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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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mz

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Isinglass document presented by Dwayne Day at nasaspaceflight.com forum:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=18261.msg291469;topicseen#new

Seems mostly discussion memos, not much technical stuff... Don't know if there's much new there?

It seems I can't attach the pdf file, too bad, it's 2.4 megs.
 

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sferrin

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LowObservable said:
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?
Did anybody happen to snap a picture of it?
 

LowObservable

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Way cool stuff. New material on the intended timeline, and strong hints that either explanation for the demise of Isinglass - either problems with distortion caused by heat on the camera window, or the NRO winning a battle and getting full funding for KH-10 - could be accurate. And it had TWO XLR-129s in the back end. They were not screwing around there.
 

blackstar

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LowObservable said:
Way cool stuff. New material on the intended timeline, and strong hints that either explanation for the demise of Isinglass - either problems with distortion caused by heat on the camera window, or the NRO winning a battle and getting full funding for KH-10 - could be accurate. And it had TWO XLR-129s in the back end. They were not screwing around there.
I suspect that ISINGLASS' demise had more to do with the retirement of General Bernard Schriever. Technical challenges may also have hurt it, but Schriever was apparently the program's patron on the USAF side.
 

sferrin

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blackstar said:
LowObservable said:
Way cool stuff. New material on the intended timeline, and strong hints that either explanation for the demise of Isinglass - either problems with distortion caused by heat on the camera window, or the NRO winning a battle and getting full funding for KH-10 - could be accurate. And it had TWO XLR-129s in the back end. They were not screwing around there.
I suspect that ISINGLASS' demise had more to do with the retirement of General Bernard Schriever. Technical challenges may also have hurt it, but Schriever was apparently the program's patron on the USAF side.
Any thoughts on McDonnell Douglas's GRM-29A?
 

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ISINGLASS PDF archived here:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/ISINGLASSDocs1.pdf
 

Stargazer2006

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Very interesting, Paul!
And to top it all, we learn that ISINGLASS was McDonnell's Model 192!
 

antigravite

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blackstar said:
I suspect that ISINGLASS' demise had more to do with the retirement of General Bernard Schriever. Technical challenges may also have hurt it, but Schriever was apparently the program's patron on the USAF side.
General Schriever was the central pillar of Air Force's project Forecast (1963-1964), which served as guidelines for R&D investments in the 1965-1975 period.
Project Forecast was a technology push and as such necessarily impacted positively projects such as ISINGLASS. Especially after the demise of Aerospaceplane.

More on project Forecast here:

http://history.nasa.gov/HHR-32/ch12.htm
 

blackstar

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I think Schriever's involvement in pushing ISINGLASS was more direct (i.e. not simply working on Forecast). I first learned about ISINGLASS and RHEINBERRY when I had lunch with a former senior CIA official in 1996 and he mentioned both names. He said that CIA was only moderately interested in ISINGLASS, and that it was heavily pushed by Schriever. I suspect that when Schriever retired, the project's sponsorship just fell apart.
 

LowObservable

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We may know the same guy. But ISINGLASS cancellation is also close to the point where it was decided to put the A-12s in mothballs and hand the mission to the CIA, which (according to the CIA's history) the agency resisted.
 

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Has anyone seen a McDonnell Douglas proposed configuration for the Have Region program? I read that the MD entry was a scaled-up version of the Isinglass vehicle.

I'm curious if the Model 192 is the blended wing-body configuration often seen in MD NASP and scramjet paintings.

Also, has anything else come to light on the vehicle below:



The description is from "X-15 in Retrospect":

"A possible new research airplane system conforming to these and other X-15 guidelines is illustrated in figure 20. (Footnote: This is one of several systems receiving preliminary study in the United States.) It is a lifting-body cruise configuration designed for Mach numbers up to 12. Its acceleration engine is a hydrogen fueled J-2S rocket adapted from an upper-stage engine of the Saturn vehicle. Integrated into the lower surface is a research scramjet engine sized to paver the airplane in cruise. Following guidelines from our X-15 experience the vehicle is kept as small as possible, aboub 25 meters in length, and it remains in the Mach 12 environment only long enough for research purposes, about 5 minutes. As we have leaxned from the X-15, a new hypersonic research airplane system is likely to have a long lifetime of perhaps 15 years, during which many new unsuspected ideas for research and changes in configuration are likely to appear as the program develops. Accordingly, we are proposing here actually three different vehicle arrangements. We would start the program with the lifting-body rocket glider without the air-breathing research engine. Later, a delta-winged version using the same subsystems would be flown. And, finally, the integrated scranjet research engine shown here would be installed. Provision for structural cooling schemes including direct fuel cooling, air-film cooling, and other schemes likely to appear in these vehicles might also be made."

The J-2S is an experimental engine started in 1964 (as J-2X not to be confused with latest version), similar class of hydrogen rocket as the XLR-129, offering greater flexibility over the Saturn J-2, with a greater throttle range and an Idle Mode.
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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Just what's on this thread.

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5512.0/highlight,j-2.html
 

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Thanks Moonbat. I've seen the SERJ version of the X-15, but this propulsion selection (LH2 and LOX) for the unknown variant is different than the JP fuel and hydrogen peroxide oxidizer of the SERJ, which uses an ejector ramjet. The CIA/NRO documents on Isinglass recommend hydrogen florine for better Isp, but suggests LH2 and LOX to cut costs in half for the propulsion selection. Which is the type of system specified in the description of the unkown aircraft.

I also read that GRM-29A was developed by McDonnell Douglas under Science Dawn and that the Science Realm program was a test of structural articles from the Science Dawn designs. Have Region was the manufacture and test of Science Realms subscale structural test articles (as per the Anser Briefing documents). Therefore, if the GRM-29A configuration held up through the two studies to the Have Region program, then Isinglass should be of similar configuration. Its a long-shot, but not so long if someone has a drawing of McDonnell's Have Region vehicle.
 

quellish

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Dynoman said:
I also read that GRM-29A was developed by McDonnell Douglas under Science Dawn and that the Science Realm program was a test of structural articles from the Science Dawn designs. Have Region was the manufacture and test of Science Realms subscale structural test articles (as per the Anser Briefing documents). Therefore, if the GRM-29A configuration held up through the two studies to the Have Region program, then Isinglass should be of similar configuration. Its a long-shot, but not so long if someone has a drawing of McDonnell's Have Region vehicle.
It would be interesting to know if ISINGLASS has GRM-29's water cooling.
 

Dynoman

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Quellish, I don't know if Isinglass has the same cooling, but a document that has been circulated mentions GRM-29A as a water wick design (reducing weight of the TPS by 50% over a proposed "Advanced RSI").

Interesting to note that the chart representing ISINGLASS vehicle evolution titled, "Inter-relations of various Aerodynamic Reconnaissance Vehicles" from the CIA/NRO document has operational recon aircraft at the top, what looks like two classified vehilcles to the left, preceeding ISINGLASS, and a row of classified elements (I think are reconnaissance systems below it), and a line of evolutionary propulsion (i.e. turbojet, ramjet, and scramjet) units below that.

The document (of 1965) also mentions three vehicles of various ranges. The last one after ISINGLASS II looks like "Hypersonic Extended Range," a line item mentioned in the document as having a 24,000 nm range and to be operational between 1975-80.

The other two are a boost glide vehicle of 7,500 mile range and a rocket powered hypersonic vehicle of 12,000 mile range. The first vehicle says its in the "Early development stage" and the other in the 1970-75 forecast. I wonder if ISINGLASS is the 7500 mile range and ISINGLASS II is 12,000 mil vehicle?

ISINGLASS was projected to be Mach 20 at 200,000 feet, but the ANSER document lists it as Mach 17.

Also, the propulsion flow chart portion does not show a scramjet planned for the ISINGLASS vehicle until the Hypersonic Extended Range vehicle is developed (1975-80 time frame). Inferring that ISINGLASS had been planned as a rocket-based system until a future growth version developed. Which makes the above picture interesting.
 
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