To the Moon and Back with 3D Printing – October Model of the Month is Apollo Command Module
Some months back we wrote in our blog about Astro Granny, a character designed to inspire the next generation of engineers, astronauts, scientists and innovators. https://www.mcortechnologies.com/astro-granny-takes-stem/
Astro Granny is part of the Planet Zebunar educational series created by Dr Norah Patten. Planet Zebunar is set in a galaxy far, far away with the characters and story being central elements to draw on the imagination and excitement of the child. There is a free augmented reality app that brings this whole world to life. For all those adventurous 7-11-year-olds, they can travel across the galaxy and help the crew save Planet Zebunar and its weird and wonderful inhabitants.
Well this week Dr Patten is actually in Kennedy Space Center in Florida for astronaut training with none other than Astro Granny herself as part of project possum! Exciting times for Astro Granny and we wish herself and Norah lots of luck!
So with this theme in mind we thought that we would look back at NASA history and look at models that might inspire our next generation of astronauts.
Replicating the Apollo Command Module was a real education and we can see how this would help in STEM projects for kids also.
The Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins on their historic voyage to the Moon and back on July 16-24, 1969. During the journey to and from the Moon, this command module served as main quarters for the astronauts, a place for working and living – but as you can see its interior space is about as roomy as a large automobile!
The blunt-end design for the Command Module was chosen to build upon experience gained with the similarly shaped Mercury and Gemini spacecraft. The spacecraft re-entered the atmosphere with its protective heat shield (the widest end of the spacecraft) facing forward. Layers of special “ablative” material on the shield were purposely allowed to burn away during re-entry to help dissipate the extremely high temperatures caused by atmospheric friction. This is a scaled model of course but see here the actual specifications – blows your mind!
Command Module Specifications
Height: 3.2 m (10 ft 7 in)
Maximum Diameter: 3.9 m (12 ft 10 in)
Weight: 5,900 kg (13,000 lb)
We sourced the file on Sketchfab and it required just a small amount of cleaning up which was done in our own Orange Peel. The model illustrates the sheer confinement those astronauts endured and the texture of the exterior of the module helps in some way to show the effects of the journey on re-entry.
Norah Patten herself got interested in Space and becoming an astronaut at just 11 years old so we are hoping projects like Planet Zebunar and 3D printing technology can get kids excited about STEM and will foster the next generation of astronauts