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Thomas-Peters's avatar

Leaving Earth

Argosy 1 and 2 are accelerated into a Marsbound transfer orbit by their NERVA nuclear boosters. This burn adds 3.8 meters per second to the Earth's orbital speed around the sun, breaking the ships out of Earth orbit and injecting them on a long elleptical solar orbit. Most of the boost phase takes place in orbital night. Dawn comes as the combined ships rise in their outbound trajectory. They will be in continuous daylight from now until they enter orbit around Mars.

Rendered and modeled in Lightwave 10 and Photoshop CS 3

Thanks for taking a look!
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© 2011 - 2021 Thomas-Peters
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ariya-sacca's avatar
Beautiful and inspiring!
This was EXACTLY the design and plan that NASA was SERIOUSLY considering in 1968-69.
This is an amazing image. I am reminded of a scene from the motion picture "Silent Running", though I think the two (or was it three) American Airlines space freighters were passing in front of Saturn. Great Work.
hgfggg's avatar
I keep expecting everything to aerobrake... too much KSP I guess.
Scifiwarships's avatar
Man.. This is quite something. The litle bit of story completes the picture, and it leaves me wondering about their mission, what year it is, what awaits them on Mars.
I am stunned at what this artwork does to my imagination. Thank you for sharing.
transistor's avatar
karanua's avatar
Boost to midpoint and flip for acceleration to orbital insertion? Sorry I'm trying to remember the limitations of the NERVA engine. Sweet pictures as always my friend I like the way you have captured the nuclear torches of the exhausts wonderfully.
Thomas-Peters's avatar
No, the NERVA delivered about 250,000 pounds of thrust, but could "burn" for an hour or so. In this case the 2 boosters put the mission spacecraft on a coasting Hohmann Transfer orbit that will intersect with Mars, at which point the mission spacecraft use their NERVA to decelerate into Mars orbit. I don't think we have a practical design even now for a drive that could do the continuous thrust and midpoint turnover trick....(well, maybe an ion drive, but acceleration would be REALLY slow)
Helge129's avatar
The NEXT (I think that was the name?) Ion Engine has recently completed a 5-year long test burn.
karanua's avatar
There was the design tabled for a nuclear pumped ion engine using ceasium as a reactant on the table when I was doing my PhD that promised constant thrust (on paper I must add, I checked their figures but could never recreate their findings no matter what atomic weight reactant I used) the ion engine is totally useless for propulsion on anything but robots the sail being faster lol.
Nice pieces setting and lighting of the scene indeed. One of your best works in my opinion :love:
Thomas-Peters's avatar
Thanks! This one' been in my head longer than I'd care to say. Its good to get it into the open looking something like I imagined it looking.
I you turn the picture 90° on the left, it looks like for me as if the ships were rocketing to the future, with a new dawn for Mankind besides.
Also great technical comment ;)
RobCaswell's avatar
And I can't say that enough.
A Drell-7 classic - EASILY! Wonderful work, my sometimes-partner-in-crime!!! :D
Darkchi2's avatar
this is good stuff.
jsuchuaato25's avatar
Nice work. Absolutely lovely modelling and rendering. :) Is it worth getting LightWave 10 if you're using 9.6, by the way?
Thomas-Peters's avatar
I upgraded from 8.5 to 10, and that was certainly worth it. I'm not sure what the improvements were between 9.6 and 10.
jsuchuaato25's avatar
Well, 9.6 is buggy and crashes often, unfortunately, which is why I was considering the upgrade.
Thomas-Peters's avatar
Oh! Well, that's one thing that HAS improved! I think 10 has crashed ONCE since I got it. MUCH more stable!
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