Well, yes. After months of silence, The Soviet Unit has the face to come back. The absence from the digital scene was not, however, without reason: given the catastrophic developements in the world scenery, the Academy of Sciences has launched the ambitious project of boosting Communism to space, to save it from extinction on our planet. To avoid leaving its 3 readers too long without news, and since (in perfect Soviet style) the project is taking dramatically more than planned, we thought at least to provide updates on its making – waiting for the spectacular release of the first (and likely, last, given the time needed to put it toghether) video dedicated to the exploit.
The core of the historical adventure is Восход-Д (Voskhod-D). The naming Восход obviously refers to the like-named (and tragically unfortunate) Soviet space program. We liked the name for two reasons: first, for the link with the heroic age of the space race, and second, for its elegance. I may be partial, but Soviets always had a distinctive taste with the naming of their missions: the gauntlet to the Olympic Gemini and Apollo was thrown by progressive Союз (Soyuz, ‘Union’, which by the way are lasting longer than the Space Shuttle) and Восток (Vostok, ‘Orient’); namings that had an almost lyrical undertone: Мир (Mir), how the pioneering space station, de-orbited in 2001, was called, means both ‘world’ (meaning ‘people of the world’) and ‘peace’. Well, Восход is one of those names, meaning both ‘Ascent’ and ‘Dawn’, to which we added a D, short for Дальний, ‘faraway’.
Our spacecraft is a bit larger than its single-seat predecessor: it can host a crew of 40 and sustain them for over fifteen years. In the picture, a rendering of its final version, shot in LEO (Low-Earth-Orbit, within 2,000 kms from the surface). From bow to exhaust it’s nearly seven hundred meters, and the torus where the crew lives is fifty meters in diameter. Nice, eh? Well, I like it.
To whoever might be curious, here’s the updated making-of articles:
- To Titan – the video, to begin with
- Engines On! – the reactor blast
- The Asteroid Belt – according to me
- The Habitat – how’s inside
- Hydroponics and Life Support – what to breathe and what to eat
- Mass and Size – it’s big and heavy – see how it looks downtown Milan
- Rendering Stars – a Tutorial – how to make a nice starfield to throw in the background
- Rendering the Rings of Saturn – it’s hard and no-one thinks of it until they have to