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GIGANTIC Aviation Week story, Pentagon has been flying 2-stage orbital spaceplane throughout 1990s&#
gndonald
post Mar 17 2006, 04:14 PM
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QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 8 2006, 07:04 PM) *
It should be remembered that there is still -- to put it mildly -- a difference between accelerating something to Mach 5 and accelerating it to orbital velocity. It may be that AW got hold of garbled accounts of some very high-speed but suborbital unmanned reconaissance drone that could be launched from such a plane...


Or possibly something even older, I recently learned that there were unsuccessful attempts to launch small satellites from a USN F4D in the lead-up to the top-secret Operation:ARGUS (August 1958), a series of nuclear tests designed to see if radiation from a nuclear device could be trapped in the Earths magnetic field.
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Bob Shaw
post Mar 17 2006, 08:40 PM
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QUOTE (gndonald @ Mar 17 2006, 04:14 PM) *
Or possibly something even older, I recently learned that there were unsuccessful attempts to launch small satellites from a USN F4D in the lead-up to the top-secret Operation:ARGUS (August 1958), a series of nuclear tests designed to see if radiation from a nuclear device could be trapped in the Earths magnetic field.


Try a Google search on 'NOTSNIK' for the story - it was also covered in the BIS Spaceflight magazine some years ago. One out of the six launches *may* have worked!

See also:

http://www.nawcwpns.navy.mil/clmf/happyhelmet.html

Bob Shaw


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ljk4-1
post Mar 17 2006, 09:38 PM
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QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Mar 17 2006, 03:40 PM) *
Try a Google search on 'NOTSNIK' for the story - it was also covered in the BIS Spaceflight magazine some years ago. One out of the six launches *may* have worked!

See also:

http://www.nawcwpns.navy.mil/clmf/happyhelmet.html

Bob Shaw


I believe this page has the BIS article online:

http://www.ninfinger.org/~sven/models/vaul...SNik/index.html

http://www.ninfinger.org/~sven/models/vault/NOTS/index.html


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Mar 18 2006, 03:51 AM
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Having finally read all of Dwayne Day's story, I note that he agrees not only with Jeffrey Bell's anti-Spaceplane arguments involving fuel-payload ratio and Russian detection of the exhaust plume, but also with Bell's arguments (which I wasn't qualified to judge) involving the nonexistence of aerospike jet engines and the high probability that the plane, had it flown in the daytime, would have been seen by planespotters. (Apparently that hobby is much more popular than I thought.) In fact, the only one of Bell's arguments that isn't mentioned and agreed with by Day is the one involving difficulties with boron-based fuel. I think this particular Av. Week story is not merely dead; it's really most sincerely dead (to quote the Munchkins' coroner).

And yes, Alex, I DID steal that joke (from "Science").
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Bob Shaw
post Mar 18 2006, 01:36 PM
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QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 18 2006, 03:51 AM) *
Having finally read all of Dwayne Day's story, I note that he agrees not only with Jeffrey Bell's anti-Spaceplane arguments involving fuel-payload ratio and Russian detection of the exhaust plume, but also with Bell's arguments (which I wasn't qualified to judge) involving the nonexistence of aerospike jet engines and the high probability that the plane, had it flown in the daytime, would have been seen by planespotters. (Apparently that hobby is much more popular than I thought.) In fact, the only one of Bell's arguments that isn't mentioned and agreed with by Day is the one involving difficulties with boron-based fuel. I think this particular Av. Week story is not merely dead; it's really most sincerely dead (to quote the Munchkins' coroner).

And yes, Alex, I DID steal that joke (from "Science").


Bruce:

Are you suggesting that it is an ex-story, that it is no more, has cast off this mortal coil and is generally pining for the fjords?

If you think plane-spotters are bad, try spaceflight enthusiasts!

Bob Shaw


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Remember: Time Flies like the wind - but Fruit Flies like bananas!
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gpurcell
post Mar 18 2006, 01:58 PM
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QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ Mar 18 2006, 01:36 PM) *
Bruce:

Are you suggesting that it is an ex-story, that it is no more, has cast off this mortal coil and is generally pining for the fjords?

If you think plane-spotters are bad, try spaceflight enthusiasts!

Bob Shaw



It is an ex-story!
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dvandorn
post Mar 18 2006, 03:19 PM
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In re the Avro Arrow:

QUOTE (GregM @ Mar 16 2006, 09:45 PM) *
I live 100km from the site of the former factory. A family cottage in northern Ontario is near one of the test pilot's home town. I know the story all too well.

I get sick to my stomach every time I think about it. I hope the country continues to NEVER forgive Diefenbacher for it - forever. Small minded prarie hick so far out of his depth he couldn't even grasp its signifigance. If he were only alive today to see what irrepariable damage he did to his own nation's economic and technical base.


Remember, though, that the cancellation of the Arrow was a veritable windfall of talent that was infused into the American manned spaceflight program. The Arrow was canceled at just the right time for NASA's Space Task Group (later to become the Manned Spacecraft Center) to absorb the engineers that Avro let go. So, NASA's first steps into space were supported by a large number of talented Canadian engineers!

To all you Canadians on the forum -- thanks!

-the other Doug


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“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.” -Mark Twain
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Steve G
post Mar 18 2006, 09:03 PM
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QUOTE (dvandorn @ Mar 18 2006, 08:19 AM) *
In re the Avro Arrow:
Remember, though, that the cancellation of the Arrow was a veritable windfall of talent that was infused into the American manned spaceflight program. The Arrow was canceled at just the right time for NASA's Space Task Group (later to become the Manned Spacecraft Center) to absorb the engineers that Avro let go. So, NASA's first steps into space were supported by a large number of talented Canadian engineers!

To all you Canadians on the forum -- thanks!

-the other Doug

\

Rub it in why don't you!

In the 80's, I used to attend a lot of RCAF reunions with my dad's group (airmen who had been shot down behind enemy lines in WWII and evaded capture through the underground) and met Angus McClain. He was former premier of PEI and more ominously, on the cabinet that scuttled the Arrow.

Though he said scrapping the existing Arrows was a rape, the fact was the aircraft was something like $12 per copy (in 1958 dollars) but the real issue was did it have a mission to fly? It was designed for high altitude intercept of supersonic bombers, but the Soviet ICBM came around, and there was no SS Soviet bomber to destroy.

The aircraft wasn't designed for low altitude combat cover or even dogfighting. (The canopy would have had to be completely redesigned for dogfighting since it was primarily forward looking.) The aircraft's only practical role in the face of the new reality would have been a medium range nuclear bomber, which Canada didn't need and wouldn't deploy.

It was the best aircraft in the world, even without the Iroquis engines that were just about ready, but had it been more on the scale of the Phantom II it may have stuck around. Still, scrapping the originals (except the one the Americans are hiding at Groom Lake (or was it in a barn in Saskatchewan?) according to the Dan Akroyd movie.) was, and still is, a national disgrace.

There is a full scale model at CFB Trenton, I believe, that they used in the movie and the nose of one at the aviation museum in Ottawa. But the fact that such an amazing flying machine was designed and built by a country of then, 17 million, was a fantastic feat, making he Arrow's demise that much more of a tragedy.

It's something that still haunts Canadians nearly a half century later.
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Mar 19 2006, 01:16 AM
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QUOTE (gpurcell @ Mar 18 2006, 01:58 PM) *
It is an ex-story!


If it hadn't been nailed to Aviation Week's reputation, it would be pushin' up the daisies.
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Mar 20 2006, 05:13 PM
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QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Mar 19 2006, 01:16 AM) *
If it hadn't been nailed to Aviation Week's reputation, it would be pushin' up the daisies.

AW&ST is also publishing a letter in the from D-DAY in the Correspondence section of the March 20, 2006, issue:

QUOTE
Correspondence
EASY ON THE MYTHOLOGY
Aviation Week & Space Technology
03/20/2006, page 6

Dwayne A. Day
Vienna, Va.

In 1990, you published an article about a top secret U.S. Air Force hypersonic nuclear bomber, followed in 1991 with one about the top-secret "TR-3 Manta" reconnaissance plane. Neither airplane has emerged, and you have not retracted the stories.

Now we have yet another story about a top-secret aircraft--the so-called "Blackstar"--by the same author. I found the articles on Blackstar short on facts, just some vague assertions made by anonymous or amateur sources, none of them actually connected to a real program, and some inconsistent speculation. If the U.S. did have a reusable spaceplane with aerospike engines, why did NASA waste all that effort on the X-33 in the 1990s?

Your story has been circulating on the Internet for more than a decade with about the same level of detail and absence of facts. There is even an "SR-75 Penetrator" model kit. Stick to facts, not mythology.
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ljk4-1
post Apr 12 2006, 06:23 PM
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http://www.janes.com/defence/air_forces/ne...60406_1_n.shtml

The full article is in the April 6, 2006 issue of Jane's Defence Weekly.

US black programmes: funding the void

By Bill Sweetman, IDR Technology & Aerospace Editor, Minneapolis

Black programmes are a subset of what the US calls special access programmes
(SAPs). A programme judged so sensitive that its existence is classified is an
'unacknowledged SAP'. Within this group are waived SAPs which are not briefed to
Congress. In this case, only eight individuals - the chair and ranking minority
member of each of the four defence committees - are notified of the decision.
These waived SAPs are the blackest of black programmes.

Some analysts believe that much of the black budget funds the operations of
intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, National
Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and many new small units that
have sprung up in the aftermath of 9/11. Some of the identifiable items within
the classified world are strongly linked to particular intelligence activities.
The long-standing anomaly in US Air Force (USAF) missile-procurement accounts
funds intelligence-gathering spacecraft; it shrank considerably from FY06 to
FY07, reflecting the restructuring of the troubled Future Imagery Architecture
project for a new generation of radar and electro-optical spy satellites.

Where did the work lead?

Military space systems have been funded in the black world since the 1960s and
still are likely to account for a large proportion of black-world funds, but
whether they include a massive two-stage-to-orbit re-usable space
reconnaissance-strike system remains to be seen. Such a system might be
technically feasible, but even in small numbers it would be hard to conceal and
it would be unlikely that it would be permitted to operate over metropolitan or
suburban areas at low altitudes in daylight, as reports suggested.

The hypothesis, however, that a high-speed system of some kind was developed in
the 1980s is still supported by evidence, although much of it is circumstantial.
Unusual sonic booms over southern California in the early 1990s, and over other
places since, remain unexplained. A leading sonic boom expert who has reviewed
the California boom tracks believes that they were produced by vehicles
following a Shuttle-type landing profile.

Both the booms and the best eyewitness account of what may have been a secret
aircraft over the North Sea in 1989 are consistent with reasonable security
measures. The booms were recorded in detail by a seismograph network that the
USAF had no way of knowing was being used for that purpose and the sighting was
far out over open water, where the risk of a chance encounter with a trained
observer was minimal.

No direct evidence of such a project has emerged since the early 1990s, which
means one of three things; it was cancelled soon after it was reported; or it
has continued to operate on a spacecraft-like schedule, making very few sorties
in response to high-priority national requirements.


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Apr 21 2006, 01:20 PM
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Four more Aviation Week letters on the BlackStar story:

(1) James R. French (Las Cruces, NM), March 27: "Fascinating as it may sound, the BlackStar article does not meet the test of credibility.

"Based upon some quick analysis by my colleague Chuck Deiterich, a vehicle launching due east (to take advantage of the Earth's rotation) at Mach 3.3 would still require a delta velocity of about 21,700 ft/sec. to reach orbit. This doesn't account for drag losses, which even at that altitude probably would be 200 ft./sec.

"The best performance I have seen for a boron fuel, even with highly toxic liquid fluorine as an oxidizer, is a specific impulse of 409-412 sec. using a 95% burn efficiency. This will require a start-of-burn/end-of-burn mass ratio of around 5:2 -- not difficult for a disposable stage, but challenging for a manned vehicle with crew and payload, which must bear the weight of an entry thermal protection system, landing gear, etc. Using more probable oxidizers, the ratio quickly becomes impractical.

"The description of the vehicle goes on at length about apparent inlets on the belly. This is entirely at odds with the discussion of the linear aerospike rocket engine. The only air-breather that might be useful in this flight regime is the scramjet, which, while it does use an external expansion nozzle, does not use a linear aerospike of the type depicted. (Incidentally, the illustrations show a lack of comprehension about how a linear aerospike works.) Also, it seems unlikely that a scramjet would work with a slurry fuel as described, since the solid particles will be slow to mix and burn while rapidity is crucial to a scramjet.

"Finally, the B-70 launch of a '40,000-lb. stage' carrying a '10,000-lb. Dynasoar' surfaces again. Using the delta-V values quoted above, this combination is incapable of reaching orbit. Even if we use the specific impulse of the Space Shuttle Main Engine and assign an improbable 0.9 propellant mass fraction to the stage, it falls about 3000 ft./sec. short.

"One wonders how these ideas persist, without anyone ever really checking the numbers. I could go on at great length about other improbabilities, but this is enough. I really hope I'm wrong and that some super-duper vehicle does reside out there in the black world. I don't think I'll hold my breath, however."

(2) Mike Tinirello (Palmdale, CA), March 27: "The 'XOV' vehicle described in your article looks very close to a very fast aircraft that I observed in the summer of 1999 at Edwards AFB, California.

"I was taking out the trash and was drawn to look overhead (due to a sonic boom from an F-16). Two aircraft were flying due east in relatively close formation down the National Aerospace Corridor. One of the aircraft looked like a smaller version of the space shuttle, but was still larger than the F-16 chase plane. At one point, the space shuttle-type aircraft rapidly accelerated and disappeared off the horizon, leaving the much slower F-16 in its wake.

"Then the mystery craft silently returned, leaving a wake of smoke rings as it slowed down. You could see two nacelles in back, flickering as the puffs of smoke exited the vehicle. I did not observe a 'mother ship SR-3' nearby. Nor did I observe the space shuttle-type craft land at Edwards. I hve always believed this craft may have been the Aurora spyplane or some other secret craft. Perhaps it was the XOV. I also believe it was moving much faster than Mach 3."

(3) A. Leroy Clarke (Santa Fe, NM), April 10: "As a former wind tunnel engineer, the possibility of an 'XB-70 like spaceplane carrier' was of interest.

"The artist's sketch of the mated version certainly would illustrate a challenge for the landing gear group. The spaceplane likely would have to be much smaller or flatter than was pictured to have any hope of being strut-mounted to a large mothership needing to take off from a runway with conventional landing gear.

"The spaceplane could have been partially submerged into the fuselage in place of the bomb bay, similar to the X-planes in B-29s. B-70 bays were large enough to enclose the 1950s generation of nuclear stores, which were big and heavy. Better yet, the spaceplane could have been piggybacked on the aft fuselage, ahead of the vertical tails. Moving the XB-70's vertical tails outboard, as shown, would ease a launch from topside. This idea was studied in the late 1950s. I conducted wind tunnel tests with the B-70 for a spaceplane launch at altitude."

(4) Allan R. Swegle (Seattle), April 10: "Regarding the experimental orbital vehicle, I was a structures technology engineer on studies in the 1970s and 1980s about developing a reusable orbital vehicle system with vehicles of varying payloads. Our team studied vehicles and orbiters that were launched from subsonic and supersonic carriers at various altitudes.

"A common feature of proposals for orbiters has been systems that require lightweight thermal protection systems (TPS) over aluminum (such as the Shuttle Orbiters), or composite structural materials systems that must be protected to 300 deg F or less.

"To save weight, these systems must have limited wing area and hence develop high temperatures during reentry due to high wing loadings. Some concepts have developed higher boost-phase temperatures than for reentry. The materials for thermal protection on leading edges and surfaces needs expensive and time-consuming maintenance. Added weight, slow turnaround, weather sensitivity, increased risk and cost are products of these TPS concepts."
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tty
post Apr 21 2006, 05:07 PM
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Piggybacking on a B-70 would not be a good idea aerodynamically. B-70 was a waverider, i e it used its own supersonic shockwave to improve L/D at supersonic speeds. This requires a flat upper side and a bulbous belly to work. The best solution would probably be to carry the vehicle to be launched semi-recessed on the underside of the carrier aircraft.

The SR-71 carried the the D-21 piggyvback, but then the SR-71 was not a waverider.

tty
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ljk4-1
post May 23 2006, 07:09 PM
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Black projects don't seem to be having any budget problems...


PENTAGON'S BLACK BUDGET SOARS TO COLD WAR HEIGHTS

The Department of Defense budget request for 2007 includes about $30.1 billion in classified or "black" spending, according to a new analysis by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

"In real (inflation-adjusted) terms the $30.1 billion FY 2007 request includes more classified acquisition funding than any other defense budget since FY 1988, near the end of the Cold War, when DoD received $19.7 billion ($29.4 billion in FY 2007 dollars) for these programs," wrote author Steven Kosiak.

See "Classified Funding in the FY 2007 Budget Request" (pdf) from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

http://www.csbaonline.org/4Publications/Ar...BlackBudget.pdf

The study was reported in "Classified military spending reaches highest level since Cold War" by Drew Brown, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, May 19:

http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/14623031.htm


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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climber
post May 23 2006, 07:34 PM
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I heard this week on the radio that the whole USA "space" budget for this year is : Nasa 17Billion + "military" 25Billion. I don't know if the figure is right but that's much more than ESA for sure.


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