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GIGANTIC Aviation Week story, Pentagon has been flying 2-stage orbital spaceplane throughout 1990s&#
Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Mar 6 2006, 02:24 AM
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It may even have been manned:
http://www.aviationnow.com/avnow/news/chan...ws/030606p1.xml

My God, what a story -- if it's even partially true. And, judging from this article, they are absolutely certain they have proof (along with proof that the thing, although it works, has recently been mothballed as not
cost-effective).

It's important to keep in mind, though, that this thing is NOT a workable prototype of the originally planned 2-stage winged Space Shuttle. The second stage -- the spaceplane that actually achieved orbit -- was relatively small and probably very inefficient as a cargo carrier; its advantage lay in allowing the US to get a military reconaissance (or weapons) satellite into orbit surreptitiously, with no advance warning of the launch going to other countries. Even at that, as I say, AW reports that the thing has been recently canned as not worth its (doubtless huge) black-budget expense.
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tty
post Mar 12 2006, 04:45 PM
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Here it is Jeff Bell who is off speculating in the wild blue yonder for a change.

It is true that grids are used to prevent radar seeing the compressor front in stealthy aircraft. It is also true that they are not used in the engine exhaust for the good reason that they would become red-hot and make a wonderful target for an IR seeker. There are a number of other techniques for shielding the turbine face from radar.

There is no vectored-thrust version of the Sparrow or AMRAAM. They would in any case be completely (Sparrow) or almost completely (AMRAAM) useless for a stealth design aircraft. Sparrow is a semi-active radar homer and requires a radar to illuminate the target. Not good for a stealth aircraft.
AMRAAM is an active radar homer and so theoretically could be used provided you know the range and direction to the target. So I suppose it could be usable if the stealthy aircraft had an IRST system combined with a laser rangefinder.

The AIM-9X Sidewinder II has a vectored-thrust control system, so I imagine this is the missile JB is thinking of. Moreover it is an IR seeker with excellent off-boresight capability and so would be the natural choice for a self-defence missile.

However it will take more than a little work to build a missile that can be launched backwards. There have been a number of efforts last by Vympel with their R-73M, but nobody has succeded yet. Building a control system that can cope with the airstream changing from high speed in one direction to high speed other direction with an interval of essentially zero speed (and zero rudder effectiveness) within a few seconds while keeping the missile stable enough not to lose lock on the target and maintaining altitude when there is no aerodynamic lift will take some doing. The fact that the missile will be within the slipstream of the aircraft and flying backwards through it's own rocket exhaust doesn't exactly simplify matters either.

If you want another alternative explanation for those "white tubes", I would suggest chaff/flare dispensers. Much simpler, and workable.

tty
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Bob Shaw
post Mar 12 2006, 09:17 PM
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QUOTE (tty @ Mar 12 2006, 04:45 PM) *
If you want another alternative explanation for those "white tubes", I would suggest chaff/flare dispensers. Much simpler, and workable.

tty


I was thinking of that myself, you took the words out of my mouth!

As for the 'grids' - well, they're in common use on ex-Soviet missiles as aerodynamic surfaces which pop out after launch. Most memorably, though, are the self-same items on the Soyuz manned launcher - the grey squares on the spacecraft shroud are actually pop out stabilisers.

So both white tubes and grids have a straightforward explanation, particularly if it was a half-glimpsed hardly-believed view which the (pretty reliable sounding) witness had.

It all adds up to something other than a modernised X-20, though! I don't think that AW&ST have covered themselves in glory on this one (although their taste in cover pictures is, as we all know, impeccable).

Bob Shaw


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Remember: Time Flies like the wind - but Fruit Flies like bananas!
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Posts in this topic
- BruceMoomaw   GIGANTIC Aviation Week story   Mar 6 2006, 02:24 AM
- - tasp   QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 5 2006, 08:24 PM...   Mar 6 2006, 02:56 AM
- - mcaplinger   Interesting, but I don't think AW&ST's...   Mar 6 2006, 02:58 AM
- - BruceMoomaw   Whatever happened to the "donuts on a rope...   Mar 6 2006, 03:44 AM
- - deglr6328   Completely fascinating. Virtually all the details...   Mar 6 2006, 06:30 AM
|- - Bob Shaw   Jeffrey Bell is really worried about the threat fr...   Mar 6 2006, 11:44 AM
- - BruceMoomaw   Jeffrey Bell, that eternal party-pooper, caught no...   Mar 6 2006, 07:54 AM
|- - paxdan   The set up described reminds me of the Tagboard pr...   Mar 6 2006, 11:37 AM
|- - tty   Actually this is a rather typical Jeff Bell effort...   Mar 6 2006, 07:56 PM
- - Myran   Thats very insightful deglr6328, and without enoug...   Mar 6 2006, 11:36 AM
- - edstrick   ET Phone Area-51? Actually, I've recently rea...   Mar 6 2006, 12:00 PM
|- - Bob Shaw   Here are grabs from the AW&ST website: http:/...   Mar 6 2006, 01:25 PM
- - Ames   Where does the undercarriage go? doesn't ...   Mar 6 2006, 02:16 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   QUOTE (tty @ Mar 6 2006, 07:56 PM) Fortun...   Mar 6 2006, 10:53 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   Footnote: the Titan 2 second stage weighed 29,000 ...   Mar 6 2006, 11:15 PM
|- - tasp   QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 6 2006, 05:15 PM...   Mar 7 2006, 02:59 AM
|- - Bob Shaw   QUOTE (tasp @ Mar 7 2006, 02:59 AM) We ca...   Mar 7 2006, 10:23 AM
|- - Bob Shaw   One *possible* vehicle which may form part of a so...   Mar 7 2006, 04:36 PM
- - tty   Well, Iíve been doing some more figuring and I mus...   Mar 7 2006, 08:43 PM
- - dvandorn   Just a little gedankenexperiment, here -- anyone c...   Mar 7 2006, 09:48 PM
|- - AlexBlackwell   QUOTE (dvandorn @ Mar 7 2006, 09:48 PM) J...   Mar 7 2006, 09:57 PM
|- - Bob Shaw   QUOTE (dvandorn @ Mar 7 2006, 09:48 PM) J...   Mar 7 2006, 10:08 PM
|- - JTN   QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Mar 7 2006, 10:08 PM) C...   Mar 7 2006, 10:44 PM
- - dvandorn   Good point, Alex -- NRO probably would run such an...   Mar 7 2006, 10:02 PM
- - dvandorn   I'm not trying to imply conspiracies -- though...   Mar 7 2006, 10:32 PM
- - dvandorn   I have to admit, when I saw the Blackstar story, t...   Mar 7 2006, 10:57 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   According to the article, not even the nation...   Mar 8 2006, 01:26 AM
- - GregM   So letís see here. To start with we have the Valky...   Mar 8 2006, 04:02 AM
- - tty   Also remember that there is a school of thought th...   Mar 8 2006, 07:24 AM
|- - paxdan   Lots of info about the XB-70 What an aircraft...   Mar 8 2006, 09:58 AM
|- - Bob Shaw   Jim Oberg on MSNBC.Com Space News summed up the Bo...   Mar 8 2006, 11:09 AM
|- - Steve G   QUOTE (paxdan @ Mar 8 2006, 02:58 AM) Lot...   Mar 17 2006, 02:56 AM
|- - GregM   QUOTE (Steve G @ Mar 17 2006, 02:56 AM) I...   Mar 17 2006, 03:45 AM
|- - dvandorn   In re the Avro Arrow: QUOTE (GregM @ Mar 16 ...   Mar 18 2006, 03:19 PM
|- - Steve G   QUOTE (dvandorn @ Mar 18 2006, 08:19 AM) ...   Mar 18 2006, 09:03 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   It should be remembered that there is still -- to ...   Mar 8 2006, 11:04 AM
|- - paxdan   QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 8 2006, 11:04 AM...   Mar 8 2006, 11:11 AM
|- - tty   [quote name='BruceMoomaw' date='Mar 8 ...   Mar 8 2006, 11:18 PM
|- - gndonald   QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 8 2006, 07:04 PM...   Mar 17 2006, 04:14 PM
|- - Bob Shaw   QUOTE (gndonald @ Mar 17 2006, 04:14 PM) ...   Mar 17 2006, 08:40 PM
|- - ljk4-1   QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Mar 17 2006, 03:40 PM) ...   Mar 17 2006, 09:38 PM
- - edstrick   I believe "AirCraftFilms", the companion...   Mar 8 2006, 12:41 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Mar 8 2006, 11:09 AM) J...   Mar 8 2006, 01:27 PM
|- - ljk4-1   I found this post from the FPSPACE list very inter...   Mar 8 2006, 02:49 PM
|- - AlexBlackwell   QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 8 2006, 01:27 PM...   Mar 8 2006, 04:48 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Mar 8 2006, 04:48 ...   Mar 9 2006, 12:39 AM
|- - ljk4-1   It is a known fact that the CIA and USSR "sup...   Mar 9 2006, 03:56 PM
|- - AlexBlackwell   QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 9 2006, 12:39 AM...   Mar 9 2006, 04:55 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   Okay, but a magazine which (according to you) is c...   Mar 9 2006, 09:17 PM
|- - AlexBlackwell   QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 9 2006, 09:17 PM...   Mar 9 2006, 09:32 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Mar 9 2006, 09:32 ...   Mar 10 2006, 05:24 AM
|- - Bob Shaw   From Wikipedia: "One notable variant of the ...   Mar 10 2006, 09:46 AM
|- - ljk4-1   Blackstar: False Messiah From Groom Lake http://w...   Mar 10 2006, 12:16 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   Bell, having now read the two other Aviation Week ...   Mar 11 2006, 11:31 AM
|- - Bob Shaw   Is it a bad sign when Jeffrey Bell starts agreeing...   Mar 11 2006, 11:37 AM
|- - gpurcell   QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Mar 11 2006, 11:37 AM) ...   Mar 12 2006, 02:23 AM
- - tty   Here it is Jeff Bell who is off speculating in the...   Mar 12 2006, 04:45 PM
|- - Bob Shaw   QUOTE (tty @ Mar 12 2006, 04:45 PM) If yo...   Mar 12 2006, 09:17 PM
- - ljk4-1   Six blind men in a zoo: Aviation Week's mythic...   Mar 13 2006, 05:13 PM
|- - AlexBlackwell   QUOTE (ljk4-1 @ Mar 13 2006, 05:13 P...   Mar 13 2006, 05:25 PM
|- - helvick   QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Mar 13 2006, 05:25...   Mar 13 2006, 06:04 PM
- - gpurcell   Ouch, that's GOTTA hurt.   Mar 13 2006, 07:01 PM
- - tty   Just one small point. That nuclear-powered soviet ...   Mar 13 2006, 07:05 PM
- - ljk4-1   This Web page has excerpts from the 1958 AW&ST...   Mar 13 2006, 07:29 PM
- - Myran   Two US built nuclear jet engines at Idaho National...   Mar 13 2006, 09:53 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   Having finally read all of Dwayne Day's story,...   Mar 18 2006, 03:51 AM
|- - Bob Shaw   QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 18 2006, 03:51 A...   Mar 18 2006, 01:36 PM
|- - gpurcell   QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Mar 18 2006, 01:36 PM) ...   Mar 18 2006, 01:58 PM
|- - BruceMoomaw   QUOTE (gpurcell @ Mar 18 2006, 01:58 PM) ...   Mar 19 2006, 01:16 AM
|- - AlexBlackwell   QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 19 2006, 01:16 A...   Mar 20 2006, 05:13 PM
- - ljk4-1   http://www.janes.com/defence/air_forces/ne...60406...   Apr 12 2006, 06:23 PM
- - BruceMoomaw   Four more Aviation Week letters on the BlackStar s...   Apr 21 2006, 01:20 PM
- - tty   Piggybacking on a B-70 would not be a good idea ae...   Apr 21 2006, 05:07 PM
- - ljk4-1   Black projects don't seem to be having any bud...   May 23 2006, 07:09 PM
- - climber   I heard this week on the radio that the whole USA ...   May 23 2006, 07:34 PM
- - ljk4-1   Looks like they had a plan similar to the one from...   May 23 2006, 08:15 PM


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