Oct 312015

Not exactly a “PDF” review, but this should be of interest to many here: “Missiles & Rockets” magazine, a weekly periodical published from 1958 into 1968, was much like Aviation Week except with a more specific focus. And it has been made available on archive.org.  I’ve found the search function to be somewhat ineffective, but the system allows for fairly straightforward navigation along with easy downloading of individual pages as high-rez JPEGs. The collection is not complete, sadly; it doesn’t look like it’s being completed, but there are nevertheless a fair number of issues available.


Much more aerospace stuff is available via the APR Patreon.


 Posted by at 8:51 am
Oct 302015

Two McDonnell Douglas illustrations showing versions of their “Big Gemini” logistics spacecraft, and a similar concept for an Apollo-derived 9-man logistics spacecraft (not, seemingly, named “Big Apollo,” though that would have been appropriate). Both featured enlarged capsules to transport crew up and down, with an attached propulsion/cargo module which would be jettisoned to burn up.

bigapollo biggemini

 Posted by at 11:46 am
Oct 262015

All through the 1960’s – or at least up until the last few years, when “Great Society” spending ate into NASA’s budget – the assumption was that NASA would soon have numerous space stations in orbit and some preliminary lunar bases, with Mars missions soon to follow. In order to support those, NASA would have to have a cost effective means to launch sizable crews into orbit. A number of approaches were proposed, including Big Gemini and, in the end, the Space Shuttle. One approach that probably would have been quite workable was to simply scale up the Apollo capsule into something capable of holding more than three; a slight scaleup seats six, a further scaleup seats twelve. These would have been launched atop the Saturn Ib and/or Saturn V boosters, and would come with their own basic orbital maneuvering systems, and could carry up some amount of cargo in the conical transition/propulsion sections. At the end of the mission, the capsule would return to Earth for recovery, refurbishment and reuse; the propulsion module would be allowed to burn up.

Of course, none of these were ever built.

The full resolution versions of these artworks have been posted into the 2015-10 folder in the APR Extras Dropbox. Please check out the APR Patreon!

Apollo 6 Man Logistics Apollo 12 Man Logistics

 Posted by at 10:11 am
Oct 242015

A three stage vehicle to transport 10 passengers to space stations and the like. I’ve recently come into possession of a whole bunch of reports on the Reusable Aerospace Passenger Transport and Reusable Orbital Transport programs; at some point these might make the makings of an APR article.

The third stage bears a vague similarity to the Boeing Dyna Soar in configuration, but is an entirely different vehicle. This concept helped set the course towards the Space Shuttle.

Pages from 1963 Reusable 10-Ton Carrier Lockheed Phase 1 Final Oral Presentation_Page_04 Pages from 1963 Reusable 10-Ton Carrier Lockheed Phase 1 Final Oral Presentation_Page_05Pages from 1963 Reusable 10-Ton Carrier Lockheed Phase 1 Final Oral Presentation_Page_06 Pages from 1963 Reusable 10-Ton Carrier Lockheed Phase 1 Final Oral Presentation_Page_07

 Posted by at 9:47 pm
Oct 152015

A Convair illustration of the Model 54, a proposed operational version of the NX-2 nuclear powered aircraft. The Model 54 was a missile carrier, but with an internal bomb bay. It was also strictly subsonic, so its survivability over Soviet territory would undoubtedly have been seen as minimal in the supersonic-obsessed 1950’s. By carrying long-range cruise missiles (type unclear), the Model 54 could spend days orbiting outside Soviet controlled airspace and, when war breaks out, dash in at low altitude, unleash its missiles hundreds of missiles from the target (and from the air defenses), and then run home. Of course, the Model 54 was never built.

A full-rez version of this has been made available to $4+ Patrons of the APR Patreon, in the 2015-10 Extras Dropbox folder. If you’re interested in obtaining this, and/or helping the cause of preserving aerospace history, please check out the APR Patreon.


 Posted by at 7:02 pm