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From the book by Mack Reynolds, published by Tor Books 1983.

This was originally done as a college assignment, in which I had free reign on the subject matter (which was rare). Many of these style assignments (like Forge Of God) ended up being bought by Publishers as "stock art" and used whenever the art fit a story.

So, in this case, I never read the book, but it did have the "romance of space exploration" that Mack Reynolds' books often depicted.

Gouache on Illustration board 13" x 20"
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This is the first of many older traditional works I'll be posting here, digitized with my new transparency scanner.

These works were locked in my transparency file, some as long as 27 years.

This art was the 1990 cover for Harry Harrison's anthology "There Won't Be War", a peaceful answer to Jerry Pournelle's Anthology, "There Will Be War" (I illustrated that one as well). It was published by Tor Books

The space station was inspired by the art of Alex Schomburg.

Oil on masonite approx. 20" x 30"
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This was one of the few non-commissioned paintings I did in the 90's.

This decpicts what life might be like on Saturn. Jellyfish-like creatures riding the intense wind at 200 mph.

Oil on masonite approx. size 20" x 28"
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Safely on the ground, the surface crew of Argosy 1 tests their Mars legs, and takes a moment to take in the view at their home for the next eight months.
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"Martian Argosy" is a melding of current and classic ideas of how to get the first Mars Expeditions done. It incorporates a version of the inflatable TransHab that has been test flown in the last year for the main crew module of a nuclear thermal spacecraft, and a pretty standard ballistic lander. This is a bit of an "old school" or brute force approach, but its appealing from the point of view of robustness of the vehicles, and maneuverability. Mounting a fleet of three craft cruising together allows the ability to rescue the crew of one of the vehicles in an emergency in transit. Besides, it just looks cool!

Rendered in Lightwave, with the Mars terrain generated from Mars Orbiting Laser Altimetry data converted to grayscale by a LightWave plugin, then used as a displacement Map. I then painted the color map, using Mars maps and photography as reference.
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A new piece in my "How the Solar System was Won" series.

The Courageous is outbound from the Earth-Moon system, on an exploration mission to the asteroid belt. Its low thrust, high efficiency ion engines produce only a few hundredths of a G of acceleration, but it can thrust continuously for weeks, unlike rocket engines. A nuclear reactor supplies the electricity for the ion drive, to allow operations far beyond the Earth's orbit, where solar cells can't provide enough power. The reactor counterbalances the Habitat module on the far end of the boom. The whole ship spins around the engine/hub module, to produce half a gee of centrifugal force to the habitat.

The design is based on a NASA study, but the details are mine.
Rendered and modeled in Lightwave, with post work in Photoshop CS3.
Thanks for taking a look!
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This is a concept of a ship designed to traverse the solar system, delivering and retrieving personnel and materials from the various colonies within our cluster of worlds.

It is based on the old Project Orion Nuclear rocket (I believe) that uses a nuclear pulse engine to get man to another star system. Of course the idea cannot really work because of the extreme range of distance to another system, and the fear of time and getting there – after all, we can find planets, the ability to live on them is something else.

So I redesigned the ship as an in system transport. Its powered by a combination of nuclear energy with a massive grid of high powered Ion drives to cruise it through the system. The bell at the back protects the ship from its own radiation. Lead lined materials are used to protect the ship as best as possible from cosmic radiation.

The ship is made up of four sections – the engine unit with jettison capable/swap out fuel tanks, the large transport grid, the sealed transport bays, and the crew section.

The large transport grid is for massive transports and non-re-entry capable modules – think large lunar modules or cargo pods.

The sealed transport bays are for launching atmospheric craft. The bays protect them from cosmic forces so that their structural integrity is not compromised. The bays can take a variety of shuttles.

The crew section is here where passengers relax, stretch themselves and so forth.

This pic took me two plus years to do – mainly because I had no idea how to finish it.

The backdrop was inspired by :iconarcas-art: with a pic of a ship in orbit around Saturn.

[link]

Let me know what you think – comments most welcome.

Enjoy!
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This is my interpretation of a new battle cruiser commissioned by ComStar prior to the Word of Blakes’ assault and conquest of Terra, forcing the most powerful Inner Sphere faction out of their home system: Sol.

It is called the CSV Oberon and it’s designed to hunt down and destroy warships; fitted with the latest and some innovative tech to achieve its goals, it had to flee the system or it would fall either into Robe hands or be destroyed.

It’s the story of its crew and this unique war machine as they travel across the Inner Sphere to regroup with ComStar forces on Tukayyid and protect this advanced warship at all costs.

Think Andromeda + New BSG + B5 + Farscape + Star Trek but in the BT universe.

The Oberon may be named after a fairy king in Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but only a fool would treat this mighty ship with no respect.

I would go into detail about its abilities and functions but that would not be fair on the designer of this magnificent machine as well as the scribe behind the entire concept – :icondsherratt74:

I based the ship off his inspirations for the design – namely the Re-Imagined Battlestar Galactica and the Omega Class Destroyer from Babylon 5.

To see the beastie and its capabilities here are a few links

[link]

[link]

[link]

Surrounding this monster are another couple of his creations – Firestorm and Tiger Shark class fighters.

[link]

[link]

I wonder where the idea of the Firestorm came from eh? ;)

Seriously he is a talented soul so please pop over and check out his stuff!

As for this, I did this to experiment with hull textures and layouts. Also its a good idea, hence why I did it.

Enjoy!

NB - As a result :icondsherratt74: has made a 3D model of her - but retitled her Titania; [link]

Please check her out as well as this magnificent man's fantastic gallery :D
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After their so called rest, Lt Cooper “Jack of Spades” Hawkes and Lt Nathan “King of Hearts” West board their SA-43 Hammerhead fighters. Launched from their base ship the USS Saratoga, the pair – the remainder of the “Wildcards” Squadron join forces with the rest of the fleet.

 

Since 2063, Mankind has been engaged in a war with an extra-terrestrial threat christened “the Chigs” – a term based on the Chigoe Flea. It started with the attack on Vespa and Tellus colonies, on which survivors were taken as hostages; then the race carried on into warfare against humanity; initially mankind lost, but now after numerous clever tactics, brute force, and covert operations, man is here to take vengeance.

As the pair joins formation, they reflect on what had happened twenty-four hours ago; a Chig ambassador had arrived, with promise to release the hostages, among them Nathan’s girlfriend in exchange for peace; from what he had heard, the plan went awry; the Chig ambassador had accused the CEO Allen Wayne of Aerotech, Earth’s main starship and arms manufacture, of violating a sacred world of their with probes. There was an argument, then an explosion which saw the ambassador, Wayne and top human ranking officers being killed; his commander T.C. McQueen was there as part of the liaison group and lost his leg in the process.

 

On top of that, the Wildcards has warned the Chigs (not with malice) that mankind was on its way – something that did not go down well with the entire human fleet. They were suspended but then the hostage situation became critical, and in defiance, the commander of the Saratoga, one Commodore Ross ordered them to the rescue; a mission that turned into another disaster; the other members of their squadron did not make it; Lt. Vanessa “Ace of Hearts” Damphousse and Capt. Shane “Ace of Diamonds” Vansen were last seen heading planetside in the flightdeck module of one of the downed transports after a Chig fighter took out their ship; Lt Paul “Joker” Wang helped rescue the hostages at the cost of his life. In a way, their losses sort of compensated for their actions.

 

Now came the day for payback.

 

The human ships steered themselves into planetary bombardment positions as hundreds of Hammerheads and transports swarmed towards the Chig homeworld. However as the order was given to fire, sensor officers detect mass jump signatures.

 

Out of nowhere, hundreds of Chig warships arrive, some of which appear to be new models. From them, hundreds of fighters are released, and not the standard chunky Chig units, but the sleek and fierce variants Chiggy Von Richthofen machine.

 

Mankind had been set up.

 

A fierce battle is engaged; despite human courage and determination, the Chigs had lured them into a successful ambush combined with fighting on home soil. Hammerhead pulse cannons have no effect on the new Chig fighters, only their missiles. The Chigs have no limitations and down numerous human fightercrsaft. From the planet, missiles zoom up to hit human warships. They smash into the hulls of the carriers. Then the Chig warships engage.

 

It is carnage.

 

Humanity hit these vessels hard with their pulse laser cannons, particle weapons, and missiles but the Chig ships are made of tougher armour and can take the punishment more; this combined with numeral superiority, gives the Chigs a great advantage.

 

To the pair’s horror, the Chigs make a direct target for the Saratoga. Despite fighting with ultimate ferocity, the firepower from the enemy is overwhelming.


Aboard, the bridge splinters under the barrage; despite his gruffness, Ross knows he is lost; he barks and demands a fight on, but his crew are killed. He realised he is doomed and screams in defiance as hundreds of red plasma weapons zero in.

 

Seconds later, the Saratoga explodes. This is followed by numerous other carriers shattering into splintering pyrotechnics over the alien world. The pair and humanity fight on, but casualties are mounting at a frightening pace…

 

-----

 

This is my depiction of the fight over the Chig homeworld from the finale of the TV series Space: Above and Beyond.

 

To those not familiar with it, it was a series made in the 1990s, and is about humanity fighting an alien threat; think new Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, Aliens (minus the critters), Stargate Universe, Starship Troopers, and Babylon Five, but was its own beast. It had heavy traits of Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War though.

 

This is just a swift synopsis – please check out the show to make your judgement.

 

The show was planned to have five series but due to failings in the rating, poor time slots, bad production values, and other elements, the thing was reduced to one, with the possibility (but never achieved) of a second instalment.

 

I never liked the series – I just could not care about the characters, the situation, and that it was very predictable. Plus it featured a lot of assholes that made me root for the Chigs!!

 

However, I feel the show had potential – it just was not well delivered; the revelation of Aerotech, the fact that they supplied all the weapons used by the USMC (the rest of humanity is not shown except for the sole Brit who was believed to be a traitor (Cheers!)) for this war appears convenient, and the ending was close to Blake’s Seven heroe’s demise (although I OBJECT that the women pilots survive only to end up as hookers!). I think it deserves a second series – but it should be braver.

 

The above battle was planned for the “second series” as humanity’s initial victories were overturned, which in the end results in a truce, again very similar to The Forever War.

 

Like to hear your thoughts peeps!

 

Enjoy! :D

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The Artwork:

Concept Mars Settlement nuclear pulse propulsion spacecraft designed for my Orion's Arm future history setting.

In the image: two Orion nuclear pulse propulsion spacecraft, foreground vehicle in final phase of assembly and partially lowered into its construction shaft, the more distant vehicle is an example of the completed spacecraft.

Orion’s Arm is Hard SF – so my designs are grounded in the science and physics of real-world spacecraft, existing or proposed. When I work out designs for spacecraft in my future history, as an artist I ask what are the spacecraft intended to do? and what real engineering solutions exist which might accomplish the intention? When you are talking about sending hundreds of tons, or even thousands of tons of payload per vehicle flight, to Mars, then there is only one real solution, nuclear pulse propulsion, also known as Project Orion – because atomic bombs contain thousands of times more energy, indeed millions of times more energy, than any of the chemical fuels used in existing rockets. So, the spacecraft are based on the designs of Project Orion, the advanced propulsion study initiated at General Atomics in 1958 under auspices of the U.S. Air Force Special Weapons Center, and Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.

Orion reacts small directional nuclear explosives against a large steel pusher plate attached to the spacecraft with shock absorbers. Efficient directional explosives maximize the momentum transfer, leading to specific impulses in the range of 6,000 seconds, or about thirteen times that of the Space Shuttle Main Engine. With refinements a theoretical maximum of 100,000 seconds (1 MN•s/kg) might be possible. Thrusts were in the millions of tons, allowing spacecraft larger than 8 × 10⁶ tons to be built with 1958 materials.

More information on Nuclear Pulse Propulsion is to be found here: Orion: Nuclear Pulse Propulsion.

Image Foreground: The Mars Entry and Descent Aero Shell of a Settler Transport sits exposed, prior to the Launch Vehicle’s nose-cone being mounted. The actual Mars landing vehicle is nested inside the Entry vehicle's aero shell.

In the middle distance: a fully assembled, ready to launch, Orion launch vehicle towers over the construction/launch site. The vehicle is the size of a sixty story office building (600’ tall by 328’ diameter) and masses 50,000 tons. [Note: before the more distant vehicle launches the foreground vehicle will be lowered into its protective construction shaft.]

The challenge of Martian settlement is to soft land one million tons of freight and 1000 colonists on the surface of Mars. A payload containing the necessary equipment and stocks of seed and frozen animal ovum required to maintain yearly harvest along with the tools required to construct the infrastructure of an industrial colony – arriving ten thousand tons at a time in individual landing craft launched via 110, single stage, earth surface-launched nuclear fission initiated pulsed plasma rockets.

The settlement project requires 110 such vehicles.

100 of these carry unmanned landing craft ferrying one million tons of freight – ten thousand tons per vehicle – to the landing target located on the planes of Syria Planum. The cargo carriers will make fuel conservative Hohmann transits to Mars – launched individually, as completed, over the span of nearly a decade.

The spacecraft in this image carry the human settlers, the human transports go last – these are launched when all vehicle assembly is completed, launched one at a time, all being launched over a span of weeks. The settler’s transports make a 39 day fast transfer trajectory to Mars at 125,490 fps (85,562 mph/137,700 kph).

Vehicles are assembled in thousand foot deep vertical dry-dock shafts, their base-plates resting on a circular barge mounted to a rail system within the shaft – the vehicles are raised or lowered by the expedient of flooding the shaft – bringing the level under construction to the surface. Components are readied in the surrounding Component Assembly buildings (which are temporary structures to be broken down and removed to a safe distance prior to launch). The larger elements are assembled in the open spaces between these structures.

The launch vehicles are assembled using the same techniques as modern day ocean going vessels: large modular segments are assembled then moved into place and positioned by large mobile derrick cranes. Work crews complete the final task of securing the connections.

Here ground crews complete final consumables loading prior to the cargo lock being sealed. The gantry platform will be pulled back for the next step – which involves positioning and securing the launch vehicle’s nose cone. Once this is completed the gantry will be positioned for one last time to permit the settlers and flight crew to board the vehicle before it is elevated into the launch position. The vista you see here represents the final view of Earth the settlers will see as they board the vehicle (sans the foreground assembly buildings and truck park – these being removed from the launch area prior to the boarding phase).

The Backstory:

Image is part of a future historical setting, more detail is found on my profile page under the heading Orion’s Arm Future History, A Synopsis. A Timeline Graph is to be found here: Timeline.

The Mars settlement project began with a few visionary men, among whom a sense of endeavor sparked a bold movement to carve out a foothold for man on another world.

The intent: to establish a permanent human habitation.

For the settlers the journey is one-way – an all-in-one move to the red planet. There is no provision for continued support from Earth, nor any tie to any national government on Earth. The settlers are leaving Earth behind, severing all connections. The endeavor is entirely private.



Mars Settlement Project Complete Sequence Image Links:

Final Preparations:

Right Before

Launch:

Orion Nuclear Ground Launch

Terminus of an Arc

Entry, Descent, Landing:

Propulsion Module/Entry Vehicle Separation

Piercing the Veil

Flight Control

A Sound of Thunder

Cue The Pyrotechnics

Riding The Fire

Over Noctis Labyrinthus

Terminal Descent

Post Landing:

Martian Dusk
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Seen against the surface of the Martian moon Phobos, a spacecraft is skewered by a "Casaba-Howitzer”charge while at the periphery of the scene commercial spacecraft, the spherical Orion nuclear pulse vehicles, can be seen maneuvering to clear the area of combat.
 
The image is a visualization created for my future historical setting, a blend of 3D modeling and digital painting, updated and re-worked over time. I’ve played with the composition in an intentional way to induce a kind of visual vertigo intended to convey a sense of free-fall.

For more information on my future history see my journal entry Orion’s Arm Future History, A Synopsis. A Timeline Graph is to be found here: Timeline

The Casaba-Howitzer is a nuclear shaped-charge munition designed to direct about 85% of the weapons energy into a narrow star-hot jet of plasma. The concept is derived from the shaped-charge nuclear pulse unit design for Orion nuclear pulse propulsion. Casaba-Howitzer charges would be from sub-kiloton to several kilotons in yield, launched on pancake booster rockets and detonated at sufficient distance from the battleship to prevent damage (several hundred yards at least), whereupon they would explode and skewer the hapless target with a spear of nuclear flame.

Space Combat

Note: Under normal circumstances combat would occur at such distances that opposing spacecraft would be visible only as very tiny dots with a telescope – here the crews manning the spacecraft presume that they are on the same side, in safe harbor, following station-keeping orbits over the main port or mooring located on the Martian moon Phobos.

Space combat would largely employ missile borne kinetic kill systems (i.e. showers of slugs and umbrella like steel nets), bomb-pumped X-ray lasers, and multi-warhead devices which apply the combined effect of nuclear driven self-forging penetrators and a hot-plasma jet.

From Winchell Chung’s Atomic Rockets site, the report Fourth Generation Nuclear Weapons: Military effectiveness and collateral effects notes that harnessing the x-rays from a nuclear blast is not only good for making deadly jets of atomic fire, but can also be used to pump x-ray lasers. Not to mention accelerating projectiles to very high velocities by means of x-ray ablation, or by means of neutrons from the nuclear explosion (see report for cites on this).

The report points out that the x-rays and neutrons can be used to drive or self-forge several projectiles or fragments (a "nuclear gun" or "nuclear grenade"). X-rays and neutrons can also be used to heat a working fluid and form hot jets (the above-described "nuclear shaped charge").

Thirdly, the forwards and backwards flux of x-rays and neutrons from a single nuclear device can be used to drive a multi-warhead weapon, e.g., a single weapon that fires a self-forging penetrator followed a few microseconds later by a jet of hot plasma. Talk about a one-two punch! The penetrator cracks the armor, allowing the hot jet to enter the target's interior and vaporize the soft chewy center.

About the warship in this image:

The forward module is the heavily armored crewed portion of the vehicle, CIC (Combat Information Center) and control deck, along with crew berthing and workspaces are embedded deep in the center of the craft surrounded by water tanks. Phalanx style CIWS and missile launchers are mounted on the outer hull.

A long structural spine connects the crew module with the propulsion module – the length of this span provides a radiation-buffering separation between the crewed portion of the vehicle and the Orion nuclear pulse propulsion system. The spine contains oxygen and hydrogen tanks used in the life system and for chemically fueled maneuvering reaction-jets. The spine is octagonal in cross-section, on four of its sides flat-panel, one-sided, radiators are mounted – while the nuclear pulse propulsion system requires no radiator panels, the electrical systems and power generation systems do. The remaining four sides hold mountings for nuclear pulse unit magazine’s – these are absent on the warships in this image as the spacecraft are “parked” in station-keeping orbits at Phobos for servicing. (The long sections of nuclear pulse magazine stages are absent on the spherical commercial spacecraft (along with their cargo modules) for this same reason.) Chemical rockets are mounted along the sides of the propulsion module in this design. The propulsion module contains space for about 900 nuclear pulse units, so the spacecraft can still maneuver in this configuration. Note: spacecraft approaching space stations or docking births on a small asteroid base (or moon, as depicted here) would depend entirely on chemical thrusters.  

My designs are grounded in a Hard SF philosophy – so spacecraft (most especially combat spacecraft) do not have windows; for a good explanation of why this is so see Winchell Chung's Common Misconceptions page for this entry Rockets Don't Got Windows.

In the scheme of my future history Battle over Phobos is akin to the opening shots of the American Revolutionary War, some ships being manned by an occupation force from Earth, others being manned by Martian natives, men fully inducted and presumably loyal to the Alliance Earth government. This is the rational for the combatants being in close proximity, in Mars orbit – the war to take back Mars begins in this setting where Martian patriots open fire unexpectedly on Alliance Occupation Fleet spacecraft.

Back-story Notes: The art of Insurgency and the origins of Alliance strategy and tactics

Alliance Earth, a dystopian global fascist/collectivist State, has seized and occupied the Martian settlement established by independent settlers over 500 years in the historical past of the story setting – a theft of 500 years labor the Martian settlers put in establishing a terrestrial biosphere on Mars. The occupation lasts five years.

Faced with pervasive surveillance under a military police state (in which abduction, torture, and summary execution-on-suspicion is the norm) the Martians establish a blind two prong insurgency.

A two-prong insurgency describes two independent insurgent operations.

A blind two prong insurgency describes two independent insurgent operations with no connection or communication between them.

One prong quietly infiltrates the occupation, insinuating itself into Alliance military forces and command structure, while the second prong deliberately draws, holds, and dominates the attention of the Alliance police state.

Martian insurgency rested on the confidence that the tactics which had served the Alliance well on Earth would be blindly followed by its commanders on Mars.

Arising amid the prevailing anarchy of post-Pandemonium Earth, the Alliance swept the globe in a mere 75 years. Earth, at the time, was a world of tribal territories under often shifting and uncertain criminal gang rule (versus the organized states of the Industrial Era) the near complete banishment of high-technology (including broadcast communications) resulting from the hysteria of anti-corporate purges during the initial outbreak of the Pandemonium) played no small role in establishing the conditions for this relatively swift rise to dominance.

Agrarian based feudal systems and tribal gangs (the state to which society had devolved) presented little opposition to the Alliance, an organized State with no technological prohibition, and a growing industrial base, and superior military tactics.

The Alliance strategy of inducting the soldiers of a conquered army into their own military forces became an effective way to minimize resistance. The tactic offered a simple choice: join and be rewarded with privilege, rank, and pay, or be put to death. On Earth this worked well because the sustenance-level existence most populations were accustomed to could not compete with the industrial might of the growing Alliance State. Loyalty was reinforced by a brutal, but simple, carrot-and-stick approach. Reward versus threat, the reward being status, pay, and privilege lavished on their inductees, weighted against a brutally demonstrated threat: that any traitor would sacrifice, right down to the smallest wailing infant, his family, his friends, along with the family and friends of every single man he had ever associated with, subjecting all to the most vile and degrading deaths possible – but the Martians were not the peoples of Earth, and this single miscalculation, more than any other factor, led to the failure of the Occupation and set the stage for the eventual demise of the Alliance itself. 

In order to monopolize attentions of the Alliance police state, the visible insurgency engaged in a reckless series of strikes targeting the most hardened assets: command centers and residential compounds of the Alliance bureaucracy, along with the Security infrastructure of the State itself. They engaged the enemy knowing they would die individually and by the hundreds, that there could be no assistance and no safe haven, sustained only by the conviction that the fight was necessary, the cause worthy and just, the visible prong of resistance continued this action over years while the invisible prong, solid Martians all, quietly secured positions of necessary authority, consolidating sufficient force to overwhelm their targets in one bold stroke.

Hat-tip to Winchell Chung for his superb and indispensable Atomic Rockets website.
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On arrival in parking orbit about Callisto the ten thousand ton Crew Vehicle un-docks from its Orion interplanetary stage (which remains in orbit) and lands on its eight Gas-Core Nuclear Light-Bulb main engines.

Here crews take ice-core samples and set up test well-heads prior to establishing a full scale ammonia production on the surface of Callisto.

Image is part of a future historical setting, see my journal entry Orion’s Arm Future History, A Synopsis.

On my Orion's Arm timeline the image would fall during the Outer Solar System Frontier Era.

A Timeline Graph is to be found here: Timeline.

During the year long crossing from Mars the Crew Vehicle houses the fifty man mission crew; the habitat portion of the spacecraft is comprised of zero-g and a rotating drum centrifuge arrangement for artificial gravity – located along the central spine, and shielded by the vehicles hull and hydrogen and water tanks, it protects the crew during deep penetration of Jupiter's lethal radiation belt. The food preparation area and cafeteria, mission briefing rooms and gym are all located in the rotating segment; crew sleeping quarters and other work spaces are in a non-rotational zero-g ring.

The habitat section of the vehicle is contained deep within the uppermost portion of the cylindrical main-body of the spacecraft. Below it are gear and tool storage decks, logistical supply, life-support and cryogenic systems, along with all the pumps and reactor control systems for the main engines. The lowermost deck is the EVA prep area. The command and control module, protected by a separate integral water-shield, with its retractable radar and communications masts, tops the 250' vehicle.

Callisto is the third-largest moon in the Solar System and the second largest in the Jovian system, after Ganymede. Callisto has about 99% the diameter of the planet Mercury but only about a third of its mass. It is the fourth Galilean moon of Jupiter by distance, with an orbital radius of about 1,168,177.8 miles --due to this relatively distant orbit Callisto is not subjected to tidal resonance and heating and orbits outside Jupiter’s intense radiation belt. Because of this isolation, Callisto has remained relatively undifferentiated since its formation in the low-density Jovian subnebula -- this may make it an ideal source of ammonia ice for the Martian terraforming program.

Journal Entries:

For contextual information on the purpose of the Callisto Resource Recovery missions see my essay on Terraforming Mars.

An essay on Nuclear Pulse Propulsion is available here: Orion: Nuclear Pulse Propulsion.

A note of thanks is extended to Rob-Caswell who reciently featured this work in his journal entry It's 2014 Ready or Not.

Callisto Mission Images:

Callisto Mission Crew Vehicle Launch

Outward Bound

Falling Toward Periapsis

Discarding Stages

Callisto-Mission Spacecraft Flight Control Station

Callisto Mission Spacecraft Command Deck Overhead

Callisto Mission Spacecraft Crew Quarters

Prospecting Callisto

Mining The Ice

Periapsis: Racing the Clouds of Jove

Climb
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This was an attempt to design a fairly believable spaceship.

This craft makes use of antimatter/fusion hybrid propulsion, and the crew compartment is heavily shielded and includes a spinning section to allow for simulated gravity during prolonged flight.

If we could afford to build one... why not amortize the cost and build two :)?

This is one of several views in this "series"...
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This was an attempt to design a fairly believable spaceship.

This craft makes use of antimatter/fusion hybrid propulsion, and the crew compartment is heavily shielded and includes a spinning section to allow for simulated gravity during prolonged flight.

The large shield at the rear serves as both a radiation shield and a heat radiator - since this type of propulsion would produce quite a bit of both :)

This is one of several views in this "series"...
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A pair of interstellar survey craft approach an exo-planet. Will it support life?

This is a mix of 2D and 3D elements.

The nebula in the background is partly painted, and partly a modified version of this NASA photo of the Cat's Paw nebula [link]

Edit: made minor adjustment to the background
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This is why you don't want to live anywhere near a black hole, or any other kind of old, dense star.

You'd have more and more time to do what you like the closer you get to the event horizon and you would have something beautiful to look at, but your planet wouldn't last much longer, unfortunately.
    

COMPOSITION: Entirely composed and painted in PS (except for the asteroids which I created in Lightwave using particles and hypervoxels) over the course of roughly one and half days.

ORIGINAL SIZE: 22x9 in. 143 layers.
    

Comments and critique welcome as always and by all means, if you feel like it, do buy a print. ;)

Thank you to *TreeClimber for inspiring me. :cuddle:
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Step one: Point a finger at a remote star system in a random galaxy somewhere in our universe; or another... and start painting.

A personal layer record for me on this one. :o
    

COMPOSITION: Entirely painted in Photoshop.

ORIGINAL SIZE: ~12.5x20 in, 518 layers, 1.76 GB PSD.
    

Comments and critique welcome as always and by all means, if you feel like it, do buy a print. ;)

Thank you to *TreeClimber for helping me picking out little imperfections during WIP. It happens with that many layers! :cuddle:
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:bulletred::bulletred::bulletred: Thank you very, very much for the unexpected surprise of my first DD. :bulletred::bulletred::bulletred:

:bulletred::bulletred::bulletred: Thank you to *AFineWar for suggesting and ^alltheoriginalnames for featuring it!
:bulletred::bulletred::bulletred:
I usually make it a point to thank everyone individually, because I never take interest in my work - by anyone - for granted, but in this case it's just too much! Every single comment and :+fav: is truly appreciated though! It means a lot.

    

The beginning of colonization efforts somewhere at the outer rim of our known universe. The ship designs are based in part on real NASA concepts, just as the Helios colony vessel.

COMPOSITION: Textured environment (starfield) and digital painting (planets, nebulae), composed in Photoshop. My work. Scene and lighting setup in Lightwave with final composition of all elements in Photoshop (including all FX).

MESHED: Helios Colony Vessel & Ark Ship by Jason Tinsley, Heavy Shuttle & X33 Shuttle by Kenny Mitchell.

Original size: 4500x1600.

    

Comments and critique welcome.

Thank you very much to *TreeClimber for the valuable WIP input and suggestions! :cuddle:
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The Tsiolkovsky, the first manned interstellar spacecraft ever built, accelerates away from the Solar System with a crew of 100 frozen colonists. Using pulsed fusion propulsion, it powers it's way up to nearly 20% the speed of light. At such tremendous speeds, the diffuse gas and dust of the interstellar medium becomes a hail of deadly projectiles. To protect the the ship from the occasional collision with dust grains, a massive triple-layer impact shield absorbs the majority of impacts. By the time the Tsiolkovsky reaches it's target, the shield will be blasted and scarred with impact craters and radiation damage.

After it has achieved coasting velocity, the main engine is jettisoned. Once it is time to decelerate, a magnetic sail, a loop of superconducting wire many hundreds of kilometers wide is deployed, acting as a parachute by braking against it's destination's stellar wind. A smaller fusion-pulse engine then slows it into a capture orbit.
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Taken from a work-in-progress short story of mine.

An Earth-Saturn/Titan shuttle passing rather close to Enceladus, an icy outer moon of Saturn, in a kind of reverse-gravity boost to slow down somewhat before reaching it's intended target, Titan. A lander will dock with it from one of the surface settlements and ferry the crew of 6 and their cargo down to the surface. The craft took just under a year to make the journey, owing to it's powerful fusion drive and the optimal position of Saturn in it's orbit with respect to Earth. If you look carefully, you can just make out the very faint cherry-red glow on the massive radiator fins. This is a critical component that many an SF spacecraft seem to lack. Without them, the crew ad electronics would fry from the heat generated from the drive, the powerplant, the crew and their activities, and pretty much anything that occurs on the craft. So the heat is pulled away from the critical areas with coolant pipes and out to the radiators away from anything important, where it will slowly leak into space. Protecting the crew habitats on either end of the rotating arms are tanks that shield them from radiation. In addition, the entire habitat module is further shielded by a Whipple-style debris shield (multi-layered impact shield) to protect it from dust particles and micrometeors.

The background image of Enceladus is a real photo (actually a mosaic image) taken by the Cassini-Huygens probe in 2005.

The design of the craft itself is highly inspired by a NASA study of a manned mission to Jupiter or Saturn in the style of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The ship was called, of course, Discovery II. The paper is here: [link]

I'm sure NASA won't mind me stealing...er, I mean, "adapting" their idea a tad...
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February 15, 2036 - The Ares arrives at Mars, and prepares to dock with the orbiting lander vehicle that was placed in Martian orbit when the crew's surface habitat was landed on the planet several years before.

Design of the Ares based off of several NTR (Nuclear Thermal Rocket) designs from the incredible site [link]

That is a TransHab module stuck to the bow end, yes. As you can probably tell from many of my other renders, I'm quite fond of them.

The majority of the ground infrastructure that will sustain the crew during their 120-day stay on the Red Planet was sent up ahead of them. Their habitat module and ascent vehicle, as well as rovers and other vital structures, are already on the surface. A lander was also placed in orbit to dock with the Ares once it arrived in orbit, as shown here.
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Oil on canvas. 15"x30".

A painting that I did a few years ago. I realized that I forgot to include it in my D/A gallery.

Spontaneously painted organic forms, except for the jelly fish- that's from a photo. I also like to look at photos of organic imagery including people, then squint my eyes or look at them upside down. They form interesting organic shapes which I then render as 'morphs' of various kinds.
The painting is set in the British Isles. You may recognize the ruins in the distant background.

The morphology or 'luminorphs' as I now call them, like to seek shelter in old ruins but will come out at dusk to slowly creep along the countryside.
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Oil on canvas. 22"x28".

A spontaneous Spring painting.
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Oil on canvas. 22"x28".

A mostly spontaneous painting with emphasis on color. It's also meant to describe early Spring, especially in the north, when it appears that Spring is well underway but then there will always be one last gasp of Winter's breath that is left.
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The information in the very recent "BSG: The Plan" has resulted in a redesign of my previous work. This is the result of that data.
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Helios System and a selection of neighbouring star systems. The "Redline" is defined as a radius that serves as a warning; not to exceed "jump" distances beyond 50 light years.
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Helios System from "above", this time a little more "sciency". I'm not an astrophysicist, nor do i claim to be amazingly perfect about the mathematics and physics involved here, but for the record I studied very hard to make this system "work".
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This is my new painting experimentation in Painter X. I tried to mimic the oil on canvas traditional technique using rich Painter's toolset. The work was done on the ONE LAYER and took about 12 hours to complete. Also I didn't use airbrush or any usual digital tricks.

You see the 50% of the original size.

I hope you like it, guys. Personally I'm happy how it turned out. Full view is strongly suggested.
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Gulls, ships and sea with one difference: it's all in space. :)

Photoshop, 3ds Max, mouse (since I haven't had a tablet at that time).
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Another one for the project. Hope you like it. :)

As always, painted from scratch in Adobe Photoshop 7.0 with a help of Wacom tablet. ~40 hours spent including various manipulations with a design and composition.
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