Mar 252010

Numerous sources have mentioned “Prüfstand XII” (“Test Stand 12,” a code-name) and shown the same relatively unenlightening illustrations of it over the years. The idea behind it was this: at the same time production of the V-2 rocket was ramping up in wartime Germany, the western allies were overrunning V-2 launch bases. So the Germans had a missile, but nowhere to launch it from. The idea was raised about putting V-2’s in cannisters and towing them behind U-Boats; this resulted in the first serious design effort for a sea launched ballistic missile. The submarines available to the Germans at the time were far too small to permit carrying V-2s internally, and given the alcohol fuel and cryogenic liquid oxygen oxidizer, it would have been insanely unsafe to do so. So towed cannisters would allow the subs to transport V-2s in relative safety across the ocean.

The submarines would be stripped of armament; towing the cannisters they’d be essentially sitting ducks anyway. This would permit the installation of more powerful engines. A total of five cannisters could be towed at a time. They’d be towed in the horizontal attitude; once they arrived at the launching site, 500 or so miles from the supply base (indicating that the targets for the V-2 remain in Britain), crews would be transferred aboard and then… the subs would abandon them and return home. The cannisters raised to vertical. Before launch the noses of the cannisters would project above the water; bow doors would open. The V-2s would be launched from them much like any other silo-launched missile, with ducts along the sides to the silo to carry the exhaust away from the fragile missile. The cannister would button up again and resubmerge. Four or five days later the sub would return with another five cannisters and would pick up the first five for return and refurb.

A great deal of the plan seems to have been incredibly optimistic, of course.

I recently stumbled across a post-war writeup of the concept by several of the Germans who worked on it. Included were a number of remarkable drawings and diagrams, finally showing the thing in good detail. The same basic concept was pitched to the US Navy in 1955 for use with Jupiter IRBMs, with no success.

I’ve numerous more diagrams of this. I think it’d make a good APR article… and it’d make a spiffy cutaway display model. If anyone would be interested in contracting me to build them such a model… just let me know.


 Posted by at 1:03 pm
Mar 242010

I’ve had test prints made at 16X24 and 12X18, and plan on doing at least one at 24X36. I can vouch for the quality of the first two, and have every expectation of the large format version to be equally as good, just hugenormous.

One of the reasons why I dropped the paper version of APR and went to all digital was the up-front expense of having a bunch of things printed that then didn’t sell and just sat there gathering dust (and eventually water). So this time… who wants one? Let me know via email… I’m not taking orders as such, keep yer money (unless you want to buy something else or donate, then by all means do so). But I want to have an idea how many to have printed up.

Large (24X36): $60

Medium (16X24): $30

Small (12X18): $15

Plus shipping costs (call it six-ish US, 8,5-ish non-US, with discounts for multiple orders).


If interested, send me an email saying how many of which you would be ready to buy. Email address:

 Posted by at 11:31 am
Mar 242010

Last night I did some landscape photography well after sundown, using moonlight and long exposures (result: meh). While doing so I looked up and noticed a satellite cruising overhead. I took a number of six-second exposures of it and another, brighter one I saw a bit later. Interestingly, in one of the shots you can actually make out *three* separate satellites, only one of which was visible to my naked eye. With the bright moonlight, long exposures of this part of the sky resulted in a lot of “glow,” rather than a nice black sky.






 Posted by at 10:58 am
Mar 242010

A few nights ago, the moon cruised past the Pleiades. I took some photos, with limited success. The moon was vastly brighter than the stars, so the stars aren’t visible when the moon is properly exposed, and when the exposure was right for the stars, the moon is massively washed out.

NOTE: feel free to print out these pictures and tape them to a Louisville Slugger. Then  the next time some freakin’ moron trots out the “moon landings didn’t happen because you can’t see any stars in the photos taken on the moon,” well… do something creative.




 Posted by at 10:47 am
Mar 232010

One of the reports on hand in microfiche format is a 1960’s GE report on nuclear turbojets. I need to find a proper fiche scanner (hopefully some reasonably local library) to get at the illustrations, of which there are a very great many. The flatbed scanner approach produces images that are jsut a bit too small, and the photo-of-viewer method produces huge images with lots of distortions, images that are a pain in the keister to stitch back together. Below is one of the engines described. More in an eventual APR article…


 Posted by at 8:32 pm
Mar 232010

You can now buy specific articles from the first volume of Aerospace Projects Review HERE (download only). They are priced based on what percentage of the issue the article consumed… meaning some are a few bucks, some are a few cents. Not all articles from Volume One are included… just the ones that I wrote, and the articles that are neither incredibly short nor incredibly long. As further issues of APR are published, I will increase the number of available individual articles accordingly.

These articles are taken straight from the original Word document files, and are not updated. However, they are also not compressed any, so the image quality in some cases should be noticably better.

Currently available:

The Seversky Super Clipper From Issue V1N1 : $2.05
The Lockheed “Flatbed” From Issue V1N1 : $1.80
The Rockwell X-33 From Issue V1N1 : $1.55
Northrop N-63 VTOL Fighter From Issue V1N2 : $1.10
NASA TFX Concepts From Issue V1N2 : $0.90
NACA Supersonic VTOL Bomber From Issue V1N2 : $0.45
The Helios Concept From Issue V1N3 : $1.65
Blended Wing Bodies From Issue V1N3 : $3.25
Focke-Wulf VTOL Jetliners From Issue V1N3 : $0.45
Lockheeds “Flying Saucer” From Issue V1N3 : $0.45
Bell X-14 Derivatives From Issue V1N3: $0.55
Project Orion: Concept Development From Issue V1N4 : $3.30
Project Orion: Testing and Safety Issues From Issue V1N4 : $2.55
System 118P From Issue V1N4 : $1.45
Junkers RT 8-1-01 From Issue V1N6 : $0.85
American Submarine Aircraft Carriers From Issue V1N6: $4.55
Lunar Logistics Orion From Issue V1N6: $0.85

Again, SEE HERE to order.

Also, I will start making available individual articles from the *original* run of APR a decade ago (which means “unupdated”). I will do *one* article per issue… that article being selected by popular demand. So, take a look at the list and see what ya want, and comment below.

 Posted by at 4:22 pm