Jun 302012

The “Orphans in Space” DVD set contains a bunch of really rather odd old films about space, from the early part of the 20th century up to the 1980’s. The video of most interest to readers of this blog is a Martin-Marietta promotional video for the Zenith Star laser satellite, featuring snippets of a speech by President Reagan at the Martin Marietta facility (near Denver?) in front of a full-scale Zenith Star mockup.

The video was copied to DVD from a videotape, which is why the resolution is a bit low.

 Posted by at 11:30 pm
Jun 242012

A 1955 NACA concept model of a supersonic interceptor powered by JP-5 burning turbojets. With a gross weight of 25,000 pounds, it would be capable of combat at Mach 2.5 to 3.0 with a ceiling of just over 60,000 feet.

 Posted by at 12:34 pm
Jun 202012

A poorly reproduced copy of a photo of a NACA-Lewis concept model of a high-altitude supersonic interceptor, circa 1955. Little data is available, apart from the engines having 55% of the weight of the craft, with the rest composed of structure and payload… almost no fuel. Makes an interesting comparison to the Lockheed “Suntan.”

 Posted by at 10:25 pm
Jun 192012

A simple Nasa-Lewis concept from 1971 for a nuclear-powered subsonic transport aircraft, clearly based on the Lockheed C-5. No other data available.

 Posted by at 11:38 pm
Jun 172012

The McDonnell Douglas Model 176 was a generic spaceplane design derived from the FDL-7 (Flight Dynamics Lab – USAF Wright-Pat). It was incorporated into small spaceplanes adequate for taking a few crewmembers to a space station on up to Space Shuttle competitors. Below are two pieces of art (found in the NASA HQ historical archive) showing a late 1960’s concept for a Model 176 optimized for the ILRV (Integral Launch and Recovery Vehicle) role. ILRV was one of the immediate predecessors to the Space Shuttle program.

The Model 176 was a sleek dart-like design with stubby fins. While details varied from iteration to iteration, all (or nearly all) featured high aspect ratio variable geometry wings for landing.

 Posted by at 5:05 pm
Jun 162012

After WWII, the US Navy contracted Bell Aircraft to modify two of their P-63 Kingcobras to have highly swept wings, to test low-speed flight characteristics of the Wings Of Tomorrow. Below is a three-view of the resultant L-39 test aircraft taken from a 1948 NACA-Langley wind tunnel test report.


 Posted by at 12:30 am