Sep 292014

Currently up on eBay is an original watercolor illustration of a McDonnell-Douglas cargo plane concept. Details are lean, but it looks like it dates from the 1980’s.

ebay 2014-09-29 b

A multibody design make sense for heavy cargo lifters. By spreading the load across the wing, rather than suspending it from a single point, the wing is stressed considerably less. Of course, drag is noticeably increased and runways need to be wider.

This particular design seems a little odd… especially with the leading edge of the wing. Unless the aft fuselage is taller than the forward fuselage, or the wing is tilted up at a substantial angle of incidence, then the leading edge of the wing should be submerged into the upper fuselage, as the trailing edge is. Artistic oversight?

 Posted by at 5:05 pm
Sep 202014

After a bit of a delay, the September rewards have been released. These include a large-format inboard profile of the North American Aviation F-108 Rapier Mach 3+ interceptor:

2014-09 ad2

And “Notes on Space Technology,” a compilation of notes by the Flight Research Division of the NACA Langley Research Center based on a space technology course given in the early part of 1958. A hefty 670+pages in length, this covered just about every aspect of space travel as understood in 1958. While I haven’t read the whole thing, it appears to be not only of historical interest, but also useful to get a pretty good general grasp of space travel science, principles and technologies.

2014-09 ad1

Also included for the higher level patrons are three CAD diagrams:

Boeing Bird of Prey stealth, manufacturing and materials testing prototype aircraft from the 1990’s

Zenith Star experimental space based laser anti-missile system, 1988

Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2, a maneuverable hypersonic glider for missile-launched warheads

2014-09 ad3

The September rewards are about a week and a half late in being released. Since I hope to get the October rewards out a little earlier than normal, that means that the September releases will probably be available for a short time.

If you would like to access these items and support the cause of acquiring and sharing these pieces of aerospace history, please visit my Patreon page and consider contributing.


 Posted by at 10:21 pm
Sep 172014

McDonnell Douglas artwork from ~1970 showing the F-15 late in the design process. While it’s recognizably the F-15, a number of differences are visible, primary being the ventral fins and slimmer nose.

1970 F-15

 Posted by at 11:48 pm
Sep 152014

Artwork showing the major Dyna Soar/Titan III contractors. The Titan IIIc show here includes the large pitch stabilization fins (and small yaw fins) attached to the solid rocket boosters. Not depicted are the thrust vector control fluid tanks. At the time, the fins were thought needed to counteract the pitch moment that would be produced by the wings of the spaceplane way up front. In the end, it was concluded that thrust vector control would be more than adequate for the task; and while the Titan IIIC never launched a Dyan Soar, it retained the TVC capabilities that were produced to deal with the Dyna Soar.


Much, much more on the Dyna Soar, including the final few Titan III variants, can be found in Aerospace Projects Review issue V3N4.

 Posted by at 10:53 am
Sep 112014

Spotted on ebay a while back. The writeups suggested that this was the actual SNAP 8 #2 reactor, but it sure looks like a mockup to me. The SNAP-8 reactor could generate a healthy 1 megawatt of thermal energy using 18 pounds of nuclear fuel.

ebay 2014-07-19 14

 Posted by at 2:08 am
Sep 092014

Well, here’s a new one. I’ve been put in touch with a guy who has an entire aerospace archive he’s selling off. He wants $4000 for the complete set of stuff, a catalog of which is included here as a PDF (the items actually available in the collection are bounded in red). There’s some undeniably interesting stuff in there that I really want, but $4K is well beyond what I can pony up. But I think this stuff might be of interest to a whole lot of other folks. So what I’m thinking… crowdsource this purchase.

There are two groups of documents that I think would be of most interest, so I will provide high-rez scans of the docs for $150 for group A, $100 for group B, or $225 for both).

Group A: shown on page 3, “Space Shuttle Systems Handbook” and “Hubble Space Telescope Systems Description Handbook.” These are fairly enormous collections of diagrams; the original sales price of these two items back in 1993 was $558. I’ve seen a much more recent version of the Shuttle Handbook,” and it was fairly spectacular.

Group B: shown on page 6, a number of “Shuttle Systems Data Reports” which would seem to illustrate just about everything on the Shuttle program. These I have *not* seen personally, so I’m kinda guessing here. The total sales price in 1993 was $258.

As for all the other stuff: I think the best approach would be to auction them off – after scanning, of course – to those who have bought in for either Group A or B. Right now I’m not asking for cash. There are some details I need to confirm first (such as getting photos of the collection… not that I don’t trust the guy, but I don’t trust anybody). But I *do* want to gauge interest, to see if I will actually be able to afford the full $4K. So if you’d like to get in on this, please send an email to letting me know if you wants Group A, Group B or both. If I go ahead with this, I’ll need the funds up front.

WSN catalog

 Posted by at 11:39 pm
Sep 042014

Issues 09 and 10 of US Bomber Projects is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #09 includes:

  • Boeing Model 464-33-0: A turboprop B-52 predecessor
  • Consolidated Army Bombardment Flying Wing: A ground attacker with an extreme mode of attack
  • GE Supersonic System 6X: A Mach 3 nuclear-powered bomber
  • Convair B/J-58: A supercuising version of the Hustler
  • Boeing model 484-2-2: AB-58 competitor
  • Northrop 464L: A blended wing/body spaceplane
  • Martin Model 223-9: a 1944 step on the road to the XB-48
  • Boeing Model 800-15A: A Mach 3.5 hydrogen fueled design of incredible range

USBP#09 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:




Issue #10 includes:


  • Boeing Model 464-34-3: A turboprop B-52 predecessor
  • Martin Model 192-5: A medium-sized flying wing
  • Republic Mach 7: a relatively small high-speed design
  • Convair WS-125A: A large nuclear powered supersonic design
  • Boeing model 484-415: A jet-powered supersonic flying boat
  • Boeing 464L: Boeings first Dyna Soar
  • Martin Model 223-10: a 1944 step on the road to the XB-48
  • Lockheed CL-1301-1: A very small VTOL ground attacker

USBP#10 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:





 Posted by at 1:32 am
Sep 012014

A piece of NASA art (a photo from eBay, with an attempt at correcting parallax error), likely from 1962-63, depicting current and forthcoming space launch vehicles. Of note, rather obviously, is the “Nova” launcher at far right. But also noteworthy are the “Thor Agena B” and the “Atlas Agena B,” both of which are depicted with the Agena upper stage & payloads blacked out. This could be due to security concerns over the Agena configuration… or perhaps the Agena was not yet well defined, and by blacking them out, the artist would not have to depict them (and yet they could be given an air of mystery). It would not surprise me if there is another version of this artwork with the Agenas shown clearly.

ebay 2014-07-19 12

 Posted by at 1:07 pm