Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sky Crane

Before the colonies became self sufficient, cargo ships called Sky Cranes delivered supplies, equipment, and habitation to the surface of Mars. The Sky Cranes carry a chain of cargo cylinders to martian orbit. Once in orbit, an inflatable aero-shield is deployed to protect the cargo and the ship as it enters the atmosphere. Following this, the aero shield is detached, and the three main engines of the Sky Crane slow the ship to a hover above the planet's surface. This allows each cargo cylinder to be lowered to the ground one after the other.  Once each cylinder is on the ground, the Sky Crane lands so it can be refueled.

ABOVE- The first rendering shows the Sky Crane without any cargo cylinders. The second rendering shows the Sky Crane with cargo cylinders and the aero shield deployed for atmospheric entry. The third rendering shows the Sky Crane in its resting position on the ground.

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