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
Jan 212015

It’s in some weird moon-man language, but even so it’s a fairly interesting look at the less successful of the two SSTs put into service.

Something struck me right off the bat. The film starts with footage from the Paris air show of 1973. There are various snippets of film… snippets that caused a moment of cognitive dissonance. Today, a supersonic transport would be a fantastical vision of the distressingly distant future… but the films were of incredibly low quality, scratched, dusty, black-and-white, grainy, clearly shot with crappy hand-held econo-model film cameras. Technology now safely in the distant past.

Think of it: the era of supersonic transports -a technology that we can only dream wistfully of today – began in BLACK AND WHITE.


 Posted by at 4:16 pm
Jan 172015

I’ve made available to all APR Patreon patrons full-rez scan of of an article from Mechanix Illustrated, March, 1956. “Why Don’t We Build an Atoms-For-Peace Dirigible” was written and illustrated by Frank Tinsley and is, to say the least, kinda technologically optimistic. But it demonstrated a difference in psychology between then and now… sixty years ago, thinking this kind of big was not seen as crazy as it would be today.


If this is of interest, please consider signing up to become a patron. For a pittance per month, you get all kinds of aerospace history goodies.


 Posted by at 11:08 pm
Jan 012015

An illustration from the 1980’s, publicized fairly widely by Lockheed to illustrate their thinking for an Advanced Tactical Fighter (which led to the F-22). This almost certainly did *not* represent actual design work on Lockheeds part, but instead pure artistry. This particular version of the artwork depicts a rather apocalyptic color scheme; other versions were rather cheerier.

lockheed atf art

 Posted by at 12:03 pm