Sep 222017

A piece of NAA concept art from the late 50’s or very early 60’s depicting a “space taxi.” Such devices were a common staple of space station thinking well into the 60’s, though it’s difficult to tell just how serious of a design this one was. The canopy, for example, seems an odd choice. The shape of the bubble and of the hatch indicates that this was not designed to hold pressure; the fact that the pilot is shown in a full space suit backs that up. It would make it difficult for the pilot to enter and exit the craft. And of course, the taxi is shown without reaction control thrusters, making it rather difficult to maneuver the thing. Very likely this is an artists fantasy done purely for marketing, showing people things they expect to see. Note, for example, that the space station appears to be cribbed directly from the Collier’s series. And if the station was rotating, that door would be in the *floor.*

 Posted by at 11:54 pm
Sep 162017

Well, I said they’d be available for a limited time only…

I will likely make them available again reasonably soon, but for right now I’ve had to shut down production. The materials I have on hand turn out to be *crap,* with the result that the latest batch of blueprints are just…. terrible. I’ve ordered more supplies, but it’ll take a while to arrive. Plus, the Summer That Just Won’t Let Up suddenly decided a few days ago to let up, turning full sunlight into overcast murk, making production scheduling impossible.

On the plus side, I found the two missing Dyna Soar transparencies.

 Posted by at 6:02 pm
Dec 272016

Recently sold on EBay was a sizableĀ  (something like 4′ long) wind tunnel model of the Curtiss Wright Model 90 AAFSS submission. This was a derivative of their X-19… more or less a quad-tilt-rotor. The Model 90 would have been fairly highly armed, designed to fulfill the same role that the winning AAFSS design – the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne – was designed for: transporting troops and tearing up ground targets. The US has not had an operational vehicle like this; the Soviet “Hind” helicopter is the closest, though substantially slower, analog.

The Model 90 wind tunnel model was formerly on display at an aviation museum in Teterboro, New Jersey. No idea where it ended up, but hopefully it found a good home. I made a half-assed effort to crowdfund this one, but I think the lack of a good way to split the spoils among the funders doomed the concept. How *do* you reward funders for a purchase like this? Best idea was to have the thing 3D scanned, and distribute the scan among the funders, but unlike a scan of a drawing or a document, that’s not going to be readily useful for most people.

What I’d hoped to do was to disassemble the model, male fiberglass molds of the components, reassemble and restore it to like-new-ish condition then send it on to an appropriate and willing museum, possibly Ft. Rucker (since they’re all about Army aviation and have themselves an AH-56). Then make a few fiberglass copies from the molds, converting the “wind tunnel models” into detailed display models. Alas.

curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-g curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-f curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-e curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-d curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-c curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-b curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-a

 Posted by at 11:32 pm
Nov 232015

In 1963 the Curtiss Wright Corporation ran an ad in Missiles & Rockets magazine illustrating their participation in the Titan III/Dyna Soar program. The main illustration in the ad depicts the launch vehicle in flight; it is not, sadly, a wholly accurate depiction. The N2O4 thrust vector fluid tanksĀ  for the SRBs aren’t included, nor are the separation motors; the two engine bells on the Titan core are shown clocked out of alignment. Still, a reasonably nice illustration.

missilesrockets1219unse_0529 missilesrockets1219unse_0528

 Posted by at 9:19 pm
May 152015

I’ve made a number of science fictional CAD models for Fantastic Plastic. Wonderfest, an annual hobby convention in Louisville, Kentucky, is coming up at the end of the month, and Fantastic Plastic is going to set up there. A while back I thought it might be interesting to take some of the CAD models I’ve created for current and forthcoming Fantastic Plastic model kits, specifically the Helicarrier, the Prometheus and the Messiah, and create 2D layout drawings… and then make cyanotype blueprints. Further, the blueprints would be at the same scale as the kits.

The end results? A moderately sized Helicarrier blueprint, two big Prometheus sheets (one showing the craft in flight, the other showing it in landed configuration), and one enormous Messiah blueprint, a full six feet long.

I don’t know if there is a market for such things. The Prometheus and the Messiah in particular are just gigantic. Were I to really try to commercialize them, I’d probably scale them down to at least 2/3 and more likely 1/2 the current size. Still, creating them was not a minor effort… so what the heck. I’m going to make them available for a limited time. Yes, they’re pricey. But they’re also *huge.* And a pain to make. And there won’t be very many of them on the entire planet (right now, two copies each of the Helicarrier and the Messiah; a grand total of one of the Prometheus prints).

These will be available for a two-week period, starting now. If some dark miracle occurs and I sell a hundred of them within that span, then, great! But however many, at the end of the two weeks, that’s it. All done, no more. I will total them up, and hand notate each one as numbered limited edition (“1 of 5,” or whatever, based on the order that orders come in) plus I’ll initial each one. Because why not.

Feel free to order as many of each as you want. Don’t forget postage… and don’t forget that with this one-time postage you can order as many *other* cyanotype prints as you like.

UPDATE: No longer available.



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Prometheus prints:

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 Posted by at 11:59 pm
May 072015


A 1977 illustration from Rockwell depicting a Shuttle orbiter docked to an experimental solar power station. Large as it is, this would be a very tiny demonstrator of the sort of technologies needed for large-scale solar power satellites. The configuration shown here uses “troughs” with photovoltaic cells in the bases, with angles walls formed from, essentially, aluminum foil. These would serve as cheap, lightweight reflectors. The end result would be that more or less all of the sunlight impinging upon the cross sectional area of the array would be intercepted by PV cells,even though PV cells only make up a fraction of the total area. Since aluminum foil would be a lot cheaper and lighter than PV cells – and PV cells tend to work slightly more efficiently at higher insolation levels – this sort of arrangement was considered an important contender.

rockwell 77 shuttle power art

 Posted by at 11:54 pm
Jan 012015

An illustration from the 1980’s, publicized fairly widely by Lockheed to illustrate their thinking for an Advanced Tactical Fighter (which led to the F-22). This almost certainly did *not* represent actual design work on Lockheeds part, but instead pure artistry. This particular version of the artwork depicts a rather apocalyptic color scheme; other versions were rather cheerier.

lockheed atf art

 Posted by at 1:14 am
Jun 302014

I have a pretty fair supply of interesting documents and large format drawings… but not an infinite supply. Consequently, I’m in the market. Do you have interesting aerospace (aircraft, missiles, spacecraft or even perhaps unusual naval or terrestrial projects) documents, large format diagrams or actual blueprints? If so, let’s talk. I’d like to borrow, rent or buy such things. My preference is of course for unbuilt projects, but basically *anything* interesting would be… interesting.

If you have something you’d be willing to share, but not give away, I’d be happy to scan it and send it back ASAP. Alternatively, I’d be happy with good scans.

Additionally: a lot of interesting stuff pops up on eBay. I am actively trolling eBay for such things; just bought two documents tonight. But there’s so much stuff on eBay, with such weird and divergent descriptions, that I can’t possibly hope to catch everything. So if you see something on eBay that looks interesting, by all means let me know.

 Posted by at 11:21 pm
Jun 282014

These are vastly-reduced versions of some of the diagrams I may include as rewards for Patreon patronage. Not all are unbuilt aerospace projects, obviously, but all are, I trust, of interest to those interested in aerospace. If interested, please consider joining my Patreon campaign. Also to be provided are PDFs of aerospace documents

patreonb-45 patreona5 patreona2j patreonxb-70 8engineawacs patreonua-1207 patreonnervadiagram patreonx-15a-3b patreonnervaart patreontacbj-58 patreonbj-58 patreonsuperhustler patreonx-15a-3 patreona-4 patreon2707-200 patreondynasoar patreonatlassiiar patreonhsct patreonarrow patreonx-15i

 Posted by at 11:04 pm