Nov 272012

Some images posted on the San Diego Air & Space Museum Flickr account are a bit of a mystery. They are *probably* all General Dynamics/Convair images, though that ‘s not certain.

First: Some sort of bus-borne interceptors? Space-based anti-satellite systems?

Second: Some sorta…. somethings. Space based weapons seems likely, but which is the business end? Are these nuclear-pumped X-Ray lasers in that picosecond before they’re blown to bits, shooting at something off to the lower left, with the upper-right satellite being the radar guidance system for the squadron? Are they more conventional interceptors with a single small and rather unusual thruster in a mysteriously long tail, aimed at the upper-right satellite? Phased plasma rifles in the 40-watt range?

Third: Probably a supersonic bomber (perhaps a B-70 competitor). But maybe an aerospaceplane.

 Posted by at 6:32 pm
  • Jim R.

    I say… phased plasma rifles in the 40 watt range. Nice post Scott.

  • Anonymous

    As for Pic 1, don’t our current EMP weapons use a massive coil like the one we see?

    Pic 3 (assuming Convair/GD) looks like a Fish/Kingfish derivative.

  • B Lewis

    The first image is of SAINT prototypes, I think …

    • Anonymous

      While that’s certainly what they look like, the inclusion of the clear dome is a bit odd. Such things are not useful for spacecraft, unless the inside is pressurized.

      • sferrin

        Protection for optics maybe?

  • sferrin

    That bottom one makes me think of the Blackstar mothership. Any idea of the timeframe?

  • David Winfrey

    The first looks like an Atlas payload I’ve seen an artist’s concept of, though I can’t recall offhand what it was or where I saw it (save that I think it was a 1960s juvenile pop-sci type book).

  • David Winfrey
    • Anonymous

      Differences may be considerable, but similarities are abundant enough that I’d say that the photo represents some variant of the OV1. I think you got it.

      • Matthew Roy

        Definitely, the lowest one in the photo has a readable label in the picture that you can see if you select the original size link on flickr. The first lines reads either “OV1-1B” or “OV1-18″. You can probably read the rest of the label if you rotate and enhance the images in photoshop/gimp. A quick rotate and Sinc scale makes it look like it reads: .OV1-18



        Quick rotate and Sinc scale at:

        The extra labeling on the lower one and the extra label-printer black labels on the middle one make me think these were demonstration prototypes never intended for flight. That would also explain the use of the transparent domes if the instrumentation/electronics package/bay underneath was significant.

  • BobB

    The first one is indeed 3 OV-1s nose mounted on a dedicated Atlas mission (rather than side mounted on a piggyback mission.) Just misc scientific research satelites mainly by the Air Force labs.

    The second one (my guess as I have not seen this particular image) is that it is a version of BAMBI, an orbital based ABM studied extensively in the 60s and finally “shot down” by the Aerospace Corp.

    Don’t know about the third one. Could be Fort Worth. Inlets look a little too modern to be from the Spaceplane studies in the 60s.

    Will take a check to see what the image sources are

  • Paul looks like the payload in this Flickr post of mine.

  • David Winfrey

    So where’s my no-prize?