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Old 04-29-2018, 03:31 PM
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Tonino Tonino is offline
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A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story

Hi friends,
excuse me if I start a separate thread for this little thing that is only a single detail in the Shuttle flight deck I’m building, but this little box is the reason for I choose to represent STS134 mission and not another one. Perhaps this thread should have been posted in another section but, after all, there is actually a build in it (you’ll see… later) so I eventually decided to put it here, please, admins, tell me if this should be moved elsewhere…
Let’s start with some background story…

Not all of you may know that here in Italy we have many towns and cities who has still distinct medieval features in their urban structure. If you walk in streets of the old towns you can easily forget you live in the 21st century and feel like an ancient knight. San Marino is one of those cities (images #1 and #2).

Many events are organized every year to recall those ancient times and crossbows shooting competitions are among them (image #3).

In Middle Ages, crossbowmen was the elite army force. Their crossbows was the most powerful weapon available in that era and the arrows they shot could penetrate an iron armor at more than 400 metres.

In 1600’ the “Statuti” – the ancient San Marino laws – established that every year , on September 3rd , the San Marino day, when Republic foundation is celebrated, all the crossbowmen should compete in a great shooting competition where they could prove themselves and show to the people (and the enemies) what they could do with their weapons. This was done for centuries until crossbows became obsolete and the traditional competition lost its original function.

This remained until 1956 when a group of enthusiast rediscovered the art of building crossbows with the same techniques used by their ancestors and the “Federazione Balestrieri Sammarinesi” was born.

Till now every 3rd of September, like in ancient times, crossbowmen from San Marino compete with the shooters from other cities who preserved the ancient craftsmanship inherited from old “maestri d’arma” (the crossbow master builders) to gain the coveted title of “Re della balestra” (crossbow king) for the current year. The crossbowmen come from the 5 cities members of Italian Crossbow Federation: San Marino, Gubbio, Sansepolcro, Massa Marittima and Lucca.

The most exciting phase is the shoot at the “Corniolo” a special kind of target composed of a circular plate and a cone whose base is the actual target to aim to (image #4). It’s a very little target to hit at a distance of 35 meters (115 feet).

The contest winner has the honour to wear, during the year he owns the title, the golden collar who entitles him as “Re della balestra” (image#5 and #6). The one who will win the title for 3 consecutive years will keep the collar definitely. This was never happened (and it’s unlikely to do) but the only one who succeeded to win the title for two years was a San Marino shooter, Bruno Giacomoni, in 1973 and 1974.

But what this all has to do with me and the Shuttle?

My involvement is simple to explain… I was member of San Marino Crossbow federation (last images) as a drum player for several years, (many years ago…sigh!) this is the reason for all this crossbow talking till here. But what about the Shuttle?

(more to come...)
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A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-monte_titano_01.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-guaita-ok.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-festapatrono-2015-1095balestrieri.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-festapatrono-0802balestrieri.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-festapatrono-1109balestrieri.jpg  

A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-2018-04-29-18-26-30_0002.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-sband1.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-medievali.jpg  
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Old 04-29-2018, 03:34 PM
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Tonino Tonino is offline
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STS 134 had on board an Italian mission specialist, Roberto Vittori. He was born in Viterbo but used to live in Sansepolcro, one of the cities who form the Italian Crossbow Federation.

The crossbowmen of Sansepolcro had the idea to send a crossbow in the space with their famous citizen, and after some troubles with NASA officers (room and weight available to every astronaut for his personal belongings is very limited) the permission was granted but the crossbow wouldn’t have been – obviously – a “full size” one.

The space crossbow was specifically realized for this mission from one of the most experienced “master weapon builder” and was named “Petra de Burgo” after the nickname of the most famous artist from Sansepolcro, Piero della Francesca, who signed his works as “Petro de Burgo”.

The little crossbow (measuring 30 x 20 centimeters – 11,8 x 7,8 inches) was made foldable to be able to be stored in a little wooden box (25 x 19 cm. - 9,8 x 7,5 in.). The crossbow was actually used to try some zero-g shoots in the ISS during STS 134.

This is the reason for I choose to represent this particular mission and obviously now I have to include the Petra de Burgo in my model.
Attached Thumbnails
A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-30652811_1895228510550691_6165278253209616384_n.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-30571294_1895231590550383_8809485344417251328_n.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-30716249_1901491773257698_8550676950237052928_n.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-petra.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-30531078_1895229377217271_5634707534246838272_n.jpg  

A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-30629693_1895230797217129_6409188909078544384_n.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-30652232_1895229023883973_333170281122103296_n.jpg  
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Old 04-29-2018, 03:38 PM
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Tonino Tonino is offline
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I contacted crossbow designer and builder, Claudio Boncompagni, now vice-president of Sansepolcro Crossbowmen, through my former comrades crossbowmen and had from him drawings and specifications of the original object.

Based on the documentation I realized a scale replica of the box containing the folded Petra de Burgo exactly as it was taken in space on the Endeavour storage compartment.
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A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-dsc08804.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-dsc08805.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-dsc08807.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-dsc08808.jpg   A crossbow in space - a shuttle side story-dsc08813.jpg  

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Old 04-29-2018, 03:51 PM
elliott elliott is offline
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Well done Antonio! Thanks for the explanation (and mini history lesson) of why you chose to model STS 134. Makes perfect sense.
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Old 04-29-2018, 04:03 PM
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MichaelS MichaelS is offline
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That is a fascinating tale bringing the past and the present to life. Your English is absolutely perfect. (Probably way better than mine).
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Old 04-30-2018, 04:45 AM
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dhanners dhanners is offline
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Fascinating story and, again, amazing work....
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Old 04-30-2018, 05:00 AM
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SCEtoAUX SCEtoAUX is offline
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Thank you for the story. It is very interesting. The miniature crossbow looks good.
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Old 04-30-2018, 06:21 AM
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gotham gotham is offline
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Great story - great build. Well done.
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Old 04-30-2018, 09:09 AM
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Seascape Seascape is offline
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Great way to bring your personal touch to an already great model build! Thanks for the story behind the model.

Fred
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Old 05-08-2018, 02:33 PM
Algebraist Algebraist is offline
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Fascinating story Antonio, thanks for telling it. If you ever put your finished model on display for the public (and I for one really hope you do) I think you should definitely include that story and show your crossbow

Regards

Kevin
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