The pottery that fell from the shelves during the
earthquake was repaired or thrown away. The trees and debris from
Hurricane Irene was finally cleared from the property. The floods had
since receded. Now with some time, I grabbed the Mars Lander from the
shelf once again before another distraction comes along. I had a lot of
epoxying ahead of me. A hole was cut for the launch lug in the FAM,
RAM, RAM1, and RAM2 bulkheads. Each was then test fitted over the
parachute tube before being epoxied into the ascent module. The
instructions called for a 6” coupler in step 27 however this must be a
“left over” from the 1.5 kit as I only had a 7.5 coupler left. It was
epoxied into the large end of the ascent module.
Step 29 called for a CM bulkhead which I had none. The box of parts was
scoured but no CM was to be found. I came to the conclusion that this
was a misprint as well and the instructions really referred to RCM for
Rear Command Module. The RCM bulkhead was epoxied into the rear of the
command module, the DM bulkhead epoxied into the rear of the descent
module, the FEN bulkhead into the forward end of the engine shroud and
finally the REN bulkhead into the rear of the engine shroud. The
various shrouds were now complete.
The large 4-inch centering ring was test fitted over the engine tube.
The blind nuts were installed and the launch lugs areas marked and cut.
The instructions were followed but the location of the centering ring
is really a “look and feel” location so I hoped that it was correct and
epoxied the large centering ring in place. The remaining 7.5-inch
bulkhead’s position was marked in the descent stage and epoxied as well.
Another test fit of the legs was performed. The supplied rubber bands
used for the spring action legs kept breaking. I recognized that this
was going to be a problem and substituted springs. I used McMaster-Carr’s
and reshaped the hook end to make a tighter fit. The
springs seem to tension the legs just as well as the rubber bands.
The parachute tube was epoxied into the descent stage. The engine
shroud was fitted with slight adjustments made that allowed 3-inch
screws to pass through the shroud for bolting the aft bulkhead
together. These same screws will also act as a motor retention system.
The engine shroud and descent shroud were then epoxied to the aft
bulkhead. The aft bulkhead was sanded, primed, and painted.
The descent shroud was epoxied onto the parachute tube followed by the
command module. A hack saw was used to trim the remaining parachute
tube flush with the command module. The launch lug was also trimmed.
The remaining wrap-ons were cut and glued to the descent stage. The
antennas and antenna guards were glued to the ascent shroud. The entire
Mars Lander body was primed which revealed many imperfections.
The basic Mars Lander construction is almost completed. The
imperfections will take a while to touch up. Construction steps 27 – 43
have been checked off the list with the exception of step 41 which was
skipped until final flight simulations confirm the required nose
weight. Four steps and an initial flight remain. It is now Oktoberfest
time so once again the Mars Lander project goes back on the shelf. I am
hopeful that I can pick back up and complete final construction in