from Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
|Shelab with lunar roving vehicle. Virtually a pressurized lab and rover supported by a lunar module descent stage.|
The Shelab module
I used as the foundation a 1/72 scale lunar module kit from Airfix. The pressurized lab was from the Revell 1/24 Vostok kit. Oxygen tanks were from 1/48 Gemini fuel cells. The rover was essentially a modified tow tractor from a 1/72 scale air base diorama.
|1/72 scale Shelab view from above. The rover ramp is movable!|
|Elevation 1 of the Shelab|
|Elevation 2 showing details of the rover ramp.|
|Elevation 3 of the Shelab.|
|Close up of the Shelab rover.|
Future installments in the series will include a 1/72 scale LESA LM Taxi, 1/72 Gemini Manned Orbiting Laboratory, and a 1/72 scale model of the Dyna Soar space shuttle.