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Nuclear shuttle lofting a payload to orbit over Callisto.

The Nuclear Shuttle model build has been a three month project, one of about 20 builds I have in the pipeline at the moment. I found the top-down view on the mechanical symmetry of the vehicle to be particularly interesting, and composed this image: the vehicle has climbed out over the production site and has tilted-over, boosting to match velocities with one of the payload-return interplanetary Carrier stages waiting on orbit.  

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.

The nuclear shuttle arrives at Callisto aboard a Logistics Carrier, and delivers several thousand tons of supplies to support the terraforming resource recovery mission. After logistics’ payload cargo modules are dismounted, the vehicle is configured to loft packages of mined chemical ices, greenhouse agents, which will be returned to Mars for use in the terraforming program.

The shuttle is an unmanned reusable vehicle – refueled from an in-situ hydrogen/oxygen cracking plant carried on the Drill Rig Landing Stage – flown remotely from the mission control center aboard the Callisto mission Crew Vehicle.

Resource recovery missions to the moons of Jupiter are three years in duration. Each mission requires a flotilla of Orion nuclear pulse vehicles; these are the manned Crew Vehicle and its interplanetary Carrier stage, the unmanned Drill Rig Carrier, and an unmanned Logistics Carrier. Each vehicle delivers a landing stage which fulfills a particular role in the ice mining operation. The interplanetary stages of the latter two Carrier vehicles act as payload return craft.

Jupiter, courtesy NASA/JPL.
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Journal Entries:

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

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
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SamuraiTaiga's avatar
Damn, that's a gorgeous pic