Many years back I was given a photocopy of a Soviet journal article describing a Soviet version of the WWII-era “Silverbird.” The Silverbird was the brainchild of Austrian rocket engineer Eugen Sanger and was a concept for a hypersonic rocket powered “spaceplane” capable of dropping bombs halfway around the world. In the years immediately after the war, the report Sanger wrote proved to be influential on policymakers and engineers, especially in the USSR.

This article describes a Silverbird modified with sizable ramjet engines mounted to the wingtips. Sadly, I can’t read a single word of Russian, so I can’t make heads or tails of it apart from the illustrations. One notation indicates that this may date from 1947. The vehicle described would seem to be the “Keldysh Bomber.”

I have scanned the article and posted it as a PDF on my Patreon for patrons at the $1.50 level (c’mon… that’s $1.50 a month! Mere pennies a day!).

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As well as the 11X17-format PDF collection of diagrams for USBP07 through 09.

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USBP 11

Issue 11 of US Bomber Projects is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #11 includes:

  • Boeing Model 464-40: The first all-jet-powered design in the quest for the B-52
  • North American D-118: A turboprop conversion of the F-82E into a ground attacker
  • Boeing Model 701-218: A twin engined supersonic concept
  • NAA Model 705-00-04: A ramjet cruise missile with a manned rocket booster
  • Northrop Nuclear Flying Wing: A well defended if rather hypothetical design
  • Martin Model 223-11: *almost* the XB-48
  • Boeing B-1: The design that might have beaten the Rockwell concept
  • Bell/Martin 464L: The submission that most closely resembled what the Dyna Soar eventually became

USBP #11 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:

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USTP 01

And also available, issue #01 of US Transport Projects. Done in the same format as US Bomber Projects, USTP will cover flying vehicles designed to transport cargo, passengers and troops. Issue 01 includes:

  • Redstone Troop Transport: An Army concept for a troop & supplies launcher
  • Lockheed CL-334-1: A small STOL battlefield transport
  • NASA LH2 747: A “three fuselage” hydrogen-fueled jetliner
  • Douglas DC-8-1004: A very clean pusher-prop passenger liner
  • Bell/Boeing/NASA ATT: A wasp-waisted transonic concept
  • Boeing Model 733-94: An early SST
  • Aereon Dynairship: A giant modern airship
  • Boeing Model 473-10: One of the earliest jetliner designs

USTP #01 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:

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Large format USBP drawings, Issues 07-09

The CAD drawings created for USBP reformatted and rescaled for 11X17 collected in a separate volume. Drawings have in some cases been corrected, improved and added to.

USBP 11X17 07-09 collects the diagrams created for issues 07, 08 and 09, including:

Boeing model 464-25; Boeing Model 828-2; Fairchild N-12; Rockwell D645-3; Boeing Model 701-273-7; Martin Model 223-7; Convair 464L Dyna Soar I; Convair 464L Dyna Soar III; Bell MX Hovercraft; Bell mobile defense platform; Boeing Model 464-27; Rockwell D645-6; Republic M-4.25; Martin MAMBA; Boeing Model 484-2-2 (twin-pod); Martin Model 223-8; Douglas 464L Dyna Soar I; Boeing Model 800-11A; Boeing Model 464-33-0; Consolidated Army Bombardment Type; GE Supersonic System 6X; Convair B/J-58 B-58C; Boeing Model 484-2-2; Martin Model 223-9; Northrop N-206 Dyna Soar I/II/III; Boeing Model 800-15A

USBP11x17-01-03 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $10:
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I’ve uploaded a PDF file of some good diagrams of American aircraft Gatling guns to my Patreon “creations” page for all my patrons. Some years ago I made photocopies of these pages from… something. Clearly it was an Interavia publication, but I couldn’t tell you what with any certainty. A quick Google search indicates that the “Interavia Data” volume on “Aircraft Weaponry” is a good bet. if anyone knows for certain, I’d be happy to have some sort of confirmation.

 

If you would like to access these items and support the cause of acquiring and sharing these pieces of aerospace history, please visit my Patreon page and consider contributing.

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The X-37B has been lurking in orbit since December, 2012 doing… whatever it was it was doing. Suspicions generally revolve around it performing recon missions of some kind. But it has returned at last to a safe runway landing. Some good photos from an just after that landing are here:

This is the second of four “PDF Reviews” I plan to have in October, to make up for the lack of any in September. The idea is to present interesting online resources for those interested in the sort of aerospace oddities that you can find in the pages of Aerospace Projects Review. This little project is supported through my Patreon campaign; at current levels, I’ll post two such reviews per month. If you’d like to see more, or just want to contribute to help me along, please consider becoming a patron.

This one is a bit different from usual. Instead of a report full of art and diagrams and charts and, well, sentences, this one has none of those. Instead, what it does have is 5,271 pages of data. Data, specifically, on the X-Y-Z positions of every single vertex of every single tile on the Shuttle. Of what value is that? Well, someone with a whole lot of patience could, I presume, feed this data into a 3D modeling program and produce a *really* accurate model of at least part of the Space Shuttle. So… knock yourself out.

Orbiter Coordinates of All the Vertices on the Outer Mold Line (OML) of Each of the OV-ID5 Tiles

The abstract page is HERE.

The direct download link for the PDF file is HERE.

Not long ago, I was alerted to a pair of eBay auctions for vintage blueprints of “Supersonic Escape Capsules.” The blueprints, produced by the US Army Air Forces, depict models of the capsules made from plexiglas and plywood. This would be generally interesting to me, but one of the diagrams seemed to indicate that the diagrams might not be what they said they were. Instead, it looked a *lot* like an aerodynamically improved “Fat Man” atom bomb. I suspected that what was for sale were actually test or display models of early atom bomb casings, intentionally mis-described for security reasons. I managed to score both blueprints with surprisingly minimal fuss.

Upon receipt of the blueprints, my suspicion that at least one of them depicts an evolved Fat Man seems to have been misplaced. Fat Man was about 60 inches in diameter; the model is 38.5 inches in diameter, which would make for an odd scale. But the idea of a supersonic escape capsule being studied in 1946 is also odd, since the USAAF was years from having supersonic aircraft. And the configurations don’t really seem to work as escape capsules; typically such things are the entire cockpit which can break away from the aircraft, but these would make for very unfortunate cockpits for supersonic aircraft. So at the current time I can’t quite figure this one out. I’ll continue to see if I can run down info on this, but leads are few.

I have not scanned in these blueprints yet. They’ve been folded up longer than most of the people reading this have been alive, so it’ll take a good long time to flatten them out and make them safe for scanning. But I’ve taken some photos, which I’ve made available in full rez in a ZIP archive for all of my APR Patreon patrons. The APR Patreon page is HERE. If you want to help preserve and make available obscure aerospace history items such as these, please consider contributing to the APR Patreon. For as little as $0.75/month, you can help out, plus gain access to a bunch of aerospace “rewards” like these. You can also help out by helping to spread the word.

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The first “escape capsule” on a quite good vintage blueprint. The resemblance to “Fat Man” is obvious… but likely dubious. It’s a close match to the Davy Crockett warhead from a decade later.

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The second “escape capsule,” on a larger and more badly faded blueprint.

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One of the problems with photographing large format blueprints is the almost inevitable groupies. Cats like paper. Cats *love* crinkly paper. And 70-year-old vellum blueprints are the crinkliest of crinkly paper. Fortunately, no damage done.

I’d planned on having these done a few days ago, but as I’ve reported recently, CAD drafting has been difficult of late. Nevertheless I forged through, and here’s a preview of the next three things I plan to release.

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booklet 11-Model

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A page with some good photos showing the Enterprise on an ET with SRBs stacked up at the Slick Six western launch site:

1985: Space Shutle at Vandenberg

Whether it would’ve made good sense to fly the Shuttle from California can be debated… but undeniable, I think, is the view that it would have been a damn fine show.

Had Challenger not gone FOOM in ’86, the SLC-6 site *might* have been used for Shuttle launches to high inclination orbits. This, presumably, would ahve opened the door for the Shuttle to be more useful. *Perhaps* it would ahve led to a better system. With launch and recovery processing done by the USAF rather than NASA, *maybe* Vandenberg would have been able to fly Shuttle for much cheaper, more reliably and more often than NASA in Florida. Maybe.

From the same eBay seller mentioned HERE is an illustration of a McDonnell-Douglas heavy lift cargo aircraft. This design features a non-circular fuselage (it appears to be two cylinders side-by-side and faired over) and six engines located over the wing. Without further documentation, the reasoning can only be guessed at, but I would expect that the idea was to get the engines up high away from foreign objects that might be found on unimproved runways, while permitting a very low stance for the landing gear to ease cargo loading. It appears that there were cargo doors on the sides of the nose, possibly indicating that it indeed had two independently pressurized cylindrical bays.

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The October rewards for the APR patrons have been released. They include:

PDF document: “A Recoverable Air Breathing Booster,” A Chrysler study from 1964 for a strap-on booster system for the Saturn Ib incorporating additional H-1 rocket engines and jet engines for recovery.

PDF Document: “XF-103 Descriptive Data,”a Lockheed collection of information on the then-current XF-103. This is from a Lockheed collection of information on competitors designs.

Large format diagram scan: the Boeing Advanced Theater Transport. A later version of the tilt-wing “Super Frog.”

And for the higher-end patrons, a CAD diagram of an early NACA-Langley design for what would become the X-15.

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If you would like to access these items and support the cause of acquiring and sharing these pieces of aerospace history, please visit my Patreon page and consider contributing.

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