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Aurora - a famous speculative project

Dark Eagle

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F-14D,

Thanks for the inputs.

Funny as it may sound, when they were getting rid of the SR-71 related equipment and materials. Det 6 had a big meeting with all the equipment custodians to organize the identification and dissemination of the property.

Normally, every single item would be accounted for and sent back to them. This was not the case, in fact many organizations wanted items cut up and destroyed using Oxy Act cutting torches. We were even tasked to cut aircraft cable tie downs from the concrete, equipment trailers, maintenance stands, tooling, etc.

So many items were being turned in that supply could not handle it all. A lot of items including used SR-71 parts were being collected without paperwork and a "savage yard" was set up to collect it all. We were told that we could turn in items that were related to the Blackbird maintenance and no longer needed (Without Paper Work). We were also told that if we saw something at the salvage yard that out shop could use in the maintenance of the other aircraft we could take it. The remainder of the material was being sold as scrap metal to whoever wanted it. And some people did just that, they went up and purchased materials from the Blackbirds for a penny a pound.

A couple years later when they wanted to reactivate the 3 SR-71's that were put in flyable storage, they sent crews back to all the duty sections to look for all the missing items.

At that point I just laughed at them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There definitely was some sort of political shenanigans going on with the SR-71 deactivation. I think it was just dis-information. Supposedly the the AF or SAC didn't like having to foot the bill for all the other agencies that called the SR's capabilities to task.

The SR-71 was more capable than ever, especially since the new sensor packages were being installed and the fact that the procedures for the rework of the By-Pass doors was streamlined to perfection. The By-Pass Door situation was another indicator that something else was up. Those Forward By-Pass Doors are the heart of the Blackbird and the key to it speed.

We had spent over a year streamlining and perfecting the rework of the by-pass doors. We did this because we knew every detail of this extremely difficult and time consuming task. No deviation from tech data was allowed so we wrote our changes and submitted them through the chain of commanded. There is very heavy oversight in this process especially with Senior Crown material. Every agency involved had to sign off on the change. After quite a while it was finally approved.

When the new changes came out in the tech data, it was completely different than what we had submitted. We were flabbergasted! When the next SR phase started we were strictly told to rework the doors exactly as the tech data stated. This we found was impossible to do within the shorter time frames. So we took it upon ourselves to deviate from the tech data and do it the was we had submitted in the change. "A court marshal offense".

We had also found that some of the edges of By-Pass Door openings had been ground away by ADP. This edge was critical as a reference to mapping and setting the seals on the doors. It became literally impossible to set the seals within the tolerances of the T.O. Hummmm?

As it turned out we rebuilt the doors the best we could, our way and no one knew different. In fact they seemed puzzled by the fact that it went so well. Upon completion of it check flight I ask the head Lockheed Tech Rep, how well it went, he gave me a thumbs up, with a big smile on his face and said that was the fastest an SR-71 that had even flown.

A month later we were told of the program cancellation. :(

My speculation about the program being cancelled because of the use of cesium in fuel still remains. The new book by Ed Lovick the inventor of the cesium cloaking device states only that they did use it. He also says that "A fuel soluble compound that finally was used in flight test was 30 percent cesium metal in dialkyl phosphite". The last "TEST" of the effects of the fuel additives occurred in mid 1965."

Earlier types of the compound would "HAVE HAD" to be injected. It was highly unlikely that such a system would be installed simply because of the weight. It would also fail to meet security restrictions. I never saw such a system.

The OXCART document was dated 7/68 and it states that "It was eventually a basic part of our cross section reduction methods."

Ben Rich's book came out in 1994 and it states, "We at the Skunk Works believed that the airplane's height and speed, as well as its pioneering stealthy composite materials applied to key areas of its wings and tail, would keep it and its crew safe, but we fortified that belief by adding a special additive, which we nicknamed "panther piss", that ionized the furnace-like gas plumes streaming from the engine exhaust. The additive caused enemy infrared detectors to break up incoherently."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As far as the Booms, I think something landed that may have been diverted for some problem. Just a guess?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I did think what I had seen could have been a meteor at a tangent. But it did seem to accelerate a lot, and it appeared to be a rather small vehicle. But, who knows? It was what it was, just another mystery to me.
 

F-14D

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Dark Eagle said:
F-14D,

Thanks for the inputs.

Funny as it may sound, when they were getting rid of the SR-71 related equipment and materials. Det 6 had a big meeting with all the equipment custodians to organize the identification and dissemination of the property.

Normally, every single item would be accounted for and sent back to them. This was not the case, in fact many organizations wanted items cut up and destroyed using Oxy Act cutting torches. We were even tasked to cut aircraft cable tie downs from the concrete, equipment trailers, maintenance stands, tooling, etc.

<snip>

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I did think what I had seen could have been a meteor at a tangent. But it did seem to accelerate a lot, and it appeared to be a rather small vehicle. But, who knows? It was what it was, just another mystery to me.
Don't want to get too far off topic, but in brief:

You are right there was a lot of political and bureaucratic things going on. AF did NOT want the SR to come back, they wanted as much as possible that couldn't be used by the U-2 program destroyed. Remember, they tried to get the SRs cut up, and when Congress directed that a limited number be preserved for possible use, AF refused to do anything but drain, them, put blanks in the intakes and nozzles and tow them out in the desert and abandon them.

While the cost vs user thing was involved, that was easily dealt with; but keep in mind who was AF Chief of Staff at the time. Again, don't want to get too far off topic here.

A meteor against the night sky can be deceiving, especially as it gets more distant and decreases in size as it burns up. Our brains can interpret that as acceleration.

To draw a parallel, when looking at color imagery of SEA in the past, the best interpreters often were colorblind. That's because since they couldn't see the color, their brains wouldn't make certain assumptions about the data fed to them and they could see right through a lot of camouflage. Similarly, without external reference our brains interpret what we seen in light of past experience and expectations. Who knows, though, you might have actually seen something that was supposed to be hush-hush, but it could also have been something perfectly normal. That's what makes the world such a fascinating place.
 

Dark Eagle

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That's funny you mention color blind, I have pretty bad color deficiency, I have found that I tend to look at shapes rather than color contrast. I retired from the AF in 95 and in 03, I went back to work on the U-2's at that time you had to have good color vision. I didn't pass the standard test and that nearly kept me from getting the job. Then I told the doctor, I had been doing the same job maintaining jets at that base for 10 years. So he said I could do a verbal test, pointing to some things of various colors. I guess I got them right because he signed me off.

Anyway, I got tired of the same old stuff and I went back to retirement and working for myself. In 07, I ran into one of my old SR-71 buddies, he just happened to be one of those guys who bought a bunch of used Blackbird parts from that salvage yard. Who would have guessed, I'm back to working on Blackbird parts again, but in a different way of sorts. If you get a chance check out my web site http://mach3ti.com
Keep your MACH UP!

Sorry about going off topic, I'm new to this site.
 

F-14D

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Dark Eagle said:
Sorry about going off topic, I'm new to this site.
Wasn't picking on you, just placating the moderators about me! ;D
 

shockonlip

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Dark Eagle said:
That's funny you mention color blind, I have pretty bad color deficiency, I have found that I tend to look at shapes rather than color contrast. I retired from the AF in 95 and in 03, I went back to work on the U-2's at that time you had to have good color vision. I didn't pass the standard test and that nearly kept me from getting the job. Then I told the doctor, I had been doing the same job maintaining jets at that base for 10 years. So he said I could do a verbal test, pointing to some things of various colors. I guess I got them right because he signed me off.

Anyway, I got tired of the same old stuff and I went back to retirement and working for myself. In 07, I ran into one of my old SR-71 buddies, he just happened to be one of those guys who bought a bunch of used Blackbird parts from that salvage yard. Who would have guessed, I'm back to working on Blackbird parts again, but in a different way of sorts. If you get a chance check out my web site http://mach3ti.com
Keep your MACH UP!

Sorry about going off topic, I'm new to this site.
Thanks for your service !

So went to your web site.
Very nice!
Can't decide what to get!
How much does the guy with the SR pitot tube want?
That is AWESOME !!
 

Dark Eagle

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[/quote]

Thanks for your service !

So went to your web site.
Very nice!
Can't decide what to get!
How much does the guy with the SR pitot tube want?
That is AWESOME !!

[/quote]


Thank you! I don't know what he wants for the SR-71 Pitot Tube. I just listed the ad for him, you should email him and find out. I would have asked him but I figured he would have told me if he wanted me to know. Since it was a paid ad, I felt I would be out of bounds to make that inquiry unless I was going to buy it. I was sure I didn't have enough money to do so, and even if I did, I would never here the end of it from the Mrs. (My boss) :)
 

Artie Bob

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I am not going to wade back through all 16 pages to see if I have already posted this information. I lived and worked in Pasadena during the early 90s. The Pasadena paper printed an article based on data from Caltech. Small earthquakes had been reported from the inland empire occuring about the same time and day of the week . Caltech indicated these were not earthquakes but the sonic boom signature of an air vehicle. The extensive seismograph network thoughout So Cal is capable of sensing these signatures and even tracking them. These signatures are specific to air vehicle types and the size of the vehicle can be approximated. The signatures matched no known types and the tracks came from the Pacific over Santa Catalina and could be plotted heading in a straight line to Groom Lake. There was never a follow up to this story, but it had the ring of being an unexpected exposure of what was going on (seimograph detection and tracking?)which was quickly "buttoned up".

Artie Bob
 

quellish

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Artie Bob said:
I am not going to wade back through all 16 pages to see if I have already posted this information. I lived and worked in Pasadena during the early 90s. The Pasadena paper printed an article based on data from Caltech. Small earthquakes had been reported from the inland empire occuring about the same time and day of the week . Caltech indicated these were not earthquakes but the sonic boom signature of an air vehicle. The extensive seismograph network thoughout So Cal is capable of sensing these signatures and even tracking them. These signatures are specific to air vehicle types and the size of the vehicle can be approximated. The signatures matched no known types and the tracks came from the Pacific over Santa Catalina and could be plotted heading in a straight line to Groom Lake. There was never a follow up to this story, but it had the ring of being an unexpected exposure of what was going on (seimograph detection and tracking?)which was quickly "buttoned up".

Artie Bob

The paper based on the data is still available:
http://authors.library.caltech.edu/3348/
 

LowObservable

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What makes the CalTech tracking incident interesting is that it's entirely credible to see the OPSEC specialists missing that compromise risk.

Without near-real-time netted seismographs, very recently activated by CalTech in 1990, it would have been very difficult to develop the "parabolas" seen from the Shuttle and the other aircraft. With the network, it was easier, and the CalTech guys discovered it from idle curiosity.
 

CJGibson

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Aye, curiosity only kills cats.

I did go looking, with a fellow geologist and found something very interesting...

Speaking of “buttoning-up” while I don’t know much about the capabilities of the USGS seismic arrays, I do know that it is possible to identify atmospheric-sourced seismic events on the UK array. Not exactly famous for its earthquakes, the UK has a rather sensitive array (qv recent cobblers in the British press about magnitude 1.5 events around Blackpool) and British Geological Survey issues alerts to interested parties based on this array.

Around 1993, after the revelations of the LA “Airquakes”, one of my mates and I did a bit of digging into seismic events in the UK and discovered a couple of interesting items: sonic boom-triggered seismic events could be identified on these alerts and why the UK array was so sensitive.

I was told that the “why” dated back to the early 80s and concern about Soviet covert nuclear tests, so a new state-of-the-art seismic array was set up in Britain. This array was shielded from the atmosphere to avoid “contamination” from events such as sonic booms and thus only detected subterranean events: genuine earth tremors, collapsing mine-workings (common in the post-Maggie UK of the 90s) and the like. This left the original “old” array in the universities etc, whose seismometers were exposed to the atmosphere and thus picked up every event.

Comparison of events revealed the atmospheric-only “airquake” events that I was interested in. Most could be traced to RAF exercises, but there were four odd events that didn’t tie in. One at 0310hrs on 10th November near York and three on successive days near Barrow-in-Furness, 0615hrs on 12th November, 1820hrs on 13th November and a third at 0615hrs on 14th November. All four were associated with audible sonic booms. When these are plotted on a map of the UK that also shows areas of interest, there could be a pattern (as Billy Connolly once said “Join the dots, make a picture and win a major prize.”) but I’ll leave that to you as it all might just be happenstance.

Then, just as I was getting somewhere, the source dried up. Seems my curiosity prompted concern about litigation related to alleged structural damage caused by Concorde on test flights in the early 70s as I had requested data on those Concorde flights to compare with the 90s events. A further attempt in the early Noughties elicited initial enthusiasm from the seismic chaps, but soon turned to indifference for some reason.

What is really interesting is that the dates for these four events, in November 1991, tie in with when I first heard of odd goings-on around Machrihanish.


I hope the map posts OK.

Chris
 

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LowObservable

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Most interesting....

If you recall, the "official" USAF/Lincoln Labs report on the California booms was that they were refracted booms from F-4s off the coast - an explanation that sonic boom expert Domenic Maglieri dismissed firmly in a 2006 interview with Bill Sweetman.

http://www.popsci.com/military-aviation-space/article/2006-10/top-secret-warplanes-area-51
 

Mat Parry

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A fun article from Pop sci in 2006.....
LowObservable said:
http://www.popsci.com/military-aviation-space/article/2006-10/top-secret-warplanes-area-51
to summarise, bold speculation on

1 Stealthy transport aircraft (not the recently exposed OBL Hearse)
2 A large stealthy UAV (It would be a surprise to me if the US did not have a highly capable, highly secret black recon craft that utilised stealth technology)
3 Airship / Airplane hybrid
4 Larger and more capable F-117 replacement
5 Aurora

I wonder what Mr. Sweetman's current opinion is on these possible prototypes/small active fleets?
 

Mr London 24/7

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aero-engineer said:
Take this for what it's worth:

Posted in 2007 on the internet from a person who served from 1993 - 1996 at Edwards AFB, CA. as a Flight Test Engineer with the 412TW (SAP) and 418 FLTS (SpecOps):

I left Edwards late in 1996, the hand-writing was in neon day glow. Air Staff hated us and the SR-71 even more. They were trying to protect a replacement X-blackbird but they had only 7 of them flying, it cost $1M in fuel to just launch the thing and Pres. Clinton canceled their bank-breaking replacement in 1998 anyway. So by FY2000 the USAF was without any manned high-Mach high altitude-to-suborbital strategic recce vehicle.

aero-engineer
Have long been interested in this quote, posted here by aero-engineer. The original quote is here.

I did do some searches for the Units and did email the author once and politely enquire if they might be willing (or able) to expand on this but got no reply (although obviously there could be any number of reasons for that). IF one takes it as having any grain of truth, then it should perhaps be possible to find the cancelled program. In the white world at least the only thing I've found close enough would be the 1997 Clinton line-item veto of the 'Military Space Plane'. Of course what is publicly known of that program does not quite fit the bill for the description in the quote....

Relating to the cancellation, former SDI Director Henry F. Cooper testified to the House of Representatives that:

I understand that the U.S. has invested about $4 billion in the 70s, 80s and 90s (on such programs as Have Region, Copper Canyon, NASP, DC–X, MSP, X–33, X–37/40), not counting Shuttle development and operations—and the residue of our total investment is four aging Shuttles, one crashed vehicle, a hangar queen, some drop-test articles and static displays....
Anyone know what the 'hangar queen' he's referring to is: the Enterprise?
 
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sublight

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Jeeze, Cooper is complaining about spending $4 billion over 30 years? We literally spent $20 billion in 2010 to air condition troop tents in Iraq/Afghanistan *...
I think we could afford to "waste" a little more on Aerospace....

* Steve Anderson, retired Brigadier General who was General David Petraeus’s chief logistician in Iraq
 

Grey Havoc

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sublight said:
Jeeze, Cooper is complaining about spending $4 billion over 30 years? We literally spent $20 billion in 2010 to air condition troop tents in Iraq/Afghanistan...
I think we could afford to "waste" a little more on Aerospace....
I think he was complaining about all the hardware that wasn't allowed to come to fruition and other hardware that was scrapped for one reason (usually political, even if not admitted at the time) or another.
 

Vulcan652

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Relating to the cancellation, former SDI Director Henry F. Cooper testified to the House of Representatives that:

I understand that the U.S. has invested about $4 billion in the 70s, 80s and 90s (on such programs as Have Region, Copper Canyon, NASP, DC–X, MSP, X–33, X–37/40), not counting Shuttle development and operations—and the residue of our total investment is four aging Shuttles, one crashed vehicle, a hangar queen, some drop-test articles and static displays....

Anyone know what the 'hangar queen' he's referring to is: the Enterprise?
I've been wondering about the "hangar queen" reference for a while. While I would love to think the "crashed vehicle" was the high speed demonstrator mentioned by Peter Merlin (http://www.dreamlandresort.com/forum/messages/33305.html) and the "hangar queen" is Chris Gibson's North Sea air vehicle (lifting body?), I have, until further notice, resigned myself to the crashed vehicle being Challenger and the hangar queen Enterprise. The document is pre-Columbia crash. At least that's all I can think of...

On a different note, I see the custodians of the Aurora Wikipedia page have been up to their old tricks! The page now features an image (author unknown) that supposedly came from the uploader's Granddad (now deceased) who apparently had it in his house. Clearly a nice bit of CGI, but one I've not seen before so makes a nice change! Enjoy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora_%28aircraft%29

Here's the image with copyright info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AuroraJet2.jpeg. Seems it's due to be deleted in a few days so best be quick ;D
 

quellish

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Vulcan652 said:
Relating to the cancellation, former SDI Director Henry F. Cooper testified to the House of Representatives that:

I understand that the U.S. has invested about $4 billion in the 70s, 80s and 90s (on such programs as Have Region, Copper Canyon, NASP, DC–X, MSP, X–33, X–37/40), not counting Shuttle development and operations—and the residue of our total investment is four aging Shuttles, one crashed vehicle, a hangar queen, some drop-test articles and static displays....

Anyone know what the 'hangar queen' he's referring to is: the Enterprise?
I've been wondering about the "hangar queen" reference for a while. While I would love to think the "crashed vehicle" was the high speed demonstrator mentioned by Peter Merlin (http://www.dreamlandresort.com/forum/messages/33305.html) and the "hangar queen" is Chris Gibson's North Sea air vehicle (lifting body?), I have, until further notice, resigned myself to the crashed vehicle being Challenger and the hangar queen Enterprise. The document is pre-Columbia crash. At least that's all I can think of...
Once upon a time I had clarification on this. The crashed vehicle was DC-X. The hangar queen, if I remember right, was the SR-71.
 

shockonlip

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Vulcan652

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Once upon a time I had clarification on this. The crashed vehicle was DC-X. The hangar queen, if I remember right, was the SR-71.
Thanks for the info quellish, that's really interesting and certainly cooler than a Smithsonian exhibit!
 

Vulcan652

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shockonlip said:
Vulcan652 said:
...
Here's the image with copyright info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AuroraJet2.jpeg. Seems it's due to be deleted in a few days so best be quick ;D
If you want more,check out:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3005.0.html

A member here named rodrigoavella posted these here back in Nov. 2007,
as his version of the "Aurora". Rather well done actually.
Nice! Thanks for the link. I think I've seen those before, or some of them anyway, but never made the connection. Very nicely done indeed!
 

CaseyKnight

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@ shockonlip

I thought cryo-cooled jets was relatively new. How far back was the US working on them?
 

aliensporebomb

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aero-engineer said:
Take this for what it's worth:

Posted in 2007 on the internet from a person who served from 1993 - 1996 at Edwards AFB, CA. as a Flight Test Engineer with the 412TW (SAP) and 418 FLTS (SpecOps):

I left Edwards late in 1996, the hand-writing was in neon day glow. Air Staff hated us and the SR-71 even more. They were trying to protect a replacement X-blackbird but they had only 7 of them flying, it cost $1M in fuel to just launch the thing and Pres. Clinton canceled their bank-breaking replacement in 1998 anyway. So by FY2000 the USAF was without any manned high-Mach high altitude-to-suborbital strategic recce vehicle.

aero-engineer

One million dollars to launch? What was it flying on, distilled unicorn tears?


I presume that expensive cost isn't just to fly the putative X-bird but any support aircraft, vehicles, refueling vehicles, etc.


Be interesting to see if those vehicles are in some classified museum somewhere or if they quietly buried them somewhere.


Or if they're on standby in case they're needed at some point.
 

quellish

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aliensporebomb said:
Be interesting to see if those vehicles are in some classified museum somewhere or if they quietly buried them somewhere.

Or if they're on standby in case they're needed at some point.
Some vehicles are buried (like XST), and some are in storage. The storage area is sort of a museum that almost no one can visit all of - you might be cleared for one 'thing' and not another. The items in storage compete for space with other things, so every once in a while something has to go. TACIT BLUE and Bird of Prey left the dock to make space for other things.

Most of these things are one-off demonstrators and the like, so it doesn't make sense to spend money to maintain them in any state of readiness.
 

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I have no idea if Aurora ever really existed, or actually just was the B-2's development code word. Having said that, the guy at Testors who made all of the "secret" models, I can see how he could come up with the model of the "F-19", based on someone describing to him basic characteristics of the F-117. So, when he came out with the model of the XR-7, I was thinking, "Seriously, podded PDE's?" Of course, I don't know what description was given to him, but when I saw the following image, I couldn't help thinking, "Ahhh, that's what he was trying to make a model of..."

I know that image is posted somewhere else at this site but I couldn't find it, as I downloaded it from here, even though I still own that Aviation Week issue. It's from the cover painting by Keith Ferris of McDonnell-Douglas designs. I don't claim that either engine is a PDE, but the configuration looks like some kind of high speed propulsion test bed to me, where the powerplant in the fuselage would be the normal powerplant, and the "propulsion system" in the pod would be the one under development, since they could modify it or the pod it's in as needed.

Of course, looking at the engine pod, it has the red line on it, which is usually an indication of where the fan is located right? So that it indicates it was some sort of turboshaft to me. Maybe it was a test bed for a "super charged" powerplant system?
 

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quellish

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Sundog said:
I have no idea if Aurora ever really existed, or actually just was the B-2's development code word. Having said that, the guy at Testors who made all of the "secret" models, I can see how he could come up with the model of the "F-19", based on someone describing to him basic characteristics of the F-117. So, when he came out with the model of the XR-7, I was thinking, "Seriously, podded PDE's?" Of course, I don't know what description was given to him, but when I saw the following image, I couldn't help thinking, "Ahhh, that's what he was trying to make a model of..."
During the 80s when there was much speculation in the press, etc. about the "F-19" there were a lot of confusing descriptions of it. As I recall several articles said it had a planform resembling the space shuttle, while others talked of a "ugly" appearance, etc. I'd have to dig around to see if I have any of the specifics around any more. Nonetheless, as it turns out they were all somewhat right - but the different sources journalists used were describing different stealth programs! Source A at USAF has seen material about project Y, while source B at Lockheed has seen project X, and each is unaware of the other program - so both think they are describing "the" stealth fighter.

At the time of the SR-75 kit, there were rumors of several high speed craft. The XB-70 like thing, the "pulser", etc. There was no real reason to think these were all one program, but it appears that features of all of them made it into the SR-75/XR-7. If someone told you that such an aircraft had dorsal-mounted engines, pods like those on the XR-7 might be a reasonable way to express that.
 

Sundog

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quellish said:
Sundog said:
I have no idea if Aurora ever really existed, or actually just was the B-2's development code word. Having said that, the guy at Testors who made all of the "secret" models, I can see how he could come up with the model of the "F-19", based on someone describing to him basic characteristics of the F-117. So, when he came out with the model of the XR-7, I was thinking, "Seriously, podded PDE's?" Of course, I don't know what description was given to him, but when I saw the following image, I couldn't help thinking, "Ahhh, that's what he was trying to make a model of..."
During the 80s when there was much speculation in the press, etc. about the "F-19" there were a lot of confusing descriptions of it. As I recall several articles said it had a planform resembling the space shuttle, while others talked of a "ugly" appearance, etc. I'd have to dig around to see if I have any of the specifics around any more. Nonetheless, as it turns out they were all somewhat right - but the different sources journalists used were describing different stealth programs! Source A at USAF has seen material about project Y, while source B at Lockheed has seen project X, and each is unaware of the other program - so both think they are describing "the" stealth fighter.

At the time of the SR-75 kit, there were rumors of several high speed craft. The XB-70 like thing, the "pulser", etc. There was no real reason to think these were all one program, but it appears that features of all of them made it into the SR-75/XR-7. If someone told you that such an aircraft had dorsal-mounted engines, pods like those on the XR-7 might be a reasonable way to express that.
Yeah, I agree completely.

Of course, I'm still waiting for an explanation from Boeing (Re:MacAir) and the Pentagon to what the aircraft is in the painting. I mean, it can't be that classified if it was in a painting on the cover of Aviation Week. Of course, considering that it was on the cover of the magazine and they behaved as if it wasn't even there says much as well. I remember the days when AvWeek would have publicly been asking the questions about such projects. Of course, that was when Bill Scott was there, wasn't it?
 

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I'm still waiting for Mr. Sweetman to PROVE that Aurora actually exists.-SP
 

Vahe Demirjian

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Steve Pace said:
I'm still waiting for Mr. Sweetman to PROVE that Aurora actually exists.-SP
The most recent publication where Bill Sweetman takes pains to defend the existence of Aurora is the 2006 Popular Science article "Secret Warplanes of Area 51" (http://www.popsci.com/military-aviation-space/article/2006-10/top-secret-warplanes-area-51). However, the state of hypersonic air-breathing technology in light of the X-51 program raises questions about whether the USAF had a research program for a methane-fuelled hypersonic technology demonstrator back in the 1980s, given that Aurora was reportedly fuelled by methane (a hydrocarbon-based fuel) and the X-30 was designed to use liquid hydrogen. As a matter of fact, the X-51 uses a hydrocarbon-based fuel instead of liquid hydrogen, so could Aurora be a technology demonstrator for a new generation of supersonic civil aircraft?
 

repsol

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I'm just an uninformed lurker but enjoy this site. What is the aircraft that is shown in that picture? At least allegedly, assuming its a leaked black project picture.
 

quellish

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Vahe Demirjian said:
The most recent publication where Bill Sweetman takes pains to defend the existence of Aurora is the 2006 Popular Science article "Secret Warplanes of Area 51" (http://www.popsci.com/military-aviation-space/article/2006-10/top-secret-warplanes-area-51). However, the state of hypersonic air-breathing technology in light of the X-51 program raises questions about whether the USAF had a research program for a methane-fuelled hypersonic technology demonstrator back in the 1980s, given that Aurora was reportedly fuelled by methane (a hydrocarbon-based fuel) and the X-30 was designed to use liquid hydrogen. As a matter of fact, the X-51 uses a hydrocarbon-based fuel instead of liquid hydrogen, so could Aurora be a technology demonstrator for a new generation of supersonic civil aircraft?
As stated elsewhere (in this thread?), at no time has the liquid methane production and storage infrastructure necessary to support the flight testing of such an aircraft been observed. And it is difficult to hide.
 

Vahe Demirjian

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Regarding the donuts-on-a-rope sightings, there is an article in the March 1998 issue of Popular Mechanics which says that the mystery of the donuts-on-a-rope sightings have been solved.......

http://books.google.com/books?id=UGYEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA24&dq=sr-71+donuts+on+a+rope&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XvakUZniLLKN8gGYkIAY&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=sr-71%20donuts%20on%20a%20rope&f=false

Given the absence of recent reports of donuts-on-a-rope contrail sightings, it appears as if those mysterious contrails were originally pearl-like patterns that were later modified by atmospheric action to give eyewitnesses the illusion that the donuts-on-a-rope contrails were produced by a Mach 5 aircraft. In this sense, photographs confirming that the donuts-on-a-rope contrails were produced by the NASA SR-71s in the mid-1990s constitute one piece of evidence to disprove the existence of Aurora (as a matter of fact, there is no way that the contrails could have been produced by a pulse detonation wave engine because the PDWE was only recently put to the test in flight in 2008).
 

quellish

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Vahe Demirjian said:
In this sense, photographs confirming that the donuts-on-a-rope contrails were produced by the NASA SR-71s in the mid-1990s constitute one piece of evidence to disprove the existence of Aurora (as a matter of fact, there is no way that the contrails could have been produced by a pulse detonation wave engine because the PDWE was only recently put to the test in flight in 2008).
The donuts on a rope contrails can be seen very regularly over southern california. Commercial aircraft can produce them.
This does not disprove existence of anything but some unusual source for the (some of the) observed contrails.

*A* PDE was flight tested in 2008. It would be very difficult to say that there had never been a PDE tested in flight before. PDEs have a very long history.
 

shockonlip

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quellish said:
Vahe Demirjian said:
In this sense, photographs confirming that the donuts-on-a-rope contrails were produced by the NASA SR-71s in the mid-1990s constitute one piece of evidence to disprove the existence of Aurora (as a matter of fact, there is no way that the contrails could have been produced by a pulse detonation wave engine because the PDWE was only recently put to the test in flight in 2008).
The donuts on a rope contrails can be seen very regularly over southern california. Commercial aircraft can produce them.
This does not disprove existence of anything but some unusual source for the (some of the) observed contrails.

*A* PDE was flight tested in 2008. It would be very difficult to say that there had never been a PDE tested in flight before. PDEs have a very long history.
They do have a long history. One of the SAIC researchers mentioned to me that they had copies of the design
notes for the WWII Schmidt-Argus pulsejet and it mentions the possibility of using a detonation shock instead of
deflagration (subsonic burning) to get higher pressures in the engine. So the principle was noticed back then.
PDE engines are also simple to construct, as are their ancestor the pulsejet.

Also the 'Aurora' sighting logs online seem so screwed up now. Looking at the Wiki page, reality has been lost.

So when these strange pulsed sounds (very low freq too) were heard in the 1988 or so time frame and the
first doughnuts-on-a-rope contrail were observed/named in 1989 or 1990 (I couldn't find an accurate sighting
log like what were published on the old skunk.works mail list) we didn't have any idea what caused them.
A pulsed detonation wave engine was one theory. Indeed, backed up by supersonic CFD particle flows of
a theoretical test engine, where the CFD work was done by SAIC, seemed to produce a similar contrail. This
line of thought was published in a 1994 AW&ST issue. But there were other experts, who had experience in
ramjet engines and wind tunnel anomolies who mentioned that the effect could be due to an effect similar to
a choked wind tunnel flow which also pulses, and the implication was that perhaps what we were hearing
was the result of a ramjet duct that was cold-flowing but also choked. Just like a choked test section of
a wind tunnel. Who knows.

But those first few sightings were out of the blue and more interesting because nobody had reported this
kind of thing before and there were two seperate people seperated by some distance who didn't know each
other who reported something similar from a high level standpoint, namely a pulsed effect of some sort.

And then over time everyone was reporting these contrails but they weren't the same thing. The real ones
come out the back of the aircraft that way, but the fake ones evolve over time due to winds aloft and other
atmospheric effects.

So who knows.

But PDE's are interesting to modern aerospace propulsion research and interest in them continues.
 

Stargazer2006

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quellish said:
*A* PDE was flight tested in 2008. It would be very difficult to say that there had never been a PDE tested in flight before. PDEs have a very long history.
I agree. The "white world" PDE came into existence with the successful flight testing of the Borealis (a Rutan Long-EZ modified by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and partners ISSI and Scaled Composites), but that doesn't preclude the existence of similar "black world" experiments prior to that, to which the general public had no access.
 

quellish

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Stargazer2006 said:
I agree. The "white world" PDE came into existence with the successful flight testing of the Borealis (a Rutan Long-EZ modified by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and partners ISSI and Scaled Composites), but that doesn't preclude the existence of similar "black world" experiments prior to that, to which the general public had no access.
It's especially interesting to see significant funds HYPOTHETICALLY being spent to solve problems that would have (only) arisen during flight test of such a thing, at a particular scale.... almost twenty years before one was publicly flown.

That would be hypothetically interesting.
 
R

RGClark

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Lockheed has announced plans to develop a hypersonic successor to the SR-71 based on the recent tests of a scramjet engine:

Exclusive: Skunk Works Reveals SR-71 Successor Plan.
By Guy Norris ****@aviationweek.com
http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_11_01_2013_p0-632731.xml

Bob Clark
 

Byeman

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RGClark said:
Lockheed has announced plans to develop a hypersonic successor to the SR-71 based on the recent tests of a scramjet engine:
Read again. It has developed plans. It is not developing the vehicle at this time
 

Mr London 24/7

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Vahe Demirjian said:
Steve Pace said:
I'm still waiting for Mr. Sweetman to PROVE that Aurora actually exists.-SP
The most recent publication where Bill Sweetman takes pains to defend the existence of Aurora is the 2006 Popular Science article "Secret Warplanes of Area 51" (http://www.popsci.com/military-aviation-space/article/2006-10/top-secret-warplanes-area-51). However, the state of hypersonic air-breathing technology in light of the X-51 program raises questions about whether the USAF had a research program for a methane-fuelled hypersonic technology demonstrator back in the 1980s, given that Aurora was reportedly fuelled by methane (a hydrocarbon-based fuel) and the X-30 was designed to use liquid hydrogen. As a matter of fact, the X-51 uses a hydrocarbon-based fuel instead of liquid hydrogen, so could Aurora be a technology demonstrator for a new generation of supersonic civil aircraft?

Within the last few days I note recent posts of this:


http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3afc82f807-1fca-4164-bbbf-b768c178baeb


And then this:


http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&newspaperUserId=27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3a68dd2a12-18f8-43bb-b51c-372cae98e8e3&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest


What ARE you trying to tell us Bill?
 
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