Aug 142015

Just released today… an official “History of the Manned Orbital Laboratory” by Carl Berger of the MOL Program Office, 1970. This originally Top Secret history still has a number of blacked-out text redactions and, sadly, no illustrations in its 356 pages. I’ve only skimmed through it, but it looks to be an interesting read.

Direct link to the “History of MOL” PDF file

The table of contents:

MOL contents


 Posted by at 4:48 pm
Jun 272015

For APR Patrons, here’s what you now have available:

Documents: 2 General Electric reports on nuclear turbojets, *packed* with diagrams

Document: Mercury/Redstone booster recovery

Large diagram: 2 this time… “Long Tank Delta” space launch rocket and “Honest John” battlefield nuclear missile

CAD diagram: Convair “FISH,” 1958 configuration

If you’d like to access these and many others, or if you’d simply like to help the cause of recovering and making available forgotten aerospace ephemera such as this, please check out the APR Patreon page.


2015-06 ad

 Posted by at 10:45 pm
May 082015

If you’ve got a hankering to find out what the super-secret Lacrosse radar satellites look like, the Russians got you covered. A Russian satellite tracking facility in Siberia used telescopes to take photos of several of these satellites, and then, rather unconventionally, released the images. The images were collected and analyzed, and posted in a PDF album:

An Album of Images of LACROSSE Radar Reconnaissance Satellites
Made by a 60 cm Adaptive Optics System
at the
G.S. Titov Altai Optical-Laser Center

The images are not spectacular… nobody will be making details models based off them. But you can get a sense of the overall configurations(s), as well as the size of the antennae; from that, an analyst could give you a good idea what the capabilities of the sensor systems are.

Much more aerospace stuff is available via the APR Patreon.


 Posted by at 8:54 am
Mar 272015

I have made some adjustments to the Aerospace Projects Review Patreon campaign. The first is that I’ve reduced the number of rewards levels, which I was informed was previously Too Many. More importantly, I have added some new rewards: if you become a patron at $5 or more per month, you receive 10% off all future purchases of APR, US Aerospace Projects and downloadable Documents and Drawings. If you become a patron at $10 per month, you will receive 20% off any such purchases. Check of the APR Patreon here:

Additionally, the campaign has reached the point where the rewards are now *three* aerospace documents, one high-rez historical diagram and one all-new CAD diagram per month. This is in addition to the random “Extras” I throw in for $4 and up patrons. The most recent extra is a full-rez restoration of a three-view diagram of a 1978 McDonnell-Douglas concept for modifying Skylab to be serviced by the Space Shuttle. You can see a smaller-rez version of that here:

If you sign up now you will get the latest rewards which include:

  • A Bell Aircraft presentation on the SR-126 Bomber Missile, a manned ICBM predecessor of the Dyna Soar
  • A Lockheed paper on the history of the Polaris to Trident Fleet Ballistic Missile
  • A large poster illustrating the missiles and rockets of the Orbital Sciences Corporation
  • An all-new CAD diagram detailing the 10-meter Orion nuclear pulse propulsion vehicle designed by General Atomic for the USAF
 Posted by at 7:39 pm
Mar 022015

Two new publications in the US Aerospace Projects series are now available.

Now available: US Bomber Projects #13. This issue includes:

  • Ryan Model 162: A VTOL strike/recon plane
  • Boeing Orbital Bomb: a nuclear-tipped re-entry glider
  • Northrop Atomic Wing: an asymetric nuclear powered design
  • Consolidated Vultee High Speed Flying Boat: an early post-war Skate design
  • Martin Model 189: a canard version of the B-26 Marauder
  • Boeing Model 464-046: A six-engined B-52 predecessor
  • Curtis F-87C: a night fighter with bomber abilities
  • Boeing Model 701-247: a supersonic antecedent of the B-59



USBP #13 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:



Also available: US Launch Vehicle Projects #01. The premiere issue of this new series includes:

  • Pre-Saturn Phase III Vehicles: 1958 concpet for clustered Atlas boosters
  • Boeing “Big Onion”: an SSTO to launch SPS
  • Northrop TAV: an in-flight propellant transfer spaceplane
  • Martin Orbit Project: A 1946 concept for a hydrogen fueled SSTO
  • Saturn V derived HLLV for FLO: A brief Saturn V revival in the early 1990s
  • MSC Orbiter 020: An early Shuttle with straight wings and a single SRB
  • Hammerhead ET: a way for the Shuttle to transport outsized payloads
  • Loral Aquarius: A way to make space launch cheap


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


 Posted by at 4:25 am
Jan 212015

Illustrations of a Martin concept from 1961 called “DEIMOS” (Development and Investigation of a Military Orbital System). Pitched to the Air Force, this entailed a modified Titan II launch vehicle, a standard cargo hauler and a scaled-up two-man Mercury capsule (this was before Gemini was finalized). The result was something akin to a smaller version of the later MOL (Manned Orbiting Laboratory).  The Titan II described here (modifications unknown) could put a 10,000 pound payload into a 300 nautical mile orbit.

Capabilities and roles of DEIMOS were not provided, but it would presumably serve much the same role as MOL, though simpler and lighter weight: basic science as well as reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. The claim as of August 1961 was that if work began soon DEIMOS could begin flying in 1963.

deimos 1

 Posted by at 10:51 am
Nov 132014

An ad from 1989 showing the Boeing-Sikosky competitor for the LHX program. This was the winning design and was built as the RAH-66 Comanche, though not without some notable design tinkering.

av week 1989-07-19 2

 Posted by at 11:15 pm
Oct 312014

I’ve written a short and illustrated piece on how the Dyna Soar can illustrate the possible capabilities of the X-37B over at War Is Boring:

Wondering What the U.S. Air Force’s Secretive Spaceplane Can Do? History Offers Clues

I am contemplating expanding this considerably for a separate release. It’d be a little different from the usual sort of thing I do, since the X-37B is a real flying vehicle, not just an unbuilt project.

 Posted by at 8:21 pm
Jul 262014

I’ve cut the prices on all my cyanotypes by at least 25%, up to 40%. I’ve also gotten rid of the watercolor versions; it’s all vellum paper now (not only is it more historically accurate, it’s also a lot easier to process and ship).

So… take a look.

Cyanotype Blueprints

 Posted by at 1:44 am