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 302014

Here are photos of portions of a few documents I’m considering as Patreon rewards. These have not yet been scanned in; some will require a bit of effort to make them presentable, but all are pretty interesting in my view. If I understand the Patreon system correctly, the system debits the credit cards or PayPal accounts of those who have pledged at the “end of the month ” (any day now, I expect), and the rewards will be distributed a few days later – when I have them ready – to those who have been successfully charged. The upshot is that if you buy in the day *after* billing, you don’t get the rewards for this month, but only *next* month. So you miss out on the first batch. The $100 benchmark is safely in the past, and there seems to be a slow creep towards the $200 benchmark, which will mean two uploads as rewards for the first month is feasible. In the event that the contribution level gets there, I’ll try to have one large format drawing and one document per month, so long as that’s practical.

So if you don’t want to miss anything, sign up soon!

A NASA report from 1972 showing a *lot* of designs for Space Shuttle concepts. Includes designs that clearly foreshadowed the Shuttle as actually built, as well as some really wacky ones.

WP_20140630_001 WP_20140630_002 WP_20140630_003 WP_20140630_004


Two official aircraft recognition guides from the early 1950s to help ground observers tell friendlies from potential bandits.WP_20140630_005 WP_20140630_006


A Convair report from 1948 on an assault seaplane. Includes a *lot* of excessively detailed design diagrams. This one might have to be broken up into several parts due to the size of it.WP_20140630_007 WP_20140630_008 WP_20140630_009 WP_20140630_010 WP_20140630_011 WP_20140630_012


A report on the Regulus II missile which includes detailed diagrams of both the tactical missile version and the reusable test flight version. Some really snazzy large foldouts, which will require a bit of work to clean up.WP_20140630_014 WP_20140630_015 WP_20140630_016

 Posted by at 2:03 am
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
Jun 282014

I’ve launched the Patreon funding campaign:


If you appreciate the aerospace research I do and the stuff I dig up, please consider contributing. As a bonus, you will get goodies if you do! High rez large format diagram scans, brochures, reports, proposals, etc.


Pledge $0.75 or more per month

You get my thanks and a warm fuzzy feeling, knowing that you are contributing to saving the history of aerospace engineering!

Pledge $1.50 or more per month

You will receive the uploaded documents and blueprints at 125 dpi

Pledge $3.00 or more per month

You will receive the uploaded documents and blueprints at 200 dpi

Pledge $4.00 or more per month

You will receive the uploaded documents and blueprints at 300 dpi

Pledge $5.00 or more per month

You will receive the uploaded documents and blueprints at 300 dpi plus a bonus CAD diagram at 300 dpi, sized for 8.5X11

Pledge $6.00 or more per month

You will receive the uploaded documents and blueprints at 300 dpi plus a bonus CAD diagram at 300 dpi sized for 11X17

Pledge $8.00 or more per month

You will receive the uploaded documents and blueprints at 300 dpi plus a bonus CAD diagram at 300 dpi sized for 18X24 or larger AND the diagram in the native vector format

Pledge $10.00 or more per month

You will receive all the prior rewards, plus have the opportunity to vote on what will be released next.

Tell all your friends.

 Posted by at 10:34 am
Jun 262014

Found on eBay, a set of fridge magnets printed with three manned United Launch Alliance launch options: the Boeing CST-100, the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser and the Orion capsule in the Exploration Flight Test 1 (first unmanned flight) configuration. I’ve not found better versions of these illustrations elsewhere, sadly. This image was processed a bit to straighten and brighten the photo posted on eBay.


 Posted by at 4:10 pm
Jun 242014

In the mid 1960’s, the McDonnell Aircraft Company devoted some internal funds and effort to the F-4(FVS). This would have removed the wing from the F-4 Phantom II and replaced it with an all-new shoulder-mounted swing wing. The target of this enterprise was primarily the US Navy; MAC assured them that the F-4(FVS) would be a superior carrier plane to the standard F-4 due to better low-speed handling characteristics. Howver, while the design seems to have been pretty sound, by this point the Navy wanted a capability the Phantom couldn’t provide: Phoenix missiles. In the end, the Navy largely ignored the F-4(FVS) and went with the F-14. But even then, McDonnell-Douglas proposed a design for the F-14 contest, the Model 225A, that was in part derived from the F-4(FVS) studies.

A whole lot more about the F-4(FVS) and the Model 225 are in Aerospace Projects Review issue V3N4.



 Posted by at 3:58 pm
Jun 232014

Saw this on eBay a while back. No further data. I assume it’s from the early/mid 1960’s, early MOL era. I don’t imagine that it was a particularly serious study; I’ve never seen it’s like elsewhere, and it seems like it would be quite heavy and prone to leaks. A reasonable guess would put the diameter at 10 feet, standard for the time (same diameter as the Titan II/TIIIc core vehicle).

extendable lab

I tinkered a bit to fix the warping and clean up the image:

extendable lab a

 Posted by at 6:08 pm
Jun 232014

A rather uninformative (no narration) NASA-Langley video of supersonic wind tunnel testing of the proposed Space Launch System. Interesting for the shots of the model itself (nice to see actual models, rather than just CGI), as well as a few shots showing the shock waves shed off the body.

[youtube 8NxB0KAsous]

 Posted by at 1:50 am
Jun 212014

In 1962, NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center kicked off the EMPIRE (Early Manned Planetary Interplanetary Roundtrip Expeditions) studies. This was a preliminary examination of manned missions to other planets, mostly looking at Mars, with Venus flyby and orbital missions as well.

Contracts went to General Dynamics, Lockheed and the Aeroneutronic Division of Ford. Yes, Ford, the car company: at the time, rather than the American aerospace industry being so tightly contracted that there were only a handful of players, the industry was so lively and vast that *car* companies were doing good business in aerospace (Chrysler built the Redstone rocket, the first stage of the Saturn I and even proposed an SSTO for the Shuttle program).

General Dynamics/Convair produced the best known of the resulting studies. With much of the work overseen by Krafft Ehricke, there was a distinct sense of enthusiasm to it; much of the results of the EMPIRE study crossed departments and ended up in General Atomics Project Orion work. One portion of the EMPIRE design that Orion adopted was the manned Mars Excusion Module (MEM).

empire mars landing vehicle

In configuration the lander looked much like an Apollo Command & (shortened) Service Module with three landing legs. instead of a conventional parachute, it used a metal ring that was to serve much the same purpose. The Mercury-like “Abort Tower” was to be used at liftoff; it would drag the ascent vehicle up far enough that ignition of the main engine would not through debris around that could strike and damage the ascent vehicle.

Sadly, this design was produce before the Mariner 4 probe flew by Mars . The data sent back by Mariner 4 showed that the atmosphere of mars was more than an order of magnitude thinner than had been expected, with the result that aerodynamic braking would be far more difficult. Thus, this design simply would not have worked on Mars; it would have slammed into the ground at high speed.

 Posted by at 3:36 pm