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Outbound:Courageous by Drell-7 Outbound:Courageous by Drell-7
A new piece in my "How the Solar System was Won" series.

The Courageous is outbound from the Earth-Moon system, on an exploration mission to the asteroid belt. Its low thrust, high efficiency ion engines produce only a few hundredths of a G of acceleration, but it can thrust continuously for weeks, unlike rocket engines. A nuclear reactor supplies the electricity for the ion drive, to allow operations far beyond the Earth's orbit, where solar cells can't provide enough power. The reactor counterbalances the Habitat module on the far end of the boom. The whole ship spins around the engine/hub module, to produce half a gee of centrifugal force to the habitat.

The design is based on a NASA study, but the details are mine.
Rendered and modeled in Lightwave, with post work in Photoshop CS3.
Thanks for taking a look!
Add a Comment:
beltminer Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2015
I always come back to this one, this is how it's done!
LiamKerrington Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
Nicely done!
beltminer Featured By Owner May 15, 2012
and there she is. quite simply one my all time favorite images. you've done a mans job sir!
Willpagan Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
Great picture. The detail is fantastic.
Eagle1Division Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Hah, interesting setup! Personally, I understand all the engineering, and physics and stuff, I just can't get past the fact it's intuitively flying sideways :XD:

I've said that before "as opposed to rocket engines", but later I realized that technically speaking, ion/plasmas/VASIMR, etc. ARE rocket engines :XD:

Anyways, I love how realistic you do stuff, I'm just looking through all your gallery now :)
CUTANGUS Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Very well engineered. Beautiful concept.
fluffninja Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2011
I love the design!
MarCusFX Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2010  Professional General Artist
Nice but lens flares don't go behind objects in real life :P
Drell-7 Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2010  Professional General Artist
Well, yeah. I did it both ways, and, ultimately, I thought this one was more visually satisfying. I'm kind of channeling one of my all-time favorite artists, Robert McCall, who used the flare behind objects to great dramatic effect.
MarCusFX Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2010  Professional General Artist
Well it certainly creates more contrast. Happy new year :)
Vanguard3000 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Cool idea, man!
steve-burg Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010  Professional Filmographer
Great! :D
If only... this could become real...
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010  Professional General Artist
Man, when you play in this series your passion truly shines. I really love this piece - everything about it! The design, the composition, the light. You GOTTA make this one into a print, bud! :D I remember when you first pointed me to this concept, back in the late eighties. I don't think I ever got a chance to incorporate it anywhere. But y'know, if I did there's no way it could be as good as this, anyway. Rock on, my Space Race Baby brethren!
karanua Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Seem to recall the NASA version being called the Ronald Reagan, surprising more people when depicting first stage exporation and colonisation don't use SEPS to drive their ships, ok in this case yours isn't solar elelectic but the engine remains the same even if its electricity supply differs. Great concept art. Just out of unterest whats the fuel your using for the ion drive?
GrahamTG Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Beautiful work.
Pwesty Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010
DAM! Thats good!
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Submitted on
October 27, 2010
Image Size
441 KB


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