Sep 102017
 

Recently on ebay were a set of 8X10 glossies, vintage Convair artwork depicting early spacecraft and launch vehicle concepts. I had my bid in… and was sniped in the last few seconds. Oh well. Anyway, one of the more interesting images was this one of the Convair “Helios” developed by or for Krafft Ehricke… a chemical rocket first stage equipped with wings for glide recovering and a nuclear powered second stage with a “tractor” arrangement to separate the nuclear engine from the payload – essentially a small manned laboratory to land on the moon. The second stage would unreel something like half a miles worth of cabling  and drag the payload along behind it, relying on distance rather than physical radiation shielding. The second stage would take the payload all the way to the lunar surface, gently lowering it down at the end of the cables, then land Way Over There Somewhere. A modern design would, I would hope, include electrical cables and would serve as a power generator.

A middling-resolution scan of the same image was posted back in January. One day I shall get a clean high-rez version. If that day is a particularly glorious day, it will come not only with the other images created for the Helios project… but they’ll also be in color.

 Posted by at 1:02 am
Aug 132017
 

As a followup to the photos of the H-33 display model, here’s a Grumman report from July, 1971, giving a pretty good and well illustrated description of the H-33 orbiter.

The abstract on NTRS can be seen HERE.

The PDF file can be directly downloaded here:

Alternate space shuttle concepts study. Part 2: Technical summary. Volume 2: Orbiter definition

 

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 Posted by at 2:23 am
Aug 122017
 

The H-33 orbiter was designed in early 1971 to be launched atop a reusable manned flyback booster, a truly giant supersonic vehicle. The orbiter itself was similar in configuration to the Shuttle Orbiter as actually built, but it differed in that it had internal liquid oxygen tanks and expendable external hydrogen tanks, rather than a single large ET. The NASM has some good photos of a display model of the full system.

The H-33 was a popular design, at least at Grumman. A number of display models were made of it, including this detailed “cutaway” model made – seemingly – of plexiglas.

I have uploaded the full-rez images to the 2017-08 APR Extras Dropbox folder, available to all $4 and up APR Patrons. If interested, wander on by the APR Patreon and sign up. Lots of aerospace goodies available.

 

 Posted by at 10:11 pm
Jul 162017
 

Every month, patrons of the Aerospace Projects Review Patreon campaign are rewarded with a bundle of documents and diagrams, items of interest and importance to aerospace history. If you sign up, you get the monthly rewards going forwards; the “back issues” catalog lets patrons aid the APR cause by picking up items from before they signed on. The catalog, available to all patrons at the APR Patreon, has been updated to include everything from the beginning of the project back in 2014 on up to February, 2017.

Below are the items from 2016 (and the first two months of 2017):

 

If you are interested in any of these and in helping to fund the mission of Aerospace Projects Review, drop by the APR Patreon page and sign up. For only a few bucks a month you can help fund the procurement, scanning and dissemination of interesting aerospace documentation that might otherwise vanish from the public.

 Posted by at 12:49 am
Jul 112017
 

Seems I’ve been a wee bit lax  on the PDF Reviews I will attempt to rectify that in the future.

Here is a Air Force conference paper from May, 1964, describing the X-20 Dyna Soar program and vehicle. At this point the program had been cancelled for some months; the configuration shown in the paper was essentially the final design. It’s a decent overall view of the Dyna Soar.

Here’s the link to the abstract:

The X-20 (Dyna-Soar) Progress Report

Here’s a link directly to the PDF.

 

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 Posted by at 11:35 pm
Jul 062017
 

“Liberty” was a short-lived ATK launch vehicle concept. This design arose in 2011, following after the Ares 1. Where Ares 1 was a single 5-segment Shuttle booster derivative topped by an all-new hydrogen/oxygen second stage, Liberty used the same booster but topped by the core stage of an Ariane V. ATK believed that they could get one of these flying with astronauts as soon as 2015, but NASA decided to not fund the effort and ATK abandoned the project in 2012.

ATK handed out some promotional cards a few years back at one of the big Shuttle motor tests, scanned in below. I’ve posted the high-rez versions of the scans to the APR Patreon Dropbox (in the 2017-04 APR Extras folder, because I forgot to mention that here months ago).

If you are interested in accessing these and other aerospace historical goodies, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.

 

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 Posted by at 8:36 pm
Jun 182017
 

Here’s an interesting one: a detailed large-format diagram of the US Space Shuttle orbiter… as drawn up by Soviet draftsmen in 1976. Interestingly, the top view includes, in red, the basic outline of the Soviet “Buran” shuttle orbiter. A surprisingly high-rez version of this diagram can be FOUND HERE.

The diagram is not entirely accurate, especially with regards to the OMS pod. The rear end of the pod in the side view is distinctly inaccurate. But note the faint lines just ahead of the OMS pods in the top and side views. One of the last noticeable changes to the Orbiters configuration was the change to the forward end of the OMS pod; originally, the pods continued forward onto the cargo bay doors. This continuation was just an aerodynamic fairing; all the equipment an tanks were in the pod aft of the doors.

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 Posted by at 2:12 am
May 032017
 

A number of vintage 8X10 glossies of aerospace concept art (all apparently North American/Rockwell) were recently sold on eBay. These included Apollo/Skylab, early Space Shuttle concepts, advanced spacecraft (including a manned mission to Jupiter and NERVA tugs) and various space probes and space station designs. Fortunately, the seller provided fairly good scans. I have collected them and uploaded them to the APR Patreon Extras Dropbox folder for 2017-05.  If you are interested in accessing these and other aerospace historical goodies, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.

 Posted by at 11:02 am
Apr 152017
 

Now available: two new US Aerospace Projects issues:

US Transport Projects #07

US Transport Projects #07 is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #07 includes:

  • Lockheed L-279-9: an early SST
  • Convair HST – Phase II Variable Sweep Configuration: A mid-1960’s hypersonic transport
  • Lockheed CL-1373: a short-haul turboprop liner
  • Boeing Model 702-134(4): a large nuclear-powered logistics hauler
  • McDonnell-Douglas Swept Wing Spanloader: a heavy cargo carrier
  • Lockheed Hybrid Wing Body: a current design for an efficient military transport
  • NASA Cut-Down 747 SCA: a 1973 idea for a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
  • Rockwell Boost Glide Transport: An early 1970’s rocket transport

 

USTP #07 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:

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Also available, the first in a new series:

US Recon and Research Projects #01

US Recon & Research Projects #01 is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #01 includes:

  • General Dynamics “FISH”: 1958 concept for Mach 4 parasite
  • NACA-Langley X-Tail X-15: early hypersonic rocket plane concept
  • “Jake’s Jeep”: WWII-era motorjet design
  • Lockheed “Archangel”: The first step on the road to the SR-71
  • Boeing Model 853-21 “Quiet Bird”: A 1961 stealth platform
  • Northrop Tacit Blue: Operational version of the early stealth experiment
  • Convair Pilotless Airplane I-40 Inhabited: WWII-era design of a manned test for a flying bomb
  • Lockheed CL-278-1-1: a proto-U-2

 

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

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 Posted by at 11:43 am
Apr 122017
 

So very, very close on the next two US Aerospace Projects issues. I’m only lacking cover “art”and have to deal with a bit of “dead air” in the middle of US Transport Projects #7. Usually I can shuffle things around well enough to not have this sort of thing, but this time it just hasn’t worked out. I suppose it doesn’t really matter all that much, but it does look kinda lazy like that.

It’s been about a year since I released the last USxP issue. That last issue was the first time where I used vector diagrams embedded within the issue, rather than raster images; getting the diagrams from AutoCAD into Word was a bit of a chore back then. And in the intervening months… I forgot how I did it. So I had to figure it out again, and the process is different. I have to walk the AutoCAD diagram through Rhino 3D and save as a WMF and blah, blah, blah; end result is it works just fine. I’ve done some further refinement… the main outlines are set at 0.25 mm width and the ends of the lines have been reset to rounded and mitered, so sharp corners now look more like sharp corners.

Hoping to have these two out in a day or two. The other three will be rather longer.

 

 Posted by at 6:57 pm