Thursday, June 29, 2006

на последнем лете!

At last it's summer! Time to kick back and relax a bit ... enjoy time at the beach, longer and warm evening stroll ... yeah right, no time to slack! We got some Soyuz' business to finish! :-) ... Maybe if I change my desktop's background from a Soyuz launch to a picture of British Columbia's summer sky, I'll get some tanning done? No? ... oh well :-)

While I have been coding away on the 2D panels lately, Castorp have been reworking some of the orbital module's (BO) details for the early Soyuz variants: OK, OKS and T. Here's a screenshot of the new 7K-T:

Now, the Igla antenna visible on the left of the image, isn't correct for that particular variant. Castorp, inspired by a picture of a more recent Soyuz variant, did a very good job on that particular antenna ... too bad it's the wrong one for that variant! }:->

In case you have been hiking in the back-country for the past few weeks, you are probably aware that the launch of STS-121 is for this coming Saturday. While most Canadian will be out celebrating Canada day, I'll be keeping cool inside ... watching the launch coverage on Nasa TV :P ... Ok maybe I'll do a BBQ to celebrate the 2nd Return to Flight mission ... :-)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Yet another boring launch?

Apparently, the Energia company must be thinking that Progress' launch are too boring to deserve a live (or not) Internet video broadcast (even their video archive is mostly free of Progress launch), so they only provide a couple of pictures of the launch ... which is better than nothing I guess. Altought, one could dream of having a coverage close to what is available during a Shuttle launch ... even a lowly RocketCam, mounted on the 3rd stage will no doubt make us, Soyuz lovers, very happy ... oh well ... At least we can simulate that in Orbiter (using the CVEL's Soyuz addon for now) ...

The docking of the unmanned spacecraft was this morning, hopefuly this time it was live on NASA TV ... and it was worth watching as there was some very nice pictures. If you've missed it, make sure you watch it, Space-Multimedia is providing a link to it.

Having finished RocketMan Saturday, I started reading the first volume of Challenge to Apollo last night. So far so good, but I'm only 10 or so into it ...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Lately I have been reading Nancy Conrad's book Rocketman, which I found quiet entertaining and hard to put down. It, in a vivid and easy to read style, tell the story of late Astronaut Pete Conrad, known for his prankster humour and his politicaly uncorrect way of speaking. Speaking of Apollo related thing, I noticed today two posts on A Tribute 2 Apollo that could be of some interest, and not only for all the Apollo buffs out there. Larry McGlynn have over the years amassed quiet the space artifacts collection, with many items purchased directly from some of the astronauts. The two posts in question (Part 1 & Part 2) are related to the star charts used during the Apollo missions, and features some scans of the flown charts. For having searched for such documents, few months ago, I can tell ya that these are hard to come by, as most of the start charts available online are for earthbound use (I finaly settled down for the free Mag-7 Star Atlas, which I still haven't used with Orbiter...).

Meanwhile, progress on that Orbiter's add-on of ours (Castorp and I) is rather slow ... well on the coding side at least 9_9 ... Recently we switched our focus to the 7K-OK, which was the first Soyuz variant to have flew in 1967. Here's a little screenshot of it in LEO:

The docking apparatus visible here is currently been redone by Castorp to be more accurate in term of size and overall shape, as well the design of the docking probe is to be changed. Once this get the same treatment that we gave the 7K-T, it should be fun to fly ... however these solar panels are going to be quiet the challenge to animate ...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Archives gones wild! #4

If you head to The Project Apollo Archive web site, you will find yet another update. This time it's some new unabridged B&W pictures from Apollo 12 (2nd EVA). I finished two nights ago reading (at last!) Russia's Cosmonauts: Inside the Yuri Gagarin Training Center. I though the book was rather good in detailing the creation and function of Star City from the early space program to the ISS. Details on the training that cosmonauts since Gagarine's time are provided. The book also feature some pictures of the Soviet space program that I didn't see before and some details on the simulators used since Vostok. Bottom line, it's a good read for any space junky, altought it wasn't really totaly relevant to my current research focus (Soyuz!). Speaking of which, I'm still awaiting Soyuz: A Universal Spacecraft (same author) ... estimated to be delivered at the end of this month ... Castorp and I are hoping it will help answer many of the questions that have been haunting us since we started this project.

Another online resource that I have been using lately, is the JSC Oral History Project, which I think I already talked about in previous posts (too lazy to check right now). The interviews related to the Shuttle-Mir program features some interesting insights to Soyuz and to the Soviet Space Program (e.g Norman Thagard's interview).

Here's a screenshot of the Orbiter's add-on which feature the new 7K-T service module, recently improved by Castorp (follow-up on the previous post). It is shown here with all the antennas unfolding:

More can be found on the project forum.

Monday, June 05, 2006


To my complete surprise, I received last Friday the last 2 books I ordered from Amazon ... which was in fact pretty good, as I put the book from Asif Siddiqi to good use the following day .. in search for some Soyuz's details (btw both books from that author are again available in 24h). Castorp and I were trying to figure out the purpose and whereabout of the torus shaped compartment located at the aft of the service module (to which the Igla antenna is attached to):

According to the Wikipedia article on Soyuz 6, it is a housing for docking electronics equipment, to be jettisoned following docking in order to lower the mass of the spacecraft. That is pretty much the description that I found in Siddiqi's book:

"The jettisonable compartment was a remnant of the original 7K vehicle's mission: circumlunar flight. It was originaly a toroidal section at the base of the vehicle that would carry electrical systems for rendezvous and docking and be discarded following translunar injection. In redesigning the 7K to the 7K-OK, early models of the Soyuz evidently retained this compartment for chimical batteries, with all rendezvouz and docking instrumentation was moved to the spheroid living compartment at the forward end of the vehicle"

According to a schematic on the PAO which can be found in the book, Soyuz 1 to 9 where the only Soyuz 7K-OK equiped with such compartment. Instead some mysterious boxes made their apparitions:

Now, the question is ... what are those boxes?