Sep 132015

Now available… two new additions to the US Aerospace Projects series.


US Bomber Projects #16: The B-52 Evolution Special

Boeing Model 444 A: A late war turboprop heavy bomber
Boeing Model 461: An early postwar turboprop heavy bomber
Boeing Model 462: A large six-turboprop ancestor of the B-52
Boeing Model 462-5: A six-turboprop B-52 ancestor
Boeing Model 464-17: 1946 four-turboprop strategic bomber, a step toward the B-52
Boeing Model 464-18: a reduced-size version of the 464-17 turboprop strategic bomber
Boeing Model 464-25: a modification of the 464-17 turboprop bomber with slightly swept wings, among other changes
Boeing Model 464-27: a slightly-swept turboprop B-52 progenitor
Boeing Model 464-33-0: A turboprop B-52 predecessor
Boeing Model 464-34-3: A turboprop B-52 predecessor
Boeing Model 464-40: The first all-jet-powered design in the quest for the B-52
Boeing Model 464-40: The first all-jet-powered design in the quest for the B-52
Boeing Model 464-046: A six-engined B-52 predecessor
Boeing Model 464-49: The penultimate major design in the development of the B-52
Fairchild M-121:A highly unconventional canard-biplane
Convair B-60: A swept-wing turboprop-powered derivative of the B-36
Douglas Model 1211-J: An elegant turboprop alternative to the B-52
With additional diagrams of the B-47, XB-52 and B-52B

USBP#16 can be purchased for downloading for the low, low price of $6.

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US Spacecraft Projects #03

Northrop ST-38 Space Trainer: a rocket-powered T-38 for trips to space
“Have Sting:” A General Electric design for a gigantic orbital railgun
JPL Thousand Astronomical Unit probe: A spacecraft into interstellar space
Integrated MannedInterplanetary Spacecraft: A Boeing concept for a giant spacecraft to Mars and Venus
Convair Inflatable Spacecraft: an early spaceplane concept
One Man Space Station: A 1960 McDonnell concept for a tiny space station
Astroplane: A lightweight aircraft for the exploration of Mars
Reactor-In-Flight Test: A Lockheed nuclear-powered stage for the Saturn V


USSP#03 can be purchased for downloading for the low, low price of $5.

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 Posted by at 3:03 pm
Sep 082015


Meet ‘Mark’, the crazy genius who designed an aeroplane while drunk

Mark, a mechanical engineering student at Michigan Tech, got blitzed, designed an airplane, then woke up with no recollection of it.

Granted, it’s of course not a complete design, but instead sketches and a bunch of math. But damn, those sketches are a lot better than some I’ve seen come out of *sober* *professional* aircraft designers. The aircraft is a wing-in-ground effect plane, designed to skim just above the surface of the water; the air compressed between the wing and the waters surface creates more lift than if the aircraft was slightly higher, flying out of ground effect. WIG craft are dandy ways of gaining fuel efficiency for relatively slow transport planes, so long as you’re cool with a bumpy ride. Which, if you’re wasted, you probably are.

The story sounds like a fun adventure in Asperger’s Syndrome; “Mark” plunged into design work with a passion and yammered at his roommates, going through all the math in detail while they laughed. That sort of commitment to cause in the face of derision is a common feature of Aspergers. But the blackout drunk aspect of the story makes it a bit different from usual.


The real question now is: is Mark a better designer sober… or drunk? There is of course precedent.


 Posted by at 3:49 pm
Sep 082015

The image quality is admittedly terrible (being a scan of a print of a microfilm), but this might be of interest… a piece of NASA art circa 1963 depicting the Saturn V with an S-N third stage rather than an S-IVb  third stage. The S-N was not a fixed design, but varied over the years; here, it was a fairly stubby stage ten meters in diameter, same as the S-IC and S-II stage. The S-N would vary in diameter and length from design to design, but one common element was the use of a single NERVA solid-core nuclear thermal rocket engine. As shown here, the distance from the nuclear rocket to the Apollo capsule up front just isn’t terribly far; consequently, this depicted a design with extraordinary levels of shielding, or depicted an unmanned Apollo (but then, why the abort tower), or it was just artistic license.


 Posted by at 11:12 am
Sep 032015

I continue to tinker with the CAD diagrams for “Nuclear Pulse Propulsion,” as well as creating new ones. I decided to see what the diagrams for the 10-Meter design for the USAF would look like in a larger format… in this case, two sheets 40 inches by 10, at 1/96 scale. A fair bit of formatting needed as yet, but on the whole I think they look pretty good.

Anyone interested? I’m thinking a combination of prints (folded into a book or rolled) and cyanotype blueprints on vellum. If this idea is popular (I’m going to take at least this design to print, just for myself), I’d do something similar for the 10-meter NASA vehicle, the 20-meter NASA vehicle and the 86-foot 4,000 “battleship.”


 Posted by at 11:03 pm
Sep 012015

Boeing art from the late 1970s depicting the construction of a base in low Earth orbit, which in turn would be used to construct components of solar power satellites, which would then be slowly boosted to geosynchronous using electric propulsion. Even though the base would be dwarfed by the SPS itself, the base was monumental in scale compared to any other manned space facility proposed before or since.

SPS construction

The artwork (scanned from a brochure that was folded down the middle, thus there’s a half-repaired fold line) depicts not only a Space Shuttle orbiter, but also the second stage of a ballistically recoverable Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle.

I have posted the full-rez version at the APR Patreon Extras Dropbox folder for 2015-08 (while it’s 2015-09 now, the file began the process of uploading at 11:59 PM by my watch, so…). If interested, please check out the APR Patreon and consider joining. Lots of benefits!


 Posted by at 12:15 am