In this post, I wanted to share how the Smithsonian Institution Digitization Program Office scanned the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, in high, high resolution — like tens of thousands of 50 megapixel images as well as hundreds of laser scans.
From an article in Forbes by TJ McCue.
For the technical reader: Smithsonian 3D Digitization Office, Branch Manager, Vincent Rossi explained how they did it: “We used a Surphaser laser scanner, Z+F laser scanner, and Canon 5DsR with mounted ring-flashes for photogrammetry capture all processed in REALITYCAPTURE software. Both the laser scans and the photogrammetry were processed into the final model. As you can see from some of the pics and videos we did some shots from the ground (for the heat shield and lower sides of shuttle) but a lot of the imagery and scans were captured from big cherry pickers.”
All that scanning pays off: You can zoom in to see the tile serial numbers or look up into the wheel well. The scans and processing work is so detailed and well done that you can see the safety flags and read the warning labels on them in those wheel wells. 3D Scanning is intense and challenging work and it was generously supported by Meredith Siegfried Madden and Dr. Peter Madden who wanted to help make sure the public would see and be able to access this open data initiative.
On the Smithsonian Discovery model page, in addition to viewing, you can download a variety of 3D model file types and adjust quality levels for viewing offline, or 3D printing. A short video is embedded below.
For the complete story click here.
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