The Outer Periphery - Andy Sturdevant

Birchwood Palace


The Outer Periphery: A Visual Catalog of Amateur Spacecraft Designs from the U.S. Patent Office / by Andy Sturdevant / a 32-page zine published in 2023 by Birchwood Palace Industries, 5.5 x 8.5 inches.


A collection of over a dozen patent illustrations for functioning spacecraft, designed by amateurs, hobbyists, sci-fi enthusiasts, engineers, and cranks. Ranging from “somewhat plausible” to “completely off the wall,” these drawings beautifully capture the delirious optimism of the space age. In the years between Sputnik and Challenger, sitting in your garage drafting a design for, say, a rotating spacecraft that produced an electric dipole on four rotating spherical conducting domes perturbing a uniform spherical electric field seemed not just like an interesting hobby, but an obligation to the future of humankind.

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