3-D Modeling Tech Committee
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Function, Goals, and Tasks for the 3DTC

The way the relationship between the 3-D Modeling Technical Committee and Project Teams was originally concieved is that we'd have product teams to do conceptual design for each of the major spacecraft. The 3D committee would be rendering the ideas the design teams came up with. 3D would provide feedback to the design teams about what works and what doesn't, as well as coming up with the pretty pictures and models for movies and such.

The way it's working out, however, is that a few people are giving the technical details instead of all of those product teams and lots of folks are doing the renderings. So far this is working out pretty well for getting a rather detailed conceptual design together.

It is anyone's guess how far we can go with this informal organizational process. A lot depends on how far the 3D committee members want to take it. We might even get down to the detailed bracketry, as long as the primary informants still get information from experienced spacecraft designers to make sure we're not following a blind alley. To do serious structural design, we'll need some hands-on experts on spacecraft structures, thermal analysis, materials and processes, electrical systems, manufacturing, and lots of other topics. We might luck out and find folks to volunteer to do these things; or we might have to wait until we've got the money to pay for it.

So who knows? Maybe we can hand over a 90% complete design to a spaceship factory, and just have them do the final check, fix the fiddly details, and start cutting metal. That would be great. The farther we can take this the way we're doing it, the more we lower our up-front cost for the space mission and the faster we get there.

Sooner or later we'll need to pay some folks to take care of final design. Think of all the wires running around inside the spaceships -- besides needing to know the type and size of wire needed, we need experts on what materials are acceptable to use in the environment (outgassing from insulation is an issue inside; tolerance to temperature, ultraviolet, and meteroids are issues outside). We'll probably run out of the man-hours we could expect from volunteers to do this kind of work, especially since it's difficult to turn that kind of analysis into a commercial product, to pay the volunteers with. People have to eat, including engineers.

Another thing that could push the design effort into paid work is the need to use a common modeling system. Unigraphics is the best there is, but not many of us home hobbyists can afford the workstations, much less a license for the UG software.

So, once we have nice models of the conceptual design for the reference mission, it might be better use of the 3D committee's time to go on to designing concepts for the lunar base at various stages of its growth, the Luna City Hotel, the Overmyer Aerodrome, Mars missions launched from the moon, the robotic precursor missions, power stations on the moon, mining equipment, mass launchers, and even space colonies.

In essence, the 3D modeling technical committee provides a forum for everyone working on nifty renderings to share information and data. One important job is to keep track of what's not being worked on, for assignments to volunteers.

3-D Modeling Tech Committee

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