NASA Internship:
3d Modeling of early spacecraft

I am incredibly honored to have been hired as a NASA intern at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt MD for two years. I was tasked with the recreation of spacecraft Mars-1 and the Surveyor Landers for the NSSDCA.


Scroll to continue reading of my process over my two years as a NASA Intern.

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These two are later renders done a few months after the end of  my first summer internship

Mars-1 or Mars 2MV-4 was a soviet orbiter sent to image Mars in 1963. Due to the failure of its orientation system, it was not able to successfully image and transmit back to Earth. The only images NASA had that were public domain were older black and white images. I researched and then modeled the now public domain image of MARS-1 on the NSSDCA under the supervision of Mr. Jay Friedlander and Dr. David Williams. 

I had never used blender before this, so you can imagine the learning process I began in my 3 month internship. These are some progress shots that document my journey of trial and error.

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I fell in love with 3D modeling during this internship, and continue to use blender because of it. I was more than happy to come back for my second year to continue 3D modeling for NASA. The Images below are the final renders from my internship, and the right one is currently in use on the NSSDCA website and is public domain.

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I am currently in process of modeling these craft, using Surveyor 3 as a baseline. The Surveyor lunar landers were the first US spacecraft to make soft landings on the moon, sent to measure the lunar surface for the safety of manned spacecraft like the Apollo missions. Lasting from May 1966 to January 1968.


The research process for Surveyor was a little different than Mars-1, predominantly due to its importance in US history and the accessible texts on the subject. The components are more numerous and complicated as opposed to the predominantly simple shapes of Mars-1. The Surveyor model took just under 100 hours as opposed to the 120 work hours of Mars-1 thanks to my experience and comfort with Blender.

I got the opportunity during this round to present my work to the rest of the Planetary Science division, code 690. My slides from that presentation can be viewed below.