View Full Version : FXWars! MoonShot!: Jason Dexter (Fantasy: Soft Science)

03 March 2005, 07:04 PM
Okay... after spending a few days determining feasibility of completing an entry... I have decided that I probably will not finish... but I am going to try anyway. I have most of the designs done but I am scanner-less atm, so I will be posting WIP animatics and lighting tests as I go... I have never done anything of this scale before so bear with me and be honest.

The premise is that during the American 2015 moon landings an unexpected abundance of hydrogen was discovered, as well as a compound called he4... these discoveries will make manned space exploration not only possible, but likely profitable... the G8 collaborated with 32 global corporations to form the ISA (International Space Agency) and the first order of business was to construct a large scale Earth-based Launch/Control facility to enable construction of a permanent High-Orbit Space Station and a Permanent Lunar Base... research into advance launch theories resulted in the development of Electromagnetic launch silo technology, where-as a massive hole is dug deep into the Earth's Crust (5km) and is lined with massive iron magnets that propell the space craft to 2525kph before the hydrogen rocket boosters fire... resulting in much more economic/environmentally freindly launches...

A site was needed at the equator, but the environmental concerns made finding a site very difficult... the sound concerns, pollution and disaster potential made for few agreeable locations, so it was determined that an island would be constructed... 40km West of the city of Bata in the Gulf of Guinea (Western Africa) Atlantis was completed in 2041... a 350sq. km man-made island with two of these vast launch silos... Atlas and Hermes. This island had to accomodate the research, command/control, launch, return and staging of the space program... as well as the housing and day to day life of hundreds of staff.

Atlas is the large cargo launching platform and is expected to be completed and in operation in 2048, however Hermes (a smaller launch system with very quick turnaround between launches) was completed October 14, 2044. Since the discovery of he4, there have been 12 manned lunar research programs consisting of 71 total landings all of which were based upon technology similar to the 1960s launches, but the launch we will witness is the third in the Luna program, the first to utilize the new launch technique... Luna III's mission is to deliver the first of several 8 year housing modules that will be used by Lunar base preparation teams as the construction of the permanent lunar colony is constructed and the initial life support infrastructure is put in place.

Luna I and II we're manned missions that did initial survey, surface preparations and delivered a surplus of oxygen, water and fuel as well as equipment for the Luna III and upcoming Luna IV missions. Luna III will launch at dawn on March 27th 2044 with a 5 crew member compliment and a large payload. The trip is only 24 hours in length and the crew of Luna III will remain on the moon for 42 days.

Further mission details will follow.

Project info:

I don't expect to finish by the deadline... I expect to have the animatic locked in, and a scene (maybe two) complete... but will finish this throughout the summer... I hope to hone alot of skills that I have begun to develop, but not fully explored and hopefully will end up with an interesting result. So this will be participation... not really competition. Hope that's okay :D

Here is a quick launch tube camera/lighting test... no particles and only low-poly geometry... will post high res models as they are completed.

PreLaunch Animatic Shot 1[T] v001 (

I am currently trying to find a good approach for "shooting" the ship leaving the silo... it's traveling at approximately two times the speed of sound... so it's not going to be anything like a modern launch camera move... any ideas folks?


03 March 2005, 09:14 PM
Hey Jason,
I plan on my graduating degree to be in Aerospace engineering, and using magnetic forces to push a ship into orbit has been a thing that we have been discussing for a while. I will not get into technical terms, but one glaring problem that I see is the underground launch tunnel… The problem is it being to short, way to short… Here I will let the math do the talking:

Speed= Distance/Time
Formula: X= y/z
Were X= Speed, Y=Distance, Z=Time;
X= 68058 m/s (twice the speed of sound)
Y= 5000 m (how deep you said the tunnel was)
Z= Unknown (Speed the ship needs to be traveling to hit 2x speed of sound)

68058m/s = 5000m/ Z
350,290,000m/s = Z
340,290 Km/s = Speed

Meaning that at that speed staying constant, the ship would be out of the magnetic runway in 1.4693 seconds!

Using the variables that you gave, I used the formula “speed=distance/time” to find out how fast the ship would need to be to reach twice the speed of sound, also giving me the speed at which the ship would leave the runway…
But it’s also obvious that the speed of the ship, would mean that the animation would be very short… Very short… :D

You might want to consider making the launch tube longer or just tell me how long you want the launch sequence to be (the actual time the ship will be in the tube during the launch) and I will tell you how long the tube should be, no problem. Also you have to realize that the final speed above is not exact, as it should be a little more off because of things that I did not take into account for such as wind speed, humidity, and the force on the ship so far underground, but since this is a “soft entry it shouldn’t matter that much... I expect great things to come from you as your past work is at such high level, and from seeing your short animation, I can see that your entry should be one to watch!

-Good luck and if you need anything just ask, DevilHacker

03 March 2005, 10:27 PM
Hey Daren,

Here's how I came to the design...

Using the mean geothermal gradient (22-25 Celsius per kilometer) the water in the payload would boil at about 4000m... of course there are some factors that would cool the silo enough to give us about an additional 1000m (22-25C)... the open air environment, ventilation (a must) and construction techniques/materials... this leads me to believe that 5000m would be as deep as we could go with out having giant pressure boilers in our cargo hold...

I then determined how fast we feasible could go in that distance... factoring in advancements in technology and utilizing a proven and effective technique... fuzzy math. It works in politics, I figure it could work in a soft-science animation...

Basically every 400m, the speed doubles... :D

See the attached diagram.

The launch will be short... indeed... infact, the animatic follows the rocket through 65% of it's in-silo journey... the tests I have done have it at 30km above sealevel in literally no time at all... that's why I'm having fun trying to figure out a good way to "shoot" it. My current thoughts is to see if I can get that half-speed look of one of the apollo/gemini missions I have seen, and do a triple take... render the trip to 30km from three different views, cut together discovery channel style...

The really interesting thing for me is that if in reality we could use this technique... the fuel savings would be unheard of... that first 5000m is most of the fuel. Of course the initial investment of digging 20m X 30m X 5km holes in bedrock... on the sea floor... and making a 350 sqkm manmade island is also unheard of.

Thanks for the kudos, and comments... I don't intend to disappoint...

Edit: Typo on diagram... 40m should read 400m.

03 March 2005, 02:51 AM
well my math isnt what it should be but i think that there are some fundamental errors in your formula

First of all, I believe that your quoted speed of sound does not equal 32000 m/s. I am pretty sure that the speed of sound is somewhere around 650 miles/hour. Or about 1100 km/hr.

Also your formula of x=y/z should equal z=y/x

68058m/s = 5000m/ Z does not equal 350,290,000m/s

it should be written Z=5000m/68058 m/s which would equal 0.0734... (of course 68058 m/s is an incorrect)

a more correct answer would be 2,200 km/hr (2x speed of sound) = 5000m / Z which would equal Z = 5000m / 2,200 km/hr.

or, Z = 5 km / 2,200 km/hr

Z = .0022727 hr or 9.8 s

but it would take longer because that time is how long the rocket at full speed would take to go through the tunnel. There is an added time to account for the acceleration of the rocket.

whew...ok im done

but as a last note it really doesnt matter because this is an animation and you should just make it take as long as it takes to look good.

Have fun, great ideas to

03 March 2005, 06:16 AM
for the coming out of the tunnel shot i think it would be nice and interesting to get a looking back at earth shot with the mainland getting far away really fast

it would give the viewer a sense of how fast its moving and the g force implicated

03 March 2005, 06:20 AM

holly crap man IM IN! haha
you got me so much in the mood i thought i was reading a friggin national geographic!
its soooooo goooooood
i love it

03 March 2005, 06:58 AM
Hey, thanks Robert...

I've always believed that the first step in realizm in fantasy is to create the background story... Tolkien got it right. I am working on the design of Atlantis right now and will hopefully have a decent low-rez digi-set to start figuring out what angles will look best for the ground based "shoot".

The other cameras will likely be a helecopter shot and a camera attached to the rocket itself. I'm buying the new Apollo 13 DVD tomorrow for some reference and may get some new ideas out of it... Space Cowboys prolly too.

The shot breakdown as of now is like this:

Establishing shot of Atlantis - Helecopter - Shows the coast of Equatorial Guinea in the distance.

Shot from the command center roof... Press style. I'll probably try to get some footage of people standing around and holding cameras... etc. to composite in. We'll see about that.

I may try to do a shot of the interior of the command center with all the C&C scientists scrambling around before launch... this is a long shot.

The shots inside the silo... above

The triple take of the launch above ground.

A shot riding along side the rocket as it soars away from Atlantis through the atmosphere and the boosters eject.

A similar shot facing the rear of the rocket, as the 1st stage main rocket fires.

A shot from the High-orbit station (Olympus) under construction, as the 1st stage main rocket ejects.

-- Cut to 18 hours out --

The retro rockets turn the ship and the 2nd stage main rocket fires to break and bring the rocket to an orbital speed.

-- Cut 10 min --

The retro rockets again turn the ship and the 2nd stage rocket ejects...

-- Cut 5 hours --

The ship enters orbit and on each pass launches a cargo lander from the cargo bay... we will watch the first lander (h2o container) touch down, and the last lander (housing module)... a few shots will be involved.

The final series of shots will be the cargo bay detaching from the crew module and the crew module landing.

The current asset list is:


High Rez Moon
Low Rez Moon
High Rez Earth
Low Rez Earth
Low Rez ECLOH Space Station
Atlantis Low Rez
Atlantis High Rez
West African Coast

Hawkings Class Rocket QTY 1
Dallas Class Lander QTY 1
Prague Class Lander QTY 2 (Deployed Base Only)

Oxygen Transport Container QTY 4
Water Transport Container QTY 2
Habitat Connector Module QTY 1
Habitat Airlock Module QTY 1
Solar Collector Transport Module QTY 3 (2 Deployed)
Habitat Crew Living Quarters Module QTY 1

Power & Communications Module QTY 1 (Deployed|Operational)
Transportaion/Tools Transport QTY 3 (Deployed)
Fuel Dispensing Module QTY 1 (Deployed|Operational)
Water Processing Module QTY 1 (Deployed|Operational)
Oxygen Processing Module QTY 1 (Deployed|Operational)
Fuel Transportation Module QTY 3 (Deployed|Operational)

Lander Guidance Nodes QTY ? (Deployed|Activated on arrival)

03 March 2005, 04:39 PM
Here's a early WIP on the Atlantis set... just a few hours work. There is about 90 more buildings and other stuff to come... not too much of it detailed.

A little more background on the tech, which will explain a bit of the set. The electricity needed to magnetically accellerate such heavy rockets is enormous... the primary means of generating this power is geothermal steam turning massive turbines... besides the deep silos, there is eighteen deeper, yet smaller holes lined with very thick steel. Nine of these holes connect the large water tanks to a basin at 6000m below sealevel, the other nine are vents that contain a spiral of large turbines (900 in all)... at launch time, the water is released sequentially into the basin and the heat of the Earth flash boils it forcing huge plumes of steam to blast through the vents... the sequential order creates a exponential surge of power that charges the large magnets in the silos to propel the rocket faster and faster towards the surface.

The water first has it's salt removed and is treated to remove all organic and hard mineral substance to provide longevity to the steel lined basin. The removed residue is shipped in large barges and actually has consumer value (of some sort, prolly cosmetics... some people will put anything on their bodies) so it is environmentally and economically friendly. :D

A few other notes... the Assembly hangars are connected to the silos by a heavy duty rail system... and there is a vast series of cargo/personal transporation subway tunnels under the surface designed to keep independant vehicle traffic on the surface to a minimum.

Also some may be curious about the observation ring... while that is its stated purpose... it's true purpose is to provide some level of security to the launch sector... which by it's nature needs to be isolated from the poulation, but secure from potential water based incursions... there will be "observation" towers around the perimeter of the island... and ofcourse there would have to be some sort of military protection around the region at all times... guess the "global war on terror" won't be over. (

03 March 2005, 05:09 PM
Wouldnt that mean your steam containers are over 200 meters long? and also the underground tunneling seams a bit too much for no reason

03 March 2005, 05:12 PM
Yep... lotsa water.

Edit: 6,816,146,392.32 liters per release tank

If the walls were paper thin... probably closer to 5,000,000,000 liters

03 March 2005, 05:21 PM
What do you mean by:

for no reason

Please clarify.

03 March 2005, 05:47 PM
well since there is no fire involved inthis type of launching (wich would explain underground tunneling for pretection) wouldnt that be the first thing the budgeters cut out due to excrutiatingly big sums of money
I can imagine a little golf cart moving in little tunnels underground for no reason when you could just have little service roads for simple transportation and since most of the building are above ground well wouldnt it simplify things anyways?

03 March 2005, 05:59 PM
Well, it's an entirely manmade island... mostly poured concrete and dug up bedrock from the deep holes, so all of the service ways and transportation tunnels would infact be very easy to engineer and implement... no drilling other than the silo and geothermal tunnels...

And there will certainly be above ground traffic, but the thought was that an electric mass transit system for the personel would be more cost effective and it being mostly underground would allow the most effective use of limited space... the use of a hefty industrial transportation system would also allow for safer transport of whatever hazardous materials that needed to be delivered to the construction, maintenance and assemble hangars...

But I agree, if this was not a manmade island... it would be an ineffective use of manpower/resources... particularly considering the recent human track record with massive tunnelling for transportation purposes (Boston Big Dig anyone?).

03 March 2005, 06:22 PM

well come to think of it if the main power lines run underground wich would make lots of sense cinsidering the tropical region it would be good to have regular transportation running along

i guess i stand corrected

03 March 2005, 06:26 PM
Hehe... keep calling me on anything that looks funny though... keep me honest and thinking. :D

Mmmm... 45,000,000,000 liters of tasty Evian water... mmm... mmm... mmm...

03 March 2005, 06:49 PM
UUhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh *eye's crossed*

03 March 2005, 07:01 PM
Sorry to cause such injury.

04 April 2005, 07:20 AM
Well lot's has happened to me in the last three weeks... this had to be pushed off into the distance as I need to scramble to get some shorter term projects done for portfolio use... so this may be shelved, it may just be delayed... grrrr. I really wanted to at least get a good shot blocking complete...

Later all

05 May 2005, 07:55 PM
The voting thread will be posted on the weekend....

(Sunday night, May 8th)
la la looking away.


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