Jan 012018
 

This piece of art depicts the McDonnell-Douglas “Drawbridge” orbiter in orbit delivering a satellite. Note that the wing are deployed, even though they would be folded up during entry. The geometry of the craft was such that in order to get the cargo bay door open and payloads safely in and out, the wing needed to fold down out of the way.

This points out one of the reasons why you don’t often see a whole lot of “cool” stuff in aerospace… everything has tradeoffs. And needing the wings to constantly go up and down is a bit of a headache. When it comes to spacecraft, mass is a primary priority; the mechanisms needed to deploy the wings weight a lot… never mind the mechanisms needed to retract the wing again. As an example, the real space shuttle orbiter had no landing gear retraction system. And why should it? The landing gear is hardly something the Orbiter would ever need to retract. That could be done by the ground crew without adding weight and complexity to the craft itself.

Note that the Orbiter and the payload here seem to have not NASA markings, but Red Cross markings. I suspect that a number of variants of this piece of art would have been produced with several different markings (NASA and Pan Am being the obvious ones), but why exactly Red Cross? Dunno.

Also note that this might not be an actual “Drawbridge” design, as no extension mechanism for the wing s in evidence. This might be an oversight on the part of the artist; it might be that this was a fixed-wing design. Given the RCS thrusters on the wingtips, this is most likely *not* a Drawbridge.

I’ve uploaded the high-rez version of this artwork (11.2 megabyte 6271×4763 pixel JPG) to the APR Extras Dropbox folder for 2018-01, available to all APR Patrons at the $4 level and above. If you are interested in accessing this and other aerospace historical goodies, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.

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 Posted by at 3:59 pm
Dec 302017
 

The rewards for APR Patrons have been issued. This month:

CAD Diagram: Marquardt hypersonic burning ramjet booster

Diagram: Convair Class VP Airplane High Performance Flying Boat

Document 1: Apollo Exploration Shelter System

Document 2: Chrysler Work Station Capsule (“work pod” for astronauts)

Document 3: Sikorsky S-97 “Raider” brochure

 

If you are interested in helping to preserve (and get copies of) this sort of thing, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.

 

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 Posted by at 12:06 pm
Dec 252017
 

This piece of art depicts the McDonnell-Douglas “Drawbridge” orbiter staging off the manned flyback booster, showing the wings still folded against the sides of the fuselage. The wings served no purpose during ascent; they would only be used after-re-entry. Of course, in the event of a mission abort shortly after launch, the wings would need to deploy fairly quickly. There are no doubt numerous abort scenarios where the orbiter would be left intact after separation from a presumably stricken booster (or after a main engine failure on the orbiter stage), but would nevertheless still be doomed due to inability to get the wings deployed in time.

I’ve uploaded the high-rez version of this artwork (5 megabyte 3951×2121 pixel JPG) to the APR Extras Dropbox folder for 2017-12, available to all APR Patrons at the $4 level and above. If you are interested in accessing this and other aerospace historical goodies, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.

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 Posted by at 4:18 pm
Dec 212017
 

The early development of the Space Shuttle was filled with bizarre designs, attempts to jam capabilities into existing technologies. One such unconventional concept came from McDonnell-Douglas: a low-cross-range orbiter atop a flyback booster. The orbiter, unlike the Shuttle Orbiter actually built, contained considerable internal propellant; the booster would get it up to high altitude and velocity, but the bulk of the actual delta V would come from the Orbiters own propulsion. The vehicle had small, straight wings that would fold up against the side of the fuselage for launch and for re-entry… but they would have to deploy on-orbit to allow the payload bay doors to open, and they’d deploy again once the craft had entered the atmosphere.

I’ve uploaded the high-rez version of this artwork (8 megabyte 5598×4529 pixel JPG) to the APR Extras Dropbox folder for 2017-12, available to all APR Patrons at the $4 level and above. If you are interested in accessing this and other aerospace historical goodies, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.

 

 

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 Posted by at 9:23 pm
Dec 162017
 

A few days ago I uploaded in the 2017-12 APR Patron Extras Dropbox folder a scan of an old magazine article on the X-24 lifting body which including this interesting piece of art depicting an X-24 atop a Titan IIIc launch vehicle. There were indeed proposals to launch X-24 derivatives into orbit with Titan IIIs, but they wouldn’t be *exactly* X-24’s. The X-24 was not built as a spacecraft or a re-entry vehicle; it would be uncontrollable outside the atmosphere and would be a molten collection of rubbish on re-entry. Still, the proposed vehicles did look a *lot* like the X-24.

Support the APR Patreon to help bring more of this sort of thing to light!

 

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 Posted by at 4:22 am
Nov 302017
 

A bit of Martin Marietta artwork depicting the Titan IVA, rescued from ebay. I’ve put the full-rez scan (600 dpi, so it’s pretty big) in the 2017-11 APR Extras Dropbox folder, available to all APR Patreon patrons at the $4 level and above.

 

If you are interested in helping to preserve this sort of thing, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.

 

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 Posted by at 11:41 pm
Nov 262017
 

I’ve put five of my large format cyanotypes on ebay, with starting bids far lower than the usual selling price.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Space-Launch-System-1-72-scale-Diagram-Cyanotype-Blueprint/253278318585


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Large-Cyanotype-Blueprint-of-the-Consolidated-B-36-Bomber/253278304259


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lockheed-Skunk-Works-hypersonic-X-24C-L301-cyanotype-blueprint/253278262083


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Boeing-2707-200-Supersonic-Transport-Isometric-cutaway-cyanotype-blueprint/253278272868


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Wasserfall-German-WWII-surface-to-air-missile-cyanotype-blueprint/253278294165

 

 

 

 Posted by at 10:29 pm
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
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
Oct 062017
 

I have a number of new aerospace cyanotype blueprints available. Until I can repave the catalog page, I have slapped together a PDF catalog of the new items. Until Wednesday, I’m making these new 12X18 prints, as well as the earlier 12X18 prints, available. The earlier 12X18s are viewable HERE. The new items are in the following PDF file:

Cyan catalog addition 2017-10

If any are of interest, Paypal to the email address in the PDF file, and add a note in the order which items you want…. AND what your mailing address is (PayPal doesn’t automatically add the address to payments like this).

After Wednesday the prints will be again unavailable for a little bit while I retool and work on some things.

 

UPDATE: over for now. After some retooling I hope to have all the cyanotypes, small and large old and new, available for regular sale.

 Posted by at 10:06 am