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DiamondBack Orbital Shuttle
The first single-stage-to-orbit manned vehicle that helped spurn the space rush.
About this creation
The first single-stage-to-orbit manned vehicle that helped spurn the space rush.

In the early days of the space rush, various companies were forced to use wasteful and inefficient vehicles to get workers and supplies into space. Multi-stage rockets and variations of the space shuttle were able to carry fairly large loads, but fitting them for regular passenger transport was haphazard and inefficient at best. Another problem was the need for massive launch pads and landing strips. Or, in many cases, recovery crews for water-bound landers. What was needed was a cheap, reliable, and safe way to get many workers into orbit in one trip.

The answer came in the form of the OTV-A1; the Orbital Transfer Vehicle All-in-One. This particular unit was named the DiamondBack.




It combined all the advantages of a VTOL aircraft, the capacity of a small passenger plane, and the reusability of the space shuttle. It also needed considerably less maintenance and pre-flight preparation than other rockets. In fact, it was essentially an airliner, save for a few important features:




This is the business end of the OTV-A1, and what makes it a space craft. When it debuted, the Thermoline Series-3 SSTO Engine had an unprecedented 2:1 thrust ratio. This was achieved by special pre-combustion chambers that reduced the overall size of the engine while making it more efficient. The main drawback to this is excessive heat, and it requires extensive radiators and heat-sinks to draw that thermal energy away from the passenger cabin. The plus side is this small craft could fly as high as the space shuttle (600 miles).

Now in quick succession, you'll see how the craft switches from space flight to landing mode.










And there you have it. The VTOL engine pods swing out and down, the landing gear extends, and the DiamondBack can make a slow descent to almost anywhere. No need for landing strips, just some reasonably flat and firm ground. Once there, it's relatively easy to service.



First, the engine pods can swing away from the body to make more room.



Down below, the hatches swing open to reveal the fuel tanks. What you can see is mostly the flow control and fill valves. With one tank on each side, the DiamondBack carries enough fuel to make two orbital flights before refueling, meaning it could land in an undeveloped area and still take off to return to home base.



The only hatch opens airline-style.



Inside, we can see the passenger compartment. It's not exactly luxurious and there's no restroom, but it's enough to carry 14 passengers to space and back safely.



The only crew is two pilots, who rely on instruments and digital displays to navigate. In the beginning of the OTV-A1's service, all onboard were required to wear full space suits. However as time passed and it's reliability was proven, it was cheaper to provide suits only for the pilots. The testament to this is that in more than 40 years of service, only one OTV-A1 was lost due to bad weather.




The OTV-A1 was designed to work at most existing airports, but it did need a special taxi vehicle to make it easier to move around.

If you've made it this far, you're probably wondering "If there's no launch pad or runway needed, then where and how does it launch into space?" It's quite simple.




First, it lifts straight up into the air, usually at least 500 ft for safety. The nose almost constantly points upward at an angle, putting it into it's most desired pre-ignition position. Once there, the landing gear retracts;




Then the main engine is fired, pushing the DiamondBack into a sharply curved upward path. Flight time to orbit varies based on how high it's going, but generally it's between 15 and 25 minutes.

*Notes!*
Some of you will recognize what this is based on; the Black Boa from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. I've wanted for awhile to make something similar to that ship, and this comes pretty close. The wing and landing gear layouts are not the same of course, nor is it nearly as big. For these reasons I didn't want to call it the Black Boa, but went with a similar, snake-derived name anyway. In any case, it was nice to make a purely civilian vehicle for a change, and I had fun making it. I hope you had fun looking at it and reading my babbling.



To see all the pictures, click on this link.

Thanks for visiting!



Comments

 I like it 
  March 27, 2012
Sweet, sweet build. All the moving parts are brilliant. Love the bottom of this MOC especially. Very creative. Looks like you can fit quite a few minifigs in there. Great job.
 I like it 
  October 19, 2011
Impressive Moc with a lot of details. Interesting shape and very good presentation.
 I like it 
  August 31, 2011
Erm....."searches dictionary".....speechless
 I like it 
  May 25, 2011
Its massive, cleverly built, and has loads of detail. Absolutely love this!
 I like it 
  March 1, 2011
That's an awesome ship. I was gonna say that it looked Aki Ross's ship from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
 I like it 
  October 5, 2010
Awesome piece of engineering! Great cockpit design.
 I like it 
  October 4, 2010
Insane model, just perfect.
 I like it 
  August 9, 2010
that thing is huge! I like the engines! check out my mocs!
 I made it 
  March 3, 2010
Quoting commander sidewinder hey Rags., I just finished reading the halo 3-part book series, and the final one, first strike, Dr.Hasly mentions CODE:Ragnarock, is that what your name is based after.
Actually, I wrote that book and I'm working on the next Halo game, HALO: Ragnar--- just kidding. It has nothing to do with any video games, I just liked the word 'ragnarock'.
Rags naRock
 I like it 
commander sidewinder
  February 25, 2010
hey Rags., I just finished reading the halo 3-part book series, and the final one, first strike, Dr.Hasly mentions CODE:Ragnarock, is that what your name is based after.
 I like it 
  February 2, 2010
I'm speechless a lot of work and thought went into the detail here! It's awesome!
 I like it 
  December 30, 2009
this thing is so awesome it makes me want to punch myself in the face.
 I like it 
  December 15, 2009
I can't help but laugh. I -just- saw that movie and the moment that I saw the shuttle I thought (Whoa! Someone better than me needs to make that out of LEGO!!!) You sir, have answered my call. In fact, you answered it before my call even occured! Your procognitory skills are astounding! Kudos to you on everything sir! Keep on building ~ Nowhereman
 I like it 
  November 13, 2009
Wow Wow Wow. thats all i can say. This is amazing. Id never be able to build anything like that. And i thought my ships were cool. This is (There are no words to describe it.awesome.
 I like it 
  October 22, 2009
Wow, I think I just passed out from the sheer awesomeness of this creation, my poor building skills are not worthy to be in the presence of this masterpiece...
 I made it 
  October 17, 2009
Quoting swash buckler Very good design indeed- looks kinda creepy but beautiful at the same time
Thank you! I really wanted it to be kinda simple and elegant, and from all the great comments I think I succeeded.
Quoting John Moffat Very, very good work. All sorts of playability elements to this, a great design (hehe, looks like a rabbit), and just an overall fantastic build.
You're right, it does kinda look like a rabbit with big swept-back ears. I also imagined pilots referring to it as a fat pigeon, since she's got a big belly and stubby wings.
 I like it 
  October 16, 2009
Very good design indeed- looks kinda creepy but beautiful at the same time
 I like it 
  October 15, 2009
I've never seen a more original and realistic spacecraft here on Mocapges, and that's saying a lot. Bravo my friend.
 I like it 
  October 15, 2009
Very, very good work. All sorts of playability elements to this, a great design (hehe, looks like a rabbit), and just an overall fantastic build.
 I like it 
  October 15, 2009
Wow! I really like it. Good use of angled bricks to give shape to this Shuttle. You really did a good job.
 I like it 
  October 14, 2009
Gimme, gimme, GIMME!! Argh, that is awesome!! I love the angles on the cockpit!
 I like it 
  October 14, 2009
REALLY GOOD WOW
Rags naRock
 I like it 
yeshe jurgaitis
  October 13, 2009
that is the coolest lego ship i have seen in my LIFE!!!
 I like it 
  October 13, 2009
fantastic all around, and especially the shot of the belly you took with the ship upside down. Very clever
 I like it 
  October 12, 2009
Excellent. This ship has endless details. You think on everything!
 I made it 
  October 12, 2009
Quoting Justin Sanders You beat me to it! I wanted to build that same ship! You did an excellent version of it yourself!
You can always go bigger! I wanted to include all the details the movie had, but started out too small. It's probably a good thing though, those engine pods/landing struts gave me a headache even at this scale.
Quoting Jason Dominguez First I want to say that this is a fantastically gorgeous MOC. The Idea is very sound, though I don't know if I would put the fuel tanks on the bottom like that, but that's merely a preference and detracts absolutely nothing from such an awesome design. Great work!
Personally I wouldn't put them there either, but they had to go somewhere. Lets just pray those advanced heat-resistant materials are up to the job!
  October 12, 2009
This kind of reminds me of the ship from the first Final Fantasy movie "Black Boa." Anyway if you wouldn't mind, would you take a look at the A.M.S.C. ships? Thanks in advance. http://www.mocpages.com/mocs.php?id=15640
 I like it 
  October 11, 2009
First I want to say that this is a fantastically gorgeous MOC. The Idea is very sound, though I don't know if I would put the fuel tanks on the bottom like that, but that's merely a preference and detracts absolutely nothing from such an awesome design. Great work!
 I like it 
  October 11, 2009
This MOC is amazing! Reading your comments and comparing it to the current space shuttles makes it seem so real, like it could actually exist. Very well though out and built!
 I like it 
  October 11, 2009
cool
 I like it 
  October 10, 2009
You beat me to it! I wanted to build that same ship! You did an excellent version of it yourself!
 I like it 
  October 10, 2009
You are a master of playability! Great job!
 I like it 
  October 10, 2009
Wow! Just... Just... Just amazing! Very nice angles, shape, detail... Just amazing. Good day
 I like it 
  October 10, 2009
Great work! Love the greeblies! This has a really nice shape!
 I like it 
  October 10, 2009
Hey man this is great! I love the gear design and the modular engine/landing strut things. Fantastic design.
 I like it 
  October 10, 2009
Very reminiscent of the shuttle from "Spirits Within", but hey, that was just your inspiration. That aside, this is a spectacular MOC. Great work on the landing gear, I love that. And there are many other bits and bobs that I would love to shout about, but let's just say it is one nifty build!
 I like it 
  October 10, 2009
That beast is BEAST!!!
 I like it 
  October 10, 2009
This really does look like a direct descendant of the current NASA shuttles, and because of that I think this is a great MOC.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
Great work! Love how it changes for landing mode and the detail is other-worldly.~H
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
really nice. it reminds of something from an anime but i can't put my finger on which anime.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
Well, I am just blown away with this! Impressive is not a big enough word for how cool this ship is! You have outdone yourself yet again here. Congratulations! ~ Chris.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
This is A M A Z I N G! The shape is very unique andthe details packed in one on top of the next are stunning.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
Just plain sick.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
I have to hand it to you, that is the most well designed, and complicated, landing gear system I've ever seen. Nice job, very well detailed, similar to the Black Boa without being the same. Bonus points for the special tractor.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
This is a beautiful ship. I love how you sell off complete science fiction in a way that looks like it could be made today ;) There are some lovely details on the outside that make it look like it's related to something that NASA would build, and it's great that you also made an interior. There are so many things that can move or open, and that's another thing I like about this ship. I only think the engines folding into a landing gear is a bit silly, but nontheless a (rare) 5 stars from me.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
The color scheme is classic, but in a good way : it really allows to look better at this fantastic and original shape ! The numerous features and details are impressive. The presentation is excellent too. My favorite part is the cockpit design, very clever and beautiful. All in all, an awesome MOC, I'll look forward for your next creations !
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
cool this is really detailed please comment on this http://mocpages.com/moc.php/157606
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
O.o My God! This is amazing! I new instantly it was based off the Black Boa when I saw the engine pod landing gear. The Spirits Within is my favorite movie! I love everything about this build. All the little details are mind blowing. Excellent Job!
 I made it 
  October 9, 2009
Quoting Areetsa C So this is what you've been working on, is it?
For the last month or two, yup.
Quoting Sput N!k This is very insane and very attractive. I can totally see this being produced in 50 years!
That's what I was hoping for!
Quoting Someone _ Wow. It is not often you see such a beutiful ship that is just as awsome and realistic at the same time. I love all the details such as the landing gear and fuel tanks. Keep on mocing.
Thank you, and thanks to everyone else too! I'm glad you like it, I had fun making it.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
Great stuff - I love the way that it's been thought out and fantastic execution, both in greebling and in the movable parts.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
This is the epitomous of SNOT, and the thruster is a Greeble Glory! At 1st glance it's even hard to tell it's LEGO.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
So this is what you've been working on, is it?
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
This is very insane and very attractive. I can totally see this being produced in 50 years!
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
Wow. It is not often you see such a beutiful ship that is just as awsome and realistic at the same time. I love all the details such as the landing gear and fuel tanks. Keep on mocing.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
That was a fun read! Amazing, realistic details Rags, and all in such an aesthetically pleasing package. I loved the pic with the mechanic working on the exposed engine, such a cool detail. Great work all around!
 I made it 
  October 9, 2009
Wow, you guys are fast! Thanks for the comments!
  October 9, 2009
Great build and walkthrough of the features. Probably my favorite bit is the extending "wings" and your mention of the missing bathroom. Again, well done.
 I like it 
  October 9, 2009
Woah! That's intense! Killer MOC and presentation! I'll take a thesis for me to mention everything I admire in this creation. So, in summary, AWESOME!
 
By Rags naRock
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Added October 9, 2009
 


LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop DiamondBack Orbital ShuttleNASA shuttles


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