View Full Version : Another SSOne for Burt

11-13-2004, 08:55 AM
Long planned, and finally (ever so slowly) done.


Hope you enjoy it.


11-13-2004, 03:08 PM
Oooh, yummy. I can't get enough of looking at SpaceShipOne (or, frankly, any of Rutan's work). It's insanely beautiful, and such an incredibly unconventional - yet totally practical - design.

And, best of all to be a LightWaver modelling and animating spaceships - and for it no longer to be Science Fiction.

Gimme a moment... no.. no I'm fine now.. :D :D :D :D

That's a smashing job, pixeltek. The only crits I could make are that the panelling and rivets are a tad obvious - I'd just knock 'em back a few percent - and the fuel tank/landing gear pylon/sponson thingies look a bit narrow.

Apart from that - smashing! I'd guess you're an aviation fan in the first place to get the detailing that authentic looking.

11-13-2004, 05:20 PM
My feelings exactly. I found it irresistable and simply had to gather all of the material possible and model it.

Actually, there are no rivets and panels. All is layed up like a surfboard is, from sheets of fiber and resin. Just more of how unconventional this whole thing is. Actually, looking at the pictures, I though maybe the "pontons" might be a little too fat, but I settle for what they are. Without going to the air/spacecraft with a measuring tape, it's kind of difficult to be 100% precise. One of the images I used it absolutely huge, and this is my closest estimate. The narrowness translates into low drag, and the slender length into longitudinal stability. Keep in mind, that it will change aerodynamic configuration dramatically in mid-air, when it releases the relatively large SSO.

I used to be in fighter weapons development and testing at Point Mugu (Pacific Missile Test Center), which is where my love of this stuff comes from. I actually went to a mini-test pilot training course right next to the Rutan (Scaled Composites) Hangar in Mohave, where I also got to meet the Voyager crew before their trip, and saw that aircraft's return as well.

Did you know the rocket engine burns rubber? The innovation just doesn't stop where SpaceShipOne is concerned. IMO, there was no way anyone else could have beat the Rutan team.

Thanks again for the kind words. The image at the top was rendered in backdrop radiosity at 1280x1040 and took about 3 1/2 h to render at AA of Enhanced High on my little 2.33 GHz P4.

But it was worth it to me :D


11-14-2004, 05:42 AM

Sounds like you've had a fun time of it! I'm envious - when my eyes were too shot for me to enter the RAF (and being six feet four inches tall shot down (a-haha) any piloting ambitions I had), turning to 3D animation was pretty much a historical inevitability.

Regarding the composition and fuels of the vessel... one thing that broke my heart about the X-Prize attempt was how many of the european people I speak to decry the whole endeavour as "Another polluting joyride for the rich". They just don't get it - the spacecraft runs on a synthetic polymer and laughing gas. Spacecraft and suborbital liners will burn so much less fuel - and it's replacable fuel! - than conventional aircraft. I mustn't go into full-on rant mode, I just mustn't. Suffice it to say, I was thrilled to find a copy of USA Today with the X-Prize win in the middle of the front page - no UK papers gave it the time of day (the fools).

Back on topic... this image would seem to imply that the pylons thicken considerably at the interface of the leading wing edge, stay thick 'til the trailing edge and then rapidly narrow once mroe.


The best image I found was a couple of thousand pixels wide, but only of SS1 itself.

Ahhh, I love this stuff... .and, as I say - best of all, it's no longer science fiction.

11-14-2004, 12:16 PM
You are so right. Whatever happened to the once so progressive European mind-set? I am originally from Germany and know from whence I speak. It seems their environmental concerns have reached obsessive levels. But then again, it may be just an anti-anything-American sentiment (at least where the news media is concerned).

You are actually correct. I will try to address that discrepancy. I can see that part of the culprit, that at least gives the illusion of narrowness, is the tall radius on the top of the "outriggers". Once I change that, and make whatever small corrections are required in addition, they will appear much thicker at the wing junction.

Thanks for your excellent reply. 6'4"...hmm...Guys over here, who were that tall and wanted to get into jet flying, joined the Navy and tried for the F-14. The only fighter that accommodated people that tall. Other than that, any C- bird, or even the P-3, would do. I spent 8 years (while in the US Navy Reserve) as P-3 aircrew. IMO, any way to get off the ground is fair game. :)


Elmar Moelzer
11-14-2004, 12:33 PM
Great work!
SpaceShipOne is a superslick ship.
I really like what Burt Rutan did here. Had the pleasure of watching him speak in Austin a couple of weeks ago.
Burt Rutan really is a visionary.

11-14-2004, 10:15 PM
Hi Elamar, grüß Dich.

Thanks for your post.

Meanwhile, I followed Bog's constructive advice and thickened the pylons significantly and flattened the upper radius. I also added one pic of SSO gliding home.


Haven't figured out how to post pictures here yet. :o


11-15-2004, 01:27 PM
Let me give this a try: Looking for the "Browse Button"...Hope this works... :p

The image is "Gliding Home"


11-15-2004, 01:36 PM
Great!!! That worked. Even I can learn -- ever so slowly. :o

Here's the close-up from a 1280 render (backdrop radiosity, Enhanced High)


11-15-2004, 02:04 PM
"Gliding Home" is just beautiful. I keep getting a little twang in my heartstrings every time I see that ship :D

11-16-2004, 07:34 AM
By the way, I'm not worried about competition. Can't, I'm not that good. Just having fun. It's a hobby. Which is why I made the mesh of the White Knight body available, for others to give it a shot (so to speak) :) . Since both vehicles have nearly identical shape in the front, the mesh serves dual purpose.


Mike Borjon
11-16-2004, 03:54 PM
Lovet it Pixeltek.

I think you, Bog and myself share more than just LW in common. Nice attention to detail.

Building from Rutan designs are a challenge but well worth the effort. I would appreciate any notes from your project you think might work for Bog and myself.

Are you going to work on a “what if” concept of what Rutan might have in store for Branson and Virgin Galactic?


11-16-2004, 04:56 PM
I think you, Bog and myself share more than just LW in common.

On that note, I'll stand the first round next time any of us are near a bar.

Mr. Rutan's work is very hard to replicate on computers. I understand he still uses a pencil and paper. Deary me, what I'd give for his skills....

Either way... I'd be delighted, gentlemen.

11-16-2004, 05:25 PM
Thanks Mike, which is exactly why I put my mesh out there for anyone to download. Anyway, it contains the main body, with the windows in place, the wings, engines, and the outrigger bodies. It's downloadable from my website.

It is the mesh I used to derive the final version. The outriggers need to be reshaped (or better yet, rebuilt, using mine as a background outline), and various bits and pieces added (wheels, antennas, etc.). However, with the main body on hand, windows in place, all you need to do is to copy it to a new file (call it SSOne), then cut it right behind the windows, and follow the outline of the photographs available on the web (a link is provided) to build the SSOne. The size and window placements are identical. Much work and effort is saved this way.

That's all the help I provide. I know... :( ... "What is that it?"
Sorry, I have to leave a little something for you guys to do.


11-16-2004, 05:47 PM
Mike, Bog, I couldn't even begin to 2nd-guess a guy like Rutan. He's so out of the box in his concepts that you simply never know what his next step looks like. Even he might not yet. However, were I to take a chance, I'd have to extrapolate the White Knight into a huge, four or six-engine heavy carrier, a little like a super guppy maybe, or two C-7s, side-by-side, and then strap a correspondingly upgraded orbit-worthy (meaning much more heavily heat-shielded) spacecraft. That's a long, long way from this little, light-weight, three-man design. A suborbital vehicle (for inter-continental travel) would be naturally much lighter and far less complicated than an orbiter.

Remember the comparison of the distance of the Wright Brothers first flight and a 747? The entire flight could have taken place inside the length of the 747. Think along those lines when you compare SSOne and the future craft.

Just a wild guess, with the aerodynmics at the mercy of Mr. Rutan. :D


Mike Borjon
11-16-2004, 09:48 PM
I think it would be interesting to see what a little imagination and a bit of reference (in the way of the original SS1 ad WK) might get us. You’re right though about trying to think through Rutan eyes.

Having said this, I’ll pencil sketch an idea of what might be down the road from my point of view and let you guys have a look at it. I’l then model and animate it.

I’ll give myself a very short timeline to make this interesting. I’d be interested in seeing what you guys might conceptualize.


11-18-2004, 01:15 PM
A parting shot of this baby...


11-18-2004, 01:17 PM
Now there's lovely :D

Mike Borjon
11-18-2004, 08:49 PM
Son of a gun! Great camera angle and object presence.

Makes me wish I was on the next one going up.


11-18-2004, 09:34 PM
You and me both. There is room for three, you know. :D


11-22-2004, 01:59 PM
FYI: http://www.space.com/astronotes/astronotes.html

November 22

SpaceShipOne: Time Magazine's Invention of the Year

Time magazine has picked SpaceShipOne as the invention of the year. Out on newsstands this week, the magazine salutes the privately-built rocket plane as being ingenious in design and an example of “entrepreneurial moxie.”

Led by maverick aerospace designer, Burt Rutan, SpaceShipOne was the product of his firm, Scaled Composites of Mojave, California.

Time put the craft in the number one slot, making note of why it deserved top billing:

“For solving the problems of suborbital flight and re-entry with ingenious design, for boldly going where NASA now fears to tread and returning without a scratch, but most of all for reigniting the moon-shot-era dream of zero-gravity for everyone, SpaceShipOne is Time’s Coolest Invention of 2004."

SpaceShipOne winged its way over other selected inventions, among them JVC’s J4 humanoid-like robot; 3M Novec 1230, a fire protection fluid; Segway’s prototype Centaur, a four-wheel sit-on-it scooter; and an Intel-invented wireless technology surfboard that includes a built-in webcam.

-- Leonard David

11-22-2004, 02:12 PM
Ha :) And Sigourney Weaver's booked a seat on VSS Enterprise's maiden voyage.

A Virgin Galactic spokesperson confirming the booking mentioned that they were delighted to take Ms. Weaver back to visit the Aliens... *grins*