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Space Tug concept created for my Orion’s Arm future history setting.
Featured on Winchell Chung’s Atomic Rockets site at the link Space Tug.
Featured on Realistic Spaceship Illustrations Blog, Link: here.
Spacecraft is a hydrogen/oxygen chemical propulsion two man space tug of the type servicing space colonies, industrial platforms, and asteroid mining sites in the System States Era on my Orion's Arm Timeline.
COMD designed as a close fit to the 1981 Boeing Intra-Orbit Personnel/Cargo Tug concept from NASA Technical Memorandum 58238 Satellite Power System: Concept Development and Evaluation Program Volume VI1 -Space Transportation, PDF available here.
I designed the propulsion module to fit the aesthetic of spacecraft servicing space colonies, industrial platforms, and asteroid mining sites in my Orion’s Arm future history setting, however it follows the general scheme of the Boeing Tug.
The swivel-mount reaction control motors are modeled after the swivel-jet propulsion system on the 1963 Lockheed Space Tug concept (scroll up from the Boeing Tug on the same page at Atomic Rockets). Note: in the diagram image I’ve shown these rotated to 45° and 90° relative to the spacecraft center-line.
The docking node on my tug fits the docking scheme in use in my future history setting, and is not the contemporary NASA docking arrangement seen on the Boeing Tug.
The tug is equipped with a laser ranging target alignment system and two types of extensible grappling mechanism, a claw-grab grapple and a pin-capture grapple to permit capture of most cargo and common module types. Extensible boom mounted camera’s allow pilot a view around over-size modules which may obstruct visibility during tight maneuvers.
The Boeing CMOD is very reminiscent of the Apollo LEM with its downward canted windows overlooking the docking collar – wide area of view for tight maneuvers is a requirement applicable to the flight parameters of the LEM (at least during docking phase), a space-tug, and steering the trailer from the cab of a commercial truck. The CMOD is designed for a crew of two, and is of scale and volume comparable to a commercial OTR rig, and even fulfills an analogous role, so the resemblance follows.
A good video which offers the distinction between operating characteristics (those without Earthly analogues to operating a vehicle in a gravity field confined to a flat plane), which distinguishes the kinds of maneuvers tug pilots might perform, versus truck operators, is found here:
Lunar Orbit Rendezvous,1968 NASA Mission Planning and Analysis Division.
The video is twenty minutes long, but it gives a good understanding of how maneuvering a spacecraft is completely unlike maneuvering a gravity-bound surface vehicle in two dimensions.