Oct 302016

I’ve been running the Aerospace Projects Review Patreon project for a bit over two years now. Every month, Patrons get rewarded with sets of aerospace history stuff… currently, one large-format diagram or piece of artwork, three documents and, depending on level of patronage, an all-new CAD diagram of an aerospace subject of interest. More than two dozen such packages have been put together so far and distributed. Given that you can get in on this for as little as $1.50 a month (for 125-dpi scans… $4/month for full-rez 300 dpi scans) and you get at least four items, that’s a pretty good bargain compared to the individual aerospace drawings and documents.

Patrons who signed up after the process got underway can now get “back issues” of the previously released rewards packages. A catalog of more than the first years worth has just been posted; each month will see an updated catalog posted for Patrons to order from. So if you are interested, check out the APR Patreon page to see how to sign up; if you are already a patron, check out the catalog here.

 Posted by at 3:41 pm
Oct 162016

The History Channel has a new series, “Doomsday: 10 Ways he World will End.” Each episode describes some scientifically possible doomsday scenario… the first episode had a dinosaur-killer asteroid impact, the second had the Earth swallowed by a supermassive black hole. (One of these is more likely than the other…). The third episode, aired just a few days ago, has a rogue planet with the mass of Neptune plow into the Earth.

At the end of the last episode, discussion was made of the possibility of mankind surviving Earth getting steamrolled by an interstellar interloper by sending an emergency colonization mission to Mars. It was only a couple of minutes, mostly illustrated with stock footage of modern launch vehicles being assembled. But one of the talking heads suggested that the means of getting to mars would be via Orion nuclear pulse vehicle. A *very* brief shot of the Orion vehicle zipping past was included. The Orion CG model was obviously rather quickly slapped together. It was pretty generic, but on the whole looked reasonable enough. But for some reason the craft was given an unnecessary and impossible to justify rocket nozzle smack in the middle of the pusher plate. I took a few snapshots of the TV screen with my cameraphone… seemed good enough under the circumstances.

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 Posted by at 7:25 pm
Oct 142016

Currently on ebay is a single slide, a photo someone took in the 1960’s. It shows a family standing in front of a full-scale mockup of the SV-5,  what became the X-24A. This is hardly an unknown mockup; it has been shown elsewhere many times. But I thought this particular view might be of interest to some. It is shown on the back of a truck for transport, attached to a transition section that would, on the real vehicle, then attach to a launch vehicle such as a Titan II or III.


 Posted by at 7:55 pm
Oct 112016

While Kennedy Space Center did not receive the apocalyptic death blow from hurricane Matthew that some were projecting, that doesn’t mean that the storm passed without causing damage. One sad casualty was the SM-64 Navaho missile and booster on display at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station; it has been *badly* damaged. Restoration will be a chore… assuming that it is restored.

These photos came to me from aviation historian/writer Dennis R. Jenkins. If you post ’em, make sure to point that out.

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 Posted by at 3:21 pm
Oct 092016

On ebay a little while back were some pieces of art illustrating some Martin Marietta concepts for teleoperated spacecraft. Included was an idea for a Skylab reboost spacecraft to be carried by the Shuttle. The reboost spacecraft would, it seems, be based on a simpler spacecraft to be used for general satellite repair, recovery and reboost.

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 Posted by at 4:20 pm
Oct 072016

A piece of NASA art illustrating a lunar-bound craft equipped with three relatively small nuclear thermal rockets. The payload is a lunar lander, similar in appearance to the “First Lunar Outpost” landers of the early 1990s, dating the art. To my eye this looks a bit dubious from the standpoint of nuking the crew… the reactors aren’t that far from them, what with the rather short hydrogen tank. *Perhaps* this was intended to be sent to lunar orbit unmanned, there to be met by a crew sent via chemical rockets. For lunar missions the utility of nuclear rockets would not be in getting payloads to the destination sooner; three days just isn’t that long, really. The advantage would be in sending *massive* payloads. So a small manned capsule sent chemically and a big heavily loaded lander sent via nukes might well make considerable sense.


 Posted by at 4:14 pm