US Bomber Projects #11, US Transport Projects #01 now available

As well as the 11X17-format PDF collection of diagrams for USBP07 through 09.



Issue 11 of US Bomber Projects is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #11 includes:

  • Boeing Model 464-40: The first all-jet-powered design in the quest for the B-52
  • North American D-118: A turboprop conversion of the F-82E into a ground attacker
  • Boeing Model 701-218: A twin engined supersonic concept
  • NAA Model 705-00-04: A ramjet cruise missile with a manned rocket booster
  • Northrop Nuclear Flying Wing: A well defended if rather hypothetical design
  • Martin Model 223-11: *almost* the XB-48
  • Boeing B-1: The design that might have beaten the Rockwell concept
  • Bell/Martin 464L: The submission that most closely resembled what the Dyna Soar eventually became

USBP #11 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:






And also available, issue #01 of US Transport Projects. Done in the same format as US Bomber Projects, USTP will cover flying vehicles designed to transport cargo, passengers and troops. Issue 01 includes:

  • Redstone Troop Transport: An Army concept for a troop & supplies launcher
  • Lockheed CL-334-1: A small STOL battlefield transport
  • NASA LH2 747: A “three fuselage” hydrogen-fueled jetliner
  • Douglas DC-8-1004: A very clean pusher-prop passenger liner
  • Bell/Boeing/NASA ATT: A wasp-waisted transonic concept
  • Boeing Model 733-94: An early SST
  • Aereon Dynairship: A giant modern airship
  • Boeing Model 473-10: One of the earliest jetliner designs

USTP #01 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:






Large format USBP drawings, Issues 07-09

The CAD drawings created for USBP reformatted and rescaled for 11X17 collected in a separate volume. Drawings have in some cases been corrected, improved and added to.

USBP 11X17 07-09 collects the diagrams created for issues 07, 08 and 09, including:

Boeing model 464-25; Boeing Model 828-2; Fairchild N-12; Rockwell D645-3; Boeing Model 701-273-7; Martin Model 223-7; Convair 464L Dyna Soar I; Convair 464L Dyna Soar III; Bell MX Hovercraft; Bell mobile defense platform; Boeing Model 464-27; Rockwell D645-6; Republic M-4.25; Martin MAMBA; Boeing Model 484-2-2 (twin-pod); Martin Model 223-8; Douglas 464L Dyna Soar I; Boeing Model 800-11A; Boeing Model 464-33-0; Consolidated Army Bombardment Type; GE Supersonic System 6X; Convair B/J-58 B-58C; Boeing Model 484-2-2; Martin Model 223-9; Northrop N-206 Dyna Soar I/II/III; Boeing Model 800-15A

USBP11x17-01-03 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $10:




And for one day only, get all three for $16, rather than the $18 if you buy them separately (just use the single PayPal button below for this, otherwise it work):


Posted in bomber, hypersonic, jetliner, launch vehicles, nukes, rockets, spacecraft, spaceplane, transports, US Bomber Projects, US Transport Projects | 1 Comment

PDF Review: STS tiles. Every. Single. Vertex.

This is the second of four “PDF Reviews” I plan to have in October, to make up for the lack of any in September. The idea is to present interesting online resources for those interested in  the sort of aerospace oddities that you can find in the pages of Aerospace Projects Review. This little project is supported through my Patreon campaign; at current levels, I’ll post two such reviews per month. If you’d like to see more, or just want to contribute to help me along, please consider becoming a patron.

This one is a bit different from usual. Instead of a report full of art and diagrams and charts and, well, sentences, this one has none of those. Instead, what it does have is 5,271 pages of data. Data, specifically, on the X-Y-Z positions of every single vertex of every single tile on the Shuttle. Of what value is that? Well, someone with a whole lot of patience could, I presume, feed this data into a 3D modeling program and produce a *really* accurate model of at least part of the Space Shuttle. So… knock yourself out.

Orbiter Coordinates of All the Vertices on the Outer Mold Line (OML) of Each of the OV-ID5 Tiles

The abstract page is HERE.

The direct download link for the PDF file is HERE.

Posted in hi-rez, launch vehicles, Patreon, PDF Review, rockets, space shuttle, spacecraft, spaceplane | Leave a comment

Unsolved Mystery: 1946 USAAF Supersonic Escape Capsules

Not long ago, I was alerted to a pair of eBay auctions for vintage blueprints of “Supersonic Escape Capsules.” The blueprints, produced by the US Army Air Forces, depict models of the capsules made from plexiglas and plywood. This would be generally interesting to me, but one of the diagrams seemed to indicate that the diagrams might not be what they said they were. Instead, it looked a *lot* like an aerodynamically improved “Fat Man” atom bomb. I suspected that what was for sale were actually test or display models of early atom bomb casings, intentionally mis-described for security reasons. I managed to score both blueprints with surprisingly minimal fuss.

Upon receipt of the blueprints, my suspicion that at least one of them depicts an evolved Fat Man seems to have been misplaced. Fat Man was about 60 inches in diameter; the model is 38.5 inches in diameter, which would make for an odd scale. But the idea of a supersonic escape capsule being studied in 1946 is also odd, since the USAAF was years from having supersonic aircraft. And the configurations don’t really seem to work as escape capsules; typically such things are the entire cockpit which can break away from the aircraft, but these would make for very unfortunate cockpits for supersonic aircraft. So at the current time I can’t quite figure this one out. I’ll continue to see if I can run down info on this, but leads are few.

I have not scanned in these blueprints yet. They’ve been folded up longer than most of the people reading this have been alive, so it’ll take a good long time to flatten them out and make them safe for scanning. But I’ve taken some photos, which I’ve made available in full rez in a ZIP archive for all of my APR Patreon patrons. The APR Patreon page is HERE. If you want to help preserve and make available obscure aerospace history items such as these, please consider contributing to the APR Patreon. For as little as $0.75/month, you can help out, plus gain access to a bunch of aerospace “rewards” like these. You can also help out by helping to spread the word.


The first “escape capsule” on a quite good vintage blueprint. The resemblance to “Fat Man” is obvious… but likely dubious. It’s a close match to the Davy Crockett warhead from a decade later.


The second “escape capsule,” on a larger and more badly faded blueprint.


One of the problems with photographing large format blueprints is the almost inevitable groupies. Cats like paper. Cats *love* crinkly paper. And 70-year-old vellum blueprints are the crinkliest of crinkly paper. Fortunately, no damage done.

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I’d planned on having these done a few days ago, but as I’ve reported recently, CAD drafting has been difficult of late. Nevertheless I forged through, and here’s a preview of the next three things I plan to release.


booklet 11-Model

usbp07-08 11x17

Posted in bomber, Dyna Soar, hypersonic, jetliner, nukes, spaceplane, transports, US Bomber Projects, US Transport Projects | Leave a comment

McDonnell Douglas heavy lifter art

From the same eBay seller mentioned HERE is an illustration of a McDonnell-Douglas heavy lift cargo aircraft. This design features a non-circular fuselage (it appears to be two cylinders side-by-side and faired over) and six engines located over the wing. Without further documentation, the reasoning can only be guessed at, but I would expect that the idea was to get the engines up high away from foreign objects that might be found on unimproved runways, while permitting a very low stance for the landing gear to ease cargo loading. It appears that there were cargo doors on the sides of the nose, possibly indicating that it indeed had two independently pressurized cylindrical bays.

ebay 2014-09-29 a

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Patreon: October 2014 rewards released

The October rewards for the APR patrons have been released. They include:

PDF document: “A Recoverable Air Breathing Booster,” A Chrysler study from 1964 for a strap-on booster system for the Saturn Ib incorporating additional H-1 rocket engines and jet engines for recovery.

PDF Document: “XF-103 Descriptive Data,”a Lockheed collection of information on the then-current XF-103. This is from a Lockheed collection of information on competitors designs.

Large format diagram scan: the Boeing Advanced Theater Transport. A later version of the tilt-wing “Super Frog.”

And for the higher-end patrons, a CAD diagram of an early NACA-Langley design for what would become the X-15.

2014-10 ad


If you would like to access these items and support the cause of acquiring and sharing these pieces of aerospace history, please visit my Patreon page and consider contributing.


Posted in fighter, hi-rez, hypersonic, launch vehicles, Patreon, research, rockets, spacecraft, transports | Leave a comment

XCOR Lynx progress

While the going seems to be slow, it’s nice to see actual physical progress on a new spacecraft (suborbital, sure, but still…). Over HERE XCOR has released a few high-rez photos of their Lynx spaceplane being assembled. The cockpit is now attached to the fuselage. The aft of the pressurized cockpit is an odd looking structure, a very complex carbon fiber single-piece bulkhead. Usually such things are simple metal pressure vessels made from cylinders and spheroids, but this one features a more-or-less flat aft bulkhead (presumably for space-saving purposes) with a whole lot of ribs for strength. Must’ve been fun to mold…

I keep hearing ominous things about the hybrid rocket propulsion system on the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two. It’s getting to where I won’t be surprised if Lynx beats ‘em into space with a paying customer. And if that does happen, I wonder at the possibility of VG switching out the hybrid for an XCOR liquid system…

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Private manned mission to the Moon: 2018

I’ll believe it when I see it…

From 2018, Space Adventures flights will take members of the public on the first commercial journeys to the moon


Space Adventures is the company that has sent a handful of paying customers up to the ISS over the years. Their goal is to send two customers to the ISS for ten days, and then send them on to the moon for an Apollo 8-style flyby (no landing). SA has been pushing this concept for a number of years. Not really sure why they got this bit of press recently but… shrug. If they can pull it off, more power to ‘em.


There’s no indication of price for this on the Space Adventures website. However, when SA first started sending people to the ISS, the ticket prices was, IIRC, $20 million. Today it’s $50 million. And when SA first announced their lunar mission idea some years ago, I recall the price being $100 million for each of the two passengers. So I would assume there’s been roughly similar price inflation. Gotta wonder what SpaceX could do it for…

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*NOT* the Yak-21

Currently up on eBay is a Lockheed summary of data on the Yak-21. However… it’s not even close to accurate. The actual Yak 21 was a trainer version of the early Yak 15 jet fighter, which was very much a WWII-tech-level design, being similar to a number of wartime German aircraft projects. But the Yak-21 as described in the Lockheed document is… well, it’s also clearly a wartime German technology development, but quite a different one. Instead of a single-engine jet fighter with the engine tucked under the nose, this time the Yak-21 was a straight-winged rocket powered interceptor. Again, numerous wartime German projects showed much the same thing. It’s unclear how Lockheed came to believe that that’s what the Yak-21 was.

The data visible in the photos indicates a maximum speed of Mach 1.3 and an endurance of 3 minutes, and a combat altitude of up to 66,000 feet. How such a small vehicle with such limited endurance could get there is anyones guess.

yak-21 1

yak-21 5


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PDF Review: “Advanced Supersonic Technology Concept”

NOTE: this is the latest official “PDF Review.” (Two were supposed to be released in September, but events prevented that. So this is the first of four to be released on October.) The idea is to present interesting online resources for those interested in  the sort of aerospace oddities that you can find in the pages of Aerospace Projects Review. This little project is supported through my Patreon campaign; at current levels, I’ll post two such reviews per month. If you’d like to see more, or just want to contribute to help me along, please consider becoming a patron.

The Boeing 2707 supersonic transport was cancelled in 1971. The cost of developing the aircraft, coupled with the increased fuel costs due to the oil embargoes of the early 70′s, doomed the effort. However, NASA continued to spend money on studies of supersonic transports throughout the 1970s and into the 1980′s, focusing their interest on SSTs with advanced aerodynamics and propulsion systems in order to reduce fuel burn and thus operating costs.

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One such study was performed by Ling Temco Vought for NASA-Langley in 1973. The study  described a four-engine SST design to serve as a baseline for further study and refinement. Basic characteristics of the design:

  • Mission range of 4000 nautical miles with 292 passengers
  • Take Off gross weight of 762,000 pounds.
  • The engines were non-afterburning, yet provided a cruise speed of Mach 2.7 at 60,000 feet.
  • For a standard-day sea-level takeoff, a maximum 10,500 foot runway was needed.

The initial design was based on a previous Boeing design from 1968, the Model 733-336C. While broadly similar to the earlier design, the LTV design deleted the Boeing’s deployable canard, used larger non-afterburning engines, moved the main wing forward, increased the size of the tail and cranked the wing sweep slightly. Additionally, the four-abreast seating of the Boeing was changed to five-abreast in the LTV design, with an increase from 234 to 292 passengers. This was made possible by a slight enlarging of the fuselage.

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The very latest in computer graphics, 1973 style.

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Note: the following two illustrations were stitched together from separate pages in the PDF. The full resolution versions are available to all APR Patreon patrons HERE.

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The NTRS abstract page:

Advanced supersonic technology concept study reference characteristics

The direct link to the PDF file on the NTRS:

Advanced supersonic technology concept study reference characteristics

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