Nov 182017

A recent acquisition from ebay was a pretty good B&W glossy showing a Martin Company illustration of the Titan IIIC launch vehicle, circa August, 1964. One of the better Titan IIIC illustrations I’ve seen, showing the innards to good effect.

I have uploaded the full 600-dpi scan to the 2017-11 APR Extras Dropbox available to all $4 and up APR Patreon patrons. It’s in two formats… the raw scan, and a cleaned-up version that looks better. Also included is the press release printed on the back of the glossy. If you are interested, take a look at the APR Patreon and consider signing up.

 Posted by at 11:16 pm
Nov 152017

Every now and then something of aerospace history interest and importance shows up on EBay that is too expensive for easy acquisition, and so I will run a “crowdfunding campaign” to procure the funds to purchase the item. In these cases, the item – almost always a document of some kind – is scanned, the funders get complete copies, and the original is then sent to a relevant archive. Another such item has popped up.

In this case, the item is expensive because the seller has put a stupid-high Buy It Now price on it. What they have is a pair of early-1960’s Grumman documents abut manned lifting body logistics spacecraft. Very interesting-looking stuff, the sort of item I’d snap up in a heartbeat for Aerospace Projects Review… if they didn’t cost $800.


So, I’m looking for people willing to join in on purchasing this. I currently have six people lined up, but the minimum this time is fifteen: this would drop the price per person to about $53.50. That’s still a pretty good chunk of change, but the more people who sign on, the lower the price will be.

So if you’d like to sign on, just send me an email or comment below. You won’t be asked to put up money unless the documents are purchased, and that won’t happen until at least 15 people sign up. Check back here for updates.

UPDATE, 11/15/2017-9:37PM mountain time: 10 people signed up. 2/3 of the way there…

UPDATE, 11:17 PM: 12 people.

UPDATE, 11/16/2017-8:29 AM: 14 people signed up. One more and I’ll pull the trigger on this, but I’ll keep availability open for a little while longer in order to hopefully bring in more funders and reduce the per-person cost. Can’t keep it open *too* long, because… sheesh, 800 bucks. My mortgage payment comes due *tomorrow.*

UPDATE, 7:54 PM: Now at 17 funders. The seller is currently away for a few days and it seems unlikely that anyone else will plunk down the $802 for this, so I’ll risk it and leave things open for a few more days to get more funders on board. With 17, the price per person is now $47.17. If it gets to 20, that’ll be $40.10, and so on.

 Posted by at 9:19 pm
Nov 142017

A while ago an ebay seller had a display model of a maneuverable re-entry vehicle, a warhead for an ICBM.There was apparently no documentation to go with it, so details are pretty much utterly lacking. Still, it does look reasonably likely to have been a “real” display model built by or for the USAF or a defense contractor. It’s simple… a cone with four sides shaved off with four added flaps for control. This basic geometry has been popular for maneuverable warhead concepts for decades; McDonnell-Douglas used a similar shape (explicitly stated as having been derived from their maneuverable MIRV studies) for their Delta Clipper SSTO, and an even closer shape for their X-33 and follow-on concepts.

 Posted by at 12:28 pm
Nov 112017

A few weeks ago, some artwork was put on ebay showing an alternate concept for the Lunar Roving Vehicle. This one was apparently sold as being optionally manned, which would certainly be a useful feature. Especially if it could be teleoperated from Earth after the crew has gone home. Note that one of the illustrations shows the unmanned rover towing a two-wheeled cart loaded with nuclear power generator (an RTG); similar RTGs are shown hanging off the sides of an unmanned LRV, and two RTGs are shown in the distance in the illustration showing unmanned-to-manned conversion. What *may* be intended here is that the unmanned version would drive around under RTG power and charge up batteries; for manned use the RTGs are left in the distance and the things operates purely under battery power. If returned to RTG/unmanned prior to the crew leaving, then the LRV would have virtually unlimited range. With enough time, an LRV could even drive to another landing site and be there in time for a new crew to land and make use of it.

 Posted by at 11:15 pm
Nov 052017

Currently being sold on ebay is a display model of a missile, a “Martin ASM.” ASM almost certainly means “Air to Surface Missile,” but otherwise there’s no further info. Seller seems to think it’s related to the Assault Breaker project, but it looks vaguely like a Skybolt-ish air-launched ballistic missile.




 Posted by at 5:59 pm
Oct 192017

A rare piece of color art depicting an early Dyna Soar being dropped from a B-52. The Dyna Soar is equipped with two rocket engines used to boost it to higher altitude and higher speed (supersonic, though not very supersonic… think the test flights of the M2-F3 and the HL-10). Note that this shows the Dyna Soar having been tucked into a modified bomb bay in the B-52’s fuselage; planning¬† would soon move the Dyna Soar to under the wing, using the same attachment point used by the B-52 to carry the X-15 and the lifting bodies.


 Posted by at 11:59 am
Oct 122017

An apparently pre-Mercury “space capsule” design from Rocketdyne. I am somewhat dubious, though… I suspect it might be less “space capsule” than “high altitude capsule.” Nothing about it screams “re-entry vehicle;” rather it look like something that might have been hauled to the edge of space by a large balloon. The pressure suits worn by the occupants look like something to be worn by a U-2 pilot; there sure is a whole lot of wasted volume in there and it would be odd for a capsule meant to operate in zero-g to have a ladder in it.

 Posted by at 12:07 am
Oct 092017

Posted to a NASA Flickr page is this illustration of a 1984 space station concept:

This is the Johnson Space Center’s 1984 “roof” concept for a space station. The “roof” was covered with solar array cells, that were to generate about 120 kilowatts of electricity. Within the V-shaped beams there would be five modules for living, laboratory space, and external areas for instruments and other facilities.

This would probably be a very heavy station for the volume and usable surface area provided. However, once that truss structure is in place, it seems like it would be possible to keep adding on to it without overly stressing the structure, with the possible result of a very capable station. It should also be possible to keep tacking on new truss elements.

The design would necessarily keep most of the station elements shadowed by the solar arrays.

 Posted by at 5:31 pm
Oct 082017

Got them done a little early this time, so here’s a review of what the APR Patrons will be receiving:

Patrons will receive:

A proposal brochure on the C-135A cargo transport

A brochure about the Shuttle-C

A well illustrated NASA-produced booklet from the mid 1980’s describing the space station as them conceived

A large format diagram showing a wind tunnel model of the Titan III/Dyna Soar

A CAD diagram of the ca. 2001 Russian TsAGI Integrated Wing Body large passenger transport jetliner

If these are of interest, please consider signing on to the APR Patreon.

 Posted by at 12:29 pm