Christronomy

[WIP] [1.3+] Apollo Saturn V Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) and Mobile Launcher

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SLdpr4J.png

Hello all!

Just wanted to share a project I've been working on for entirely too long. I started out wanting to create a more generic launch platform for general use in KSP, but quickly snowballed into an attempted recreation of the Apollo Mobile Launcher and Launch Umbilical Tower. I remember seeing the outstanding documentary For All Mankind when I was a kid and absolutely -loving- the shot from the elevator of the tower going up and seeing the behemoth Saturn V squatting right in front of the camera. Further review  informed me that this elevator was actually located on the Mobile Service Structure (MSS), but I was nonetheless inspired to attempt to recreate the launch-day experience of an Apollo astronaut.

 

So far I have created the launch platform (with some interior, even), the ground support structures, the LUT itself, the hammerhead crane, the damper arm, and swing arms 9 and 6 - all with animations. As stated earlier, I wanted the user to be able to experience the actual route taken by the astronauts on launch-day, so I have included functionality to take the ground-to-pad elevator, walk down the mobile launcher corridor to the elevator room, ride the elevator to tower level 320', then traverse the walkway and crew access arm to the Saturn V command module. The screenshots included here are adapted for the FASA Saturn V.

Album a/wfQxQ41 will appear when post is submitted

I'm trying to gauge community interest in this thing in an attempt to motivate myself to finish it.

 

Here are some videos of the project:

The Apollo Astronaut Pad Experience

Demo of currently implemented features

TODO:

Swing Arms:
Lights?
Complete arms 1-5 and 7-8

Mobile Launcher:
Add Blast Shield Tether Tie-Downs

0' - 80':
Add equipment boxes, etc.
Complete water pipes / quench stuff

100' - 360':

Add equipment boxes, etc.
Complete water pipes / quench stuff
Complete Propellant pipes

200' - 300':

Add swing arm walkway supports
300 - Bottom of umbMount z-fighting its support

320':

Add escape lines? Car (9-seater)?

380':

Crane 25 TON 10 TON sign

Edited by Christronomy
Added video links.

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1 hour ago, theJesuit said:

@Christronomy, this look's amazing.  Oh the detailing!

 

How did you get the worker kebral to look like that in the album?

 

Peace.

Thanks!

 

I actually just changed the Kerbal mechanic's texture maps and modeled the cap and headset to fit him. He's meant to be Guenter Wendt, NASA's pad leader during most of the Space Race. In Unity I have him labeled "Guenter Kermandt." I plan to give him some idle animations in the final release.

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36 minutes ago, Christronomy said:

Thanks!

 

I actually just changed the Kerbal mechanic's texture maps and modeled the cap and headset to fit him. He's meant to be Guenter Wendt, NASA's pad leader during most of the Space Race. In Unity I have him labeled "Guenter Kermandt." I plan to give him some idle animations in the final release.

So... you have a kerbal without helmet or neck thingee out on EVA.  Are you using Texture Replacer (TR replaced)?

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2 hours ago, theJesuit said:

So... you have a kerbal without helmet or neck thingee out on EVA.  Are you using Texture Replacer (TR replaced)?

I tried to figure out how to do that for quite a while, but I couldn't manage to do it. I have him included in the crew access arm white room 3D model itself:
EI7S0Sz.png

Rigged in 3DS Max and textured in PS.

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On 6/27/2018 at 1:36 AM, Christronomy said:

SLdpr4J.png

Hello all!

Just wanted to share a project I've been working on for entirely too long. I started out wanting to create a more generic launch platform for general use in KSP, but quickly snowballed into an attempted recreation of the Apollo Mobile Launcher and Launch Umbilical Tower. I remember seeing the outstanding documentary For All Mankind when I was a kid and absolutely -loving- the shot from the elevator of the tower going up and seeing the behemoth Saturn V squatting right in front of the camera. Further review  informed me that this elevator was actually located on the Mobile Service Structure (MSS), but I was nonetheless inspired to attempt to recreate the launch-day experience of an Apollo astronaut.

 

So far I have created the launch platform (with some interior, even), the ground support structures, the LUT itself, the hammerhead crane, the damper arm, and swing arms 9 and 6 - all with animations. As stated earlier, I wanted the user to be able to experience the actual route taken by the astronauts on launch-day, so I have included functionality to take the ground-to-pad elevator, walk down the mobile launcher corridor to the elevator room, ride the elevator to tower level 320', then traverse the walkway and crew access arm to the Saturn V command module. The screenshots included here are adapted for the FASA Saturn V.

Album a/wfQxQ41 will appear when post is submitted

I'm trying to gauge community interest in this thing in an attempt to motivate myself to finish it.

 

Here are some videos of the project:

The Apollo Astronaut Pad Experience

Demo of currently implemented features

TODO:

Swing Arms:
Lights?
Complete arms 1-5 and 7-8

Mobile Launcher:
Add Blast Shield Tether Tie-Downs

0' - 80':
Add equipment boxes, etc.
Complete water pipes / quench stuff

100' - 360':

Add equipment boxes, etc.
Complete water pipes / quench stuff
Complete Propellant pipes

200' - 300':

Add swing arm walkway supports
300 - Bottom of umbMount z-fighting its support

320':

Add escape lines? Car (9-seater)?

380':

Crane 25 TON 10 TON sign

Interestingly, I have a ready-made model Saturn 5, it would be interesting to look at it with your work.

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5 hours ago, DECQ said:

Interestingly, I have a ready-made model Saturn 5, it would be interesting to look at it with your work.

I just checked it out and I have to say that is some tremendous work you've done. I'd be delighted to see them together! Is yours true to scale or stock-alike (5m S-1C and S-II; 3.75m S-IVb; 2m CSM)?

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On 6/28/2018 at 5:35 PM, Christronomy said:

I just checked it out and I have to say that is some tremendous work you've done. I'd be delighted to see them together! Is yours true to scale or stock-alike (5m S-1C and S-II; 3.75m S-IVb; 2m CSM)?

Saturn has a real scale, although I see that your tower is suitable for FASA, so it's a stock scale?

On 6/28/2018 at 2:16 PM, Virtualgenius said:

Ooh yes please @DECQ your model with this launch tower excellence in the making

I'm almost ready to let him go, but there are a few nuances left, since I have not done anything modding for a long time.

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@DECQ I love all your mods mate would love to see you release your N1 and update your Soyuz to the latest version  they are such great models

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7 hours ago, DECQ said:

Saturn has a real scale, although I see that your tower is suitable for FASA, so it's a stock scale?

I'm almost ready to let him go, but there are a few nuances left, since I have not done anything modding for a long time.

I created it in real scale, then made another version wherein I shrunk it down to stock and made alterations so it could fit FASA (I had to raise the 320' level crew access walkway and reposition swing arm 9).

In short, I have real scale, stock scale for FASA, and I also plan to make one that is stock scale for Bluedog Design Bureau.

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this is awesome! I cant wait to use it. definitely finish it!

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I'm designing a LUT of my own.  I've been struggling to find any details of how the pipes were routed between the sides of the tower and the swing arms.   For the 11 pipes on the side, I have a few pictures that give a rough idea of how they were routed, but have almost nothing for the connections to the 6 pipes on the rear.  Have you been able to find anything detailing how they're connected to the arms?

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On 7/8/2018 at 10:38 PM, Dan Neely said:

I'm designing a LUT of my own.  I've been struggling to find any details of how the pipes were routed between the sides of the tower and the swing arms.   For the 11 pipes on the side, I have a few pictures that give a rough idea of how they were routed, but have almost nothing for the connections to the 6 pipes on the rear.  Have you been able to find anything detailing how they're connected to the arms?

Oy, tell me about it. Finding references has been absolutely monstrous. I refuse to believe that nobody took extremely detailed photos of these things all throughout the program, so I must conclude that they're sitting in a NASA warehouse somewhere (or, if history is any indication, they were destroyed due to improper storage. Florida humidity is already legendary - combine it with sea air and nothing lasts long there). I've been half tempted to make a trip down to Canaveral and demand to be let into the photo archives. They'd say no, but I could at least say I tried.

To answer your question, I am not quite sure of the routing of the Side 3 propellant lines. I know on what levels they turn toward the vehicle and vaguely where they come out and interface with the swing arms, but the rest is a bit of guesswork. I'll let you know if I do find anything, though!

As for the ECS lines on Side 2, there are a fair few photos of the LUT from below where you can see that they all more or less follow the same route hanging from the ceiling, but then you have to find photos showing Side 4 from below so you can see how they connect to the swing arms. Those are a good bit easier to figure out than the propellant lines for sure.

Here's a good photo of Side 4 from below:

 GPN-2000-001854.jpg

And another useful one where you can see the ECS routing pretty well:
s69-51308.jpg

Best of luck on your build!

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@darkerdadorito

Thanks! Yes, I have made extensive use of the drawings from that site and am forever in their debt for their excellent collection.

 

@johnkeale

The interiors were some of the most difficult parts for which to find reference. I have only the technical drawings and a couple of tiny-res photos of the interior of the MLP from the shuttle era. Immensely frustrating trying to extrapolate details!

 

@Dan Neely

So I have come to the propellant piping as I am very near completion of this thing and I finally found a decent reference! I somehow missed the CALL-OUT.txt file accompanying the images here and thus could never figure out what everything was supposed to be in those drawings. They show the propellant supply/drain pipes path to the swing arms pretty clearly. Couple that with Figure 8-5 from the Saturn V Flight Manual and a few hundred thousand feverishly downloaded photos of varying quality and you get a decent idea of what they did! Also useful are the photos of the disassembly of ML1 here from the Library of Congress and during the ASTP here from apollosaturn.com (note that many of the ECS pipes were removed prior the latter photos being taken). In those, you can actually sort of tell where the propellant pipe to swing arm 1 goes! Sort of!

 

Thanks again to everyone who has shown an interest - I know I've been AWOL for a while and I apologize for that. That old cliche of life getting in the way, etc.

I have made progress!

I have populated the levels with various large, boxy pieces of equipment, some of which I can identify and some of which I certainly can not. I have attempted to put a priority on level 320 for detail work since it's the one that connects to the crew access arm.

I have run the propellant pipes as best as I could discern from the limited available imagery.

I have completed swing arm 1 and have subsequently lost a great deal of time trying to figure out how to do particle effects for KSP (I have them set up in Unity, but I have no clue what to do in the config to get them to fire) so it could have sweet GOX FX at retraction. If all else fails, I'll bake the animation into the swing-arm and just live with the fact that re-attaching the swing arm will cause a whole bunch of GOX to get sucked back into the pipes! And a version without that, of course.

My remaining TODO list items prior to release are as follows:

Swing Arms:

//    Add Guenther Kermandt - Animate?
Complete arms 2-5 and 7-8

0-80
Complete water pipes / quench stuff

100-360:
Complete water pipes / quench stuff

200 - 300:

Add swing arm walkway supports
300 - Bottom of umbMount z-fighting its support

320:

Add escape lines? Car (9-seater)?

380:

Crane 25 TON 10 TON sign

 

Finally, a quick whinge about the poly count. I have sacrificed much to keep this thing plausible for use in a game, but damn if this isn't one of the most complicated structures I've ever seen. It works fine on my computer running a GTX970M, but that might be a little above the specs available to many KSP players. After I release the first draft of this, I'll do some texture baking and remodeling to also deliver a much simpler alternative tower for people who don't require ALL THE DETAILS.

Edited by Christronomy
Formatting.

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Just a quick update to prove I'm not dead yet. I have completed and animated Swing Arm 2 (S-IC Forward). Also included Swing Arm 1 (S-IC Intertank) in an image since I foolishly did not last time.

3xiV1wl.png

 

If anyone reads this and happens to know where on Earth I can find some information on adding particle effects to KSP, I'd be very grateful.

Edited by Christronomy

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Swing Arm 8 (Service Module). I'd class this one as moderate difficulty.

CCl1fIs.png

Swing Arm 5 (S-II Forward) is probably also moderate difficulty. After that, it's just 4 (S-II Intermediate) and 7 (S-IVB Forward), which both look hard as all get out and like they're basically infested with greebles.

I think those two will finally kill me. Loss of blood from eyeballs, most likely.

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