In wake of transitioning from the Bush era's Constellation Program of 'Moon. Mars, and Beyond President Obama in 2009 initiated a commission to re-examine NASA progress in human spaceflight. The resulting findings from the Augustine Commission reported that Constellation was unattainable and recommending scrapping its plans to return to the moon. What came up in the wake of this commission was an even more highly criticized Asteroid Redirect Mission, sending a probe to a near-Earth asteroid, retrieving a small boulder, parking it in a LaGrange 2 position and sending a crewed Orion to retrieve samples from said boulder.
A.R.M. fell under severe scrutiny by many in the spaceflight community who viewed as a waste with little to no applications to human missions to Mars. Earlier this year (under yet again another presidential transition!) ARM was finally scrapped. Well into the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket development NASA is currently faced with a new mission/destination it. Sadly, funding is so tight that NASA may well be years before the first manned SLS leaves the launch pad. Coupled with chronic tight budgetary issues NASA has no funding for developing a lunar lander module for its Orion Crew Vehicle. At this point NASA is building a heavy lift rocket with limited mission opportunities.
One interesting concept that seems to be gaining interest is a small space station/platform to be sent to the L2 point.
|Proposed SLS/Gateway Concept (credit: Spaceref.com)|
|Art-concept of NASA's Proposed Deep Space Gateway (credit: Popular Mechanics)|
Modeling a Deep Space Gateway in 1/144 scale
I find this Deep Space Gateway concept intriguing. With the help of spare modules from the Revell's 1/144 scale ISS and space shuttle kits I set about kit-bashing a model based on artist concepts similar to the one pictured above. are photos of the completed project.
|-x view: Orion CEV with node, airlock module, crew module, and power module|
|-y view: most parts were gleaned from the 1/144 scale Revell ISS space shuttle kits|
|-z view of the Orion service module (from the Revell ISS kit)|
|A view of the high gain communications antenna|
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Fun with Paper Spacecraft Models
Delta 7 Studios offers cool PDF renderings of historic NASA spacecraft. You can order CD-Rom discs and with an ink jet printer with cardstock paper have at it with excellent paper renderings of historic spacecraft. Below are a few of my Delta 7 paper models!
|A scaled 1/32 Gemini with a Takara toys astronaut.|
|1/32 scale paper models of Gemini and Mercury. (Note the interior of the Gemini!)|
|A close up of a 1/32 scale Mercury|
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