Oct 172017

Interesting if true:

FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

The basic claims are not new, but the claims that the FBI knew about it and essentially sat on it… that’s new.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

 Posted by at 10:31 pm
Sep 272017

Could Evaporating Water Be the Next Big Thing in Renewable Energy?

Claim is that the US has the *potential* for 325 gigawatts of electrical power from harnessing the power of evaporation, sing technologies that seem a little tenuous. Utah supposedly had the potential for 47 gigawatts.

Of course, this sort of system of power generation is weather dependent, like solar and wind. Evaporation rates go down when the temperature goes down, such as night and winter. Still, *if* his sort of thing can be made practical… I have an idea.

First, dredge out the Great Salt Lake (a half baked crazy notion I’ve mentioned before). Dig it out substantially deeper, refill with ocean water, stock with fish.Turn the lake – currently pretty useless – into a productive gigantic fish farm. Then put the evaporation power systems in place over much of it. These would block a fair percentage of the light, but enough would get through to keep the ecosystem humming along. On warm sunny days, the evaporation power system cranks out the gigawatts.

At night, on cloudy and cold days… the nuclear systems in the lake kick on to full power. Bopping around under the lake would be purpose-built submarines, basically mobile nuclear reactors. They would use the lake water as the heat sink for the heat exchangers for the power systems; this would heat up the lake during winter… actually promoting evaporation. The subs need not do a whole lot of traveling; they’d be tethered to electrical nodes with massive power cables, and would only need to move around enough to make them untargetable for terrorists in jetliners and the like.

Honestly, I think covering the lake with perforated mats of PV arrays would be better than evaporation engines, but… whatever works.

 Posted by at 12:50 am
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:



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:


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.


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 7:53 am
Sep 142017

While looking at something else on eBay, a listing for something rather more interesting came up:

Minuteman Solid Resin Nuclear warhead MIRV Reentry Vehicle Factory Desk Model
Now, hmmm, I sez. That’s clearly a maneuverable warhead, designed to muck up the enemies defenses by scooting around them. So I decide to click on the link and see more about it and get hit with:
My paranoid lil’ mind starts to wonder… did someone have something for sale they shouldn’t have had?
As models go it looks pretty uninspiring… low detail, blocky, simple, at thos low image resolution it seems kinda amateurish. As maneuverable MIRV designs it’s not spectacular… sort of a mutant Delta Clipper (which was derived from maneuverable MIRV design work). Still, that’s pretty much exactly the sort of the the DoD gets a little twitchy about from time to time.
If anyone knows anything about it, or sees it pop up again, let me know…


OK, this is strange. I still get the same “listing removed” message when I click on the link with my computer… but it pulls right up (high rez photos and all) when I view it on my *phone.* This would be a first.
So… who can see it? Who can’t?
 Posted by at 10:08 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 1:03 am
Sep 082017

A great little video showing the C-5/Minuteman drop tests carried out in 1974. Two things in particular stand out: how quickly the project proceeded, and how spectacular some of the failures look. A third thing stands out: that there were spectacular failures and yet they quickly fixed their issues and move on to the next test.

 Posted by at 5:12 pm
Sep 032017

North Korea set off their sixth nuclear explosion a little while ago. They *claim* that is was not only an H-bomb but also miniaturized for installation on an ICBM.

So, you know, yay, I guess.

North Korea confirms sixth nuclear test

No information on the yield of the bomb, though a magnitude 6.3 quake was generated. The previous test, about 10 kilotons, created a 5.3 quake. Which might mean this blast would be on the order of 100 kilotons, safely in the H-bomb range.

 Posted by at 1:10 am