Jul 202017

A few weeks back I posted an old Chrysler ad I found online. The image quality was ok, but kinda small. Subsequently I found a copy on ebay, bought it, scanned it and cleaned it. I’ve posted the full-rez, fully cleaned version of the ad to the 2017-07 APR Extras folder on Dropbox, available for free for all APR patrons at the $4 level and above. The full rez image is 4043×6270 pixels, or  13.5×20.9 inches at 300 dpi. It could probably be safely printed off at 200 dpi, giving 20.2X32.35 inches.

Here’s a dinkyscale version of the new scan:

And here, because I want y’all to know that these things take time and effort, are some full-size crops from both the final version and the raw scan, showing the improvement in image quality. Some of it is done via a few keystrokes, such as tweaking the rightness and contrast, but erasing thousands of little specks and fixing flaws? That’s all genuine artisanal hand-made old-school photoshoppery craftsmanship.


If you are interested in accessing these and other aerospace historical goodies, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.





 Posted by at 4:36 pm
Jul 162017

Every month, patrons of the Aerospace Projects Review Patreon campaign are rewarded with a bundle of documents and diagrams, items of interest and importance to aerospace history. If you sign up, you get the monthly rewards going forwards; the “back issues” catalog lets patrons aid the APR cause by picking up items from before they signed on. The catalog, available to all patrons at the APR Patreon, has been updated to include everything from the beginning of the project back in 2014 on up to February, 2017.

Below are the items from 2016 (and the first two months of 2017):


If you are interested in any of these and in helping to fund the mission of Aerospace Projects Review, drop by the APR Patreon page and sign up. For only a few bucks a month you can help fund the procurement, scanning and dissemination of interesting aerospace documentation that might otherwise vanish from the public.

 Posted by at 12:49 am
Jul 142017

A 1972 Teledyne Ryan report on modifying their supersonic BQM-34E Firebee II target drone into RPV’s for testing new aerodynamics, wings and area-rule add-ons and the like. Numerous diagrams are included.

Here’s the link to the NTRS abstract.

Here’s the direct link to the PDF.



Support the APR Patreon to help bring more of this sort of thing to light!




 Posted by at 11:48 pm
Jul 112017

Seems I’ve been a wee bit lax  on the PDF Reviews I will attempt to rectify that in the future.

Here is a Air Force conference paper from May, 1964, describing the X-20 Dyna Soar program and vehicle. At this point the program had been cancelled for some months; the configuration shown in the paper was essentially the final design. It’s a decent overall view of the Dyna Soar.

Here’s the link to the abstract:

The X-20 (Dyna-Soar) Progress Report

Here’s a link directly to the PDF.


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 Posted by at 11:35 pm
Jul 062017

“Liberty” was a short-lived ATK launch vehicle concept. This design arose in 2011, following after the Ares 1. Where Ares 1 was a single 5-segment Shuttle booster derivative topped by an all-new hydrogen/oxygen second stage, Liberty used the same booster but topped by the core stage of an Ariane V. ATK believed that they could get one of these flying with astronauts as soon as 2015, but NASA decided to not fund the effort and ATK abandoned the project in 2012.

ATK handed out some promotional cards a few years back at one of the big Shuttle motor tests, scanned in below. I’ve posted the high-rez versions of the scans to the APR Patreon Dropbox (in the 2017-04 APR Extras folder, because I forgot to mention that here months ago).

If you are interested in accessing these and other aerospace historical goodies, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.




 Posted by at 8:36 pm
Jul 042017

Around 1960, the USAF had high hopes for the development of ASP: “AeroSpace Plane.” ASP was a program to develop an airbreather one- or two-stage-to-orbit spaceplane. The first stage would use some form of Liquid Air Cycle Engine; the inlet would be actively cooled by the liquid hydrogen fuel so that the incoming air would be condensed to liquid, which would allow the liquified air to be stored and fed into high chamber pressure rocket engines. ASP was extremely ambitious, and obviously – since no airbreathing system has made it to orbit (not counting simple turbojet-powered aircraft carrying otherwise conventional rockets such as Pegasus) – it did not work. A fair chunk of change was spent on the concept, but it faded away after a few years. The basic idea of ASP would arise a quarter century later with NASP, to similar levels of success.

A good, well-illustrated article on ASP was published some time back in issue v2N5 of Aerospace Projects Review.

Most of the known ASP designs were produced by Convair. It seems that Convair jumped into the program with both feet, producing not only detailed diagrams of a whole range of vehicles but also artwork and display models. And the latter category included some beautiful see-through models made from Plexiglas. It shows some interior details such as the complex plumbing of the Liquid Air Cycle Engines, as well as the winged second stage tucked into the lower fuselage of the very large hypersonic first stage. In an era long before computer animation, models such a this would be very useful in illustrating complex concepts to customers and bosses.

I have uploaded the full-rez version of this photo to the 2017-07 APR Extras Dropbox folder, available to all APR Patrons at the $4 level and above. If you are interested in accessing these and other aerospace historical goodies, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.




 Posted by at 2:36 am
Jul 012017

The Pluto nuclear ramjet is often considered one of the crazier (or perhaps more accurately, “badass”) weapons systems ever considered by serious people. In short, it used a nuclear reactor as the heat source for an airbreathing ramjet; it would fly at a few hundred feet altitude at Mach 3 with nearly unlimited range. Several American aerospace corporations vied for the contract; LTV won the contract to build the airframe in 1961. The “Tory” nuclear ramjet was static ground tested with some success, but the program was cancelled in 1964.

Convair gave the concept considerable study from the beginning of the program in 1957 until at least 1961. Their “Big Stick” concept has been reasonably well known, but they had another idea that was somewhat further from the basic idea. It was mentioned in at least two briefings that I’ve come across; some amount of serious work was done on it, but the information I have is fragmentary. The concept was called simply the “Submersible Nuclear Ramjet.”

Pluto and Big Stick were unmanned cruise missiles. They would be launched from the ground with solid rocket boosters (some though was given to launching from ships, subs and aircraft) and would fly “grand tours” of the Soviet Union, spitting out a number of individual nuclear bombs. They would leave in their wake a line of ruin… the shockwaves from their passage would likely shake apart civilian structures, and the reactors would constantly spit out radioactive particles. At the end of the mission the missiles would crash into one final target.

But the Submersible Nuclear Ramjet would work a little differently. For starters… it was manned. There would be a crew on board throughout the mission.

Rather than starting off at some Air Force base, the Submersible Nuclear Ramjet would actually start off as a submarine, floating around on its own in the ocean. Propulsion would be provided by the nuclear reactor, serving as a “water ramjet” by heating seawater and expelling it. Feeding salt water, diatoms, kelp, fish and all the rest of the junk  the ocean has to offer directly through a nuclear reactor seems a bit dubious.

When the order to begin an actual mission comes in, the propulsion system would be reconfigured from seawater-burning ramjet to seawater-burning rocket. The vehicle would expel stored seawater through the reactor, generating a large amount of thrust, enough to launch the craft vertically out of the water and up to high speed. The craft would then angle over towards the horizontal; the propulsion system would reconfigure once again, this time to an airbreathing nuclear ramjet. The vehicle would then fly a mission essentially similar to Plutos… low altitude, screamingly high speed, ejecting nuclear weapons as it goes. At the end of the mission, unlike Pluto it would *not* crash itself into one final target. Instead, the manned vehicle would return to secure waters and slow to subsonic speed. It would enter a vertical climb and slow to a stop; the ramjet would again reconfigure, this time back to rocket mode. Four drag brakes would deploy around the nose and the vehicle would back down into the water for a soft “splashdown.” It would of course land with nearly empty tanks, so it would be quite buoyant; until the tanks refill, it would likely sit tail-down in the water.

I’m going to try to find out more about this concept, but I have minimal hopes. I’ve gone all this time without hearing about it until just a few weeks ago.

Because why no, I’ve made a basic model of the concept. Complete accuracy is not assured… I have a top view and an inboard profile; as with a distressing number of concept aircraft diagrams, the views seem to conflict on things such as the cockpit canopy, and the inlet configuration is only partially shown. Still, it’s a really interesting concept.

If you’re interested in Pluto, take a look at Aerospace Projects Review issue V2N1. There is a very large, highly illustrated article on Pluto in that issue. If you are interested in the Submersible Nuclear Ramjet, keep an eye on US Bomber Projects… it will show up in the next issue or two.

The renders below show the Convair Submersible Nuclear Ramjet to scale with the LTV Pluto.

 Posted by at 12:36 am