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3DDesigning a Cycler Ship that uses the SpaceX Starship

Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
edited November 2023 in Work in Progress #1
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Took a long break from working on 3D art due to immigrating back to the United States form Mexico because the aerospace project I was volunteering at in Mexico failed and had to move on. After several months of Door Dashing, finally landed a good paying stable job and can finally relax on my days off, getting back to developing my 3D art skills.

This time, as an exercise, I decided to start designing what I think NASA refers to as a "cycler ship". Basically, it's a space ship that serves as a mobile space station that cycles back and forth from Earth to Mars. It's designed to be built in space and stay in space, while other ships, such as the SpaceX Starship, would be going back and forth from the cycler ship to the surface of a planet.

So far, I have been making it a modular design (inspired by how the International Space Station is built). One module is a Yamato inspired SpaceX Starship hangar module. The next module has a 250 meter (it's 250 meters on the inside of the circumference) centrifugal artificial gravity habitat ring. Behind it is a counter rotating ring module in which a ring rotates the opposite direction of the habitat module to prevent the entire ship from rotating.

Behind the counter rotating ring module is a third module that I will be sort of a power source module. I'll be building/attaching large solar panels to that. I have two other modules to build on the front and back that would serve as "propulsion modules". I plan on having rocket engines on the front and back of the ship so that it doesn't have to "flip and burn" in order to slow down like the SpaceX Starship would have to do. It would also contain the bulk of maneuvering thrusters.

I'm considering having a couple additional modules that would serve as (rocket fuel storage) so that the cycler ship can kind of serve as a "gas station in space".

This is what I got so far.


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Post edited by Paul Moechner on
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  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804504 Posts: 11,156Member
    It's good to see you back. Congrats on getting a stable job. At least Door Dash kept you going while you were looking.

    I really like this a lot. I'm always fond of near future stuff based on real world tech. Having a station that lives in space goes back and forth between Earth and Mars makes so much sense to me. I'm looking forward to seeing this progress as you continue to develop it.
    Paul Moechnerscifieric
  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    edited November 2023 #3
    It's good to see you back. Congrats on getting a stable job. At least Door Dash kept you going while you were looking.

    I really like this a lot. I'm always fond of near future stuff based on real world tech. Having a station that lives in space goes back and forth between Earth and Mars makes so much sense to me. I'm looking forward to seeing this progress as you continue to develop it.

    Thanks! Yeah it's a shame that the aerospace project I volunteered at turned out to be a failure, although the folks in charge think they're doing nothing wrong. The way they were running things, it'll never go beyond a youtube channel that makes very informative videos. I even shut down my own youtube channel and recently created a new one that has no affiliation with them.

    I'm in the process of dedicating the next year or so getting all my affairs in order to I can re-immigrate to Mexico. I'm currently working at an amazon warehouse full time (40-50hrs/week) rebuilding my savings, studying Spanish in preparation towards moving back to Mexico permanently. I'm also saving up to pay for an online TESL certification course (teaching english as a second language) so I can make enough to take care of myself when I return to Mexico in a year or so, as well as a family if I settle down, get married in the near future.

    But I plan to develop my new youtube channel towards speaking out for world peace, and creating my own content that shows how humanity can reach for the stars but in a more down to earth approach, showing what we can do with current technology. I plan on making a youtube video with this new ship that I'm building to show how it can be used to colonize Mars and help humanity build an interplanetary infrastructure throughout the solar system.

    Who knows, maybe one day in the future, after I finish re-immigrating to Mexico and am stable, due to the cheap cost of living in Mexico (in the context of making USD while living in Mexico from a TESL career I'm working to build) I may be able to afford to create my own aerospace project and succeed where the one I left behind failed.

    Here's the latest update of what I got going on with this current 3D art project:
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    The name of my new YouTube channel is "Gringo Picante" until I can come up with a better name haha.

    I also plan to re-upload the video of the Enterprise project that i did eventually on my new YouTube channel.

    Post edited by Paul Moechner on
    StarCruiserLizzy777wibble
  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804504 Posts: 11,156Member
    Thanks! Yeah it's a shame that the aerospace project I volunteered at turned out to be a failure, although the folks in charge think they're doing nothing wrong. The way they were running things, it'll never go beyond a youtube channel that makes very informative videos. I even shut down my own youtube channel and recently created a new one that has no affiliation with them.

    I'm in the process of dedicating the next year or so getting all my affairs in order to I can re-immigrate to Mexico. I'm currently working at an amazon warehouse full time (40-50hrs/week) rebuilding my savings, studying Spanish in preparation towards moving back to Mexico permanently. I'm also saving up to pay for an online TESL certification course (teaching english as a second language) so I can make enough to take care of myself when I return to Mexico in a year or so, as well as a family if I settle down, get married in the near future.

    But I plan to develop my new youtube channel towards speaking out for world peace, and creating my own content that shows how humanity can reach for the stars but in a more down to earth approach, showing what we can do with current technology. I plan on making a youtube video with this new ship that I'm building to show how it can be used to colonize Mars and help humanity build an interplanetary infrastructure throughout the solar system.

    Who knows, maybe one day in the future, after I finish re-immigrating to Mexico and am stable, due to the cheap cost of living in Mexico (in the context of making USD while living in Mexico from a TESL career I'm working to build) I may be able to afford to create my own aerospace project and succeed where the one I left behind failed.

    It's always a shame when the people up top don't realize their own faults. It sounds like you have a lot of good plans, and you're smart to cut any affiliation with that project.

    It's definitely a good idea to work on aerospace projects outside of the US. Unless you're a billionaire or working for one, there's no guarantee you'll get any kind of funding for aerospace projects here. Right now in the US, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are heading the space race. Who knows, maybe one of those companies will lead the first real attempt to put humans on Mars. If you come up with a cool idea and they see it, who knows what might happen?
    Paul Moechner
  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    edited November 2023 #5
    Thanks. Yeah. The aerospace project was planning on building a prototype in the form of a drone that uses a form of Lorentz Force propulsion and then use that as the backbone to build their project. But they will never get to the point of building anything because how they run things.

    I'm going to Mexico because of inflation and because of other things that are likely against the rules to mention in this forum. But also, with the TESL job, you only need to make like 1,200 USD/month in Mexico to provide for a whole family, house, etc. So as a single guy with no kids, I will be able to fund myself in regards to making the same prototype.

    It wouldn't be considered stealing their idea because all their ideas are basically the result of them researching other people's ideas and trying to figure out how to make it work. So I basically would be doing the very thing they have only been "talking about" doing.

    Basically the propulsion concept is simple:
    1. Design a drone with a shape that takes advantage of the coanda effect which can be done in the shape of a saucer or a saucer with the top having a large elongaded dome that would kinda be bell shaped.

    2. Use microwave beam emitters or some other means to ionize the atmosphere just off of the skin of the drone.

    3. When the atmosphere is ionized, it is then by definition electrically charged. This means that you can then in theory manipulate the air with electromagnetic fields via Lorentz Force as opposed to using propellers. You then pull the air down onto the top of the drone like a helicopter and then use the coanda effect to generate lift.

    In theory, there are many applications to such technology. You could install this tech onto SpaceX's rocket ship and possibly enhance the fuel efficiency of the rocket engines...possibly even eliminate Max Q because it would incase the rocket ship with a sheath of ionized plasma that creates a vaccuum either reducing drag or eliminating it completely. Use it as propulsion and you could replace sea level rocket engines with it.

    In atmosphere you could use this Lorentz Force thruster technology to replace all propellers and jet engines because you can easily apply this technology to a traditional airframe of a passenger jet, although a saucer would be more efficient because saucers are basically an airfoil wrapped around a vehicle. I laugh when folks think of flying saucers as alien craft because the "air foil wrapped around the vehicle" design couldn't be more 'human' lol.

    US air force back in the day built a flying saucer but grounded it due to stability problems but in their case they were using a huge turbo fan in the middle. With Lorentz Force thruster technology, it would solve that issue.

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    I learned these things at the aerospace project, but they learned it from studying other scientist's/engineer's work so it's not really their idea.
    Post edited by Paul Moechner on
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  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804504 Posts: 11,156Member
    But also, with the TESL job, you only need to make like 1,200 USD/month in Mexico to provide for a whole family, house, etc.

    That's less per month than my mortgage. :'(
  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    YASS I finally got a day off after working another 50 hours. Just finished completely re-doing the centrifuge segment.

    I decided that if I'm going to have a counter rotating ring module, it needs to be equal mass to the artificial gravity centrifuge. So I decided to go with TWO artificial gravity habitat ring centrifuges. Also re-designed the connecting shafts. Now it's time for me to start building the solar panels.

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  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    edited November 2023 #8
    Decided to start vlogging my 3D art projects. Here's my first vlog episode.

    Rezolution is bad at the moment, but in an hour it'll finish processing up to 4k.


    Post edited by Paul Moechner on
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  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    Here's my most recent work. Completely re-built the front starship hangar module and the main hull for the rear power plant module. Starship hangar module now carries 4 times as many SpaceX starships, taking full advantage of the "no such thing as up or down in space" principle, using my Yamato style starship hangars.

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  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    edited November 2023 #10
    Alright! I just finished modeling the fore and aft fuel storage modules, and modeling the solar panel assembly for the power plant module. I'm out of time before I have to go to bed and get ready for work, so I will have to add details and greebling to the solar panels later on.

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    And here is to demonstrate the fuel storage capacity on the aft module. I have an identical forward fuel module as well. The reason for so much fuel is to supply itself and to supply the starships that this mobile space station services.
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    After I greeble the solar panel assembly, I will then move onto creating the forward and aft propulsion modules.




    Post edited by Paul Moechner on
    evil_genius_180StarCruiserLizzy777
  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804504 Posts: 11,156Member
    Yep, gotta have lots of fuel, especially with the number of starships you're planning on this thing housing/servicing. This is looking great so far.
    Paul Moechner
  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    edited November 2023 #12
    Thanks! This is an alternative design I am considering for a fuel storage module. It would hold a LOT more fuel. :)

    Unfortunately blender crashed when I made this so I will have to build it again from scratch lol.

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    Post edited by Paul Moechner on
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  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804504 Posts: 11,156Member
    That's really cool. :D
    Paul Moechner
  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    edited November 2023 #14
    another update on the build:

    Working mostly on the basic design of the fuel storage modules and solar array assembly before adding greebling detail. Still not satisfied with the shape of the solar panels yet. I wanted to get away from the boring design of the kind you see on the International Space Station in real life and make solar panels that give sort of a "sailing ship" vibe when looking at the ship from the right angle. No reason one can't make an interplanetary cycler ship functional and beautiful at the same time.

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    As for the fuel storage module, I wanted to design a type a module that is "stackable" because I want to design this ship to be able to bring "extra fuel modules" to drop at various locations on the way back and forth to Mars for the purpose of creating a support infrastructure for interplanetary travel that would include things like proverbial gas stations and mechanics shops so that if something crazy happens along the way to Mars like in every single scifi "first people to go to Mars" movie, the crew isn't screwed lol.

    This design allows me to carry a LOT more fuel per square foot, and makes it more stackable. Because of how extremely cold temperatures get in space by simply "being in the shade" I am designing a hull around the fuel storage modules to keep the fuel storage tanks "out of the sun" and also to help protect against things such as space debris since space, especially interplanetary space, is not as empty as some believe.

    I'll add greebling detail to the hull of the fuel storage modules as I go along and plan to have one or two in the front and back of the ship.

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    This is what the inside of the rocket fuel module looks like:

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    This is the current development of how I think these things would connect:

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  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    edited November 2023 #15
    I think I finally have a name for the ship...as least a name for this ship's class. I'm considering calling it the U.M.I.C.S. class. It stands for Universal Modular Interplanetary Cycler Ship.

    The idea behind the name is that I want to make this ship as modular and customizable as the AR-15 self defense rifle platform commonly used by civilians in the USA. The configurations for that rifle platform are infinite, depending on what is needed/wanted. That same engineering should be applied to a ship of this class because it's purpose is to be the first layer of an interplanetary travel support structure that would be used to build an even larger support structure over time.

    Different configurations could serve as things such as:
    Rocket fuel barge
    Bringing people/equipment to Mars that support SpaceX starships (the current configuration I'm building now)
    Mining asteroids
    ...and who knows what else.

    Post edited by Paul Moechner on
    evil_genius_180
  • evil_genius_180evil_genius_1804504 Posts: 11,156Member
    This is all really cool. I definitely like that fuel configuration, not only because it looks good, but also because you say it can carry more fuel in that configuration. It makes sense to me. I also like the idea of having a support network of structures/stations between Earth and Mars. In fact, if regular trips start happening, I'd say it would be necessary. It's a six month journey through the void of space, you never know what could happen.
    Paul Moechner
  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    OMG!!!!! Ya'll gonna LOVE this update! I just finished the Solar Array Assembly and finished greebling the fuel storage modules!

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  • wibblewibble1240 Weimar, GermanyPosts: 553Member
    I haven't commented on this yet 'cause, well, I'm not a fan of SpaceX and Elon Musk in general but I can appreciate real world inspired sci-fi designs. And the leaves like Solar Array Assembly is weird and a bold move and therefore pretty cool.


    Paul Moechner
  • rojrenrojren2412 Louisville, Kentucky USAPosts: 1,992Member
    Nice. Maybe double up on the number of solar 'leafs / fronds'? You're letting a lot of free energy get away.
    Paul Moechner
  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    Although the solar array "leaf" design was fun to build and is fun to look at, I'm going to have to scrap it because this 3D modeling project of mine is supposed to serve the purpose of being an exercise to further develop my modeling skills because of my ambition to design real space craft some day either for an aerospace company some day, or when I attempt to start my own when I return to Mexico.

    So I need to stay with the line of thinking of trying to design something that is as down to earth and practical as possible and not delve into the realm of something that couldn't be built for hundreds of years like an FTL space craft.

    I'll see what else I can come up with. :)
    wibble
  • wibblewibble1240 Weimar, GermanyPosts: 553Member
    I'm always impressed if I read that someone here who I thought was a hobbyist is actually working in the special effect industry. But now you are telling me that there are also members here who actually want to build real space crafts? That's cool.
    Paul Moechner
  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    edited November 2023 #22
    Took me over a week to think about a kind of solar panel array that I would like better. The problem I had with the leaf one is that if it was built in real life, it would be a logistical nightmare to repair because there were so many different size solar panels on it. I need to have every solar panel be the same size so that if a starship supply depo were out there in the solar system as part of the "interplanetary travel support structure", you can just fabricate a bunch of the same size solar panels. Also it would make it better for any extra panels stored on the ship itself.

    Also attached the new solar panel array to one of the artificial gravity centrifuges. This would mean that you would have extra mass on the first centrifuge which may or may not complicate the purpose of having two centrifuges, which is to counter-rotate from each other to keep the entire ship from spinning. But I have a feeling that this problem can be addressed by storing extra mass in the second centrifuge such as communications equipment, extra water, etc.


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    Also, each solar panel array has solar panels on both sides. Also, just like the ISS, each singular solar panel has the ability to tilt and rotate depending on what angle the sun is to the solar panels. The only reason I have the solar panels slanted in these images is because it looks cool, but the design can have them slant the other way or just stick straight out, depending on what is needed.
    Post edited by Paul Moechner on
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  • Paul MoechnerPaul Moechner541 Posts: 126Member
    edited November 2023 #23
    After a lot of thought, I realized that I was designing my solar panel array and it's configuration in the context of the ship collecting solar energy while traveling from point a to point b. But I wasn't really thinking about how well the solar array would function while it is parked in orbit of Earth, Mars, a moon, etc.

    As an experiment, I decided to apply the International Space Station's solar array to my cycler ship, and as I result I kinda discovered WHY the ISS has it's solar panels arranged they way they have it. It's the most efficient way to orient a solar panel array when it is orbiting a planet, moon, etc.

    So because of how I designed my solar panel array to spin and twist to keep the panels always facing the sun, I came up with two solar panel "configurations" that my new ISS inspired solar panel array can switch to, depending on if the ship is traveling between planets, or orbiting a planet.

    Here's me applying the ISS configuration to my ship, using a reference photo I got from NASA's website:
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    Here is me doubling up on the amount of solar panels, so that my solar panel array's "flight mode" can maximize it's ability to collect solar energy while flying from point A to point B:
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    Here is the same array but using "orbital mode" to maximize it's ability to collect solar energy while in orbit of a planet, moon, etc.

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    As you can tell, the ship is a lot longer. Not just because of the new solar array, but because I realized I need extra fuel modules, and I need modules in the middle of the array for massive batteries to store all the solar energy collected. I then added more modules because I realized that I need storage space for cargo and spare parts for both the SpaceX starships that this mobile space station is designed to service, and spare parts to service the mobile space station itself.

    I feel like I'm done playing around with the solar panels and hopefully will start modeling the forward and aft propulsion modules.

    Post edited by Paul Moechner on
    wibbleStarCruiserLizzy777
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