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The Integrated Program Plan | A reconstruction of NASA's follow up to the Apollo program from 1969


Beccab
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1 hour ago, Beccab said:

(The CSM+LM is just there for size comparison btw, I won't actually send them to mars unfortunately)

Well i would've guessed the LM is for Phobos amd Deimos, i'm sure it would've done both just fine

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Just now, Maria Sirona said:

Well i would've guessed the LM is for Phobos amd Deimos, i'm sure it would've done both just fine

You could do that, but using the normal LM is a waste: both moons have a nearly nonexistent gravity, which means both the descent and ascent stage are basically useless. One of those LEO LM proposals, removing both engines and moving only through the RCS, would work perfectly here

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Just now, Beccab said:

removing both engines and moving only through the RCS, would work perfectly here

That meams the fuel tanks, and with them a huge chunk of the spacecraft, would be useless so you might as well create an entire new spaceship.

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57 minutes ago, Maria Sirona said:

That meams the fuel tanks, and with them a huge chunk of the spacecraft, would be useless so you might as well create an entire new spaceship.

The fuel tanks could theoretically just be replaced with extra RCS fuel.

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1977: The TOPS Space Rescue
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(Original IPP poster below)

Spoiler

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Let's start right where the previous post ended: an anomaly in the second stage of the TOPS launch towards Jupiter caused an explosion in the engine compartment, leaving the probe stranded in a highly eccentric earth orbit, unable both to reach its destination and to return to LEO. Normally this would be the end of the mission for the satellite, which would reenter some time later while the people on the ground tried to find what went wrong. But the Thermoelectric Outer Planets Spacecraft isn't your average probe: as the name suggests, it houses four RTGs on board to power it all the way to the limits of the solar system. That's a problem: as evidenced in the numbers provided here (for Galileo though, not this), a reenter from not just orbital velocity but a highly elliptical orbit at that would melt the RTG casings and release the graphite modules inside of them. The uncertainities in the impact site are large enough (read: all of the world that is at the TOPS' inclination) to make the risk of waiting for the inevitable way too high; a rescue mission is necessary in order to bring the spacecraft back to Earth in one piece.
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In the next few days following the anomaly, an architecture is created to make the TOPS rescue feasible: a mayor problem is the dependancy of NASA's space operations on space tug's common design, which is now too risky to fly for any payload, let alone a crew. Because of this, the crewed tug will instead fly under remote control towards the haywire spacecraft, grab it and return to Skylab where it will be returned to Earth on the next crew rotation in a few months

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Remote controlled tug undocking and departing
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Commencing final approach
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Extracting the surviving TOPS from the semidestroyed tug
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With the RTGs safely stored at the space station, it's time to turn to the other problems NASA is facing because of the failure. The Space Tug isn't only the basis of the planetary probes program: it's an essential piece of the whole space program, whether that is in LEO, GEO or cislunar space. An early retirement at this point would be basically as catastrophic as cancelling the development of the CSM after Apollo 1, which thankfully makes it quite unlikely; however, an investigation of the cause of the anomaly is mandatory before it can fly again, and concerns about its reliability will be hard to counter. But what about the other probe?

The second TOPS '77 should have already launched by this point, but with the space tug grounded and the near certainity it will still be so by the time the launch window closes means that for now it can't launch; NASA itself is split between keeping it in storage for a 1979 Grand Tour or sending it now with the flawed space tugs and hoping for the best like with the TOPS rescue. With neither options being particular exciting, the solution comes from the outside: in particular, the USAF.

Let's look at where the Air Force was before: in the last two years a handful of Shuttle launches have been used to launch DoD payloads from the Cape as well as a polar launch from Vandenberg, resulting in a complete success. And now, in 1977, the USAF was getting ready for the deployment of their most powerful rocket: the Shuttle/Agena Stage with strap-on tanks

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Powerful enough to send the TOPS to its destination, the stage was designed in the early shuttle program (mid 70s) to take full advantage of the orbiter's capabilities; and now, it's going to make exactly that. With NASA  having "borrowed" the stage for the TOPS and having mated it to the Orbiter cargo bay Enterprise can lift off from LC-39A in Cape Canaveral, destination low earth orbit
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It's been almost a month since the TOPS anomaly and the time until the window closes is running out. On the second day in orbit, the TOPS is separated from the Orbiter together with the Agena stage, keeping the whole KSC with fingers crossed.

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The stage burns for almost five minutes; at the end of the trans-jovian injection the TOPS separates from the Agena stage, beginning a long journey that will one day take it out of the solar system. All we can do now is wait: we'll get back to the probe in two years, at the time of its closest approach to Jupiter and its moons

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The second TOPS has been a resounding success for now; but the problems with the Space Tug remain. While NASA is planning for her return to flight once the investigation comes to a close, concerns about its safety remain. A tug nearly identical to the one that blew up should be the one that brings people up and down from the lunar surface in a few years; what if the accident had happened there? How could you rescue the crew if not with another, potentially exploding space tug? A new test mission has been announced by NASA in late 1977 exactly to answer those questions: 

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See you next post with the Lunar Shuttle Test!

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1977: The Lunar Shuttle mission
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It's a busy day of November at Skylab B: today marks the beginning of the operations for the decommissing of its nuclear reactor in preparations for the abandonment of the station for a controlled deorbit over Point Nemo. Orion, outfitted for the transportation of the reactor back to Cape Canaveral, will be the last vehicle to visit the station before its final retirement; the final Skylab crew will have to say goodbye to the station in little more than a week, leaving a hole that may only be filled with the launch of a new space station in a few months. In the almost four years since its launch, Nuclear Skylab has hosted over a dozen different crews and countless experiments have been performed on it; without it, it's safe to say the space program wouldn't look anything like it does now. But where a program is ending, another one is just beginning: the Space Shuttle Enterprise is fueled on its pad at Cape Canaveral, ready to take a crew of seven in the first crewed lunar mission since 1973!

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The concept for this mission is described here: the authors of this very interesting NTRS report were tasked with finding the limits of the rescue capabilities of the EOS and its associated systems in case a crew was stranded in a distant orbit, with a focus on LLO.
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No EOS concept was chosen yet; this means that the study had to consider all the most important Shuttle general proposals, including the one depicted in this mission report. The conclusion of the report is that refueling the Orbiter in orbit (in this case having a large integrated hydrolox tank), especially if it had an additional tank inside the cargo bay, was fully capable of making a round lunar trip to rescue a stranded crew provided that the return was accomplished making multiple aerobraking passes before reaching LEO. What follows is a recreation of the full mission, here applied to verify the praticability of the concept and made in response of the shortcomings that affected the Space Tug development program; I hope you like it!

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As mentioned previously, the payload of the EOS is a cargo bay tank connected to the orbiter's integrated tanks; few details were available in the report and elsewhere, so I went a bit wild with the design itself; additionally, it sports a full suit of telescopes and experiments with the main objective of analyzing the possible landing sites for future lunar missions, making full use of the scientific potential that a Shuttle Orbiter in cislunar space brings.UBD6Fgw.png
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Various propellant donors were considered by the report depending on theur availability; in this case, the OPD itself (refueled over the previous months by various tanker EOS missions) will transfer the necessary fuels to the Enterprise. The operation lasts a few hours; once it ends, the second phase of the mission can begin.
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After undocking and entering the transfer window, the Orbiter will ignite its SSME to make a Trans-Lunar Injection; this will bring it in a few days to cislunar space, where the engines will be started again to enter lunar orbit and complete this second phase of the lunar Shuttle mission.
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Once a stable lunar orbit has been reached, an impressive array of scanners and instruments is deployed from the cargo bay: from SAR to infrared radiometers, this Enterprise flight will be able to gather all the data you may want before selecting a landing site and more in a single mission. And finally, after almost two weeks spent making research in LLO, the orbiter is ready to return home

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unknown.png
Enterprise at this point will make multiple passes skimming over earth's atmosphere; after repeating this process about half a dozen times, it will finally make a complete reentry towards Cape Canaveral to land in the Shuttle Landing Facility near the pad. No EOS, both in the past and in the future, will ever have to sustain conditions as harsh as the ones Enterprise was subject to; this was truly a one-of-a-kind mission, testing many of the technologies that will soon be applied in the lunar and martian programs.

Side note: given that I'll go on holiday pretty soon this is likely to be the last post until the second half of August, after which I'll start 1978 with a few posts centered on the moon and on space stations. As such, I chose this mission to make a break because it can be considered as a sort of bridge been the earlier, EOS-focused part of this mission report and the lunar-focused one that is about of begin, much larger in scope and size than now. See ya in a few weeks!

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On 7/31/2022 at 1:05 PM, Beccab said:

1977: The Lunar Shuttle mission
RuElpQX.png

It's a busy day of November at Skylab B: today marks the beginning of the operations for the decommissing of its nuclear reactor in preparations for the abandonment of the station for a controlled deorbit over Point Nemo. Orion, outfitted for the transportation of the reactor back to Cape Canaveral, will be the last vehicle to visit the station before its final retirement; the final Skylab crew will have to say goodbye to the station in little more than a week, leaving a hole that may only be filled with the launch of a new space station in a few months. In the almost four years since its launch, Nuclear Skylab has hosted over a dozen different crews and countless experiments have been performed on it; without it, it's safe to say the space program wouldn't look anything like it does now. But where a program is ending, another one is just beginning: the Space Shuttle Enterprise is fueled on its pad at Cape Canaveral, ready to take a crew of seven in the first crewed lunar mission since 1973!

co9M6fQ.png

The concept for this mission is described here: the authors of this very interesting NTRS report were tasked with finding the limits of the rescue capabilities of the EOS and its associated systems in case a crew was stranded in a distant orbit, with a focus on LLO.
unknown.png
No EOS concept was chosen yet; this means that the study had to consider all the most important Shuttle general proposals, including the one depicted in this mission report. The conclusion of the report is that refueling the Orbiter in orbit (in this case having a large integrated hydrolox tank), especially if it had an additional tank inside the cargo bay, was fully capable of making a round lunar trip to rescue a stranded crew provided that the return was accomplished making multiple aerobraking passes before reaching LEO. What follows is a recreation of the full mission, here applied to verify the praticability of the concept and made in response of the shortcomings that affected the Space Tug development program; I hope you like it!

Noh363a.pngA463cVT.png
gol9TEv.pngwtIyr8c.png
unknown.png
As mentioned previously, the payload of the EOS is a cargo bay tank connected to the orbiter's integrated tanks; few details were available in the report and elsewhere, so I went a bit wild with the design itself; additionally, it sports a full suit of telescopes and experiments with the main objective of analyzing the possible landing sites for future lunar missions, making full use of the scientific potential that a Shuttle Orbiter in cislunar space brings.UBD6Fgw.png
bD8BbVE.pngV3thHYZ.pngq1MQPft.png

Various propellant donors were considered by the report depending on theur availability; in this case, the OPD itself (refueled over the previous months by various tanker EOS missions) will transfer the necessary fuels to the Enterprise. The operation lasts a few hours; once it ends, the second phase of the mission can begin.
unknown.png
2bI8GxA.png
After undocking and entering the transfer window, the Orbiter will ignite its SSME to make a Trans-Lunar Injection; this will bring it in a few days to cislunar space, where the engines will be started again to enter lunar orbit and complete this second phase of the lunar Shuttle mission.
NTaI4Y6.pngyANphSK.pngS9bEWCg.pngM2cJpIy.png
WZTqBxD.pngn0OdZs7.png
amr8vbI.png

Once a stable lunar orbit has been reached, an impressive array of scanners and instruments is deployed from the cargo bay: from SAR to infrared radiometers, this Enterprise flight will be able to gather all the data you may want before selecting a landing site and more in a single mission. And finally, after almost two weeks spent making research in LLO, the orbiter is ready to return home

uiCCmpj.pngmQ3gOyn.pngTtxPRY8.pngjdWxS1y.png
unknown.png
Enterprise at this point will make multiple passes skimming over earth's atmosphere; after repeating this process about half a dozen times, it will finally make a complete reentry towards Cape Canaveral to land in the Shuttle Landing Facility near the pad. No EOS, both in the past and in the future, will ever have to sustain conditions as harsh as the ones Enterprise was subject to; this was truly a one-of-a-kind mission, testing many of the technologies that will soon be applied in the lunar and martian programs.

Side note: given that I'll go on holiday pretty soon this is likely to be the last post until the second half of August, after which I'll start 1978 with a few posts centered on the moon and on space stations. As such, I chose this mission to make a break because it can be considered as a sort of bridge been the earlier, EOS-focused part of this mission report and the lunar-focused one that is about of begin, much larger in scope and size than now. See ya in a few weeks!

my guy really pulled an FAM S2

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, rockettime03 said:

my guy really pulled an FAM S2

The funniest part is that almost everything in FAMK could definitely work, they just used the wrong design for it. Shuttles near the moon? Keep the ET attached or change the Orbiter. LSAM? It's pretty fantastic, but it needs to be bigger. Pathfinder? Maybe it can work, but you need an external tank ala Sortie Shuttle or at the very least to accelerate to hypersonic speeds before starting the nuclear engine. Even Sojurner works pretty great conceptually (it's extremely similar to a STCAEM mars lander proposal), it just needs to refuel in L2 and remove the very unnecessary mars orbit insertion burn

Edited by Beccab
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8 minutes ago, MATVEICH_YT said:

What mods do you use for this thing?

Screenshot_20220813_010959.jpg

It's a mix of a few parts - the most important ones are from the mod below, refreshed a bit with a semitransparent, white flag all over it from conformaldecals. Then there's BDB RL10 engines, Habtech2 docking ports (tweakscaled to 0.975 size as I did everywhere in this thread), arms made of Habtech2 and planetside robotics, "hands" made of Restock and scansat parts and finally a BDB thrust puck put above the four engines

 

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On 6/9/2022 at 2:51 AM, Beccab said:

1976: The dawn of the Earth to Orbit Shuttle
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For this new post I decided to take a break from the main IPP-centered schedule to focus on the EOS; in particular, I took a few of the hundreds (thousands?) of proposed-but-cancelled missions that were proposed for the Space Shuttle, some because of the exorbitant cost that our shuttle had per launch and others for safety concerns following the Challenger disaster. Three orbiters for seven payloads, all proposed between the late 70s and early 80s to make use of what they hoped would be a cheap way to get to orbit in the next few years

Part 1 - To boldly see where no man has seen before

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After the triumphant maiden flight of Orion, the first of a new series of Shuttles has launched from Cape Canaveral: It's Enterprise, which thanks to the data aquired in the first half of 1976 with the first three EOS missions has less ceramic heat shielding on its upper side (kind of like Columbia vs Endeavour) and can carry almost two more tons inside its cargo bay. While Endeavour is on the ground being prepared for its own launch that will appear shortly, the crew of EOS-4 has started deploying the important payloads of Enterprise: the Pinhole/Occulter Facility and the SIRTF.

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  Reveal hidden contents

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The Pinhole/Occulter Facility was a proposed Shuttle-based telescope that, as the name suggests, used a large occulting system both to make high resolution x-ray observations and to observe the corona of the Sun. Originally ideated in 1977, this system would end up being cancelled and superseded by standalone, free flying space telescopes like Chandra. More important was, instead, the SIRTF:
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The Shuttle InfraRed Telescope Facility was a large infrared telescope, proposed first back in 1976 in OTL and then remaining half a step away from cancellation for a looong time. As the best way to study young stellar objects and exoplanets, it would always have been an extremely important space telescope to have; but with every dollar being put into the Shuttle program itself, the SIRTF would only fly almost three decades later and after countless redesigns, transformed into a non-refuelable and free flying infrared telescope. It's in fact the Spitzer Space Telescope, launched in 2003 on a Delta II, that inherted the long legacy of the SIRTF and its proposals.

Part 2 - Infinite power

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While Enterprise is beginning preparations for reentry, it's finally time for Endeavour to begin her mission - the third one since her deployment in January earlier this year. With it comes another upgrade, this times with the booster: in fact Ingenuity, the first flyback using unpainted SOFI insulation, was finally certified to launch a crewed Orbiter almost a year after its last launch!

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The payload on this mission is only one, but very important: it's a passively stabilized, orbital stored solar array, derived from the Power Extension Package that flew three times already. Its much larger power capacity allows it to greatly increase the capability of the Shuttle in orbits not already covered by a space station, and the fact that it's permanently in space has its benefits as well; but I'll get to that later. For now, it's time for the Endeavour crew to initiate the complex deployment of the space platform:

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The four mayor steps are these:

- first the platform is relocated to the dedicated port in the cargo bay of Endeavour
- the main truss is then extended from its original stowed position that it was put in during launch, reaching its final configuration
- two long booms are extended from it, in order to stabilize the platform thanks to the gravity gradient while in free flight
- finally, the solar panels are unfurled and the additional radiators extended, allowing the shuttle to begin receiving power

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The orbiter remains docked there for a few days to fix eventual problems as they occur; after that, Endeavour can undock and return back to the Shuttle Landing Facility at Cape.

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But the platform won't remain unused for long: it's now Orion's time to launch, with a payload bay packed of new, unflown scientific payloads

Part 3 - The commercialization of space

It was a hot day of the late 70s or so when someone at the Marshall Space Flight Center had a sudden revelation: what the hell could NASA put on a Shuttle launching on a weekly cadence that they could possibly afford? That's how the MEC and the EOO were born

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The first, the Materials Experiment Carrier, is a shuttle optimized system capable of carrying six MEA (Materials Experiment Assembly, basically containers with different experiments selected by NASA for each flight) at the same time coupled with a single SES (Solidification Experiment System, an experiment to understand the way metallurgy happens in space - melting, solidification, quenching, etc). Together with it goes the EOO (NOTE: the original name of the payload is EOS, Electrophoresis Operations in Space, but to avoid mistaking it with the other EOS I've renamed it to Electrophoresis Operations in Orbit), a payload conceived purely for commercial use to begin studies on how to produce pharmaceuticals in zero g.

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However, these payloads aren't meant to remain on a shuttle by itself; they need to remain in space for many months to complete their objectives, which an Orbiter can't do in free flight. It's time for the space platform to begin its second purpose, which is to host payloads and power them indefinitely.

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There's two more payloads flying inside Orion, the pressurized RAM (which you probably heard of as Spacelab) and the Very Long Baseline Interferometry telescope. The function of both is pretty self explainatory, but the difference with the EOO and MEC is that they won't leave the orbiter; the other two, instead, must now be moved by the robotic arm to their permanent position on the platform

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MEC:
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EOO:
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With this done, this new post is now over. The next one will unfortunately take a while, both because it's quite complex (with the construction of the first orbital propellant depot, large enough to fuel multiple S-II) and because I have finals this month; if it comes out, I also would like to try upgrading from Ad Astra to SOL. I may have it ready by the end of June, but very early July is more likely, so I want to leave you with one last screenshot, my favourite of this bunch. Goodbye!

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I'm in awe at these images. I love stuff that takes vintage concept art and revives it in modern HD (in this case KSP). People like you are the video game version of Hazegrayart.

Might I ask where you get these big ISS-like panels? I initially thought they were Habtech 2 but these panels look a bit different. I'd ask about the other mods used here, but I at least recognize BDB and some of Benjee10's stuff. Also I'm guessing you're like me and other guys with enough mods to cause an existential crisis.

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1 hour ago, Blufor878 said:

I'm in awe at these images. I love stuff that takes vintage concept art and revives it in modern HD (in this case KSP). People like you are the video game version of Hazegrayart.

Might I ask where you get these big ISS-like panels? I initially thought they were Habtech 2 but these panels look a bit different. I'd ask about the other mods used here, but I at least recognize BDB and some of Benjee10's stuff. Also I'm guessing you're like me and other guys with enough mods to cause an existential crisis.

Thanks for the kind words! The solar panels in the pic are the Skylab power extension panels from BDB's dev branch on github, I think I've posted a list of the mods I have installed previously in this thread. They're 150+ currently

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7 hours ago, Beccab said:

Thanks for the kind words! The solar panels in the pic are the Skylab power extension panels from BDB's dev branch on github, I think I've posted a list of the mods I have installed previously in this thread. They're 150+ currently

And I thought my 100+ mods was crazy. Now I feel like a rookie (which I am, especially compared to all this).

I have one last question though...is that the Shuttle 2.0 in your profile picture, and do you have a thread for that story?

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Just now, Blufor878 said:

And I thought my 100+ mods was crazy. Now I feel like a rookie (which I am, especially compared to all this).

I have one last question though...is that the Shuttle 2.0 in your profile picture, and do you have a thread for that story?

It is! I didn't make a thread about it back then (it's one of my first recreations), but there is a post on it in the Shuttle Adventures thread here

 here

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