Vostok Launch (10.7MB)

This 2m46s animation simulates the launch of an R7 (Semyorka) booster with a Vostok capsule on top. This basic booster design - albeit with modifications - has been used for Russian launches from Sputnik to Soyuz, and still ferries people to the International Space Station some 50 years after it was first launched. The Vostok capsule was used for Yuri Gagarin's pioneering flight and the next 5 Vostok missions, and a very similar capsule was used for 2 Voskhod missions. I didn't model a cosmonaut...

This was a sort of test storyboard for a possible launch sequence in a feature film project on the USSR's early space efforts that has not yet got off the ground itself. As part of my research for the script, in 1998 I interviewed Gherman Titov, the second man to orbit the earth in one of these things.

The modelling of the landscape, the rocket, the gantry and the capsule was done in Bryce 5, as was the animation. The capsule shroud was done in Strata and imported. The animation ends with the capsule landing in the Planets puzzle, designed and built by my father in the 1950s and in which you have to shepherd a ball-bearing along a track - avoiding perilous holes - on a journey through the Solar System.