Oct 082017

Got them done a little early this time, so here’s a review of what the APR Patrons will be receiving:

Patrons will receive:

A proposal brochure on the C-135A cargo transport

A brochure about the Shuttle-C

A well illustrated NASA-produced booklet from the mid 1980’s describing the space station as them conceived

A large format diagram showing a wind tunnel model of the Titan III/Dyna Soar

A CAD diagram of the ca. 2001 Russian TsAGI Integrated Wing Body large passenger transport jetliner

If these are of interest, please consider signing on to the APR Patreon.

 Posted by at 12:32 pm
Aug 232017

Thanks to some APR Patreon crowdfunders, I was able to procure a *giant* blueprint of the Grumman F7F Tigercat from ebay. Today I got it back from the print shop where it was scanned at 300 dpi, resulting in an image more than 29,000 pixels wide. The image was processed a little bit to reduce the file size from 900+ megabytes down to 100, and a half-size version and a B&W version. These files have been provided to the funders. The blueprint itself will now be sent on to a relevant and worthy museum or archive.

If you are interested in getting in on and helping with this sort of thing, consider signing up for the APR Patreon.



 Posted by at 10:56 pm
Aug 132017

As a followup to the photos of the H-33 display model, here’s a Grumman report from July, 1971, giving a pretty good and well illustrated description of the H-33 orbiter.

The abstract on NTRS can be seen HERE.

The PDF file can be directly downloaded here:

Alternate space shuttle concepts study. Part 2: Technical summary. Volume 2: Orbiter definition


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



 Posted by at 2:25 am
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 4:49 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 12:52 am
Jul 152017

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 12:04 am
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.


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


 Posted by at 11:38 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 8:28 pm
Mar 202017

One of the oldest and most tiresome of the “Nazi Wunderwaffen” myths is that of the “Sun Gun.” The idea is that the Nazis were found to have been working on the design of an orbital mirror, miles in diameter, that would have reflected sunlight to the surface of Earth in such a way to cause enemy cities to burst into flames. This idea first hit the US press quite soon after the defeat of Nazi Germany, and *before* the nuking of Japan. Several articles appeared in the New York Times on the topic beginning in late June, 1945, and the idea reached its peak with an illustrated article in Life Magazine in July, 1945.

The “Sun Gun” was claimed to be a circular mirror one mile in diameter, orbiting at 5,100 miles. The mirror, it was claimed, would be made from large cubical and pressure-tight blocks, providing *vast* internal volume for the crew and their crop of oxygen-producing pumpkins.

Small problem: it’s BS.

Now, there *were* ideas for vast orbital mirrors. Hermann Oberth had proposed such a thing as far back as the 1920’s, so an orbital mirror was not unknown as a concept in wartime Germany. And in reading the lean details in the articles, it’s clear that what is described is the Oberth mirror as described after a round of “telephone.” The basic idea is Oberths, and Oberth even gets a shout-out in the articles, but Oberths ideas got mutated and bent out of recognition. Not leastways because an orbital mirror a mile in diameter 5,100 miles overhead *cannot* set a city, or even a dry piece of of tissue paper on fire. The basic physics of optics prohibits that. Thought experiment: take a mirror one inch in diameter. Can you use it to start a fire? If it’s precise enough and close enough to the target… sure. Now, move that one-inch mirror 5,100 inches from the target. Gonna set anything on fire *now?*

I suspect what happened is that the the US Army officers who reported on the “sun gun” were simply told about the Oberth mirror – which, by the way, was a far less insane idea than the “sun gun” in that it was essentially foil rather than a large solid structure – by Germans who either wanted to screw with them or, like von Braun, wanted to pump up their apparent usefulness to the US military in the hopes of getting transferred to the US. Given the conditions in post-war Germany and the risks of getting sucked into the black hole of the Soviet Union, it would make sense for *anyone* to try to wrangle a ride to the US for an actual job.

I have gathered together scans of newspaper and magazine articles on the subject and mashed ’em into a PDF file which I have uploaded to the 2017-03 APR Extras Dropbox folder. This is available to all APR Patreon Patrons at the $4 level and above. If interested, check out the APR Patreon.




 Posted by at 10:32 am
Mar 042017

I have posted in the 2017-03 APR Extras Dropbox folder for APR Patrons a small pile of aerospace history images yoinked out of a few reports. Included is a 1944 NACA reconstruction of the German V-1 buzz bomb (generally correct, but off in detail), three photos of a wind tunnel model of the Bell X-1 modified to have variable sweep wings, three pieces of NASA art depicting some then-future applications of space propulsion systems including a one-man lunar flyer, an early concept for what became Skylab, and a more advanced modular space station. The full-rez verions are available to all APR Patreon patrons at the $4 level and above. If interested, please consider signing up. There are a whole bunch of other goodies available in past months folders, more stuff coming.

Much more aerospace stuff is available via the APR Patreon. If this sort of thing interests you, please consider signing up… not only will you help fund the search for obscure aerospace history, you’ll gain access to a lot of interesting stuff, not available elsewhere.


Space Propulsion Systems c Space Propulsion Systems b Space Propulsion Systems a swing-wing X-1 c swing-wing X-1 b swing-wing X-1 a NACA V-1 reconstruction

 Posted by at 4:10 pm