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Junkyard – Magellan Designs
I thought I’d kick things off with a project I’m currently sinking my teeth into. And because there’s nothing I love more than a bit of *pew-pew!*, this one has spaceships!
The inspiration for the story came from an old radio drama from the 50’s: X-Minus 1. The great thing about X-Minus 1 was that most of the teleplays were torn straight from the pages of Galaxy Magazine, publisher of some of the greatest sci-fi authors of all time: Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, etc.
The story in question is “Junkyard”, by Hugo-award winning author Clifford D. Simak. I could give you the 10-word summary …. ORRRRRRR … you could listen to the whole glorious masterpiece here.
And so, the first order of business: create our Hero Ship, the “Magellan”. We know it is some sort of interstellar vessel; not huge, but built to comfortably ferry a crew over vast distances, and afford them the functionality and self-reliance to complete their mission (without the need to be constantly stopping at the 7-11 for supplies). Our crew hails from the not-too-distant future, so we want to be able to recognize a continuation of real, contemporary space technology (the space shuttle, Spaceship One, etc.). And finally, we want our ship to conjure the awe and romance embodied by the sleek, silvery rocketships of the Golden Age of Sci-fi.
Below are a series of exploratory sketches:
For some reason, I was thinking of landing stilts that curl up around a sleek, silvery needle-like hull, encircling it like the rings of a gyroscope.

In trying to explore less Flash Gordon-esque rocketships, this drawing was based on a real-life study done in the 80’s to develop a hypothetical (but plausible) interstellar craft, called Project Daedalus. GOOGLE IT! This is my take on it:


This one came after seeing a photograph of an Ommasterphid (flying) Squid. Yes, it has rockets for tentacles. No, it does not squirt space-ink.

This was my favorite, a marriage of 50’s Sleek and 21st century X-Prize design:

While preserving the shape of the main fuselage, the aft end of the ship needed reworking. Though the detailing on this version turned out too noisy and “gundam-y”, I like the overall form:

And a cutaway … since the ship has no futuristic artificial gravity, the effect is maintained through constant acceleration/deceleration during flight. So, over the course of an ideal itinerary, the Magellan would maintain a constant acceleration of 9.81 m/s^2 for half the journey, flip around, and decelerate at the same rate for the latter half of the journey. On reaching its destination, it then lands in a vertical orientation, like the classic sci-fi rocketship.
(tilt heads to the side for best effect):

Some brainstorming for the operation of the landing pads:


How do the engines and landing pads work together?


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[…] The MAGELLAN design concepts   The MAGELLAN design concepts 2 […]

[…] on the planet, unable to operate their own technology. I’ve imagined the possibility of somehow adapting this story for years, but it’s always been a bit of a backburner project. Anyways … SOMETHING NEW. This […]

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