Sep 242017
 

… in a drone:

This is pretty much exactly the sort of footage that would have been impossible to get prior to the current generation of drones. So just imagine what people will be able to film once the batteries for drones are actually *good,* with the power and energy density of chemical fuels like gasoline.

I kept halfway expecting the drone to duck into a crevice in the rock face and wind up in a great interior space, lit only by the flames of a Balrog…

 Posted by at 6:59 pm
Sep 242017
 

OK, let’s say your town is plagued by a transdimensional monster that takes the form of a killer psychotic clown. Who would be the best person to try to destroy this menace? That’s right, the goddamn Batman:

 


And because why not:

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 6:39 pm
Sep 232017
 

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 1:54 pm
Sep 222017
 

Kalashnikov statue changed because of German weapon

Woopsie. A statue commemorating Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the AK-47, was unveiled in Moscow this week. Looks like a good statue.  At the base of the stature there’s a sculpted “exploded view” diagram of the AK-47. Well… of the German StG 44, in fact, not the AK-47. They look similar to be sure, but they are not the same. And once that mistake was discovered, they delicately chopped the diagram off with an angle grinder. The link above shows the before and after photos.

This sort of screwup is not as uncommon as you might hope. Sometime circa 1994 I attended the unveiling of a veterans memorial on (or near, I forget exactly) Rock Island Arsenal. It consisted of polished black marble slabs, one for each war on up to the Persian Gulf War. Each slab had “art” laser or chemically etched into the surface; pictures rather than actual sculpture. I had a difficult time not making a scene when I realized that the Persian Gulf War slab showed what was *supposed* to be an AH-64 Apache, but was actually an Agusta A129 Mangusta, an Italian attack helicopter that the US military most assuredly did *not* use in Iraq.

This is also not an AK-47. Or is it? Hmmm…

 

So where are the statues of Eugene Stoner, Edward Teller and John Moses Browning? I suggest for every statue of Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee taken down, they be replaced with prominent American weapons designers.

 Posted by at 11:44 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 7:53 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 7:34 pm
Sep 172017
 

… I’d give these guys a shot.

See, there are two ways that a modern company can deal with politics: either avoid it like the plague and hope to offend nobody, or dive headlong into it, *knowing* that they will offend and drive away half the market, but trusting that they will succeed on the *other* half of the market. These guys seem to have chosen the latter approach.

These would, I imagine, trigger our local Aussie-commie gunphobia fetishists. But… screw ’em. Guns, despite what the civilian disarmament fascists would have you believe, are *fun.* So a coffee company that shows its employees having fun with guns? Awesome.

 

 

 

 Posted by at 2:26 pm
Sep 142017
 

Or, more specifically, I just realized why I loved one minor detail about “The Orville:” the viewscreen. It’s FRIGGEN’ HUGE. The viewscreen on the bridge of Star Trek vessels has always been disturbingly small, which has never made any sense.

It’s unclear whether the viewscreen here is a projection or a window. External shots show a bright white glow covering the region that would be the viewscreen, but there are also clearly visible windows that show the interior normally-lit.

It’s never too early to start getting all nit-picky tech-nerd about these things…

 Posted by at 9:46 pm