When designing a space capsule that is both safe, lightweight and actually possible for us to build, it is important to break the capsule down in sub-systems. This makes it possible to maintain the overall picture of what needs to be designed and in what order, and what influence the different systems have on each other.
The first capsule we build will be a so called boilerplate model of the pressure hull made in steel. The advantage of using steel is that it’s fairly cheap and easy to work with. We will use the first iteration to experiment with the position of the astronaut, including the position and design of seat, hatch and porthole.
Another thing that we can use a sturdy and rigid model is to perform drop tests, to evaluate different deformation structures. These will reduce the shock effect on the astronaut when the capsule has the splashdown when landing.
When we get a bit further in the design process we will begin to add more of the identified systems to the boiler plate model. This gives us a good starting point for the next iteration, where we will look into the right materials and manufacturing processes.
Below is a selection of photos from when we started on the boilerplate model: