Sunday, October 13, 2013

SketchUp :: Copenhagen Suborbitals' HEAT 1600/Tycho Deep Space II

Tycho Deep Space II capsule & LES assembly.

DESIGN/SPACE News ::There is some professional level hacking going on in Denmark. Copenhagen Suborbital is an open source space program that has already launched full scale record-setting rockets and has plans to eventually put people into space.

The design process may be open source and unorthodox, but it is definitely a serious operation with a high degree of brilliance behind it. Surely no one will actually board a rocket into orbit until it is as safe as launching people by rockets can possibly be, and hopefully no unnecessary risks will be made regarding the invaluable talent committed to this paradigm-shifting project.

The open source, hacker infrastructure being laid out by Copenhagen Suborbitals alone is priceless and an accomplishment all in its own, with numerous possibilities beyond human space flight, including giving the burgeoning cubesat community a fellow open source foot-in-the-door in terms of sending their creations into orbit and for implementing parallel Internets and other communication networks to compete with current proprietary models.

With all this in mind, it is not hard to understand why I was spending large amounts of time on their website and their blog hosted by Wired here, catching up on all the progress they've made. And it was amongst all this information that I stumbled across .STL files for their conceptual rocket, the HEAT 1600 and the Tycho Deep Space II capsule that sits atop it. I covered .STL files for SketchUp before, and it was this process I used to import the .STL files provided by Copenhagen Suborbitals into SketchUp. It took a long time for SketchUp to import the entire model (over an hour), which includes internal components including a seating assembly inside the capsule, fuel tanks and a detailed engine cluster.

The file was over 30MB once in SketchUp and since I intended to share this model in the SketchUp 3D Warehouse, I wanted to streamline it into something much simpler to work with for SketchUp users. I began using the .STL import as a reference to rebuild the external components and some of the internal components. I uploaded the final product here.

A cross section of the Tycho Deep Space II capsule included in the SketchUp model. An astronaut from Max Grueter's collection was added to give a sense of scale.

I immediately began modifying it for rendering. Hopefully others will find this model and explore it as Copenhagen Suborbitals makes progress and headlines. It will be interesting to see what others use it for and what process if any, SketchUp can play in Open Source design projects.

Rendered using the SketchUp 3D Warehouse HEAT 1600 model. The model was built using Copenhagen Suborbital's open source .STL files provided on their blog hosted by Wired.