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Old 15-01-2013, 10:46 PM   #1
The Voice of Voyager One
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Anywhere but the Federated Worlds of Sidon
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Default A different kind of Eagle concept

With all this talk of "Space: 2099" going on, I thought about a different kind of re-imagining of "Space: 1999", using some ideas that have emerged in the decades since the show was on the air.

The first concept that popped into my head was re-imagining the concept of the Eagle-class spacecraft. There were a few things about the original concept as seen on TV that never made sense to me:
  1. The design combined elements that were strongly aerodynamic (the nose) with elements that were decidedly not aerodynamic (the outboard pods, for instance). It was clearly understood from the beginning of the show that the Eagle design was strongly derived from the L.E.M. (Lunar Excursion Module) craft used during the Apollo missions. But the L.E.M. was a vehicle designed purely for applications of landing on, and launching from, the lunar surface exclusively. There was never any chance a L.E.M. would ever sustain flight in an atmosphere. It possessed no aerodynamic characteristics.
  2. The Eagle's nosecone had four indentations, suggesting four viewports. This would allow the pilots to look "down" to better facilitate landing. But there was never any indication that the "underside" indentations were being used, and it seemed that the cockpit set (never conclusively proven) was not built to allow the pilots to have visual access to lower viewports anyway. With the indentations there, why can't pilots use them for unaided visual references?
  3. The bulky outboard pods were quite useful in providing landing legs for the craft. There was also the suggestion that fuel was stored there. But why wouldn't Earth's space authority design a craft with retractable landing gear that would better facilitate aerodynamics in atmospheric flight (departing or returning to Earth, for example)? And wouldn't the vehicle's volumetric efficiency be enhanced if its overall structure had these tanks built-in?
  4. If you look at "The Last Enemy", as I am sure with other episodes, Alan Carter occasionally looks "out" of the cockpit to inspect something outside of the vehicle while in flight. (He checks out the alien battleship in this way.) But the way in which Alan does this should not be possible, given the strictly-forward-facing viewports.


I thought about these issues, and imagined (still in my mind's eye) a different kind of Eagle: one that has the overall modularity and linear sideway-rocket shape, but the specific details would be significantly different. My concept would look more like a shortened Saturn V rocket laying on its side. When at rest on a planet or moon, the vehicle would be supported by praying-mantis-like legs that would be retractible into the topside spine during flight. The spine and service modules would not feature exposed latticework structures, but instead blend into the smooth, sideways-missile-like shape. The midships cargo/passenger module would be detachable, but would be rounder and more space efficient. The aft "main engines" would be built into the fuselage. This segment of the craft would have a somewhat wider diameter. Sections going forward would naturally be progressively, but each only slightly, narrower. The nose would borrow heavily from Mojave Aerospace Ventures' historic craft SpaceShipOne, with the cockpit sprinkled with round portholes, including those to allow the pilots to see a great deal more of the ship's surroundings directly, including beneath them.

The interior arrangements of my concept Eagle would be very similar to the "Space: 1999" Eagle. The cockpit/nosecone up front, service modules fore and aft, with the cargo module in-between. The overall concept would still fundamentally be true to the original Eagle, but would blend other ideas like the spindly-legged Swifts and Superswifts with the more sleek Hawk and the warships from the Federated Worlds of Sidon.

I haven't tried to draw this concept yet. I've been far too busy with other things. I do not have sufficient experience with Adobe Illustrator (I have CS1 installed) to attempt such a project, but I would love to give it a try. I have a Wacom drawing tablet as well, but it is several years old. I have no idea if it would be useful for something like this. I may try to scan-in a pencil drawing soon.

I am puzzled by how to visualize the cockpit. Essentially, it would be the same seating arrangement as the original Eagle concept, but in my concept Alan really could look out a side viewport because there would be one next to him. I'm having difficulty imagining the overall shape and instrumentation arrangement of the "Space: 1999" cockpit working in a nosecone that has portholes in it that make it look like Swiss cheese. If you follow the above like to the SpaceShipOne article on Wikipedia, there is a view of its one-man-cockpit. Visualizing a much larger version of this for two pilots, seated side-by-side with a landing in-between them, is messing with my head.

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