Dec 302016

This display model was sold on EBay some months back:

twin-747-sca-9 twin-747-sca-8 twin-747-sca-7 twin-747-sca-6 twin-747-sca-5 twin-747-sca-4 twin-747-sca-3 twin-747-sca-2 twin-747-sca-1

Without a display stand it’s difficult to determine exactly who made this, but all indications are that it was an “official” model, made by Boeing, Lockheed or NASA. The design was given some small amount of study around 1973, though the available documentation on it is lean.

Lockheed studied the same idea with the C-5 Galaxy. Of course the C-5 would have been easier to modify since it already had shoulder-mounted wings.

 Posted by at 3:46 pm
Dec 282016

I’d posted this YouTube video a few years ago, but I’ve found that not only was the video yanked, the whole account associated with it was nuked. Hmmmph.

A film about NERVA (Nuclear Energy for Rocket Vehicle Applications), 1968.

Provides a basic description of nuclear rockets, plus some art, animation and diagrams of nuclear propelled space vehicles along with footage of test firings.

 Posted by at 3:25 pm
Dec 272016

Recently sold on EBay was a sizable¬† (something like 4′ long) wind tunnel model of the Curtiss Wright Model 90 AAFSS submission. This was a derivative of their X-19… more or less a quad-tilt-rotor. The Model 90 would have been fairly highly armed, designed to fulfill the same role that the winning AAFSS design – the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne – was designed for: transporting troops and tearing up ground targets. The US has not had an operational vehicle like this; the Soviet “Hind” helicopter is the closest, though substantially slower, analog.

The Model 90 wind tunnel model was formerly on display at an aviation museum in Teterboro, New Jersey. No idea where it ended up, but hopefully it found a good home. I made a half-assed effort to crowdfund this one, but I think the lack of a good way to split the spoils among the funders doomed the concept. How *do* you reward funders for a purchase like this? Best idea was to have the thing 3D scanned, and distribute the scan among the funders, but unlike a scan of a drawing or a document, that’s not going to be readily useful for most people.

What I’d hoped to do was to disassemble the model, male fiberglass molds of the components, reassemble and restore it to like-new-ish condition then send it on to an appropriate and willing museum, possibly Ft. Rucker (since they’re all about Army aviation and have themselves an AH-56). Then make a few fiberglass copies from the molds, converting the “wind tunnel models” into detailed display models. Alas.

curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-g curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-f curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-e curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-d curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-c curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-b curtis-wright-model-90-ebay-a

 Posted by at 11:32 pm
Dec 212016

A recently sold item on EBay was this piece of artwork depicting a Boeing concept for an airliner powered by two propfans. These engines, popular items of study in the late 70s and into the 80s, were somewhere between turbofans and turboprops, with contra-rotating unducted fans using blades of complex design and contours. The advantage was, of course, fuel efficiency; the shape of the blades meant that they could spin with tip speeds closer to the speed of sound compared to turboprop blades, and could push the plane faster than normally practical for a turboprop.

Given the NASA logo on the tail, this piece of art undoubtedly depicts a proposal for an unducted fan test vehicle. The gray areas on the wing upper surfaces may indicate laminar flow control via suction, as with the Northrop X-21; this would all conspire to make this a very fuel efficient, if also very complex, jetliner.


 Posted by at 11:33 am
Dec 062016

From the NASA-Marshall Space Flight Center, December, 1961: An illustration of the forthcoming Saturn C-5 S-IC stage. This appears to be *mostly* as the S-IC would be built, but there are some detectable differences. Missing are the four small (and apparently superfluous) stabilizing fins that appeared on the outboard engine fairings. And located at the front are the eight retro rockets that would end up inside the aforementioned  engine fairings.


This illustration came via EBay. The full-resolution scan (all 15+ megabytes of it) is available in the 2016-12 Dropbox folder for APR patrons. If you’d like to gain access to this and two years worth of high-rez aerospace goodies like this, as well as help out the effort to procure and preserve aerospace goodies like this, please consider joining the APR Patreon.

 Posted by at 4:39 am
Dec 022016

A late 1980’s concept for NASA by Frassanito & Associates for a “Shuttle 2.” Clearly derived from Space Shuttle general ideas, it features a number of important differences, including:

  • A separable cockpit for use in emergencies (a concept given substantial study in the wake of Challenger)
  • Separate liquid hydrogen drop tanks above the wings
  • No boosters, but instead LH2/LOX engines mounted under the ET (presumably SSMEs, which appear to be in individual re-entry and recovery “capsules”)



It’s not certain, but the ET looks bigger than the standard STS ET. Which would make sense given that it needs to be filled with substantially more propellant to take the place of the SRBs.

This piece of art, and two more providing a closer look at the orbiter, are available in high-rez for APR patrons on the APR “Extras” Dropbox folder, under the 2016-12 APR Extras sub-folder. If you’re interested, take a look at the Aerospace Projects Review Patreon page and consider joining!

 Posted by at 1:55 pm