Aug 042015

The next US Spacecraft Projects was supposed to have one set of diagrams created via 3D modelling, but it’s looking like that’s not going to be the case. This one was going to be done via old-school 2D CAD, but the complexity demanded 3D. By doing so it opens up a few opportunities for other things…


 Posted by at 7:42 pm
Jul 292015

Putting together the 3D CAD model of a General Electric has been complex but straightforward… but hammering the 2D diagrams made from it into shape has proven a bit challenging. Most of the 2D work is done in an ancient version of AutoCAD, but there was something about the diagram (created in Rhino 3D) that caused ACAD to either lock up or crash. So finalizing the diagram has been done in Rhino, which means the diagrams will look a little different.


 Posted by at 11:25 pm
Jun 112015

I have three “US Aerospace Projects’ publications in the works. Two are virtually finished, the third about halfway through. I’m finding that the going goes slower these days, for reasons that are unclear; early on I thought I might be able to put out an issue a week, but it has been since April since I last released an issue. I’d like to think that I’m doing a better, more thorough job, and that takes more time. But then I’d also like to think that riches are mere days away.

So, what would you like to see come out soon? Options include:

  1. US Bomber Projects
  2. US Transport Projects
  3. US Launch Vehicle Projects
  4. US Spacecraft Projects
  5. US Fighter Projects
  6. US VTOL Projects
  7. American Nuclear Explosive Devices #2


Perhaps equally importantly… anything you have *zero* interest in?

Also: I’ve got a burning desire to scribble fiction (as may have been obvious from my “After The End” post yesterday), but fiction doesn’t pay anything. So spending a lot of time on it for no money would be a bit silly; spending a lot of time on it for no money *and* no general interest would be fricken’ stupid. I’ve got a half-assembled history of the *first* nuclear war in the “Pax Orionis” series, the one that set the US off on the direction of building up a major Orion program. It’s taken me a while to figure out just *how* to structure this historical background; I think I’ve finally got it. It’ll be a chapter from the memoirs of one of the Orion crew. He’s going over the history of the Orion program in a conversational way… not as a historian, with charts and graphs, but as Just A Guy describing how he got to where he got.

 Posted by at 10:53 pm
Mar 272015

I have made some adjustments to the Aerospace Projects Review Patreon campaign. The first is that I’ve reduced the number of rewards levels, which I was informed was previously Too Many. More importantly, I have added some new rewards: if you become a patron at $5 or more per month, you receive 10% off all future purchases of APR, US Aerospace Projects and downloadable Documents and Drawings. If you become a patron at $10 per month, you will receive 20% off any such purchases. Check of the APR Patreon here:

Additionally, the campaign has reached the point where the rewards are now *three* aerospace documents, one high-rez historical diagram and one all-new CAD diagram per month. This is in addition to the random “Extras” I throw in for $4 and up patrons. The most recent extra is a full-rez restoration of a three-view diagram of a 1978 McDonnell-Douglas concept for modifying Skylab to be serviced by the Space Shuttle. You can see a smaller-rez version of that here:

If you sign up now you will get the latest rewards which include:

  • A Bell Aircraft presentation on the SR-126 Bomber Missile, a manned ICBM predecessor of the Dyna Soar
  • A Lockheed paper on the history of the Polaris to Trident Fleet Ballistic Missile
  • A large poster illustrating the missiles and rockets of the Orbital Sciences Corporation
  • An all-new CAD diagram detailing the 10-meter Orion nuclear pulse propulsion vehicle designed by General Atomic for the USAF
 Posted by at 6:36 pm
Feb 062015

In general, I can complete a diagram for the US Aerospace Projects series in anywhere from a handful of hours to a couple man-days, depending on detail and how much 3D work I need to do (the Space Cruiser from US Spacecraft Projects #2 was a chore because a lot of time was spent on 3D modeling). But even at the long end of the bell curve, this would seem to indicate that I should be able to finish a full set of 8 vehicle diagrams in a week or less. But it hasn’t worked out that way; it’s usually quite a bit longer. Why? Because the diagramming is pretty much the *last* stage in the process.

In order to come up with 8 diagrams, I have to decide on 8 vehicles. Sometimes that’s easy, like when I have a known design series that I’m working on (the B-52 & B-59 series in USBP, for example). Sometimes I get obsessed that I have to do some particular design… the Space Cruiser was one such. And then the next step after deciding on which vehicle is collecting the info needed on each one.

In many cases, I have all the info I need. I have a number of Space Cruiser documents I’ve collected over the years, enough to do the project justice. But just because I have a document doesn’t necessarily mean I *remember* that I have the document… or when I do remember it, remember where I put it. I spend quite a while digging for a document on SC that I only halfway vaguely remembered that I had.

And then when I find the documents, there’s the going through them, looking for the relevant and useful bits. Sometimes that’s easy: the whole thing is described in a single AIAA paper that has four pages and one diagram. Limited data means a limited diagram and description on my part. But sometimes the design is buried in *vast* reports, or scattered across a number of presentations. And while there might be thousands of pages, there are only a few pages that are directly valuable. Such as a design I’m digging up now for US Launch Vehicle Projects #1, for which the research stack is the entire box you see here:


FYI: the cardboard box under the plastic box contains a series of GD SSTO reports for future use; the half-filled box behind is a small fraction of my wholly uncatalogued Saturn/Apollo collection.

So if you see me flacking a US “X” P publication and think that I’m just slapping these things together… ah… no. Simple though they may look, they are each the result of a *lot* of work, often based on reports that I gathered ten, fifteen years ago hoping to *someday* find some use for.


Please consider signing up to become a patron. For a pittance per month, you get all kinds of aerospace history goodies.


 Posted by at 5:42 pm
Feb 022015

I’ve started posting my diagrams created for APR, USBP, etc. over on “Deviantart.” Unless I get bored and wander away (gosh, what are the chances of *that*), the plan is to eventually post virtually *all* of my diagrams, at a rate of about one a day.

Check it out:

Feel free to tell anyone you care to tell.

 Posted by at 9:51 pm
Jan 212015

Now available: US Spacecraft Projects #02, the “Spaceplane Special.” This is done in the same style as the other US Aerospace Projects publications, but this issue is focused specifically on lifting spacecraft… and is more than twice as long as usual with more data and more diagrams.

USSP #02 includes:

  • Boeing Personnel/Cargo Glider: When you have space industry, you need a space bus
  • Convair Manned Orbiting Reconnaissance System: A 1958 concept for a recon spaceplane
  • North American D435-1-4: The delta winged X-15A-3 (not a true spaceplane… but still, relevant)
  • General Electric R-3 Lenticular Apollo: A 1962 Apollo concept for a lifting body lunar ship
  • General Dynamics VL-3A: a 1966 space station logistics transport
  • SRI Space Cruiser: An early 1980’s minimum manned spacecraft for the military
  • Boeing Model 844-2050E Dyna Soar: The almost-built spaceplane from 1963
  • Rockwell MRCC Orbiter: the do-everything concept, modified with additional rockets and propellant

USSP #02 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $6:




 Posted by at 11:43 pm