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


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 Posted by at 2:25 am
Jul 282017

US Bomber Projects #20 will be a “special” covering the Boeing XB-59. This will bring together and update the Model 484 and 701 diagrams from prior issues and will add a bunch more, fleshing out not only the development of the B-59 configuration but also showing some of the designs that followed it.

 Posted by at 12:36 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.



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 Posted by at 12:04 am
Jun 292017

For years I’ve been trying to find a cost effective way to create a convincing “gold” surface finish on models… not “gold colored,” or “gold paint,” but something that actually looks like gold. Chrome can be adequately taken care of with Alclad and a few other high end paints, and there is a complex system available that seems to do a damn fine job of laying down an actual thin layer of silver, but gold remains elusive.

One substance I recently tried, and was unsurprised to find didn’t work, is the Rustoleum “Mirror effect” paint. If you spray either the gold or silver onto a surface, the sprayed surface just looks like gold or silver paint. but here’s the selling point: if you spray it onto glass, the *other* side should actually look like a mirror. Kind of a neat trick, but not something I generally have much use for… the *outside* of a model is what matters to me, and I hardly need to fill my house with mirrors.

But I did try it out on a few sheets of acetate (or maybe mylar), just to see what the result was… and I was surprised to see it’s actually pretty spiffy. The sheets in question are 12X18 transparencies, printed with black-line diagrams; these were intended for use in creating cyanotype blueprints. But these sheets were abandoned for various reasons… the cyanotypes looked unimpressive, or the subject didn’t seem all that great, whatever. And so they’ve been sitting forgotten over the years. And they were sitting where the cats could get on ’em and scratch ’em up, so they were of no particular use to me. But then I sprayed them with the silver (and the F-1 diagram with the gold) and the results are really quite impressive.

They look perhaps not so much like mirrored glass as really, really polished stainless steel. The scratches and scuff marks – some in the shape of cat paws, because I guess cat paws are rough enough to scratch acetate – actually add a little something to them. Take a look at let me know if this sort of thing seems appealing and worth $10-$20 each for. I honestly don’t know, but they do look pretty interesting to my eye.

These are just the sheets I had sitting around that I’d written off. Obviously I’d do other subjects… the ones on the cyanotype catalog, of course, along with others. The Apollo 11 plaque seems like it’d be pretty snazzy done this way. Seems maybe maps might be interesting done this way. Put into some sort of production, the sheets would of course be newly printed, pristine and printed in reverse, so that the mirroring paint would go on the same side as the black-line ink. This paint is pretty fragile (low-tack tape designed to not pull up paint pulls this stuff right up), so that might mean that large format prints which would have to be shipped rolled might be impossible.

 Posted by at 7:35 pm
Jun 182017

Here’s an interesting one: a detailed large-format diagram of the US Space Shuttle orbiter… as drawn up by Soviet draftsmen in 1976. Interestingly, the top view includes, in red, the basic outline of the Soviet “Buran” shuttle orbiter. A surprisingly high-rez version of this diagram can be FOUND HERE.

The diagram is not entirely accurate, especially with regards to the OMS pod. The rear end of the pod in the side view is distinctly inaccurate. But note the faint lines just ahead of the OMS pods in the top and side views. One of the last noticeable changes to the Orbiters configuration was the change to the forward end of the OMS pod; originally, the pods continued forward onto the cargo bay doors. This continuation was just an aerodynamic fairing; all the equipment an tanks were in the pod aft of the doors.


 Posted by at 2:24 am
Jun 112017

An old (1962 or before) piece of concept art from Kaman illustrating their “ROMAR,” a helicopter meant for Mars exploration. It appears to be powered by rotortip rockets, a decent enough approach for this sort of thing. However, this was before Mariner mars ’64, when the understood density of the Martian atmosphere dropped by more than a factor of ten. As a result, a helicopter like this would need to be made fabulously low-weight in order to fly, something improbable given the needs of a manned vehicle.

 Posted by at 7:45 pm