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Dr. R. C. Parkinson Space Tug

Note: This work not for sale.

Space Tug design by Dr. R. C. Parkinson for his 1975 space fleet.

On October 26, 2014 I posted a diagram image of the Lighter and Tanker spacecraft from The Resources of the Solar System by Dr. R. C. Parkinson, see: Lighter and Tanker.

After posting this work a former colleague of Dr. Parkinson, who came across my announcement of the piece on G+, provided Winchell Chung and myself with contact information for Dr. Parkinson.

Dr. Parkinson was delighted at our interest in his designs and kindly provided scans of the original concept sketches and notes for his entire 1975 space fleet. I acquired permission to use Dr. Parkinson’s original art for this and upcoming images of 3D models I’ve constructed based on his designs. This is the first time these sketches have been seen at this level of detail, and I will be pleased to bring you models of Dr. Parkinson’s entire 1975 space fleet in the upcoming months.

In the image above Dr. Parkinson’s original concept art is in the upper left quadrant. Center Top and Middle are two views of my 3D model based on Dr. Parkinson’s concept art. Along the Right side of the image I’ve included a set of detail shots of the manned capsule in profile, forward, and aft view.

Added Detail:

On the Tug’s propulsion bus I’ve added some additional struts to support the reaction-control jets and liquid oxygen tanks.

In his notes Dr. Parkinson indicates the manned capsule has its own secondary propulsion, so I’ve added a single gimbaled low-thrust engine and other details to permit it to operate independently. Added details are: a high-gain antenna for communications and a radar dish; forward-facing view ports for visual orientation during docking maneuvers; four forward-facing and four aft-facing cameras to aid in docking procedures.

Update 11/17/2014: In correspondence I sent Dr. Parkinson a link to this image and Dr. Parkinson shared the following background information on the design in his reply.

“As a matter of interest, the "Space Tug" & Lunar Lander were based on some earlier design work done in Europe when it looked as if a cryogenic Space Tug might be the European contribution to the Space Shuttle program (those were the days!).”

Note: I will be posting the Lunar Lander version of this design in the upcoming days.

Credit and acknowledgement: I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Dr. Parkinson for his generosity in providing his original concept art and design notes.

In addition I would like to extend a special note of thanks to Dr. James Garry for arranging introduction and providing contact information for Dr. Parkinson to Winchell Chung and myself.
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© 2014 - 2022 William-Black
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Nik-2213's avatar

Is this the renowned Dr P of BIS who did much structural / tankage design work for their Daedalus Final Report ??

( I was at London meeting where that was released, and his *may* be one of the authors' autographs I collected inside my copy. All now packed away... )

LordOmegaZ's avatar
btw, i'm currently hooked on !what if?" concept of Sergei Korolev develops a water launched rocket like the Sea Serpent (a space shuttle tall version of the Sea Dragon rocket), leading to Yuri being launched via a steel, dumb booster and not the R-7.

it's just a fun fiction idea =p
LordOmegaZ's avatar
what is this warm feeling i feel whenever i see proper strut use on a ship? <3
JTofSD's avatar
Interesting work.  
MASCH-ART's avatar
gute arbeit, very Nice
helot's avatar
Looks like what you would get if you strapped an engine to a Bigelow BA-330!  Great job, love real space projects!
cw3brett's avatar
Who would have thought you'd be talking with Dr. Parkinson himself? Top notch work as usual - can't wait to see more of the fleet, keep it up!
Beautiful visionary stuff man.
And... salute!
Joey1058's avatar
Awesome work!
Tomokatu's avatar
I'd love to see these designs implemented in Kerbal Space Program where they could be tested under a simulation of interplanetary gravity (although in a fantasy system). Earth parameters can be implemented as well as those of Kerbal. 

I've taken one of my designs into orbit (safe return) into circular orbit (and safe de-orbit and return) but not yet to The Mun.
kedamono-mizudori's avatar
Another great addition to the Realistic Spaceships' Fleet William!
William-Black's avatar
Thanks John!
NyrathWiz's avatar
Oh, man, that's gorgeous! William, you've outdone yourself!
William-Black's avatar
Thanks my friend.
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