Spectacular orbital laboratory and tug are an inspirational glimpse of the future of space exploration

As much as I like a more fantastical spaceship design, like those seen in Star Wars or the Foundation series, the practical, near-future designs found in The Expanse, Interstellar, and Alien really thrill me, as they seem to offer a glimpse of what humanity might use to journey beyond our little spinning world. When I saw this spacecraft by Tom Loftus (Inthert) I was reminded of the command module and lunar landing craft used in many Apollo missions. There is something intimately believable about the construction of the main module, as well as the small detachable tug that would not look at all out of place in a museum of Space vehicles from some not-too-distant future.


The tug is designed to separate from the larger module in order to perform various tasks like recovering satellites from wayward orbits, like in this scene which seems to be the result of a minor collision.

Orbital Decay

The tug features four small maneuvering thrusters and four telescoping arms. The use of Minifig handles and a small gray part with a slight angle provide the connection points and look right out of a NASA or JPL fabrication plant.

Tug Boat 4

The module has a few smaller arms as well, along with external tanks (possibly water for thrusters) along with other great details like external airlocks for EVA and a reinforced forward viewport.

Orbital Laboratory Module

The model doesn’t just look amazing on the outside. Both the module and the tug have completely detailed interiors. Gold bucket handles make fantastic hand-holds, and there is even a beehive experiment underway.

Laboratory Module Interior

Tom also gives us a glimpse of some of the many interesting construction techniques used to give the tug such a clean geometric look.

Tug Boat Breakdown

3 comments on “Spectacular orbital laboratory and tug are an inspirational glimpse of the future of space exploration

  1. Roloff

    Incredible detail! Incredible NPU! Minion heads! Flippers! A break disc! Magnet holders! Olaf’s belly! Parts I really don’t recognise (the suction cups or whatever those ends are on the telescopic arms).

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