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Space: 1999 Meta Probe
This is my LDD model of the Space: 1999 Meta Probe. It is built to minifig scale. As always, feel free to leave a comment if you like. You can also see larger images at my Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/118702264@N05. You can find PDF building instructions on my Etsy site: www.etsy.com/ca/shop/KurtsMOCs.
About this creation

The Meta Probe was only seen in the first episode “Breakaway.” It was intended to send two astronauts to the planet Meta. There is not a lot of information on the probe so what follows is my interpretation of the Space: 1999 spaceship based upon the episode dialogue and the sparse notes scattered across the internet.


Launching the Meta Probe was Commander Koenig’s first task as the Moonbase Alpha Commander. The planet Meta had an atmosphere and the unmanned Spacefarer 9 received signals indicating that Meta might be supporting life. There was no indication how far away the planet was or how long the trip would take.


According to Commissioner Simmonds, a virus infection was delaying the launch. Launching the probe overshadowed the emerging nuclear disaster that eventually broke the moon from Earth’s orbit. When the explosion occurred, the Space Dock where the probe was docked was destroyed. However, it was not clear if the probe was destroyed, but it is seen spinning out of the picture frame.


The Meta Probe was obviously designed for a long, interstellar journey. It had many of the classic Space: 1999 design features, including the iconic command module seen on the more prolific Eagle Transporter, but was also different in conception and construction. I’ll explain my design intentions for the spaceship in the images that follow.


When considering the design of the Meta Probe model, I was confronted with various options on how to render the cylindrical sections. I looked at Lego’s own round pieces and the assemblage of angle and curved bricks. In the end, I chose different approaches for different sections. The design of this element was crucial when trying to connect stud-to-stud pieces. Using the small cylinder blocks to join the rounded segments allowed me to devise a modular and connecting system. Ideally, I would have liked this to be completely enclosed but it is a compromise I had to live with to achieve the larger goal.


There is a modular approach evident in the design of the Meta Probe. Likewise, I also looked at breaking the design into modular systems in a way that seemed logical. I wanted to create a structural system onto which elements could be added or removed. For this part of the design, you can see the structural hub and how the four cylinders would be attached. The connecting element is attached to an extension using in the forward four cylinder clusters but not in the aft three cylinder clusters. I’ll come back to the cylinders later.


Habitation Module was one of the trickiest design elements. It looks simple enough but the organization of the interior proved to be quite challenging. For the exterior, I used an assembly of angled and curved bricks to achieve the cylindrical shape.


Based upon a few photographs of the original model, it was difficult to determine how the crew would enter the probe. Therefore, I decided to add an airlock to the Habitation Module. This would, in theory, allow the probe to dock with the Space Dock. Also, note the handle in the opening: these are placed to help the crew move through the ship in zero-gravity.


The Habitation Module is designed to include two self-contained sub-modules, housing equipment and private spaces, such as the lavatory, sick bay, and sleeping spaces. The central sub-module contains the living and work areas of the probe.


All throughout the Space: 1999 series, there is artificial gravity present that allows everyone to stand and walk in two-dimensions. I considered using this in my design but chose instead to have the spaceship devoid of artificial gravity. This allowed for more interesting design possibilities for the interior.


The interior space is oriented to four surfaces, each perpendicular to each other. If the crew is floating in space, then there is no “up” or “down” determined by gravity. This allowed me to place functional areas on all four surfaces. I imagine the flooring to be something with grip, like Velcro or something similar to the system seen in beginning of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” There are also evenly distributed handles and rails that the crew can grab onto.


From this perspective, you can see the computer workstation used to monitor the entire ship from one place. There are black relaxation seating located near the entry to each sleeping area. This provides a small area to read a book or relax. I also included two pieces of compact exercise equipment—a stationary bicycle and weight machine—that the crew would use to stay in shape in a weightless environment.


Located under and behind each black seat are vents for air circulation. In this view, you can also see the airlock and the grey rails used for stabilization.


This view shows the self-contained end sub-module that houses the lavatory (located on the bottom) and the sick bay (located at the top). The lavatory has a toilet, sink, and shower. I am not entirely sure how a shower would work in space, but at least there is space! The sick bay has a medical bed, overhead light source, and storage cabinets to the right. You can also see the module equipment located near the exterior of the module.


At the opposite end of the Habitation Module are the sleeping spaces. Located opposite each other, there is a bed, storage unit, and computer terminal. The central tube is part of the main circulation spine that runs the entire length of the probe.


With the exterior panels removed, you can see the module equipment. To attach the angled and curved bricks with the interior spaces, I used the 2x4 double-studded blocks. I turned them into module batteries and other equipment. The pipes and tubes come from the Four Cylinder Section storage tanks. More on that later…


In this cutaway, you can see how everything was intended to fit together. I liked the idea of using all the surfaces for particular activities and functions. I would expect that in a spaceship of this size, every square inch would have been utilized. I wanted to carry that same ethos over into my design.


The Engineering Modules are comprised of two separate sections joined together. I envisioned that each section housed specific equipment for each area of the probe.


The design of the module is similar in concept to the Habitation Module but smaller in scale. I use the now-familiar connecting unit to join the two together.


Underneath the panels are the module equipment and computers. I thought that each control unit might be a separate unit that could be added and removed as needed. Therefore, the design had to accommodate for this. In this image, you can see the orange-coloured environmental control computers and blue-coloured navigation/propulsion control computers on the top and the various other computer and control equipment slotted into the side. Again, I “dressed up” the functional connecting elements and made them part of the design.


As in the Habitation Module, all four surfaces are functional. I added rails and handles to help the crew situate themselves at whatever angle the needed.


The interior design of the Meta Probe is an extrapolation of other Space: 1999 designs and influences from other space environments, such as those seen in the ISS and movies such as “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Interstellar,” and “The Martian.” The design of the spaceships in these movies followed a similar design ethos and considered zero-gravity as part of their design strategy.


The panel section is comprised of a rotating module connected to two large solar-type panels. It’s never made clear if the panels generate electricity or used to dissipate heat from the probe’s nuclear engines. In either situation, the panels rotate for better exposure to light or to direct heat energy away from the spaceship.


Trying to get the central element of the Rotating Module to turn was tricky. I connected two gear turntable assemblies to become the stable base and then built a connecting surface to the turning gear, upon which the rest of the central element would be attached. This design allowed for a passage through the turning mechanism while providing full 360-degree rotation.


Once this was complete, I added two connecting plates to either side. This design worked surprisingly well.


The Command Module was derived from my original Eagle Transporter. I extended the rear of the module and added a connecting tube.


The Meta Probe had a structural element that held the Command Module in place. This is similar to the structural spine of the Eagle Transporter. When seen in relation to the rest of the probe, it appears incongruous but also in keeping with the Space: 1999 design language.


This section of the Meta Probe shows how all the disparate parts fit together. I envisioned that there would be one long spine of the spaceship through which the crew would travel. I placed doors at vital parts of the ship, just in case there was a breach and pressure loss in one part of the ship. The following images are close-ups of the various sections.


The Command Module is directly linked to the Habitation Module. In all of the connecting tubes are handrails that the crew can use to propel themselves through the weightless environment. In the Habitation Module, you can see the lavatory (blue door) and sickbay (red door) divided by the connecting tube. The eating area is above the airlock and followed by the crews sleeping spaces (green doors). Outside the entry to either crew spaces are exercise machines, with the stationary bicycle clearly in view.


The Four-Cylinder Section have airlock doors are either end. These cylinders are storage for food (orange), water (blue), and oxygen/nitrogen (red), meeting the basic human physiological and metabolic needs for space travel. Since the Meta Probe was expected to travel within the solar system, the need for extensive supplies was probably not necessary. I thought that food could be packaged and stored in these cylinders or that there was a way to continuously grow food in these containers. Water would be used and efficiently reclaimed and the oxygen/nitrogen could either be pressurized tanks or fitted with oxygen generators, making oxygen out of water. In this instance, the red cylinders would contain water instead of pressurized oxygen. Water could also be reclaimed by condensers removing water vapour from the module’s air. The Four Cylinder Section is connected to the propellant tanks by the Rotating Section.


The long tube running between the four massive propellant tanks connects the forward sections to the aft sections of the probe. Since it was unclear what the power source for the probe would be and the there were four large propellant tanks as part of the design, I had to assume that the engines were using either deuterium or hydrogen for fusion rocket propulsion or xenon or argon for an ion-type propulsion. Also, the Three Cylinder Section in the aft of the probe is probably more storage for oxygen/nitrogen (can never have enough!) and airlock doors.


The final sections of the Meta Probe are the Engineering Modules and the Reactor Module. There are two Engineering Modules: the first is for the ship’s environmental control systems and the second is the ship’s navigation and propulsion control systems. The last module is for the probes propulsion control and monitoring. Given the design and layout, I assumed that each rocket pod had its own engine. These could be fusion-type nuclear reactors or electric-ion engines. Clearly, the Probe needs to be capable of high-speed space travel, such as hundreds of kilometres per second, in order to reach the planet Meta at the edge of our solar system in a matter of months. Deciding on a method of propulsion is difficult!


So, there is my tour of the Meta Probe. I enjoyed exploring the original design of the spaceship and trying to imagine what each of the sections would contain.


The chief model maker Brian Johnson was renown for his realistic designs (at the time), especially for Space: 1999. His spaceship designs had a realism and logic to their appearance and construction. I tried to follow that intention in my own variation, although I did take influence from others as well!


Here, the Meta Probe glides past Saturn on its way to the unknown planet Meta in our solar system. Lets hope that the Meta Probe made it to its destination after all!


The Eagle Transporter, Meta Probe, and Mark IX Hawk. Thanks to the Space: 1999 Catacombs website for information on the Meta Probe and Wikipedia and NASA for information on living and travelling in space.



Comments

 I made it 
  November 29, 2016
Quoting Jeremy McCreary From sketchy online details to a thoroughly thought-out LEGO engineering tour de force, Kurt! Very impressive.
Thanks Jeremy! Building the Meta Prove was a process in logical deduction. It was fun and I hope I at least got the spirit of the design right.
 I like it 
  November 29, 2016
From sketchy online details to a thoroughly thought-out LEGO engineering tour de force, Kurt! Very impressive.
 I made it 
  November 18, 2016
Quoting BATOH rossi absolutely fantastic!
Thanks! I'm glad you like it!
 I like it 
  November 18, 2016
absolutely fantastic!
 I made it 
  November 18, 2016
Quoting Seaman SPb Excellent engineering work, Kurt!
Thanks Seaman!
 I made it 
  November 18, 2016
Quoting Gabor Pauler Whao, epic work Kurt, 100/5! I had the feeling I am looking REAL spacecraft because of the different engineering solution you used. Covering the turntables with casing was a great achievement. Want more, more of this!
Thanks fort your comments Gabor and I'm glad you like the model. Because of your epic engineering models, I almost emailed you about how to solve the turntable scenario. I'm relieved you like the solution!
 I like it 
  November 18, 2016
Excellent engineering work, Kurt!
 I like it 
  November 17, 2016
Whao, epic work Kurt, 100/5! I had the feeling I am looking REAL spacecraft because of the different engineering solution you used. Covering the turntables with casing was a great achievement. Want more, more of this!
 I made it 
  November 17, 2016
Quoting killswitch95 [SNRK] Epic... just when I thought I was making some nice spaceships you bust this out and knock me back down to size. Seriously though, good job, I don't know the series at all but the ship is really cool.
Thanks for your comments and I'm glad you like the model. Sorry for the perceived knock down; it wasn't intended! Keep on building!
 I like it 
  November 17, 2016
Epic... just when I thought I was making some nice spaceships you bust this out and knock me back down to size. Seriously though, good job, I don't know the series at all but the ship is really cool.
 I made it 
  November 17, 2016
Quoting Misa Nikolic Um, wow? Epic! I'll have to read this more carefully later.
Thanks Misa. Take your time have a good read. Enjoy the model and thanks for the support.
 I like it 
  November 17, 2016
Um, wow? Epic! I'll have to read this more carefully later.
 
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