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Thomas-Peters's avatar

Leonov: Boost Tank Seperation

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When Rob Caswell and I first started thinking about visually designing the Leonov from Arthur C. Clarke's 2010: Odyssey Two, the first thing both of us did was to scour the novel for any descriptive passages of the vessel. From that reading, two things were immediately obvious-1. Leonov had no centrifuge at all; it was a pure zero g design and 2. It was a speedboat, compared to 2001's Discovery, which was much more an ocean-liner of space. The good ship Leonov was built to get to Jupiter FAST, and therefore every once of weight had to be justified. Then, after she had been designed and largely built, 3 more crew members, with all their consumable supplies, were added. Clearly, to us, something had to go, and given the fact Leonov was all ready a pretty lean ship, it was probably going to be something important.
We decided, based on careful reading, that the only thing we could think of, was unmanned probes designed for Jupiter's various moons, and Jupiter himself. The rings of metal skeleton around the habitat module were the anchors for the probe attachments, and are now all that remains of those structures.
After continuos thrust from the Sacharov drive since departing orbit around the Earth, the 4 huge Liquid Hydrogen Tanks around Leonov's midsection are empty after boosting the ship to its cruise velocity. As they are no longer needed, and every once of nonfunctional weight will be a burden when the ship must skim Jupiter's atmosphere to slow down, the tanks are cut-loose, and the trim motors are fired, to spectacular effect, to distance Leonov from its tanks. They will eventually meet Jupiter's atmosphere, too, days after Leonov's arrival.
Modeled and rendered in Lightwave 8.5, with postwork in Photoshop. Thanks for having a look!
-Tom
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© 2009 - 2021 Thomas-Peters
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CaveGrue's avatar
Reading that description makes me want to see the Chinese spaceship since it was built to be even faster by only having fuel for the outbound journey.
PIG-0149's avatar
All that means is that they consumed their fuel at a greater rate in exchange for speed.  Undoubtedly, the Tisen would have had about the same quantity of fuel as the Leonov.
Keiichi-K1's avatar

But didn't discard their tanks, as they were intended to be refilled after reaching Europa

William-Black's avatar
This work impressed the hell out of me when I first saw it on Winchell Chung's Atomic Rocket's site -and it remains one of the most impressive hard SF treatments of a design I've ever seen. In every detail this is superb work.
RobCaswell's avatar
Love the unique perspective... kinda like the NASA fuselage cameras filming SRB seps.