Monday, November 27, 2006

STS p0rn!

No sorry ... if you ended-up here while looking for some real p0rn ... well no, there's nothing like that here, just some plain geeky stuff in the form of some great videos of the Space Shuttle :-) I found the link to it on's forum, the site hosting them is a bit slow (around +3kb/s) but its definitely worth the wait ... That of course is if you are into the whole STS thing ;-)

I recently received Space Vehicle Design which was authored a while back by Michael Griffin (with ). Yep ... the current NASA admin. Anyhow, I haven't put the book to use yet, but there's lot of good stuff in it .. most of it in form that a E type student like me could understand (or hope to) ;-)

Friday, November 24, 2006


As you will see (or likely seen already), this new batch of screenshots are introducing a new comer in our vessel fleet: the Smeyorka derived Soyuz Launch Vehicle. There is at this time, 3 different versions of that particular launch vehicle. You've got Urwumpe's version, Mustard's version and now Castorp's version:

Now, some people may be critic of yet another version of the same launch vehicle ... But at the time we started working on it, the only one available was Urwumpe's low-res version (and at the time of this post, Mustard's version hasn't been released). This is going to sound quiet totalitarian, but we wanted to be in full control of the 3D models that compose it, so that the level of details could be in-sync with the rest of the addon, and that the meshs could be close knit with the coding. This doesn't mean that we believe that our version is going to be better than the 2 others. Mustard's work is very good, but our approach to mesh making is quiet different (evil is in the details as they said). Besides, we all have a life outside of the Orbiter's world which constraint the amount of time we can invest in it, thus relying on a 3rd party to deliver (and maintain) a critical component, is a risk we didn't want to take.

The Salyut 1 station have also received some of our attention lately (3D and code):

Anyhow, please keep in mind that all these are still a work-in-progress (I'll add that it is also a labor-of-love), thus likely to change (and likely to be filled with errors). You can see more screenies, if you wish, on a Flickr set I have setup.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Acetaminophen is my friend (lately)

Things have been going rather slow lately ... mostly because I have been sort of sick since Monday ... I guess that'll teach me a lesson for commuting to work on my bike under Vancouver's heavy November rain .. :-< .. Or maybe not ... when times come around next year, I'll probably have forgotten all about this (bad) experience 9_9. As we haven't posted any update since over a month on Orbiter's forum, people (well, at least one fellow) have started bumping (well, only one bump post so far) that October Sky thread of ours. I have been delaying my reply so that I could post some fresh screenshots, showing all the latest meshes we've got :-) Castorp've been busy lately ;-)

Friday, November 17, 2006

(still) Bumping into things ...

Lately I have been working on the collision response ... With my limited math skill, it really is a challenge. Castorp have witnessed several version of the collision handling (In fact, I rather call it contacts response as not all the collisions are ... well, u know, collisions) ... some were somewhat correct and some were utterly wrong. Anyhow, the whole idea of this Orbiter's business as a virtual playground where learning could be fun, has proven itself ... no matter how painful it can be at time :-| Many other things have been on-going in parallel, I hope to have some some screenies to show.

If you are looking for some figures (like accurate numbers) to setup your Orbiter's scenario, I'll suggest you have a look to Michael Schumacher's web site: . He got some neatly organized data on each of the Soyuz flights since 1967 (including the serial number of each spacecraft!). He also have a similar site for the US space program on

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bumping into things ...

It still is a long way to go, but we finally starting to be getting somewhere on the Orbiter's addon front. I spent most of the week-end synchronizing all our Soyuz fleet (7K-OK, 7K-OKS and 7K-T) as well as building from scratch (well, not totaly as I did reuse some parts from the Soyuz addons) a new DLL for the Salyut 1 space station, for which I had been sitting on the latest meshes from Castorp for ... ahem ... a few weeks (let's said 9_9). The following screenshot shows Soyuz 10 docked to the station in one of our test scenario:

Now, aside from having some empty panels and all it's windows, the Salyut add-on is pretty much useless ... Well, it does have a docking port so it can at least be used for docking practice as well as for rendezvous ;-) I'll be starting to add things to it (like thrusters and some controls) over the next few weeks (months).

The collision detection (and handling) that I was talking about few posts ago is also coming along (nicely?), altought there's still a long way to go before that is completed. In the following screenshot you can see the axis-aligned bounding box of a possible contact between the two vessels:
The purple balls marks the position of the 8 corners of the contact bounding box for the Soyuz on the left (7K-OK female), while the 8 yellow balls indicates the position of the contact bounding box for the Soyuz on the right (7K-OK male). The red and blue balls mark the position of the vessels AAB (axis aligned bounding box) for the left vessel and right vessel, respectively.

Friday, November 03, 2006

(not so) Secret love ...

Ok ... yeah, this isn't really secret ... at least not if you have been following this blog ... I'm not only in love with Soyuz spacecraft ... I also like a lot the Space Shuttle (... and Buran too). Thus, lately I have been enjoying a lot the many posts done by's forum participant Jacques. This very nice fellow (like most people on this forum) have posted many pictures of STS from his collection, and I have been saving them to my hard drive feverishly (here's some links to the threads: OV-102, STS-2, OV-99). It is great that he is sharing them with us, especially as most (if not all) of them are very rare pictures.

Another good source of Shuttle pictures is the web site of the Kennedy Space Center, which sports some quiet nice (and hi-res) pictures of the Shuttle processing (STS-116 these days) .

When I'm not obsessing about collecting pictures of spacecrafts, I'm usually geeking away on our Soyuz addon for Orbiter. I took a break from working on the collision detection in order to implement some simple (and crude) Control Moment Gyroscope so that when activated, the torque generated by the translation thrusters could be neutralized ... making docking and flying around something (like a Salyut space station) much more easier (the real hardware had such a gyro package used among other things for stabilization).

I'd like to make a correction to my previous post, where I was saying that the current ISS crew was not taking much pictures. While this statement still hold true, they did post rather quickly (in fact a few minutes after I wrote the post) pictures of the Progress vehicle closing in for docking: