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Secret Projects: Military Space Technology by Bill Rose

overscan (PaulMM)

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I must preface this first look review by saying that, while I'm interested in space technology, its not my speciality, so I'm approaching this book from this angle.

Bill Rose has put together a well written and nicely illustrated book on various military space projects. Its 192 pages long and there were quite a few things new to me, and a lot of additional illustrations of things I've heard of or seen. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of British projects included.

Here's a quick guide to the chapters in the book:

Introduction p.1
1) German Wartime Ambitions p.14
Rocket Planes
Towards a Strategic Weapon
An Orbital Space Plane

2) British Space Ambitions p.41
Megaroc
Ross-Smith Glider
Saunders-Roe High-Altitude Rocketplane
Nonweiler's Waveriders
Armstrong Whitworth Pyramid
Advanced Blue Steel Projects
BAC Delta-winged Spaceplane
RAE Space Fighter
MUSTARD
Hawker Siddeley TSTO concept
HOTOL
Interim HOTOL
Skylon
Lapcat

3) US Projects p.63
WAC Corporal
Hermes
Redstone
Jupiter
Rocketplanes (incl. Miles M-52)
Douglas Rocketplanes
Bell X-2
X-15 (NA, Republic, Lockheed CL-839-28)
Advanced studies at Bell
Boeing X-20 Dyna-soar
Military Uses for NASA Hardware
MOL Manned Orbital Laboratory (includes Big Gemini)
Single Stage To Orbit
Delta Clipper
ASAT Weapons
Space Cruiser
The Military Shuttle
Lifting Bodies (includes X-24C, Lockheed MRS/CL-639/CL-1047/CL-651, Isinglass, mentions Rheinberry)

4) Aurora- Myth or Reality? P.128
Includes CL-839, X-24C-L301, Aurora concepts, Suntan, HGV, ALSV, Rockwell TAV, NASP/X-30, Boeing TSTO, Blackstar, X-33, Falcon, Blackswift...

5) Soviet Military Space Programmes
Buran and Burya
Early Spaceplanes
Spiral
Uragan
LKS
MAKS
Buran
Russia's Aurora (NASP type spaceplanes eg Tu-2000, MiG-2000, NPO Energia concept)
Korolev's Heavy Space Station
Diamond in the Sky (Almaz)
TKS
Soyuz as a Military Spacecraft
Russian ASAT Weapon Development
The IS System
Air Launched ASAT Systems

6) Nuclear Propulsion
American Efforts (NERVA)
Soviet Nuclear Rockets
Riding the Pulse (Orion)

7) Destination Moon
Project E-4
Lunex
Project Horizon
Russians on the Moon


As with all Secret Projects books, you can always think of other projects that aren't included, but that by no means detracts from the excellent job Bill Rose has done making a coherent book from this subject.

If you have any specific questions, I will post a more detailed review when I've finished reading it.

In conclusion, this is a worthy addition to the Secret Projects series. Well done Mr Rose!
 

Antonio

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Thanks a lot for the review Paul, I'm already waiting for my copy :)
 

Barrington Bond

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Hmmm, I was going to make a quip about English MUSTARD and it got me thinking that I cannot think of any French or German military (except WW11) space technology stuff ???

Regards,
Barry
 

Barrington Bond

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Well, yes and no but thinking about it how does he fit MUSTARD say into a military role? There are a few things there I have never thought about being military...

Regards,
Barry
 

flateric

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British military manned spacecraft...yes...it's hardly come to mind
 

robunos

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thanks for the review, now the choice, this book, or some new tyres???? ;)

cheers,
Robin.
 

Barrington Bond

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I'll be buying but unfortunately I "do" have to include the tyres in the price.. :mad:

Regards,
Barry
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Its in stock at Amazon UK, but Ian Allan Superstore has a better price. Their website says its not out though.
 

robunos

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just got mine today, much of interest, :), though i'm sure i've seen some of that stuff somewhere before, can't think where?, ::) ;D :p,
oh well, maybe new tyres next month, :)

cheers,
Robin.
 

robunos

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while looking at the PDF linked to by flateric in the 'DARPA Vulture' thread, here,

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,4241.msg37132.html#msg37132

i saw this picture.
a quick search on designation-systems.net gave me the following,

A project to develop a low-energy laser to demonstrate acquisition and tracking of targets from space and to precisely point a narrow laser beam. An essential prerequisite for deploying a high-energy laser weapon system. Involves Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and USAF SAMSO, Army Missile R&D Command.

so now we have a name for the cover illustration, also seen on page 117.
more googling awaits...

cheers,
Robin.
 

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sferrin

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That certainly looks larger than a low energy laser. Reminds me more of Zenith Star almost.
 

Andreas Parsch

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I got my copy of the book two days ago, and after a quick browse have now started reading it back-to-back. And already in the section about German rocket planes, I noticed what's in my view a severe drawback: Lack of quoted reference sources :mad:!

Specifically, I stumbled upon the description of the final status of the Ba 349 "Natter" project. After mentioning the well-known fatal accident in the first manned vertical launch, The author says "after the failure, there were six or seven further manned launches, all successful". I would really like to know where he found that information, because a German expert on the "Natter" (Horst Lommel) couldn't come up with conclusive evidence for even one successful manned(!) vertical launch, let alone 6 or 7! Continuing, the author says that a small operational "Natter" site with about 10 aircraft had been set-up and was ready for action, but was destroyed (by the Germans, to prevent it from falling into Allied hands) before any missions were flown. Lommel has convincingly shown in his two books on the "Natter", that the story about the operational Natter site is a myth! So it seems that the author has either found absolutely astonishing new evidence about the "Natter" (but doesn't name his source!) or simply reiterates old stories without evidence - I'd guess at the latter, but the first alternative wouldn't be satisfying, either :mad:.

That said, I wonder how far I can trust all the more "exotic" bits of information, which I'm surely going to find in this book :-\ .

Regards
Andreas
 

flateric

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Andreas, from your point of you, does the book has any really *exciting* stuff - apart of Isinglass drawings (which is real attractive for me in the case)?
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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David Myra's Natter book claims that 10 "flight-ready" Natters were moved to Kirchheim where they were discovered by the US 44th Division, but doesn't claim the unit was operational in any way. He also doesn't claim any additional manned takeoffs, only the unsuccessful first one.

An article in Air International Sept 1971 (uncredited, but presumably Green and Swanborough) about Natter claims that were "three successful manned launches... in quick succession" and that "preparations were made to set up 10 fully-armed pre-series aircraft at Kirchheim". Also that "only seven had been tested with pilots at the controls", which obviously includes the glider releases.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Justo Miranda & P. Mercado's book Vertical Takeoff Aircraft of the Third Reich says:

"In March-April 1945 the M25 completed a successful manned flight."

"The M34 completed another successful manned takeoff in March-April 1945."

"Testing of the entire system was transferred to the test unit in Stuttgart-Kirchheim, which in April 1945 had ten aircraft."

"It is not known if the Kirchheim test unit achieved any kills before the takeoff ramps were captured by American troops."

No ideas about sources for any of these claims.
 

Andreas Parsch

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Horst Lommel as written two books about the Natter:
#1 "Der erste bemannte Raketenstart der Welt: Geheimaktion Natter"
#2 "Das bemannte Geschoss Ba 349 Natter"

#2 is a sort of "sequel", which tries to clear up some details and unanswered questions (e.g. manned flights ;) ).

Here's what Lommel has to say about the claims ...

overscan said:
Justo Miranda & P. Mercado's book Vertical Takeoff Aircraft of the Third Reich says:

"In March-April 1945 the M25 completed a successful manned flight."

"The M34 completed another successful manned takeoff in March-April 1945."

Lommel says that M34 (and a few others) were launched with dummies, which tested the whole launch and recovery sequence, including a dummy coming down by parachute. For external witnesses such a flight would definitely look like a manned launch.

Furthermore, the airframes used for the "dummy" launches were called "bemannte Triebwerksmaschinen", i.e. "manned engine machines". The "manned" meant that the airframes were prepared for manned launches, but not that they were actually used for that purpose. Again, this could have caused severe confusion in post-war researches.

As for M25, Lommel claims that this aircraft was captured, and actually launched(!) (unmanned) in the U.S. in June 1946 from somewhere near Muroc AAF. He says the Natter went out of control and crashed into a drugstore at a crossing near Horse Spring (80 km SW of Las Vegas). Unfortunately, Lommel can't present primary evidence for this flight test (but does name his source ;), an article by Lou Thole in the magazine "Fly Past" in Feb.1999).

"Testing of the entire system was transferred to the test unit in Stuttgart-Kirchheim, which in April 1945 had ten aircraft."

"It is not known if the Kirchheim test unit achieved any kills before the takeoff ramps were captured by American troops."

The aircraft (it were actually less than 10) never reached Kirchheim, but were diverted in several small groups towards the Alps. Some were captured by the Americans, some were destroyed. Lommel has photographic evidence that at least 4 Natters were captured near St.Leonhard/Pitztal in Austria.
 

Andreas Parsch

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flateric said:
Andreas, from your point of you, does the book has any really *exciting* stuff - apart of Isinglass drawings (which is real attractive for me in the case)?

I don't know what you'd regard as "exciting" ;), but when I'm through with the book, I'll post here what I found most remarkable.
 

robunos

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well, on page 96 we've got OBB's space station from eAPR v1n6... ;D

also, a little nit-pick, but at the bottom of page 74 there's a picture of the Douglas model 684, but captioned as the model 671...

and what's with the doctored orion picture on page 177?? it's been turned through 180 degrees, and a piece of a moon photo added, but the lighting is totally wrong, the whole picture just looks... strange.

OK, i'll shut up and go away, now...

cheers,
Robin.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Keep on posting. It will be a while till I get this volume but Im already jumping for joy.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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I got my copy three days ago and I haven't put it down. It's that good. So when I'm not doing homework, I'm reading this. Bill Rose has done a bang-up job and I commend him. The text seems very well-researched, the pictures and drawings are excellent. I won't spoil it for you though I have finally seen what Projects ISINGLASS and Rheinberry look likeand I won't bother anyone on here anymore about it.

The book is definitely all that and a bag of chips.
GET IT NOW! You won't be disappointed.
 

Spark

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Hi,

Does he give any details of the launch sites/pads built for the RAF/Commonwealth Manned programme in 1959/1960?

Any details of the cancellation in June 1960?

I have only seen a copy of the book at RAF Hendon.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Spark, I was going to suggest maybe thos missions would be flown from Spadeadam Waste or maybe Woomera. Just my theory.

One small nitpick with this book so far. Spaceship One was operated by Scaled Composites, not Canadian Arrow. Other than that I love it.
 

Justo Miranda

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overscan said:
Justo Miranda & P. Mercado's book Vertical Takeoff Aircraft of the Third Reich says:

"In March-April 1945 the M25 completed a successful manned flight."

"The M34 completed another successful manned takeoff in March-April 1945."

"Testing of the entire system was transferred to the test unit in Stuttgart-Kirchheim, which in April 1945 had ten aircraft."

"It is not known if the Kirchheim test unit achieved any kills before the takeoff ramps were captured by American troops."

No ideas about sources for any of these claims.
My sources are three respected British institutions:
• William Green (‘Warplanes of the Third Reich’ pp.68), Galahad Books
• Aeroplane Monthly, September 1997 (article by Frank Mormillo, pp. 69)
• Dr. Alfred Price (Air International, July 1996, pp.50)
 

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Justo Miranda

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Both the M25 and the M34 were built as crewed airplanes, as per the attached list published by Joachim Dressel in his books ‘Natter Bachem Ba 349’ Podnum Pallas Verlag and ‘Die Deutschen Raketenflugzeuge 1935-45’ Motorbuch Verlag.
 

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Justo Miranda

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As explained by Dr. Brett Gooden in his book ‘Project Natter, Last of the Wonder Weapons’, published by Ian Allan in 2006, there were not enough pilots to replace Siebert and both the M25 and the M34 were launched with dummies.


In my opinion, it was a conflict between the SS and the Luftwaffe, as the latest refused to sacrifice its few pilots, trained for the Me 163, in such a dangerous project.
 

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Spark

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XP67_Moonbat said:
Spark, I was going to suggest maybe thos missions would be flown from Spadeadam Waste or maybe Woomera. Just my theory.

One small nitpick with this book so far. Spaceship One was operated by Scaled Composites, not Canadian Arrow. Other than that I love it.

Hi Moonbat,

Spot on, these multipurpose pads for the RAF/Commonwealth manned space programme had already been built. The very first ever purpose built pads for launching manned space craft. The Woomera ones were eventually dynamited but you can still see the remains in satellite images of the area! The cancellation put back in my opinion European and World civilisation some fifty years.
 

starviking

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Spark said:
XP67_Moonbat said:
Spark, I was going to suggest maybe thos missions would be flown from Spadeadam Waste or maybe Woomera. Just my theory.

One small nitpick with this book so far. Spaceship One was operated by Scaled Composites, not Canadian Arrow. Other than that I love it.

Hi Moonbat,

Spot on, these multipurpose pads for the RAF/Commonwealth manned space programme had already been built.

Was there actually a programme? I've heard of proposals, but never a programme myself.
 

Spark

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starviking said:
Spark said:
XP67_Moonbat said:
Spark, I was going to suggest maybe thos missions would be flown from Spadeadam Waste or maybe Woomera. Just my theory.

One small nitpick with this book so far. Spaceship One was operated by Scaled Composites, not Canadian Arrow. Other than that I love it.

Hi Moonbat,

Spot on, these multipurpose pads for the RAF/Commonwealth manned space programme had already been built.

Was there actually a programme? I've heard of proposals, but never a programme myself.


Hi Starviking, Moonbat,

Yes. But cancelled in June 1960 about three months after the Blue Streak Cancellation. Looking forward to reading the book. When I glanced at it at Hendon there was a picture of an AW proposal which may be the one that they put forward in the fifties for MoS original requirement for the RAF. The actual booster would have been either a 14ft or 16ft diameter BS planned Standard RAF booster. both well with in the million pound thrust capacity of the pads/facilities
 

Spark

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Spark said:
starviking said:
Spark said:
XP67_Moonbat said:
Spark, I was going to suggest maybe thos missions would be flown from Spadeadam Waste or maybe Woomera. Just my theory.

One small nitpick with this book so far. Spaceship One was operated by Scaled Composites, not Canadian Arrow. Other than that I love it.

Hi,
The largest planned member of the RAF Blue Streak Booster family would have been the 20ft diameter giant (for 1960 standards) with either 8 x RZ2 or 4 x RZ14 an interesting beasty that reminds me of the Shuttle main engines a decade later on!.
This was a option for future development if the need arose and required new launch and test facilities but would have orbited twice the payload of Saturn 1.
 

SOC

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Got this today, and it's a gold mine. Three issues so far. First is the inclusion of endoatmospheric craft like Aurora. If you're going to go there, fine, but why isn't Russia's AYAKS/AJAX system mentioned? Second is the severe lack of coverage of Russian systems. There are way too many things I can think of that should have either been included or led to this being a two-volume work. Third is the lack of attention to ABM systems of any sort. Most were exoatmospheric systems after all, and ASAT weapons are covered to a small degree. Those are relatively minor gripes for the most part though, as there is a lot of really good stuff to be found.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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"some of the military space aspects contained in files at the PRO./TNA."

What sort of files would those be and where could I find them? You've got my curiousity going?

Moonbat
 

flateric

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Got my copy today.

+
1). Book definitely worth money
2). You will definitely find hundreds of projects you have never seen before.

-
1). As many said, some projects could be digged more deeply. Two pages of NASP compared to dozen of Project LUNEX is rather strange.
2).If Ian Allan publisher so cares of copyright issues, I have some claims. Many stuff is taken from Lukashevich www.buran.ru without saying a word about it (MiG 105.11, credited to 'NPO Mash', Energia RAKS SSTO proposal photos, that exclusively has appeared at www.buran.ru, credited to 'RKK Energia via Bill Rose'. Have found my own pic of BOR-3 taken from TzAGI placard. Handdrawn by Leonid Selyakov early Soviet manned winged orbiter, again, is 'Bill Rose's'. That's not nice.
 

archipeppe

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flateric said:
Got my copy today.

+
1). Book definitely worth money
2). You will definitely find hundreds of projects you have never seen before.

-
1). As many said, some projects could be digged more deeply. Two pages of NASP compared to dozen of Project LUNEX is rather strange.
2).If Ian Allan publisher so cares of copyright issues, I have some claims. Many stuff is taken from Lukashevich www.buran.ru without saying a word about it (MiG 105.11, credited to 'NPO Mash', Energia RAKS SSTO proposal photos, that exclusively has appeared at www.buran.ru, credited to 'RKK Energia via Bill Rose'. Have found my own pic of BOR-3 taken from TzAGI placard. Handdrawn by Leonid Selyakov early Soviet manned winged orbiter, again, is 'Bill Rose's'. That's not nice.

Flat not anyone has the Igor's style.....
 
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