Sep 252017
 

Another rare piece of early Dyna Soar color art. This one shows the Dyna Soar heading to space atop the centaur upper stage of an Atlas booster. And if you think you are seeing corrugations on the back of the spaceplane, you are correct. At this stage in the design process the Dyna Soar *did* have some fairly massive, un-aerodynamic corrugations, and for the same reason why the SR-71 has corrugations on the wing: to allow for thermal expansion. Why exactly the Boeing Dyna Soar corrugations run crossways to the airflow, I’m a little unclear on. Terrible aerodynamics, but I imagine that’s just the way the structure wanted to flex.

The corrugations rarely appear on the usually simple diagrams you see of early Dyna Soar configurations, but they were there on full-scale mockups.

 Posted by at 12:10 pm
Sep 222017
 

A piece of NAA concept art from the late 50’s or very early 60’s depicting a “space taxi.” Such devices were a common staple of space station thinking well into the 60’s, though it’s difficult to tell just how serious of a design this one was. The canopy, for example, seems an odd choice. The shape of the bubble and of the hatch indicates that this was not designed to hold pressure; the fact that the pilot is shown in a full space suit backs that up. It would make it difficult for the pilot to enter and exit the craft. And of course, the taxi is shown without reaction control thrusters, making it rather difficult to maneuver the thing. Very likely this is an artists fantasy done purely for marketing, showing people things they expect to see. Note, for example, that the space station appears to be cribbed directly from the Collier’s series. And if the station was rotating, that door would be in the *floor.*

 Posted by at 11:54 pm
Sep 212017
 

Now available: two new US Aerospace Projects issues. Cover art was provided by Rob Parthoens, www.baroba.be

US Bomber Projects #20:XB-59 Special

US Bomber Projects #20 is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #20 collects all the previously published articles and diagrams of the XB-59 antecedent designs and updates them. Additionally, more antecedent designs have been included as well as several designs that followed along after the XB-59. The biggest USXP publication yet!

USBP 20 includes twenty nine unique aircraft concepts (the usual issue of USXP has eight designs) from Boeing Models 484 and 701 showing how Boeing evolved the XB-59, their competitor to the Convair B-58 “Hustler.” Beginning with subsonic flying wings, the concept saw concepts both conventional and unconventional before eventually settling on Model 701-299-1, the final XB-59 design. This issue includes a half dozen Model 701 designs that followed along after the cancellation of the XB-59 program.

 

USBP #20 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $8:

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US Launch Vehicle Projects #04

US Launch Vehicle Projects #04 is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #04 includes:

  • Space Carrier Vehicle: A US Army lunar rocket with 8 F-1 engines
  • Convair Reusable Helios: A stage-and-a-half monster with a gas core nuclear engine
  • Boeing Model 896-111: A 1980’s two stage transatmospheric vehicle
  • Project RAND Satellite Rocket 3-Stage: A 1947 satellite launcher
  • Convair Saturn V-R: An idea on how to make a fully reusable Saturn V first stage
  • Lockheed STAR Clipper: A 1968 stage-and-a-half lifting body Space Shuttle
  • Shuttle-C: The  Shuttle derived vehicle design that came closest to being built
  • Titan III Growth/156-inch boosters: A more powerful version of the Titan III for Dyna Soar launch

 

USLP #04 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:

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Also recommended, these previous Specials:

US Bomber Projects #14: System 464L Special

USBP#14 brings together the competitors to Weapon System 464L, the first major effort in the Dyna Soar program. These designs were previously shown individually in prior issues of USBP; here they are brought together, with some updates, as well as a few extra diagrams and a section of diagrams formatted for 11X17 printing. This issue includes info and diagrams of the Lockheed, Republic, General Dynamics, McDonnell, Boeing, Douglas, Northrop, North American and Martin-Bell entries as well as their various booster systems. Also included are detailed diagrams of the ultimate Dyna Soar design, the 2050E.

USBP#14 can be purchased for downloading for the low, low price of $6.

usbp14ad2


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.

 

 

 Posted by at 7:51 am
Sep 182017
 

A rare piece of color art of an early Dyna Soar being lofted atop an Atlas/Centaur. Color artwork of the Dyna Soar was created in some considerable abundance, but it was mostly reproduced in B&W, and its sadly rare for even those B&W reports to have been printed well, rarer still for them to have been scanned or copied well.

 Posted by at 7:33 pm
Sep 162017
 

Well, I said they’d be available for a limited time only…

I will likely make them available again reasonably soon, but for right now I’ve had to shut down production. The materials I have on hand turn out to be *crap,* with the result that the latest batch of blueprints are just…. terrible. I’ve ordered more supplies, but it’ll take a while to arrive. Plus, the Summer That Just Won’t Let Up suddenly decided a few days ago to let up, turning full sunlight into overcast murk, making production scheduling impossible.

On the plus side, I found the two missing Dyna Soar transparencies.

 Posted by at 6:02 pm
Sep 102017
 

Recently on ebay were a set of 8X10 glossies, vintage Convair artwork depicting early spacecraft and launch vehicle concepts. I had my bid in… and was sniped in the last few seconds. Oh well. Anyway, one of the more interesting images was this one of the Convair “Helios” developed by or for Krafft Ehricke… a chemical rocket first stage equipped with wings for glide recovering and a nuclear powered second stage with a “tractor” arrangement to separate the nuclear engine from the payload – essentially a small manned laboratory to land on the moon. The second stage would unreel something like half a miles worth of cabling  and drag the payload along behind it, relying on distance rather than physical radiation shielding. The second stage would take the payload all the way to the lunar surface, gently lowering it down at the end of the cables, then land Way Over There Somewhere. A modern design would, I would hope, include electrical cables and would serve as a power generator.

A middling-resolution scan of the same image was posted back in January. One day I shall get a clean high-rez version. If that day is a particularly glorious day, it will come not only with the other images created for the Helios project… but they’ll also be in color.

 Posted by at 1:02 am