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Early Maneuverable Reentry Vehicle studies

flateric

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Early CAV investigations quickly made it apparent that considerable work had previously been accomplished on the space reentry problem. Present CAV concepts continue a long line of previous maneuverablere entry vehicle studies and technology programs stretching back almost 40 years. Work began in the early 1960s on hypersonic maneuvering reentry studies which took several conceptual tracks and ultimately contributed to a number of later space programs ranging from manned space flight to advanced maneuvering reentry concepts for the nation’s ICBM forces.

Under the Air Force Spacecraft Technology and Advanced Reentry Tests (START) Research numerous concepts were developed,
designed, and flown in an attempt to produce a reusable, maneuverable, reentry vehicle capable of being flown from Earth orbit to a precise landing point on earth. The first phase of the START called the Aerothermodynamiclelastic Structural Systems Environmental Tests (ASSET) program, designed and tested lifting bodies built by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation which derived aerodynamic lift from their shape alone. During the mid-1960s, six ASSET vehicles, launched on Thor boosters, measured the hypersonic environment and
tested materials and structural design concepts related to the maneuvering reentry problem. In a second part of the START Program, called Precision Recovery Including Maneuvering Entry (PRIME), advanced lifbng body vehicles built by Martin-Marietta were launched on Atlas missiles to further explore the development of manned and unmanned lifting body vehicles.

Other companies, including Rockwell, Boeing, Martin-Marietta, Lockheed, TRW, and General Electric, supported the military in technology programs designed to develop and test space reentry vehicle technologies. In the mid-1960s, Boeing participated in maneuvering control and ablation technology studies, early flight tests, and design of a maneuvering Boost Glide Reentry Vehicle concept.

This work was followed by operational maneuvering reentry vehicle and maneuvering decoy studies which produced an advanced reentry vehicle design culminating in maneuvering reentry vehicle control experiment flight tests in the early 1970s.

Through the 1970s, Boeing continued work on reentry vehicles, designing a Small Evader Vehicle, a Precision Guided Reentry Vehicle, and flight testing an Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle. In the 1980s, Boeing conducted design studies under their Maneuvering Technology Program, designing a Small High Accuracy Reentry Vehicle, a Defense Suppression Weapon/Vehicle, and conducting a
Technology Demonstration of their Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle. During this time TRW was also developing concepts and designs for Maneuvering Reentry Vehicles (MaRV), Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (AMaRV) and the High Performance Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (HpMaRV) associated with future ICBM targeting studies.

In the early 1980sa, Tactical Aerospace Assessment (TAA) Program was initiated under the auspices of the Air Force Systems Command’s Advanced Weapons Concept Group to focus on ground targets which might be struck by a future Transatmospheric Vehicle (TAV). Rockwell (Downey), General Electric (Valley Forge), Martin-Marietta (Orlando), and Boeing (Seattle), among others, were involved in reentry designs and weaponization work to support a future TAV. Development of an atmospheric reentry capability was integral to striking earth and air breathing targets from a high-Mach TAV platform.

By the late 1980s the Have Not Program, supported by Martin Marietta, was actively working on such a capability.
from The Common Aero Vehicle: Space Delivery System Of The Future
George Richie, ANSER
AIAA Space Technology
Conference & Exposition
28-30 Sept. 1999 Albuquerque, NM

Earlier Programs: Early work with Sandia National Laboratories had resulted in Phillips Lab’s MSP Technology Office showing graphics of a very simple, flap controlled, biconic hypersonic weapon. Meetings with TRW, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Wright Lab’s Munitions Directorate and Phillips Lab’s Ballistic Missile Technology Office showed a large body of research existed on much more sophisticated maneuvering reentry vehicles which could be adapted to the CAV concept. Boeing had the most actual flight test experience with programs such as Boost Glide Reentry Vehicle, Maneuvering Control and Ablation Studies (MARCAS), Advanced Control Experiment (ACE), Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (AMaRV), and Technology Demonstration Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (TDMaRV). All of these programs had direct applicability to CAV, especially AMaRV. AMaRV flew several times in the late 1970s and early 1980s and demonstrated profiles similar to those a CAV would fly. Lockheed-Martin had two programs, MSTART and High Performance Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (HPMARV) which were directly related to CAV. HPMARV, in particular, had detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel analyses, even though the vehicle never flew. Boeing and Lockheed-Martin were both provided small amounts of funding over the next few years to mature their CAV designs and recommend employment, test and acquisition options.
from A Common Aero Vehicle (CAV) - Model, Description, and Employment Guide
Terry H Phillips, Schafer Corporation
 

flateric

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McDonnell-Douglas Advanced Maneuverable Reentry Vehicle (AMaRV)

The biconic is a sphere-cone with an additional frustum attached. The biconic offers a significantly improved L/D ratio. A biconic designed for Mars aerocapture typically has an L/D of approximately 1.0 compared to an L/D of 0.368 for the Apollo-CM. The higher L/D makes a biconic shape better suited for transporting people to Mars due to the lower peak deceleration. Arguably, the most significant biconic ever flown was the Advanced Maneuverable Reentry Vehicle (AMaRV). Four AMaRVs were made by the McDonnell-Douglas Corp. and represented a significant leap in RV sophistication. Three of the AMaRVs were launched by Minuteman-1 ICBMs on 20 December 1979, 8 October 1980 and 4 October 1981. AMaRV had an entry mass of approximately 470 kg, a nose radius of 2.34 cm, a forward frustum half-angle of 10.4°, an inter-frustum radius of 14.6 cm, aft frustum half angle of 6°, and an axial length of 2.079 meters. No accurate diagram or picture of AMaRV has ever appeared in the open literature. However a schematic sketch of an AMaRV-like vehicle along with trajectory plots showing hairpin turns has been published.*
AMaRV's attitude was controlled through a split body flap (also called a "split-windward flap") along with two yaw flaps mounted on the vehicle's sides. Hydraulic actuation was used for controlling the flaps. AMaRV was guided by a fully autonomous navigation system designed for evading anti-ballistic missile (ABM) interception. The McDonnell Douglas DC-X (also a biconic) was essentially a scaled up version of AMaRV. AMaRV and the DC-X also served as the basis for an unsuccessful proposal for what eventually became the Lockheed Martin X-33. Amongst aerospace engineers, AMaRV has achieved legendary status alongside such marvels as the SR-71 Blackbird and the Saturn V Rocket.

* Regan, Frank J. and Anadakrishnan, Satya M., "Dynamics of Atmospheric Re-Entry," AIAA Education Series, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., New York, ISBN 1-56347-048-9, (1993).

AMaRV was a successfully tested weapon system prototype designed for rapid and accurate reentry into the Earth's atmosphere while performing high-G maneuvers. AMaRV had a biconic-cut body with a split windward flap and two side flaps for yaw control. The half angle of AMaRV's leading cone was 10.4 degrees and a trailing cone was 6 degrees, with nose radius of 2.34 cm. AMaRV's low drag, relatively high lift geometry had a mass of 470 kg and a ballistic coefficient of 13485 kg/m2.

Though originally a classified program, some information pertaining to AMaRV has been declassified for supporting DC-X and other unclassified projects.
 

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bobbymike

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flateric - great information! I have been scouring the web to try and find current information on the state of RV technology. There appears to be whispers and rumors that different RV configurations are being studied and possibly tested for the Conventional Trident and/or Conventional ICBMs for prompt global strike. I will look for a story that I saw on the Global Security Newswire that outlined testing for conventional prompt global strike to take place in 2008 through 2010 and beyond. Although I am just speculating the timing of these seems to coorespond with Trident D5 launches. I have a strong feeling advanced, highly accurate RV are being tested.
 

flateric

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I will try to gather and put there everything I can (seems that I've found something on SWERVE).
Other contributors are welcome!
 

Skybolt

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Thanx Grigory, great stuff. I have somewhere an AIAA paper on a MARV from GD from early 70s.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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McDonnell Model 122B (Air Force WS-199D) Alpha Draco

The first notable lifting hypersonic flight test effort was the two stage McDonnell Model 122B (Air Force WS-199D) Alpha Draco research vehicle, three of which were tested in 1959, maximum performance being Mach 5+ on February 16, 1959. While ballistic missile warheads and test shapes had already been studied extensively in programs such as the X-17 effort, Alpha Draco represented a very different approach., for it was a slender boost-glide lifting body, a free-flight payload stage 46.08 ft. in length, 2.58 in. in diameter, with a fin-span of 7.08 ft. Attached to the second stage of a two-stage booster missile (the first stage being a Sergeant rocket), Alpha Draco separated in near-level attitude above 90,000 feet, then glided at hypersonic speeds before entering a terminal dive. Intended to furnish information for future missile programs, Alpha Draco was a little-known but significant step on the road to understanding the aerodynamic, heating, and maneuvering challenges of hypersonic flight. It anticipated later programs to acquire a data base on hypersonic reentry conditions, vehicle behavior, and flow characteristics (particularly boundary layer transition from laminar to turbulent flow, and its impact upon heating rates).

McDonnell Douglas Model 122 Boost Glide Reentry Vehicle (BGRV)

These subsequent programs included the BGRV (Boost-Glide Reentry Vehicle), a slender and slightly tilted and flattened cone-cylinder test vehicle measuring not quite 23 ft. in length which, lofted by an Atlas booster, completed a maneuvering Mach 18 reentry over the Western Test Range on February 26, 1968 using a combination of trim flares and reaction control thrusters commanded by an on-board inertial measuring unit.

A classified United States Air Force program to investigate missile maneuvering at hypersonic speeds after reentry into the atmosphere. Upon reentry, flight control was achieved by using aft trim flares and a reaction jet system commanded from an onboard inertial guidance system. An advanced slender cone Mach 18 reentry test vehicle was launched on Feb. 26, 1968 from Vandenberg Air Force Base by an Atlas F to the area of Wake Island in the Pacific, successfully demonstrating maneuvering entry and collecting data that proved valuable in developing later maneuvering reentry vehicles.

A sintered, porous nose tip is fed with high-pressure water (2,000 to 3,000 psi) from a reservoir holding purified, de-mineralized water.

http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/B/BGRV.html
 

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Byeman

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A picture is here

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,8927.msg80148.html#msg80148
 

OM

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A sintered, porous nose tip is fed with high-pressure water (2,000 to 3,000 psi) from a reservoir holding purified, de-mineralized water.
...Wait, I'm confused. Just what was the purpose of this? Was the water ejected during reentry as a form of ablation?
 

quellish

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OM said:
A sintered, porous nose tip is fed with high-pressure water (2,000 to 3,000 psi) from a reservoir holding purified, de-mineralized water.
...Wait, I'm confused. Just what was the purpose of this? Was the water ejected during reentry as a form of ablation?
McDD has used active water cooling in a number of their designs (GRM-29, possibly ISINGLASS)
http://yarchive.net/space/launchers/water_cooled_reentry.html

So it may be part of that.
 

bobbymike

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This was what my post was referring to - from Global Security Newswire:

Navy to Launch Controversial Weapon Next Year
Thursday, April 3, 2008

By Elaine M. Grossman
Global Security Newswire

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Defense Department has notified Congress that it plans to conduct a flight test in fiscal 2009 of a controversial weapon designed to fit on the front end of the Navy's Trident D-5 missile (see GSN, March 20). The flight test might help the Pentagon determine how a modified, conventionally armed re-entry vehicle might function on the submarine-launched missile, which typically carries nuclear weapons. The plans could prove contentious on Capitol Hill, following congressional action last year to cancel similar research efforts.

At the same time, the new defense report -- dated March 24 and obtained by Global Security Newswire -- shows that increased effort in a nascent mission called "prompt global strike" would be devoted to a separate technology demonstration of a futuristic weapon that could zoom in on its target at hypersonic speeds.

Defense officials would carry out both flight tests in 2009 as part of an effort to develop weapons that could attack points anywhere around the globe with just 60 minutes' notice.

Prompt global strike could be used against compelling threats in which the window of opportunity for an attack is fleeting, defense officials say. Examples might include a rogue nation's weapon of mass destruction being readied for launch or a leading terrorist pinpointed at a safe house, according to officials.

The new funding report details Defense Department plans for $100 million in prompt global strike expenditures in fiscal 2008 and $118 million in 2009. After rejecting the Trident modification concept last year, lawmakers called for the report to clarify how the Pentagon's near-term spending plans for the mission have changed.

Congress strenuously opposed the submarine-based weapon on the grounds that its use could mimic a launch of its nuclear twin. Such "ambiguity," lawmakers warned, could inadvertently trigger a Russian or Chinese nuclear weapons response (see GSN, Dec. 13, 2007).

Although defense leaders have said they would abide by Capitol Hill directives not to proceed with the "Conventional Trident Modification," it appears that the development of Trident-related technologies is set to continue, at least in some manner.

John Young, the Pentagon's top weapons-development and acquisition official, said in last week's report that the military would spend $6 million this year to prepare for the test and $3 million next year to conduct the flight, "using a Life Extension Test Bed (LETB-2) re-entry body."

The LETB-2 is a modification that defense contracting giant Lockheed Martin has proposed making to the Trident D-5 missile's Mk-4 re-entry body, which would greatly increase the weapon's accuracy, according to industry officials. Technically speaking, the modification could be made regardless of whether the re-entry body carried a nuclear or conventional payload, though in recent years Pentagon discussion has centered on the conventional mission.

Initially dubbing its precision upgrade the "Enhanced Effectiveness" program, Lockheed Martin said the modifications would give the Trident D-5 the kind of accuracy enjoyed by weapons using the Global Positioning System. It was first flight-tested on the Navy missile in October 2002, according to company and defense officials.

However, Congress zeroed a Navy request for Enhanced Effectiveness funding in fiscal 2003, concerned that making the Trident missile's Mk-4 re-entry body more precise might encourage nuclear "first strikes" against future adversaries (see GSN, Aug. 17, 2007).

The Navy was, nonetheless, able to capitalize on Lockheed Martin's early development work when it began crafting plans three years ago for the ill-fated Conventional Trident Modification effort, according to officials. Several officials interviewed for this story did so only on condition of not being named.

Young's report to Congress offers only general descriptions of the prompt global strike projects to be funded, to include the LETB-2 plans. The document does not describe which military service would conduct work on specific technologies or on which weapons "platforms" any of the equipment would be used.

The report lists the LETB-2 demonstration as part of an effort to develop flight-test facilities, without much elaboration.

However, the plans appear to track with budget documents the Navy submitted to Congress earlier this year, in which additional explanation is provided. During the 2009 test, officials anticipate demonstrating a communications and data link that could prove useful for subsequent experiments, the service said in the February budget submissions.

The LETB-2 experiment would be conducted on "a currently planned Trident D-5 missile flight," according to the Navy documents.

However, the congressional ban on developing a conventional version of the Trident missile might preclude a flight test on which the LETB-2 rides atop a D-5 missile, experts said. Young's report does not address whether the LETB-2 is still expected to fly aboard the D-5 missile during next year's flight test.

Although elements of the new report might prove divisive on Capitol Hill, the document represents a compromise hashed out inside the Pentagon, following Air Force complaints that an earlier draft maintained too much emphasis on Trident-related development work, GSN has learned.

At first blush, "it does not appear" that technologies mentioned in the Pentagon report are ultimately to be fielded on the Trident missile, one congressional aide said. Instead, these technologies might simply remain at an early stage of development or be applied to some future missile, according to this source.

However, not everyone sees the planned flight test as so benign.

"Every LETB flight gets them closer to a maneuvering Mk-4 first-strike capability," said a defense consultant monitoring the program. "That's the direction they're going."

Lawmakers had hoped to avoid such guesswork. A congressional directive last year instructed the Pentagon to make clear in the report which specific weapon platforms -- ballistic missiles, boost-glide vehicles, cruise missiles or the like -- might utilize the technologies the Pentagon is developing in 2008.

The plan, lawmakers wrote in the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations conference legislation, must "include correlations between each technology application being developed in fiscal year 2008 and the prompt global strike alternative or alternatives toward which the technology application applies."

Instead, the new report states somewhat obliquely that "FY-08 work is technically applicable to all of the ballistic missile delivery concepts considered in the Air Force [analysis of alternatives]" for prompt global strike -- an exhaustive assessment the service has reportedly completed but not yet released publicly. "All efforts have the intent, wherever possible, to mature and integrate technologies that have cross-service and/or cross-concept applicability," Young's report reads.

Details about how Pentagon spending on prompt global strike might benefit various weapon systems are still expected to appear in a six-year spending outline that the Pentagon has yet to submit to Capitol Hill, the congressional staff aide said.

Young's report broadly sets out to describe how the Defense Department intends to allocate a $100 million multiservice account for "prompt global strike" in fiscal 2008. The report also explains how the Pentagon would spend $118 million requested for the same defense-wide funding pot next year.

The plan segregates defense spending on prompt global strike development and test activities into four categories:

--Hypersonic glide experiments and concept demonstrations. The Pentagon plans to spend $58 million in fiscal 2008 and $70 million in fiscal 2009 to test-fly a Hypersonic Technology Vehicle next year. The military would follow up with a broader capability demonstration in fiscal 2010. The effort draws off of years of technology development led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, according to program-watchers. Eventually the technology might help the Air Force develop a "boost-glide" vehicle for prompt global strike. As envisioned, such a weapon could be launched by rockets into lower space, skip across the top of the atmosphere for thousands of miles, then glide back into the atmosphere and maneuver precisely into a target at hypersonic speeds, defense experts say.

--Alternative re-entry systems development. Young's report does not specify which future weapon platforms or military services might benefit from this category of work, for which $30 million is allotted this year and $40 million next year. The document does say the category includes development activities focused on software, flight control systems, heat shields, warheads and fuses, among other things. Under the effort, the Pentagon plans to demonstrate how a prompt global strike weapon might maneuver in flight toward its target and dispense submunitions.

--Test-range development. This category -- to received $6 million in fiscal 2008 and $3 million in 2009 -- includes the LETB-2 demonstration. It would also involve designing and building a system to capture flight test data and verifying range safety, according to the document.

--Conventional prompt global strike studies. Under this heading, the Office of the Secretary of Defense would spend $3 million in this fiscal year on a modeling and simulation effort to compare alternative weapon systems for prompt global strike. Another $3 million would go toward fiscal 2008 "acquisition program development" and "account execution [and] management." Next year, a total of $5 million would be spent to continue the latter two elements.

The unclear end use for the second category -- "alternative re-entry systems development" -- might generate additional debate among lawmakers, according to key sources.

"That is where the fight is going to be -- over what is the alternative re-entry vehicle design," said the defense consultant. "We think they left off the platforms [in the report] because they'd have to shoot it off of the D-5. They don't have another missile."

The document notes that fiscal 2008 estimates "may be subject to refinement." Next year's figures are "subject to approval and implementation of the five-year plan and congressional action on the president's budget request for FY-09," the report states.

Both Young and Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are said to be interested in moving the focus to a land-based weapon, to which the hypersonic technology effort applies, defense sources said (see GSN, Nov. 7, 2007).

Eleventh-hour negotiations that ultimately produced the final report for Congress -- reportedly led by Young and Cartwright -- resulted in a nearly even funding split between the services for the current fiscal year, according to sources familiar with spending details left out of the document.
 

flateric

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Sandia Winged Energetic Reentry Vehicle (SWERVE)

SWERVE, a DOE- and DoD-funded technology demonstration intended to provide precision delivery through use of a maneuvering reentry vehicle. The vehicle, a sharp 10.5 degree cone with short wings ananged in a cruciform (L/D) has been intensely investigated and flown three times in the 2.75 m long version. A characteristic of the vehicle is the high maneuverability at hypersonic speeds near 7 km/s at altitudes of 30-75 km.

The baseline STS launch configuration is shown in picture. The 2.75 m vehicle with cruise stage and solid propellant motor is shown stowed in one of three vertical ‘launchtubes’ at the aft end of the cargo bay. The dimensions of such a storage tube are approximately .7 m wide by 4.8 m in height. The vehicle would be deployed via a spring mechanism.

Two other launch configurations are shown, using an expendable launch vehicle. In the first figure, a single vehicle is launched on top of the ELV in a shroudless configuration. Unlike other lifting vehicles. the advantage of the cone shape is that the axisymmctry results in minumum impact to the ascent flight dynamics. In the second figure, accommodating an elongated vehicle in a shorter shroud is made possible by hinging the forward section of the vehicle.

This flight range made the vehicle configuration an attractive candidate as a hypersonic flight experiment platform in the proposed HYFLEX (HYpersonic FLight Experiment) program. In one of the configurations, the vehicle was 6.7 m in length and required a non-ablating TPS (Thermal Protection System) in order to study the desired boundary layer transition effects.

An even larger version was previously proposed as an 8 m reusable manned space plane capable of earth entry speeds greater than 7 km/s.

http://www.netwrx1.net/skunk-works/v03.n073
From: larry@ichips.intel.com
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1993 14:37:55 -0700
Subject: Re: SWERVE

...Somebody made a proposal for a manned SWERVE for USAF. A vehicle that would contain one man with a special space suit, a number of which (8 if I recall) would be boosted into orbit in the payload bay of a USAF Space Shuttle, launched from SLC-6.

Larry
 

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archipeppe

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Many thanks Gregory, the latter image is usually referred as "Space Cruiser" for DARPA manned minimal spacecraft study to be launched by an ICBM or SLBM.
 

flateric

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http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1103.msg80880.html#msg80880 ;)
 

The Artist

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There is a wind tunnel model labeled Alpha Draco Model 122 in the collection of the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum.
 

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Very interesting! Those cones look like they swivel exactly like a control surface would. They look like they'd be better than a sharp fin at resisting reentry heating as well.
 

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Using cones for manouvering at hypersonic speed was proposed in project Hywards in late '50s.
 

edwest

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Getting back to the Alpha Draco, I'm not seeing a lifting body shape, at all. What am I missing?






Ed
 

quellish

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edwest said:
Getting back to the Alpha Draco, I'm not seeing a lifting body shape, at all. What am I missing?
Not all MaRVs have winged or lifting body shapes, in fact these are probably in the minority. Vehicles like Alpha Draco do seem to be more common, and in the US at least there have been several programs like this in the last few years. With body flaps like Alpha Draco you can get limited increase in crossrange but a big improvement in accuracy. LETB is basically an Alpha Draco-like tail kit that dramatically improves accuracy.

In the meantime, this should keep some of you busy:
http://ftp.rta.nato.int/public/PubFullText/RTO/EN/RTO-EN-AVT-116/EN-AVT-116-02-APP-06.pdf
 

RanulfC

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Ok, anyone else think the "Spacecruiser" is somehow the "ancestor" of the Planet-Of-The-Apes Ship Icarus? ;D

Randy
 

shaba

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the planet of the apes predates the space cruiser i have heard the planet of the apes ship was based on an early x-20 concept.
 

RanulfC

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shaba said:
the planet of the apes predates the space cruiser i have heard the planet of the apes ship was based on an early x-20 concept.
Yes it predates the Spacecruiser since the SC was designed in the early 80's and the PotA Icarus was 1969, still... the layout looks... Ah well :)

As I understand it "most" references point towards the PotA ship being based on vehicles like the ASSET or Winged-Gemini, mostly from the statement that "NASA was studying similar designs at the time." However it actually would make more sense given the geometry of the PotA vehicle that it was/is based on studies done for vehicles like the BGRV and some other shapes studied at Sandia during that time period.

I mean how often does Hollywood actually take the time to distinguish between the DoD and NASA anyway? :)

Randy
 

Triton

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McDonnell ASSET (Aerothermodynamic Elastic Structural Systems Environmental Tests) model found on eBay. Real or counterfeit?

Source:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Concept-Spacecraft-Model-Dyna-Soar-X-20-Asset-Mcdonnell-Futuristic-1960-Rare-/181716350742?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a4f237716
 

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Triton

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ASSET-Thor launches from 1963 to 1965.

Source:
http://www.b14643.de/Spacerockets_2/United_States_4/Thor/Gallery/Thor-ASSET.htm
 

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flateric said:
Early CAV investigations quickly made it apparent that considerable work had previously been accomplished on the space reentry problem. Present CAV concepts continue a long line of previous maneuverablere entry vehicle studies and technology programs stretching back almost 40 years. Work began in the early 1960s on hypersonic maneuvering reentry studies which took several conceptual tracks and ultimately contributed to a number of later space programs ranging from manned space flight to advanced maneuvering reentry concepts for the nation’s ICBM forces.

Under the Air Force Spacecraft Technology and Advanced Reentry Tests (START) Research numerous concepts were developed,
designed, and flown in an attempt to produce a reusable, maneuverable, reentry vehicle capable of being flown from Earth orbit to a precise landing point on earth. The first phase of the START called the Aerothermodynamiclelastic Structural Systems Environmental Tests (ASSET) program, designed and tested lifting bodies built by McDonnell Aircraft Corporation which derived aerodynamic lift from their shape alone. During the mid-1960s, six ASSET vehicles, launched on Thor boosters, measured the hypersonic environment and
tested materials and structural design concepts related to the maneuvering reentry problem. In a second part of the START Program, called Precision Recovery Including Maneuvering Entry (PRIME), advanced lifbng body vehicles built by Martin-Marietta were launched on Atlas missiles to further explore the development of manned and unmanned lifting body vehicles.

Other companies, including Rockwell, Boeing, Martin-Marietta, Lockheed, TRW, and General Electric, supported the military in technology programs designed to develop and test space reentry vehicle technologies. In the mid-1960s, Boeing participated in maneuvering control and ablation technology studies, early flight tests, and design of a maneuvering Boost Glide Reentry Vehicle concept.

This work was followed by operational maneuvering reentry vehicle and maneuvering decoy studies which produced an advanced reentry vehicle design culminating in maneuvering reentry vehicle control experiment flight tests in the early 1970s.

Through the 1970s, Boeing continued work on reentry vehicles, designing a Small Evader Vehicle, a Precision Guided Reentry Vehicle, and flight testing an Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle. In the 1980s, Boeing conducted design studies under their Maneuvering Technology Program, designing a Small High Accuracy Reentry Vehicle, a Defense Suppression Weapon/Vehicle, and conducting a
Technology Demonstration of their Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle. During this time TRW was also developing concepts and designs for Maneuvering Reentry Vehicles (MaRV), Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (AMaRV) and the High Performance Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (HpMaRV) associated with future ICBM targeting studies.

In the early 1980sa, Tactical Aerospace Assessment (TAA) Program was initiated under the auspices of the Air Force Systems Command’s Advanced Weapons Concept Group to focus on ground targets which might be struck by a future Transatmospheric Vehicle (TAV). Rockwell (Downey), General Electric (Valley Forge), Martin-Marietta (Orlando), and Boeing (Seattle), among others, were involved in reentry designs and weaponization work to support a future TAV. Development of an atmospheric reentry capability was integral to striking earth and air breathing targets from a high-Mach TAV platform.

By the late 1980s the Have Not Program, supported by Martin Marietta, was actively working on such a capability.
from The Common Aero Vehicle: Space Delivery System Of The Future
George Richie, ANSER
AIAA Space Technology
Conference & Exposition
28-30 Sept. 1999 Albuquerque, NM

Earlier Programs: Early work with Sandia National Laboratories had resulted in Phillips Lab’s MSP Technology Office showing graphics of a very simple, flap controlled, biconic hypersonic weapon. Meetings with TRW, Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Wright Lab’s Munitions Directorate and Phillips Lab’s Ballistic Missile Technology Office showed a large body of research existed on much more sophisticated maneuvering reentry vehicles which could be adapted to the CAV concept. Boeing had the most actual flight test experience with programs such as Boost Glide Reentry Vehicle, Maneuvering Control and Ablation Studies (MARCAS), Advanced Control Experiment (ACE), Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (AMaRV), and Technology Demonstration Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (TDMaRV). All of these programs had direct applicability to CAV, especially AMaRV. AMaRV flew several times in the late 1970s and early 1980s and demonstrated profiles similar to those a CAV would fly. Lockheed-Martin had two programs, MSTART and High Performance Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (HPMARV) which were directly related to CAV. HPMARV, in particular, had detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and wind tunnel analyses, even though the vehicle never flew. Boeing and Lockheed-Martin were both provided small amounts of funding over the next few years to mature their CAV designs and recommend employment, test and acquisition options.
from A Common Aero Vehicle (CAV) - Model, Description, and Employment Guide
Terry H Phillips, Schafer Corporation
A question Sir from the above you quoted,
"Defense Suppression Weapon/Vehicle" Was there consideration given to an Anti- Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Missile? Either against the missile itself or the guidance infrastructure.
Thank you for your consideration.
 

blackstar

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Barrington Bond said:
So that's what this is! ;D
Grumman built a space telescope. I think that's what is on the left.
 

The Artist

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These scans are from a book used by Rose Church as her autograph album while she worked as an aerospace nurse with McDonnell Aircraft. The book is a McDonnell Aircraft book titled McDonnell Aircraft Facilities and three of these pictures are from the section on Missiles. The fourth picture gives a hint of the treasures held within that book. This book is in the Rose Church Collection within the Greater St Louis Air & Space Museum.
 

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JimK

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Here is a near contemporary account (two years after the flight tests) from Missiles and Rockets on the McDonnell Model 122B Alpha-Draco the earliest boost-glide test vehicle.

More recent articles can be found at http://www.spaceline.org/rocketsum/alpha-draco.html and Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Draco, which include specifications, some results, and pictures of the entire vehicle prior to and during launch.

As an aside, it seems that back in the late 1950's the Air Force had a policy of naming its somewhat secret test vehicles after constellations: Alpha-Draco, Bold Orion, High Virgo. In doing an image search on Alpha Draco, Google presumed I was looking for a bit different genre associated with that name. It might provide and alternate answer to that question posed by the movie "The Good Dinosaur": What if that asteroid missed 65 million years ago?
 

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sferrin

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Over half a century ago. Depressing isn't it?
 

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flateric said:
Sandia Winged Energetic Reentry Vehicle (SWERVE)
Source:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/spacemansam/2781119401/in/photolist-5eQnsQ-5eQnrJ-5eKYgg-5eQnrq-5eKYer-5eQnq1-5eKYcX-5eQnoU-5eQnou-5eKYb6-5eKYae-5eQnk1-5eQnku-5eQnjq-5eQniu-5eQnj3-5eKY6T-5eQnhu-5eQnh7-5eKY5v-5eQngj-5eQnfu-5eKY4M-5eKY3Z-5eQneq-5eQndC-5eKY2T-5eKXYx-5eQnaJ-5eQn9U-5eKXWX-5eKXWB-5eKXWe-5eQn83-5eQn7A-5eKXUZ-5eKXUv-5eQn6f-5eQn6w-5eKXTp-5eKXSZ-5eKXSF-5eQn3G-5eQn3d-5eQn2Q-5eKXQa-5eQn1s-5eQn21-5eQn19-5eKXMr
 

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Desert Dawn

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In the Sam Coniglio Flicker there are photos of a meet in an old aviation hangar of what could have been an amateur rocketry association from the look of it, I have no idea where that hangar is located or of it may even be linked to the Sandia lab or their employees but on the walls and behind the speakers there are done interesting tidbits, including what looks like a large fiberglass partial front fuselage for what could be X-37 or a variant of an X-37 related project, plus on the walls imagery of the infamous flying pig, a frequent iconography of USAF Space control squadrons and satellite squadrons related to both missiles and space control units. Plus the cowboy drawing, also often found on squadron crew patches for the above. I wouldn't be surprised if this hangar was used by Sandia employees for social events. Interesting nonetheless, now we finally see images of the actual SWERVE vehicle.
 

quellish

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Desert Dawn said:
In the Sam Coniglio Flicker there are photos of a meet in an old aviation hangar of what could have been an amateur rocketry association from the look of it, I have no idea where that hangar is located or of it may even be linked to the Sandia lab or their employees but on the walls and behind the speakers there are done interesting tidbits, including what looks like a large fiberglass partial front fuselage for what could be X-37 or a variant of an X-37 related project, plus on the walls imagery of the infamous flying pig, a frequent iconography of USAF Space control squadrons and satellite squadrons related to both missiles and space control units. Plus the cowboy drawing, also often found on squadron crew patches for the above. I wouldn't be surprised if this hangar was used by Sandia employees for social events. Interesting nonetheless, now we finally see images of the actual SWERVE vehicle.
This vehicle is in the collection of the New Mexico Museum of Space History. IIRC the event was a 2008 gathering of DC-XA veterans, the location was the restoration/storage area of the museum (an offsite location). DC-XA hardware is also in their collection undergoing restoration.
 

Desert Dawn

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Hi, thank you Quellish,

my bad, I did ' t realize at first that it was a DC-X event until I examined all the photos in more detail. Also wrongly identified that front fuselage mockup as related to maybe something related to X-37, after further study I don't think so but It is odd they painted fake canopies on it and visibly there is nothing in USAF inventory that would have such low profile (and impractical) canopies. Weird. Maybe they were just fooling around with an old item and painted canopies on it just for fun.

However the SWERVE item there I think might just be an engineering metal mock-up. There are no traces of the strakes SWERVE would normally have. Unless they build 2 versions : one without strakes and one with strakes.
 

quellish

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Desert Dawn said:
Hi, thank you Quellish,

my bad, I did ' t realize at first that it was a DC-X event until I examined all the photos in more detail. Also wrongly identified that front fuselage mockup as related to maybe something related to X-37, after further study I don't think so but It is odd they painted fake canopies on it and visibly there is nothing in USAF inventory that would have such low profile (and impractical) canopies. Weird. Maybe they were just fooling around with an old item and painted canopies on it just for fun.

However the SWERVE item there I think might just be an engineering metal mock-up. There are no traces of the strakes SWERVE would normally have. Unless they build 2 versions : one without strakes and one with strakes.
Do you mean the “wings” on Swerve?

They do have (IIRC) an X-40 drop test model or mock-up.
 

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Are there any ideas on how they intended to guide these things? I remember it being said back around 1991 that CEP increased with manoeuvrable RVs unless they had terminal guidance. I guess RADAC like the Pershing II is one option.

615854

615855

  1. Integrated electronics unit (IEU). Controls all functions of the missile during flight. IEU contains the Pershing airborne computer (PAC), digital correlator unit (DCU) and inertial measurement system (IMS).
  2. Vane control system (VCS). Controls movement of four fins and provides fin position data to PAC. VCS operates during the second stage powered flight and the terminal portion of the flight.
  3. Missile battery. Provides electrical power to electrical/electronic assemblies during flight.
  4. G&C support structure. Conical aluminum assembly wrapped with ablative heatshield. Support structure provides mount and protection for internal components.
  5. Reaction control system (RCS). Provides pitch, yaw, and roll control during the midcourse portion of flight.
  6. Two-axis rate gyro unit (RGU). Provides pitch and yaw data to PAC during boost portion of flight.
  7. Adapter support structure. Conical aluminum assembly with a heat-resistant coating. Support structure provides mount and protection for internal components.
  8. Aft attach ring. Allows mating of the second stage to G&C/A.
  9. Ordnance access cover. Allows access to second stage motor initiators, separation detonators and thrust reversal detonators.
  10. Umbilical cover. Allows automatic closing of RV ground cooling system ducts during flight.
  11. RV separation system. Allows separation of RV from adapter/second stage at end of powered flight. Separation system contains a linear shaped charge (LSC), separation ring, detonators, CHEFU, and high voltage cables.
  12. G&C/A fin. Four fins provide roll control during the second stage powered flight and pitch, yaw, and roll control during the terminal portion of flight.
  13. Quick access splice ring. Allows mating of G&C/A to the warhead.

615856


  1. Three-axis rate gyro unit (RGU). Provides roll control information during the boost phase of flight; provides pitch, yaw and roll control information during midcourse and terminal phases of flight.
  2. Warhead section support structure. Conical aluminum alloy assembly covered with ablative material.
  3. Quick access splice ring. Allows mating radar section to warhead section.
  4. Quick access splice segment. Ten segments allow mating of the warhead to the G&C/A.

615857


  1. Nose cap. Seals off forward end of radome and provides protection during reentry.
  2. Impact fuze. Used to detonate warhead in surface burst option.
  3. Stabilized antenna. Allows radar unit to transmit and receive radio frequency (RF) energy.
  4. Support structure. Conical aluminum assembly wrapped with an ablative heat shield.
  5. Radar unit. Provides target site information to PAC for comparison with stored target site information.
  6. Quick access splice segment. Eight splice segments allow mating the radar section to the warhead section.
  7. Impact fuze. Four fuzes used to detonate warhead in surface burst option.
  8. Radome. Reinforced glass/epoxy shell that covers radar unit antenna. It also acts as a heatshield.

615858
 

sferrin

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DSMAC or GPS most likely.
 
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