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Biconic Space Capsule by alexthegreater Biconic Space Capsule by alexthegreater
Rough concept sketch for a re-usable biconic space capsule.

The Capsule has a roughly tetrahedral shape with a modular service block (MSB) consisting of an RCS thruster block, spherical fuel tank, torodial oxiadizer tank, and a reaction made out of batteries. These buses are modular and can be replaced either on the surface or in orbit if necessary. All four of them provide full rotation and translation in any direction, but only one is required for full rotation and single axis translation. In addition, the three aft MSBs have an OMS thruster, and the forward MSB has an RTG.

The "Bottom" face of the tetrahedron is a heat shield, and the aft face is open, containing a docking port/airlock, the OMS thrusters, and three waldo arms. There are also three flap control surfaces for maneuverability during re-entry. The "Top" edge of the tetrahedron contains windows, the emergency escape hatch, and a removable panel for accessing the forward MSB compartment (The aft MSBs can simply be pulled out the back)

Inside is the main pressure vessel with room for an undecided amount of crew (I drew 3 but I imagine between 2 and 4, still not sure) Since this thing re-enters nose first, I suppose it might make sense for the chairs to be reversible. Behind the main pressure vessel is the airlock which also serves as a cargo bay. The zero-G toilet and shower-bag is also stowed in here for privacy reasons.

In the back three waldo arms fold up along the aft vertices. These arms can be detached and function as autonomous robots, or linked up to each other to extend their length. All three of them combined is sufficient to reach the nose of the spacecraft, allowing them to inspect the heat shield in flight, or service the forward MSB.

I'm not quite sure how this thing lands. It might deploy a para-foil and retractable landing gear/skids to touch down on it's belly, or it might make a propulsive landing on it's tail dragon style. In either case, the emergency landing mode is a nose first water landing where parachutes and a skirt of float-bags deploy out of the tail. The capsule floats under the waterline to stabilize it. Because this is an emergency mode, the capsule could be waiting a long time for rescue.
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Submitted on
November 12, 2015
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