Monday, July 11, 2011

Modeler for the Worlds Space Programs

Not every fourteen year old has an all consuming adolescent passion that can be turned into a full-time and profitable business. But some of us get lucky or are skilled enough to make it happen, despite the odds.

Astronaut Alan Bean with Nick Proach, who is holding the hammer used by Bean on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 12 mission in November 1969.
For Nick Proach, the current owner of British Columbia based Proach Models, it all started back in 1971 when he built a small scale model of the much larger Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (known then as the "moon buggy" after its strong resemblance to the high and wide wheeled Volkswagen "dune buggy" from the same period) which was to be used for the Apollo 15 mission from July 26th to August 7th, 1971 to help transport astronauts around the Moons surface.

He told reporters at the CTV Television Network (now a part of Bell Media) about his model and before he realized it he was building the entire Apollo 15 landing site in miniature for the network to use during their coverage of the moon mission.

CNN correspondent Myles O’Brien with Nick Proach and special guest Walter Cronkite during the CNN coverage of STS-95 in October 1998.
More projects followed and in 1994, he formed Proach Models to sell his models to news outlets looking to make space activities understandable to the population; museums dedicated to memorializing the glory days of space flight; corporations, space centers and government agencies looking to possess museum quality replicas of those early spacecraft and private collectors worldwide interested in highly detailed models of space hardware.

The 1/48th scale model ISS S1 Truss.
Two of his models have even gone into space.

A foot long, high-fidelity 1/48th scale model replica of an “S1 Truss (part of the keel structure) for the International Space Station (ISS), was flown to the ISS on the STS-112 mission, which lifted-off on October 7, 2002. The model was designed to help astronauts plot and plan their extra-vehicular activities (EVA’s), when hooking up the S1 truss to the other sections of the ISS. The Proach model was also used during an in-flight press conference to explain STS-112 mission details to the media and public.

The model Richard Garriott took to the ISS in 2008.
And video game entrepreneur Richard Garriott, took a tiny model of the Soyuz TMA spacecraft into space with him aboard the full sized Soyuz spacecraft he used in his self funded trip to the ISS in 2008. The model measures over an inch long and is approximately 1¼ inches across the solar panels.

Proach is also a space flight historian with a vast knowledge and library of records from all manned and unmanned spaceflights along with an extensive print and video library and takes time to keep up with developments in the aerospace field as a regular contributor in space-related magazines and periodicals.

He's also a promoter of aerospace education with a strong belief that manned space flight contributes positively to the economy and is the biggest single peace-time driver of technological advancement.

But mostly, Proach just likes to build the most historically accurate and highest detailed museum quality models possible and do his part to help chronicle an important piece of our history.

Anyone looking to learn more about his models should go to his web page at Tell him that you were referred by the Commercial Space blog.

A 1/48th museum quality scale model of the shuttle Discovery, available from Proach Models

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