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Recent Updates

New Artwork

SpaceX Falcon Family of Rockets Illustration Updated

Illustration of SpaceX Falcon rockets.
SpaceX Falcon Rockets
(View Larger Version)

I have added the Falcon 9 Block-5 to the Falcon rockets graphic.

Posted 15 May 2018

SpaceX Falcon Heavy illustration

Falcon Heavy

Illustration showing comparison of Falcon Heavy and Space Shuttle.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy and Space Shuttle comparison.
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The Falcon Heavy is a heavy-lift launch vehicle based on Falcon 9 technology. The rocket features a modified Falcon 9 first stage, with two additional stages used as strap-on boosters. The second stage and fairing is similar to those used on the existing Falcon 9.

For most payloads, the three booster stages will be recoverable.

First Test Flight

The first Falcon Heavy test flight was flown on 6 Feb 2018. The successful mission was launched from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center and placed the payload, a Tesla roadster, into a heliocentric orbit with an aphelion beyond the orbit of Mars. Attempts were made to recover all three boosters. Each of the side boosters returned to successful landings at Cape Canaveral. The planned core stage landing, on a barge at sea, failed. Both side boosters were making their 2nd flight, each having launched payloads on previous missions.

Future Uses

Future payloads may include large communications satellites, Department of Defense payloads, and interplanetary missions.

Posted 7 February 2018

New Artwork

Chinese Space Launcher Graphic Updated

Illustration of Chinese rockets.
Chinese Rockets
(View Larger Version)

The Chinese rockets graphic has been updated to include the Long March 5 (CZ-5) rocket. The CZ-5 flew a successful inaugural mission in late 2016. The second CZ-5 mission, launched in 2017, was a failure.

Mars Missions Graphic Updated

Mars probe comparison chart
Comparison of several Mars probes.
(View Larger Version)

I have updated the "Mars Probes" graphic to include several recent missions, including the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission, the European Trace Gas Orbiter, and the Schiaparelli lander missions.

Posted 27 November 2017

New Shepard Suborbital Rocket

Designed, built, and operated by Blue Origin, the New Shepard is a space vehicle designed to transport both passengers and scientific payloads into space. The vehicle is comprised of a rocket and a capsule, with both components being reusable.

The capsule and rocket separate after engine cut-off and land separately. The rocket, free falling most of the way, re-lights its engine to reduce velocity as it approaches the ground and makes a vertical landing on deployable landing gear.

The capsule separates from the rocket at high altitude and descends under parachutes. An instant before landing, retro-rockets fire to further reduce the capsules touchdown speed.

The first New Shepard passenger flights could occur in 2018.

More information can be found at Blue Origin's website.

New Shepard Photos

New Shepard Suborbital Rocket on display at EAA Airventure. (Photos: Richard Kruse, 2017)

New Shepard rocket. New Shepard rocket. New Shepard rocket. New Shepard rocket. New Shepard rocket.
New Shepard rocket closeup. New Shepard rocket closeup. New Shepard rocket closeup. New Shepard rocket closeup. New Shepard rocket closeup.

Posted 30 September 2017

Interactive ISS Visiting Vehicle Illustration Tool

Since starting HistoricSpacecraft.com, I have fulfilled a great many art use requests for space related magazines, websites, and other publications. One illustration in particular, a diagram showing six spacecraft docked to the ISS in 2011, has received a lot of interest. The artwork appeared in several magazines, scientific papers, and museum displays (Including an exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum). I have also learned that versions of the artwork are being used in documents at NASA.

I decided to create a simple web app that allows users to easily create similar diagrams reflecting different arrangements of spacecraft at the space station. A link to the app is now included in the left-side navigation menu as "ISS Vehicles" under "Interactive Features".


The following sample illustrations were created using the app.

Space Station Visiting Vehicles
Sample visiting vehicles graphic.
(View Larger Version)
Space Station Visiting Vehicles
Sample visiting vehicles graphic.
(View Larger Version)
Space Station Visiting Vehicles
Sample visiting vehicles graphic.
(View Larger Version)

Posted 5 Sept 2016

Titan Rocket Posters Available for Sale

I've had many requests over the years to make more of my artwork available for purchase in poster format. I recently added a Titan rockets poster to the Historic Spacecraft Store at CafePress. The poster includes 15 Titan missiles and space launchers and is available in three styles, a poster, a framed print, and a banner.

Titan rockets poster for sale. Titan rockets framed print for sale. Titan rockets banner for sale.

Posted 12 Aug 2016

Chinese Long March 6 and 7 Rockets Added

Illustration of Chinese rockets.
Chinese Rockets
(View Larger Version)

China is in the process of modernizing much of its space-launcher capabilities. The new rockets being designed and introduced are more environmentally friendly than previous versions. While existing Chinese launchers generally used toxic hypergolic propellents, the new designs use kerosene or hydrogen as fuel for the first and second stages.

Three new families of rockets are currently being introduced. The CZ-6 small payload launcher first flew in 2015, the CZ-7 medium lift rocket flew in June of this year, and the CZ-5 heavy lift rocket is scheduled to fly later this year.

The Chinese Long March rockets graphic has been updated to include Long March 6 and 7. I have also added entries for the new rockets on the Chinese rockets page.

Chinese CZ-6 rocket illustration Chinese CZ-7 rocket illustration

Posted 3 July 2016

SpaceX Rocket Illustrations Updated

I've updated many of the Falcon rocket graphics on the SpaceX rockets page.

Falcon 1 illustration Falcon 9 illustration Falcon 9 version 1.1 illustration Falcon 9 1.1 with Dragon illustration Falcon 9 FT with payload fairing Falcon 9 FT with Dragon illustration 1.8 Meter Human Figure Falcon 9 Grasshopper test vehicle Falcon 9R test vehicle Recovered Falcon 9 FT artwork

Falcon 9 First Stage Landing Tests.
First Stage Recovery Tests
Left to right, Grasshopper, Falcon 9R, Falcon 9FT launch configuration and after recovery.
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SpaceX Rocket Landing Test Vehicles

I've added a graphic to the SpaceX rockets page showing Grasshopper, Falcon 9R and Falcon 9FT rockets.

Posted 19 June 2016

ISS Visiting Vehicle Graphics

Comparison of several ISS supply vehicles.
Comparison of ISS Crew and Cargo Vehicles
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Space Station Visiting Vehicles
Visiting Vehicles at the ISS on 10 April 2016.
(View Larger Version)

I have added two new graphics. One showing the current configuration of visiting vehicles at the International Space Station, and another that shows ISS crew and cargo vehicles.

Posted 10 April 2016

About Historic Spacecraft

I started Historic Spacecraft in 2006. The initial goal was to host several hundred photos of space hardware from my collection. I later started to create illustrations for many spacecraft and rockets. Hopefully, this website will provide a valuable resource to space modelers and space exploration historians.

Historic Spacecraft currently has around 7,500 visitors per month. As of January 2014, the website includes over 1500 photographs and over 500 original illustrations.

I have an online store at CafePress. Sales from the products help support this website. If you think this website is worthwhile, consider making a small contribution via Paypal. All help is greatly appreciated!

Richard Kruse
Webmaster, HistoricSpacecraft.com

© Richard Kruse, 2006 - 2017 except where otherwise noted.
This document last modified Tuesday, 15-May-2018 18:49:38 EDT.

Historic Spacecraft Store

Books and Videos About Space Exploration

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

A Vision of the Human Future in Space
by Carl Sagan.

Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

Pale Blue Dot
by Carl Sagan.

Apollo book by Murray and Cox book

By Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox.

Failure is not an option book

Failure Is Not an Option
Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond, By Gene Kranz.

Movies about Apollo and Gemini rockets.

Spacecraft Films Wave 1 Megapack
(Apollo 11 / Apollo 8 / The Mighty Saturns / Project Gemini)

Video about Saturn rockets.

The Mighty Saturns
Saturn I and IB
Spacecraft Films.