Helping out in those mentioned "other ways"


Yeah - let’s.
Meanwhile, here’s the same draft in it’s “original” resolution:


I signed up for this when it first launched, then got completely swamped with work on my website, so I didn’t come back.

I’m like Tanner, I do 3d modeling on various things space-related (mostly rockets and astronuclear designs, but other stuff as well). Sadly, my laptop isn’t really up for heavy-duty rendering, but on the modeling/texturing/etc side of things I can definitely help out for some stuff.

Example of something I put together a couple months ago: the YD-21 engine (first stage for the Long March 2/3/4, with basically the same engine used for most UDMH/N2O4 stages)


Awesome work Strati.

@Strati: If I understood Bens “brief” correctly, we’re talking about modeling a few of the major rockets in a yet to determined level of detail. For the moment, let’s say four. E.g. Falcon 9, Long March, Soyuz, Ariane.
Texturing, lighting and animation is my favorite part in the pipeline.
If yours is modeling and texturing, I think we could very well complement each other.

@Bencredible: I’m concerned about shelf life. The more specific we make it, the faster the animation will seem outdated. (E.g. if we would have done the animation a few months ago with the F9 block 4, the animation would be outdated already).
I’m not entirely happy with the idea of making a generic, non-existing/fictitious rocket, but that would solve that specific problem at least. What do you think?
It would probably make sense to skype at some point. Seems easier.


@tanner Most rockets don’t change that much. Falcon is a bit of the odd duck out, and even then the changes between Block 4 and Block 5 visually would just be a new texture bump on the interstage and landing legs.

I think I would like to use it as an educational tool above and beyond just looking cool. If we move the LaunchMinute info to the right or left, that gives us a lot more room to play with. Then we can show an animation of the rocket, have it break in to its individual pieces, and maybe call out key elements like the different stages, number of engines, fuel/ox used on each stage, etc.


If you’re just looking at the body of the rocket, and not anything in the engines besides the bell, modelling them is dirt easy, assuming you can find information on them. Here’s a source I LOVE to use (which I only found after a lot of especially geeky Google searching until the algorithm finally gave up on pop info sites for me): B14643 Internet Presentation to Space Launch Vehicles - Description, Design, Propulsion, Photo Gallery, Launch History, Versions

@tanner what program do you use? What file type would be helpful for you? I’m using Blender. Basic UV unwrapping, simple PBR textures, etc are something that I can do fairly easily and simply, but I’ve never done single-model collaboration before so there could be some hiccups.

I’ve got high-poly CZ (Long March) 2, 3, and 4 first stages done, as well as second stages. If you just want the casings, with no UV unwrapping or textures, I could do that fairly easily in a couple days. Adding internal tanks is only a little bit harder - but texturing them to be able to be transparent is a challenge. A recent attempt (at about 4x speed to save my poor computer, with a random background) at doing that.

I’ve got the second stage modeled to the same point, and the boosters would only take a couple hours to get to that point. The third stage just changed, though, so I haven’t started on that yet.

Long story short, rockets are tubes with little fiddly bits that are easy to make look decent. I could probably do the Falcon 9 relatively easily, with the number of orthographic drawings available (although having good scale drawings, both with legs closed and extended, possibly with some amount of internal structures if you want cutaways), Soyuz should be fairly easy as well. I haven’t seen many easy-to-model A-6 drawings that are to scale, which makes that one a bit harder. And the Chinese are launching a kitchen sink one week and a bathroom sink the next, sometimes with the same p-trap installed, so it’s really a matter of modeling the different stages and mixing and matching… although they just announced the CZ-8 and -9, so it’ll get even worse.


Cinema 4D. Alembic, FBX or (if you wanna go old school) OBJ? C4D finally got a decent OBJ-Importer last year. Just in time :slight_smile:

At this point in my career, I would be concerned if there wheren’t any hiccups.

If you have most parts of the CZ done already, (awesome btw), we could start with that.
According to Bens brief, we need to show its inner workings to a degree, so that detailing should come in handy.
I have to confess I’m not entirely sure what you meant by “texturing them to be able to be transparent is a challenge”. I never had any issues to cut through parts of a model by using boolean operators at the render stage. I’m probably missing something. Anyways, I’d love to play around with your model. Double entendre - damn it.
I’d also be happy to take care of rendering.

@Bencredible: I guess it would make most sense to have a script first. Something like this:

  • Wide Shot of the whole rocket. Combustion in progress. 4 sec.
  • Close Up of the lower third of the rocket. Outer shell of the rocket fades away, showing the engine and nozzle only. Combustion still in progress. 5 sec.
  • Camera tracks back. Fade in of the LH2 tank. Showing tank, engine and nozzle. 5 sec, etc.

I’m just starting to learn fluid simulation rendering. Showing stuff like proper looking combustion, water vapor plumes at take off or fuel moving through pipes might not be possible - but I’m will to give it a try.


Some decent orthographics of Falcon family rockets:


OK, I’ve got the first and second stages of the N2O4/UDMH rockets done, with the boosters for the CZ-2, 3, and 4 almost done as well. The third stage doesn’t have an engine model yet (and the structure is just sketched in), but I can get that done in a relatively short time. These are VERY high poly models, though… IIRC they’re about 1m poly for each stage. Most of that is the engine, though… so if I can do a low poly “engine bell, combustion chamber, pumps, and that’s it” model of the engines - which wouldn’t take me long at all to do - I could get the -3 done on Thursday or Friday this week. The -2 and -4 are very similar so that shouldn’t be difficult either… and that’s the majority of Chinese launches these days.

I can get them ready to send over day after tomorrow as .obj, but I don’t think UV unwrapping will export (I’ll send the first stage over unwrapped, and we can see).


Here you go, I did it as .abc, but we can change that as needed.

This SHOULD be UV unwrapped and textured. I packed the files into the .blend, but I don’t know if they EXPORT packed as well… we’ll just have to see, I guess.

These stages are common between the CZ-2, -3, and -4, with minor changes to fin structure (some do have them, some don’t some are longer than others). Just first and second stages so far.

Feel free to shoot me an email at, and we can figure out what the kinks are and how to work through them. I figure adding @Bencredible and @SpaceMike o the email loop would probably be a good idea as well.


Hey Strati
Have you received my E-Mail? Haven’t heard from you - so I thought I should check in.
(Basically I was asking for an FBX or OBJ file because I couldn’t open the ABC).


There must be some creative TMRO citizens out there who make crafts like pottery and jewelry etc. Perhaps make something unique but with a TMRO flare and contribute a portion to TMRO.


I’m a photographer who loves to do astrophotography, landscapes, portraits or anything! . If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know at any point!


Citizen science stuff always needs volunteers


hi @tanner! I am new here as well. Looking forward to your posts :smile:


haahahaha :joy: poor @Tobi_Foong. I’m just a storyboard artist that is getting started learning on blender. I must say this would be awesome to see animated! Only animation I’ve seen try to show this phenomena is a 2d anime called cowboy bebop.