A Space Cargo Transport[WIP]

So, I’ve been using blender now for about a month or so and finally decided to try my hand at modeling something more auspicious. Basically this all came about while working on a short story I’m writing and I hit a mental block when trying to envision the ship that is carrying the main character to mars. Basically he’s on a cargo transport, and while brain storming what the ship might look like, I came up with the idea of taking a sea bound container ship and putting it in space. Below is what I came up with.

It’s still in the early phase, but I came across the forums here and decided that I needed some feedback. Comments and Crits are encouraged.

And thank you in advance :slight_smile:



i take it that the transport is for fluids or gas - looks like pressure canisters along the bottom? do you need the huge box on the top for anything? structurally a space transport just needs to latch onto everything, so thinking about cargo trains, the cars are extremely simple with boxes put on top for easy loading. your ship could benefit from going in that direction i think. http://www.gossipgamers.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/eve-ships.jpg has great designs, i was thinking the iteron ships down the bottom - transport ships. hope thats useful for your ship, otherwise certainly you’re on your way to having a space ship

just found out i can’t link to an image yet, so my last post went into the ether.

i think that models going in the right direction, but i would suggest a few things.

it looks like its carrying gas or fluid. so that box on top looks out of place. a cargo carrying space ship doesn’t need a lot of superfluous bulk - think of a cargo train. its just the car beds which get loaded with containers. so for your ship i would suggest having a more skeletal structure linking all the gas pods - like what you’ve got as cages on the yellow pods. extend that idea to the rest of the framework.

The input is appreciated, they gave me an idea about an actual gas hauler that I may work on later. But I realized after reading your post that I forgot some of the “important” details about the ship design itself lol. Not to mention that the camera angle I used in the render doesn’t show the top “deck” of the ship.

Its actually going to end up as a container ship, similar in design to modern day sea fairing ships, hense the observation deck in the platform above the ship(i.e The Bridge). I still have yet to model the containers, but that will come later once I’m satisfied with the ship itself. The idea im going with right now, is that they use robotic “droids”(lol something else that I’ll need to model) to move the containers onto and off the ship, or if its hauling a big asteroid or something like that it can just disengage and thrust aft and down, but again that can all come later if i decide to animate this bad boy.

The pressure vessels below the ship in the first render are actually what are used to supply the ship i.e. The Yellow Tanks are the Argon Fuel for the VASIMR rockets that the ship uses as propulsion. (The story I’m writing is set in the not too distant future and from the research I’ve done it seems that VASIMR rockets using nuclear electric propulsion will allow for relatively “fast” travel from earth local space to mars space. It’s basically a “pre-warp” era.)

The Blue tanks are the H2O storage, after all we need water. :stuck_out_tongue:

and the Red and green are for Nitrogen and Oxygen.

The colors are just there mainly to give me some differentiation between the elements of the vessel as I set it up.

I hope that clears up what I have in mind, and again I really appreciate the input. After all that’s how things get better.

Below Is a render taken at a higher elevation relative to the ship to show where the containers will eventually be held.


that makes more sense then… wouldn’t your future people have good enough water recycling that they dont need large tanks of the stuff? it can’t be a big crew if all the loading is robotic…

I think it’s good. You should have LOTS of water. In case of “down time” with all your water recycling technology.

I like this a lot. It’s a good design and a good idea. I think there are more things you could do with it if you wanted to add stuff. Especially the robots. Maybe some thrusters… will it have external rockets or engines? Personally, I’ve always liked the idea of a “gravity ring”. You know like a HALO around the entire ship that stays in constant motion. It provides living quarters for the crew and it creates artificial gravity. People climb out to it from the middle of the ship (in zero gravity) and to their quarters or mess hall or an exercise room or whatever (in full gravity - 1.0g). Anyway, I’m not sure how big it would be, but if I were designing this ship I would wrap it around the observation tower area to keep it out of the way of the deck. Either that or put it behind the ship. To me, artificial gravity on a ship (think Star Wars or BSG) is something in the DISTANT future… not the “not-to-distant” future, you know?

Anyway, the design and idea you have is cool. It’ll be cool to see it progress.

@dvandamme: “wouldn’t your future people have good enough water recycling that they don’t need large tanks of the stuff? it can’t be a big crew if all the loading is robotic…”
Similar to what A_Roldan said, having alot of water is a) a “Just in Case” measure after all even with the best water reclamation systems we’ve developed so far, they are still plagued with issues. Take the one on the ISS for example, it broke down practically as soon as they installed it lol. b) The ship will be using nuclear power, so some of the water could be part of the cooling system for that.

@A_Roldan: I agree with your theory that artificial gravity similar to BSG or Star Wars is in the distant future, and wouldn’t be available to the people of the time line this is set in. I had started working on a version of this ship that used one but i scrapped it, mainly because I just couldn’t get it to look right in my eyes. However I envision that ships designed specifically for human transport would be using “rings” to simulate gravity, after all if your traveling wouldn’t ya rather travel in “style.” lol.

But in the case of this particular ship, its mainly a cargo vessel, and like the cargo vessels on the sea today, creature comforts wouldn’t be the best. I’m thinking that they use either a centrifuge somewhere inside the ship or resistance exercises similar to astronauts on the ISS today. They spend up to six months up there, with negligible to moderate bone mass loss and muscle loss, and this ship will basically be making runs to mars, which could be 40days or so.

As for the engines, they will be in the back of the ship on the lower protrusion, I just haven’t started working on them yet. I’ve mainly been working on the underside of the main deck, then was going to work my way around. There is still alot of work to be done. heh.:spin:

breathes Sorry for the long winded post :stuck_out_tongue: I should get a “real” update up sometime this weekend when I’m out of work. In the mean time, I threw some quick textures on it, to help differentiate things a bit. Thank you again to all for your input and crits, it’s keeping me motivated to finish this.


Yeah, keep at it for sure. I think it is a good design. I like the more “realistic” sci-fi stuff, you know?


Agreed, I feel the same way, tho I still appreciate the more out there scifi. But with the story I’m writing I’m trying to give it as much realism as possible with a “pinch” of made up science to get the job done. That’s where this ship fits in, enough realism to make it believable but that pinch of scifi to get it moving lol.

A small update, I’ve done some more modeling on the “cages” below deck. Im still not happy with the way I did the pipes, so I’ll probably work on those next. I’m hoping to get most of that at least mocked up my the end of the weekend before I go back to work. I removed the Main Hull in the SS’s Below for clarity’s sake >.< As always C&C’s are appreciated :slight_smile:


Textured the Tanks(Used a 1px swatch of the space shuttle external tank for it) and Added the beginning of the Engine baffles on the back of the ship. Also started messing around with the lighting a bit by changing the color to a light yellow/orange , and added the shadowing and some AO to light things up a bit better. It’ll have to do for now till i get better at lighting >.< Any pointers would be appreciated :eek:

Renders below:

  1. taken from below and starboard, mainly to get an idea of how the engine baffles look.
  2. taken from the main camera angle


Did some more modeling on the ship on sat. Added some details including the docking bay door, the radiators(fins off the back) for cooling the nuclear reactors, the beginning of the engines, and the bridge windows.

Turntable view available here:

Comments and Crits welcome :slight_smile:


Nice job on the textured model, it looks a lot better, I think the rear of the ship is needing more detail, the “tower” in the back needs something???

Not long ago someone was working on a submarine in space, I looked but couldn’t find the thread, you guys have a lot in common.

@N00BIE: First, thanks again for the kind words about the model I always appreciate the insight of others. As for what you said about that submarine I remember seeing that model a bit ago right after I found these forums, was looking good from what I remember. As to what you were saying I am planning on adding to the lower portion of the ship, just need to figure out which way to go with it. I’m going to be adding some greebling to some of the insets in the sides of the ship. I’ve been playing around with discombobulator seeing how the results match with the ship design, and I think i may have found the right settings for what I was looking for w/o having to model them all by hand. But for the moment, Im remodeling the truss support under the ship after I realized that 1/2 the poly count of the mesh was comprised of just that >.< Orig I used 32 sided cylinders, now only to realize that I could have gotten away with far fewer. But that’s why I’m doing this, to learn from my mistakes lol

Interesting project. I always find it amazing how much of a difference texturing makes, like when you switched from the red and green containers to the light brown. One thought I had though was to shape the large tanks like the ones the Space shuttle uses, they look very similar already. It always seemed like such a shame to let them just burn up after going to all the effort of hauling them into space.

I agree, they could be used to build stations in space, and nasa would deliver them to orbit they said. The problem is no one took the initiative to utilize this little known fact to their advantage. I suppose that its due to the cost of launch to orbit which is on the order of $10,000/kg I believe using current chemical rockets.

I agree, they could be used to build stations in space, and nasa would deliver them to orbit they said. The problem is no one took the initiative to utilize this little known fact to their advantage. I suppose that its due to the cost of launch to orbit which is on the order of $10,000/kg I believe using current chemical rockets. Still it is such a waste, but the main reason it burns up is because of when MECO(main engine cut off) happens in respect to where the shuttle is after launch. It makes it virtually impossible to recover the tanks.

wow you improved a lot from the first render to the textured one!

@wysiwyg: Thank you for the vote of confidence. Even tho I just started this project not long ago, I’ve learned alot along the way. Thou I know I still have a long way to go :stuck_out_tongue:

Minor Update: I’ve hit a bit of a “modelers block” so I decided having some cargo containers(they look like crap only because they’re place holders for now) might help get the juices flowing, by seeing the ship in its purpose. Also I didn’t like the orientation of the control tower so I rotated and centered it along the ships center. I tried adding some more detail to the ships exterior(mainly greebling(sp?)) but just couldn’t get it to look right. I know she’s missing something and I’m just looking for some input.
As always thank you and happy blendering :slight_smile:


I’d consider it far from done, but after working with this model for a while, and after all I’ve learned doing it. I realized that I have made alot of mistakes while doing it and ways certain things could have been done better. But that’s what this was all about, learning from my mistakes. I’ll probably return to this, and or start the whole thing over again lol. But for now I think im going to close the door on it.

Thank you for all the support of this noob :stuck_out_tongue:


Nice work!!! and nice design.