Project ISINGLASS & Project RHEINBERRY

flateric

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Anyone anything about this stuff? More than this:

Isinglass: Mach 17, rocket powered, air-launched reconnaissance aircraft? part of RS-129 (Staged combustion hydrogen-oxygen rocket component development program)? wide usage of lightweight structures (diffusion bonded titanium honeycomb)

"CIA air-launched, rocket-powered high speed manned vehicle project of 1965-1968 that developed basic technologies used in later shuttle and reusable launch vehicle programmes.

Isinglass was a the code name for a heavily classified, rocket-powered, air-launched aircraft studied by the Central Intelligence Agency as an A-12/SR-71 successor in 1964-1968. It studied several technologies that would be used in later shuttle and SSTO programmes, including light weight structure and thermal protection system concepts, and diffusion-bonded titanium. A large scale test article was built and tested to prove these features.

The initial Isinglass concept was designed by General Dynamics based on work done on the B-58-launched Super Hustler, Fish, and Kingfish programs of 1958-1960. The new design would use modern avionics and hydraulics systems developed for the F-111 and be capable of air-breathing Mach 4-5 cruise at 30 km altitude. The General Dynamics feasibility study was completed in the fall of 1964. An alternative design completed by McDonnell Aircraft in 1965 was designated Project Rheinberry. This would be a rocket-powered aircraft launched from a B-52 and flying at a near-orbital speed of Mach 20 at 60 km altitude. For the CIA's reconnaissance purposes, neither of these concepts were found to have advantages in comparison to satellites to justify the high development and operating risk and costs. "

"...Office of Special Activities did briefly consider several possible successors to the OXCART during the mid-1960's. The first of these, known as Project ISINGLASS, was prepared by General Dynamics to utilize technology developed for its Convair Divisions earlier FISH proposal and its new F-111 fighter in order to create an aircraft capable of Mach 4-5 at 100,000 feet. General Dynamics completed its feasibility study in the fall of 1964, and OSA took no further action because the proposed aircraft would still be vulnerable to existing Soviet countermeasures. In 1965 a more ambitious design from McDonnell Aircraft came under consideration as Project RHEINBERRY (although some of the work seems to have come under the ISINGLASS designation as well). This proposal featured a rocket-powered aircraft that would be launched from a B-52 mother ship and ultimately reach speeds as high as Mach 20 and altitudes of up to 200,000 feet. Because building this aircraft would have involved tremendous technical challenges and correspondingly high costs, the Agency was not willing to embark on such a program at a time when the main emphasis in overhead reconnaissance had shifted from aircraft to satellites. As a result, when the OXCART program ended in the summer of 1968, no more advanced successor was waiting in the wings-only the veteran U-2."
 

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dickie

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hey, sorry to bring this post back to life after so long...

did you ever find your answer? i believe from the information i have seen that the ISINGLASS was an airbreathing mach 4-5 follow-on to the a-12 and the RHEINBERRY was the mach 17 rocket-propelled reconnaissance drone intended to be air-launched from a b-52.

hope that helps somewhat.

It would be really great to find additional information on these projects, and to know the status of the data collected by the supposed trials that GD put their concept through... still classified?
 

Matej

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You can make some idea about MDD proposal from this designs. First is dedicated technology demonstrator for investigating cruise flight from Mach 3 to 6 and later to Mach 9. Two turbojets are supplemented by one ramjet in the center. Turbojet air from the inlets would be diverted into the ramjet engine in the Mach 1. Second two pictures are artists impression of Incremental Growth Vehicle proposed for the Air Force flight research in high Mach regimes. Speed area was planned from Mach 4,5 to Mach 10.

AWST, Sept. 17, 1973, pg. 87 and 89
 

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dickie

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excellent! thanks for those pics, Matej!
 

flateric

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More graphics of IGV.
 

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CFE

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Has any artwork of McDonnell's proposed successor to the SR-71, the Isinglass, ever been made public? During the "Blackstar" brouhaha, Dwayne Day claimed that he was working on a historical article about the Isinglass program. It appears that he's run into a brick wall of classification. If that's the case, I'll keep on waiting patiently and eagerly until the classification is dropped on this exciting program.
 

Skybolt

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I'd posted a reply, but it disappeared... Rheinberry was a boost-glide McDonnell project, it was manned and its engine was the XRL-129, a 250.000 lbs of thrust LH/LO engine by P&W. Some info and photos (of the engine and of the McDonnell developed roll bonded titanium structure) in the curiously overlooked book by Dick Mulready "Advanced Engine Development at Pratt & Whitney" published by SAE International.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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I would love to see more of Rheinberry. You know, Bill Rose teased us with the picture in his book. Which wasn't even Rheinberry anyway, but a follow-on called Aerospaceplane, from the early70's.
 

KJ_Lesnick

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Flateric,

Is that honeycomb also a type of TPS as well? It looks a lot like McDonnell's roll-bonded TPS...


KJ Lesnick
 

flateric

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Skybolt said:
Rheinberry was a boost-glide McDonnell project, it was manned and its engine was the XRL-129, a 250.000 lbs of thrust LH/LO engine by P&W. Some info and photos (of the engine and of the McDonnell developed roll bonded titanium structure) in the curiously overlooked book by Dick Mulready "Advanced Engine Development at Pratt & Whitney" published by SAE International.
Hmm...hmmm...may be too naive, but what if?
 

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starviking

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flateric said:
Skybolt said:
Rheinberry was a boost-glide McDonnell project, it was manned and its engine was the XRL-129, a 250.000 lbs of thrust LH/LO engine by P&W. Some info and photos (of the engine and of the McDonnell developed roll bonded titanium structure) in the curiously overlooked book by Dick Mulready "Advanced Engine Development at Pratt & Whitney" published by SAE International.
Hmm...hmmm...may be too naive, but what if?
Hmm. Looks like the motor takes up a significant part of the vehicle. Artistic licence - or were drop-tanks part of the project?
 

XP67_Moonbat

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ah, the good ol' HGV. Hey, is it me or is the nose slightly raised from the rest of the craft's surface. It always had a notched appearance of sorts. I'm thinking of doing a 3-view of this beast, homework permitting (it's on the backburner with my X-37 model and few other little projects).

Moonbat
 

starviking

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XP67_Moonbat said:
ah, the good ol' HGV. Hey, is it me or is the nose slightly raised from the rest of the craft's surface. It always had a notched appearance of sorts. I'm thinking of doing a 3-view of this beast, homework permitting (it's on the backburner with my X-37 model and few other little projects).

Moonbat
Looks to me like the fuselage is just fattened out a little bit around that 'cowl' area close to the nose.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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I just had an idea pop in my head. What if the raised cowl up front is a jettisonable heat shield for some kind of sensor window?
 

starviking

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XP67_Moonbat said:
I just had an idea pop in my head. What if the raised cowl up front is a jettisonable heat shield for some kind of sensor window?
Wouldn't that require another shield if the craft was to be recovered. Perhaps it's a payload door that retracts back into the hull? Could just be an artefact of the model though - somewhere to stick a motor or attach electric or hydraulic lines to power moving surfaces?
 

starviking

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starviking said:
XP67_Moonbat said:
ah, the good ol' HGV. Hey, is it me or is the nose slightly raised from the rest of the craft's surface. It always had a notched appearance of sorts. I'm thinking of doing a 3-view of this beast, homework permitting (it's on the backburner with my X-37 model and few other little projects).

Moonbat
Looks to me like the fuselage is just fattened out a little bit around that 'cowl' area close to the nose.
Then again, on closer examination the leading edge of the wing, coupled with the 'hole' on top may just be giving that impression.
 

flateric

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Number of GD Convair Div. documents from the mid-60s (1964-1968) contain information of full-scale, flightweight, LH2 tank test article built for Mach 6 cruise hypersonic vehicle, of which just one image appears. Interesting to note that, as well as MDD hypersonic vehicles family shapes have close resemblence to each other since 1960s, seems the same case with GD stuff - one that pictured here, in spite of the fact that its much larger, looks pretty close to GD HGV concept from 80s (for example, its artist's impression has appeared in Bill Sweetman's Aurora).

You can judge the vehicle size from the tankage dimensions shown. Was it or not somehow related to Isinglass, remains quite questionable, but obviously it was a design that the same guys were working on.

Source
DESIGN, FABRICATION, AND TESTING OF A FLIGHT WEIGHT, 6,000 GALLON, LIQUID HYDROGEN TANKAGE SYSTEM FOR ADVANCED VEHICLE APPLICATIONS

John H. Heathman
Advanced Launch and Re-entry Systems
Convair division of General Dynamics
San Diego, California

Lawrence R. Phillips
Senior Design Engineer Aerospace Engineer
Structures Division
Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
 

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LowObservable

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Flateric wins the Internet Detective badge for this week.

I wonder what was at the other end of the fuel line from this thing? How about the giant ejector ramjet that was sitting in Marquardt's back-lot in the 80s and 90s?
 

flateric

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...and 4500-nautical-mile, Mach 8 cruise mission dual-fuel vehicle from 1967

Engines were combo of turbojets/dual-mode cramjets, fuels studied varied "...from all LH2 to a combination of JP4 and LH2 corresponding to minimum LH2 for cooling."

PARAMETRIC SYNTHESIS AND PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS OF DUAL-FUEL HYPERVELOCITY CRUISE VEHICLES
H. GLENN BALL and E. I. GOMEZ
General Dynamics Corporation
Forth Worth, Texas
AlAA Paper # 67-559
 

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