Blackstar?

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Mary Pegg

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Mar 5, 2006, 8:38:04 PM3/5/06
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What do the fine minds of ssh make of this?

http://aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_awst_story.jsp?id=news/030606p1.xml
[Blackstar: a super-secret two stage to orbit military spacecraft]

It occurs to me that any orbital flight, or significant sub-orbital one,
is likely to set off alarm bells in Moscow and / or Beijing. So what's
in it for *them* to keep quiet about it?

Brian Thorn

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Mar 5, 2006, 9:24:25 PM3/5/06
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Wow... I wonder if the Pentagon/CIA will actually admit this thing
exists before the year 2050...

While the CIA is pretending it doesn't exist, Burt Rutan is spending a
fortune trying to build something like it but with far less capability
and only hopes for an orbital version some time in the future.

Brian

Herb Schaltegger

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Mar 5, 2006, 9:47:00 PM3/5/06
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On Sun, 5 Mar 2006 19:38:04 -0600, Mary Pegg wrote
(in article <0oMOf.62091$Fy4....@newsfe4-win.ntli.net>):

Well isn't that a kick in the pants? I've read so many ill-sourced
rumors of such a vehicle for so long I kept checking the date of the
AvLeak article to make sure it didn't read "April 1". ;-)

--
Herb

"Everything is controlled by a small evil group to which,
unfortunately, no one we know belongs."
~Anonymous

Damon Hill

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Mar 6, 2006, 12:23:46 AM3/6/06
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Mary Pegg <nos...@widetrouser.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in
news:0oMOf.62091$Fy4....@newsfe4-win.ntli.net:

> What do the fine minds of ssh make of this?
>
> http://aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_awst_story.jsp?id=news/030606

> p1.xml [Blackstar: a super-secret two stage to orbit military


> spacecraft]
>
> It occurs to me that any orbital flight, or significant sub-orbital
> one, is likely to set off alarm bells in Moscow and / or Beijing. So
> what's in it for *them* to keep quiet about it?

Heck, I dunno; I just want to believe it's real. It would explain
some odd sightings.

--Damon

Andrew Bunting

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Mar 6, 2006, 3:03:55 AM3/6/06
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Mary Pegg <nos...@widetrouser.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> http://aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_awst_story.jsp?id=news/030606p1.xml
> [Blackstar: a super-secret two stage to orbit military spacecraft]

Hmm, some questions:

1. A witness caims to have seen it flying over Salt Lake city during
lunchtime. Why fly such a classified aircraft around in broad
daylight, over a city? Just sounds like they're asking for trouble.
OK some launches would have be be in daytime, but isn't that what
that big empty square called Wyoming is for?

2. I've often read MiG-21 owners in the US saying that the ATC radar
coverage is very good, and that anyone busting Mach 1 will be
spotted. So how does a 200ft-long radar reflector delta get up
to multi-Mach and 90,000 ft without someone asking questions
like ``aren't all the SR-71s mothballed?''.

3. Has anyone actually seen the alleged C-5s with cheek extensions?
And why would a C-5 need a supplemental undercarriage to carry
an orbiter load? Are we talking about > 120 ton orbiters?

slightly confused...

--
Andrew Bunting

BlagooBlanaa

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Mar 6, 2006, 6:12:38 AM3/6/06
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if this is true then it is obvious that the military has a technological
advantage they do not wish to give away.
it seems a side benefit of this is to discourage and divert for as long as
possible any and all civilian and commercial access to space, unless via
shuttle/delta (hah)

i do have a problem with daytime sightings of these critters - a colossal
booboo
if you are smart enough to build such a critter then you should be smart
enough to hide it

unless it is the old 'familiarity breeds contempt' schtick

somehow i don't think so

as for snaky first look overflight i would just fly a balloon over
or stick a camera up a ducks ass, or use the fabled microsats

why orbit?

a hypervelocity rod from god?
surely there is a better way than piggybacking from a valkyrie/sr71 whatever

using such a beast for hypervelocity research is more feasible i think
aerospike - nice idea, especially the hybrid variants, and only one way to
really test them

be a hell of a ride for the pilot/s, but why have pilots...

hard not to brag about, especially when sauced up - must be teetotaller no?
and not need any operations (or go to a special facility for ops 'just in
case')
somehow i don't think so - so many people for them all not to blab one iota


maybe the real secret is that there is no secret
and all this black ops stuff is just crap
and all the black money has just been spent on....
caviar and truffles, and penelopes education, and picassos, and lambos

one thing for sure, it:
sure didn't help with 911
sure hasn't caught osama and his merry bunch yet
sure didn't help all those poor folks in the shuttle...
sure has not helped all the poor grunts in Iraq and Afghanistan

do you really like the concept of an expensive and self serving military
industrial complex staring lovingly up its own ass,
whilst rome burns

well?

"Mary Pegg" <nos...@widetrouser.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:0oMOf.62091$Fy4....@newsfe4-win.ntli.net...

Jim Oberg

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Mar 6, 2006, 7:20:32 AM3/6/06
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Msnbc.com (Oberg) -- Did Pentagon create orbital space plane?

Magazine reports evidence for classified project, sparking some skepticism

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11691989/

By James Oberg, NBC News space analyst // Special to MSNBC

Updated: 2:38 a.m. ET March 6, 2006

A prestigious aerospace magazine on Sunday laid out what it called
"considerable evidence" that the U.S. military funded the development and
testing of a small orbital space plane in the 1990s.

In an article posted to its Web site, Aviation Week & Space Technology
reported that the two-person "Blackstar" space vehicle may have made more
than one orbital mission. But it said the project may have since been
"quietly mothballed," possibly for budgetary or operational reasons.

The report was met with skepticism from other aerospace industry
observers, and even Aviation Week conceded that the evidence was
inconclusive.


BlagooBlanaa

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Mar 6, 2006, 9:42:08 AM3/6/06
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so when is scaled composites going to be sued for patent violations?

"Mary Pegg" <nos...@widetrouser.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:0oMOf.62091$Fy4....@newsfe4-win.ntli.net...

OM

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Mar 6, 2006, 11:20:08 AM3/6/06
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On Tue, 7 Mar 2006 01:42:08 +1100, "BlagooBlanaa"
<Blagoo...@BlagooBlanaa.biz> wrote:

>so when is scaled composites going to be sued for patent violations?

...Who cares? What I want to know is when Lowther's going to release
the resin kit :-P

OM
--
]=====================================[
] OMBlog - http://www.io.com/~o_m/omworld [
] Let's face it: Sometimes you *need* [
] an obnoxious opinion in your day! [
]=====================================[

Jim McCauley

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Mar 6, 2006, 12:00:57 PM3/6/06
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"Andrew Bunting" <aL3m...@ouragan.e7even.com> wrote in message
news:bdqgud...@virgil.zype.net...

> 1. A witness caims to have seen it flying over Salt Lake city during
> lunchtime. Why fly such a classified aircraft around in broad
> daylight, over a city? Just sounds like they're asking for trouble.

Perhaps the witness drank his lunch...

> OK some launches would have be be in daytime, but isn't that what
> that big empty square called Wyoming is for?

The big empty circle called the Pacific Ocean might make a more sensible
launch locale for such a beast, assuming that it is not entirely mythical.


Jim McCauley


Al

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Mar 6, 2006, 4:09:27 PM3/6/06
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"Damon Hill" <damon...@comcast.not> wrote in message
news:Xns977DD9A7F11ED...@216.196.97.131...

> Mary Pegg <nos...@widetrouser.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in
> news:0oMOf.62091$Fy4....@newsfe4-win.ntli.net:
>
>> What do the fine minds of ssh make of this?
>>
>> http://aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_awst_story.jsp?id=news/030606
>> p1.xml [Blackstar: a super-secret two stage to orbit military
>> spacecraft]
>>
>> It occurs to me that any orbital flight, or significant sub-orbital
>> one, is likely to set off alarm bells in Moscow and / or Beijing. So
>> what's in it for *them* to keep quiet about it?
>

Good point. Or Paris, Tokyo, and Heavens Above.

Al


Pat Flannery

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Mar 6, 2006, 4:34:31 PM3/6/06
to

Mary Pegg wrote:

A lot of the military TAV designs from that period incorporated stealth
design features, so that the orbital part might not show up on radar.
Have a gander at the flat-plate stealth design used on the general
Dynamics Hypersonic Glide Vehicle of 1987:
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/hgv.htm
Lockheed, as stealth pioneers, would know how to incorporate it into the
orbiter.
What's interesting here is why this is being leaked. AW&ST wouldn't do
this on their own, as they could either look like fools if it's all
hokum, or head off to prison for many years if it really is a top secret
program.
Somebody has a vested interest in keeping this program going; and in my
opinion the usual suspects would be.
1.) The Air Force, trying to get its foot in the manned military space
door as it has been striving for for around 50 years.
2.) Somebody who wants to kill the Shuttle and replace it with this.
Like NASA.
3.) Aerospace interests who are making a lot off of this program.
Anyway, by revealing this, a whole lot of cans of worms just got opened.
Where did the funding come from? Was the money all accounted for
properly? If this existed, then what was the whole X-33 debacle about?
If they have a new super fuel, then why are we using LH2 in our EELVs?
Why wasn't one of these sent up to have a gander at Columbia and rescue
its crew if damage was evident?
This should be fun.

Pat

Henry Spencer

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Mar 6, 2006, 3:15:44 PM3/6/06
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In article <357n029ru2mk307ef...@4ax.com>,

Brian Thorn <btho...@cox.net> wrote:
>While the CIA is pretending it doesn't exist, Burt Rutan is spending a
>fortune trying to build something like it but with far less capability

You can bet your booties that he's spending a *much* smaller fortune than
the one that was spent building this boondoggle. Note that *he's* not
starting by trying to build a hypersonic carrier aircraft... This thing
must have cost billions.

It might explain some of DoD's aversion to attempts to sell them on
reusable launchers. Just like X-33: "We spent billions doing this in the
most screwed-up way we possibly could, and it didn't work worth a damn, so
your proposal can't work either."
--
spsystems.net is temporarily off the air; | Henry Spencer
mail to henry at zoo.utoronto.ca instead. | he...@spsystems.net

Henry Spencer

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Mar 6, 2006, 3:01:35 PM3/6/06
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In article <0oMOf.62091$Fy4....@newsfe4-win.ntli.net>,

Mary Pegg <nos...@widetrouser.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>[Blackstar: a super-secret two stage to orbit military spacecraft]
>It occurs to me that any orbital flight, or significant sub-orbital one,
>is likely to set off alarm bells in Moscow and / or Beijing. So what's
>in it for *them* to keep quiet about it?

There is an agreement between Washington and Moscow (at least) to inform
each other of planned space launches, precisely to avoid people getting
jittery when early-warning satellites see a new infrared source climbing
out of the atmosphere. But you don't have to tell them *what* you're
going to launch, just where and when. So what would Moscow know that's
worth spilling? (Especially if this thing flew only a few times.)

Pat Flannery

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Mar 6, 2006, 4:43:33 PM3/6/06
to

Herb Schaltegger wrote:

>Well isn't that a kick in the pants? I've read so many ill-sourced
>rumors of such a vehicle for so long I kept checking the date of the
>AvLeak article to make sure it didn't read "April 1". ;-)
>
>
>

Speaking of rumors- way back during the SALT II talks, one of the Soviet
negotiators was supposed to have dropped a satellite picture of three
big B-70 looking aircraft lined up at a air base in front of one of our
negotiators.

Pat

Pat Flannery

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Mar 6, 2006, 4:52:55 PM3/6/06
to

Damon Hill wrote:

>Heck, I dunno; I just want to believe it's real. It would explain
>some odd sightings.
>
>

Including the "donuts-on-a-rope" contrails sighted over Texas that were
associated with radio traffic between something called "Gas pipe" and
"Dark Star".

Pat

Pat Flannery

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:06:55 PM3/6/06
to

OM wrote:

>On Tue, 7 Mar 2006 01:42:08 +1100, "BlagooBlanaa"
><Blagoo...@BlagooBlanaa.biz> wrote:
>
>
>
>>so when is scaled composites going to be sued for patent violations?
>>
>>
>
>...Who cares? What I want to know is when Lowther's going to release
>the resin kit :-P
>
>

Stick the top parasite section on the bottom of the B-70 clone carrier
and Testors already it did years ago:
http://solmodel.co.kr/shop/data/148/ITA034_2.jpg
http://www.pawel.nieborek.pl/grafika/poz_30.jpg
http://wave.prohosting.com/aurora85/images/sr75.jpg

Pat

> OM
>
>

Pat Flannery

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:20:13 PM3/6/06
to

Henry Spencer wrote:

>You can bet your booties that he's spending a *much* smaller fortune than
>the one that was spent building this boondoggle. Note that *he's* not
>starting by trying to build a hypersonic carrier aircraft... This thing
>must have cost billions.
>
>

Oh, that's without a doubt. What they seem to have made is to some
extent an American clone of the Soviet Spiral 50/50 project but upgraded
to the point where it doesn't need the seperate booster for the OSP.

>It might explain some of DoD's aversion to attempts to sell them on
>reusable launchers. Just like X-33: "We spent billions doing this in the
>most screwed-up way we possibly could, and it didn't work worth a damn, so
>your proposal can't work either."
>

If it can do what the article says it can (and actually exists) then
it's quite a technological triumph- sort of small-scale version of Max
Faget's shuttle brought to life with the added advantage of horizontal
takeoff and landing for the booster stage from conventional airfields.
As an economical way to take crews to the ISS this probably has the
Shuttle or Stick/CEV beat all to hell.

Pat

lex...@ix.netcom.com

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:24:58 PM3/6/06
to

OM wrote:
> On Tue, 7 Mar 2006 01:42:08 +1100, "BlagooBlanaa"
> <Blagoo...@BlagooBlanaa.biz> wrote:
>
> >so when is scaled composites going to be sued for patent violations?
>
> ...Who cares? What I want to know is when Lowther's going to release
> the resin kit :-P

Already under discussion with Fantastic Plastic. Prolly 1/144 scale.
It'll be after I finish the T/Space CXV (all them little bitty tiles
are driving me buggo) and its associated booster (PS: anybody
interested in a 1/72 model of the SpaceX Dragon???).

Since the carrier aircraft is supposed to be derived from the B-70...
it'd be a dandy time for some synergy. Put together a 1/144 B-70, then
modify it for this role.

MUAAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!

P.S. I saw drawings of the "XOV" around 1997-98. Neener-neener!

OM

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:28:43 PM3/6/06
to
On 6 Mar 2006 14:24:58 -0800, lex...@ix.netcom.com wrote:

>Since the carrier aircraft is supposed to be derived from the B-70...
>it'd be a dandy time for some synergy. Put together a 1/144 B-70, then
>modify it for this role.

...What I haven't figured out is why you haven't done an HL-10 for one
of the better B-52 kits, complete with mounting point *and* Steve
Austin in pressure suit figure.

OM

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:30:58 PM3/6/06
to
On Mon, 06 Mar 2006 15:43:33 -0600, Pat Flannery <fla...@daktel.com>
wrote:

>Speaking of rumors- way back during the SALT II talks, one of the Soviet
>negotiators was supposed to have dropped a satellite picture of three
>big B-70 looking aircraft lined up at a air base in front of one of our
>negotiators.

...One of the excuses the Soviets were given was that these were the
surviving XB-70 and two test fit mockups that were being prepped for
the NASM.

Matt

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:34:40 PM3/6/06
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My reaction to the article was "You gotta be kidding." We're talking
about a major leap in space technology and capability which apparently
had no influence whatever on conflicts, operations, or doctrine while
it was supposedly in service. Add to that that we have exactly one
named witness, no photos, no documents, no budget trail, and no leaks
while billions of dollars and thousands of workers were involved...
AvWeek has destoryed its credibility with this, and God alone knows
why.

Matt Bille
ALL POSTS ARE SOLELY THE PERSONAL OPINION OF THE AUTHOR

lex...@ix.netcom.com

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:36:02 PM3/6/06
to

Pat Flannery wrote:

> Lockheed, as stealth pioneers, would know how to incorporate it into the
> orbiter.

Incorporating stealth into RV's is much harder than for regular
aircraft. Kinda hard to mask plasma and somethign white-hot.

> What's interesting here is why this is being leaked.

What's beign leaked? AW&ST is sayign nothign that they haven't been
sayign for years. Now they've simply attached a name to it, and have
said it's been mothballed. Apart from that, the article says little
more than articles written by the same author circa 1992.

> If this existed, then what was the whole X-33 debacle about?

Making the technology public without revealing where it came from. At
least that was the reasoning used by the Aurora-fans back then...

> If they have a new super fuel, then why are we using LH2 in our EELVs?

Because the boron-based super-fuels have *all* *kinds* of problems. Not
only toxicity issues, but gumming up the turbopumps and melting the
engines. Gels with fine metal powders in 'em might have dandy
perfromance, but they suck as regen coolants.

> Why wasn't one of these sent up to have a gander at Columbia and rescue
> its crew if damage was evident?

That assumes damage was evident.

<nut>
Plus, that also assumes that the Blackstar *didn't* rendezvous with
Columbia. Columbia was infact perfectly intact, but the Daedalus was
getting ready to fly to Atlantis, and they needed to staff up on crew.
So, SGC used the X-201 Blackstar (on it's very last mission... it's
obsolete, having been replaced by a squadron of X-302's) to snag the
Columbia crew, who had been secretly trained in hyperdrive mechanics.
And just as the Russians have been onboard the program for a few years,
this gave SGC the opportunity to incorporate the first Israeli
member...
</nut>

Write that up well enough, and I assure you that *somebody* will
believe it.

OM

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:36:17 PM3/6/06
to
On Mon, 6 Mar 2006 20:15:44 GMT, he...@spsystems.net (Henry Spencer)
wrote:

>This thing must have cost billions.

...Unless they actually built it using the XB-70 as a framework. Most
of the mechanics were already in place for the thing to fly, the rest
of the $$$ would have been for powerplant upgrades and any
infrastructure relating to deploying the parasite.

Herb Schaltegger

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:22:18 PM3/6/06
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On Mon, 6 Mar 2006 15:52:55 -0600, Pat Flannery wrote
(in article <120pbpo...@corp.supernews.com>):

There have actually been donuts-on-a-rope contrail sightings going back
a long while, not just the incident you mention. I'm not sure they're
the same thing as this 'un. Of course, there's been enough money
spewed down the black hole of black funding for long enough that pretty
much anything is possible.

lex...@ix.netcom.com

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:45:44 PM3/6/06
to

OM wrote:
> On 6 Mar 2006 14:24:58 -0800, lex...@ix.netcom.com wrote:
>
> >Since the carrier aircraft is supposed to be derived from the B-70...
> >it'd be a dandy time for some synergy. Put together a 1/144 B-70, then
> >modify it for this role.
>
> ...What I haven't figured out is why you haven't done an HL-10 for one
> of the better B-52 kits

Because there are already several HL-10's on the market.

> complete with mounting point *and* Steve
> Austin in pressure suit figure.

What are you, some kind of Commie? Steve Austin would never be seen in
an HL-10. An M2-F2.... *THAT'S* his ride.

Markus Baur

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Mar 6, 2006, 5:55:27 PM3/6/06
to
lex...@ix.netcom.com wrote:>
> Already under discussion with Fantastic Plastic. Prolly 1/144 scale.
> It'll be after I finish the T/Space CXV (all them little bitty tiles
> are driving me buggo) and its associated booster (PS: anybody
> interested in a 1/72 model of the SpaceX Dragon???).

here i was thinking you was suggesting a 1:72 model of seadragon .. ok
- i could put it up, but then my flat has rooms 4 1/2 meters high. .

you must agree that it would be an impressive model ..

Brian Thorn

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Mar 6, 2006, 6:20:25 PM3/6/06
to
On Mon, 6 Mar 2006 20:15:44 GMT, he...@spsystems.net (Henry Spencer)
wrote:

>It might explain some of DoD's aversion to attempts to sell them on
>reusable launchers. Just like X-33: "We spent billions doing this in the
>most screwed-up way we possibly could, and it didn't work worth a damn, so
>your proposal can't work either."

Unless, of course, it *did* work, in which case Rutan (and NASA with
X-34) were reinventing the wheel. The AvLeak article does say one
Orbiter evidently got bent and one mothership might have crashed. CIA
might have decided the quick response need no longer existed
post-Soviet Union and just let the project die.

Brian

Bill Higgins

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Mar 6, 2006, 6:20:24 PM3/6/06
to
On Mon, 6 Mar 2006, Pat Flannery wrote:

> Mary Pegg wrote:
>
>> What do the fine minds of ssh make of this?
>>
>> http://aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_awst_story.jsp?id=news/030606p1.xml
>> [Blackstar: a super-secret two stage to orbit military spacecraft]

[...]


> Anyway, by revealing this, a whole lot of cans of worms just got opened.
> Where did the funding come from? Was the money all accounted for properly? If
> this existed, then what was the whole X-33 debacle about? If they have a
> new super fuel, then why are we using LH2 in our EELVs? Why wasn't one of
> these sent up to have a gander at Columbia and rescue its crew if damage was
> evident?

And who leaked the secret to the writers of *The West Wing* in Season Six?

--
Bill Higgins | "We'll see you
Fermi National | at White Sands in June.
Accelerator Laboratory | You bring your view-graphs,
Internet: | and I'll bring my rocketship."
hig...@fnal.gov | --Col. Pete Worden on the DC-X

Henry Spencer

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Mar 6, 2006, 6:54:00 PM3/6/06
to
In article <120pdcv...@corp.supernews.com>,

Pat Flannery <fla...@daktel.com> wrote:
>>It might explain some of DoD's aversion to attempts to sell them on
>>reusable launchers. Just like X-33: "We spent billions doing this in the
>>most screwed-up way we possibly could, and it didn't work worth a damn, so
>>your proposal can't work either."
>
>If it can do what the article says it can (and actually exists) then
>it's quite a technological triumph...

Maybe. Assuming that the AW&ST article is something close to the truth
(which I don't take for granted), the way I read the tea leaves is that
this thing was *not* particularly successful. My guess would be that it
underperformed badly, was a maintenance nightmare, and has flown only a
handful of times.

>sort of small-scale version of Max
>Faget's shuttle brought to life with the added advantage of horizontal
>takeoff and landing for the booster stage from conventional airfields.

And the massive disadvantages of (possibly) a one-of-a-kind carrier
aircraft, and (definitely) a dangerous, expensive fuel with a long list of
handling and maintenance problems -- the combination of "boron" and "gel"
is enough to make anyone who knows something about the history of rocket
fuels back rapidly away. (For starters, gel fuels are notorious for being
impossible to purge from injectors after cutoff, which means that residual
engine heat bakes them into rock-hard deposits, which have to be drilled
out before you can fire the engine again.)

>As an economical way to take crews to the ISS this probably has the
>Shuttle or Stick/CEV beat all to hell.

It may not even be able to reach the ISS orbit.

Henry Spencer

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Mar 6, 2006, 6:59:50 PM3/6/06
to
In article <s8ep02lgetrdhfpf6...@4ax.com>,

OM <om@all_spammers_WILL_burn_in_hell.com> wrote:
>>This thing must have cost billions.
>
>...Unless they actually built it using the XB-70 as a framework.

The first stage is the easy part... and even that would probably have cost
billions, given that it clearly is *not* just a third XB-70. (Swinging
canard, four rather than six engines, wingtip verticals, etc. etc.)

Bear in mind that the two XB-70s cost their weight in gold. (And they
were the world's heaviest aircraft at the time, too.)

And then there's the second stage, essentially an SSTO using an exotic
("it's expensive, it's got boron in it, and it probably doesn't work" --
Clark) fuel. Billions.

Henry Spencer

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Mar 6, 2006, 7:28:01 PM3/6/06
to
In article <1141684480.7...@v46g2000cwv.googlegroups.com>,

Matt <MattW...@AOL.com> wrote:
>My reaction to the article was "You gotta be kidding." We're talking
>about a major leap in space technology and capability...

You're assuming it worked. The story fits the facts much better if the
thing was only marginally functional, with minimal payload and huge
maintenance workload (the words "boron" and "gel" together certainly
inspire thoughts of the latter) -- a borderline technical success but an
operational failure.

This also helps account for it staying "black": nobody wants publicity
for an expensive flop.

Read that way, the story strikes me as plausible. Whether it's true is
another question.

Henry Spencer

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Mar 6, 2006, 7:36:30 PM3/6/06
to
In article <120pan9...@corp.supernews.com>,

Pat Flannery <fla...@daktel.com> wrote:
>If they have a new super fuel, then why are we using LH2 in our EELVs?

Remember, the super fuel doesn't have to be super in all respects. It's
plausibly interpreted as an attempt to maximize energy density, to get a
lot of propulsion into a vehicle that's constrained to be small because it
has to fit under an existing carrier aircraft. That doesn't mean sky-high
Isp, and it certainly doesn't mean low -- or even sane -- operating costs.

>Why wasn't one of these sent up to have a gander at Columbia and rescue
>its crew if damage was evident?

Maybe because it never worked well enough for such routine operational use.

Henry Spencer

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Mar 6, 2006, 7:12:38 PM3/6/06
to
In article <apgp02lgbapc0682i...@4ax.com>,

Brian Thorn <btho...@cox.net> wrote:
>>It might explain some of DoD's aversion to attempts to sell them on
>>reusable launchers. Just like X-33: "We spent billions doing this in the
>>most screwed-up way we possibly could, and it didn't work worth a damn, so
>>your proposal can't work either."
>
>Unless, of course, it *did* work, in which case Rutan (and NASA with
>X-34) were reinventing the wheel.

That's a big "unless". Note that they *couldn't* make it work without an
exotic fuel, and then when they finally found a fuel with enough energy
density to fit an SSTO-load into something the mothership could carry,
there was a mad panic to get something flying (before the budget got
zeroed out?).

The way it smells to me is that (assuming AW&ST is somewhere near right)
this thing just barely kinda worked, probably needs vast amounts of
maintenance -- the words "boron" and "gel" are bad enough by themselves,
and together they're the sound of cash registers ringing and maintenance
technicians cursing -- and altogether was a big disappointment, which is
part of why it's being retired.

>CIA might have decided the quick response need no longer existed
>post-Soviet Union and just let the project die.

Especially if it was an expensive hangar queen that never quite lived up
to its promises.

BlagooBlanaa

unread,
Mar 6, 2006, 9:13:35 PM3/6/06
to
hmmm
Russkis are paranoid (especially about rocks)
what makes you think that they miss anything?

these sightings include daytime ones as well
by rational folks
perhaps there were problems on take off

must have been one hella buggy system then


"Henry Spencer" <he...@spsystems.net> wrote in message
news:Ivq2A...@spsystems.net...

**J**i**m_*

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Mar 6, 2006, 10:19:49 PM3/6/06
to
In article <Pine.SOL.4.63L.0...@fsui02.fnal.gov>,
Bill Higgins <hig...@fnal.gov> wrote:

> Why wasn't one of
> > these sent up to have a gander at Columbia and rescue its crew if damage
> > was
> > evident?


Well, because there was no damage that was evident. It out of of the
line of sight of he astronauts and nobody believed there was anything
that needed checking.

richard schumacher

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Mar 6, 2006, 10:33:29 PM3/6/06
to
In article <440cebce$0$1056$afc3...@news.optusnet.com.au>,
"BlagooBlanaa" <Blagoo...@BlagooBlanaa.biz> wrote:

> Russkis are paranoid (especially about rocks)
> what makes you think that they miss anything?
>
> these sightings include daytime ones as well
> by rational folks
> perhaps there were problems on take off
>
> must have been one hella buggy system then
>
>
> "Henry Spencer" <he...@spsystems.net> wrote in message
> news:Ivq2A...@spsystems.net...
> > In article <0oMOf.62091$Fy4....@newsfe4-win.ntli.net>,
> > Mary Pegg <nos...@widetrouser.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> >>[Blackstar: a super-secret two stage to orbit military spacecraft]
> >>It occurs to me that any orbital flight, or significant sub-orbital one,
> >>is likely to set off alarm bells in Moscow and / or Beijing. So what's
> >>in it for *them* to keep quiet about it?
> >
> > There is an agreement between Washington and Moscow (at least) to inform
> > each other of planned space launches, precisely to avoid people getting
> > jittery when early-warning satellites see a new infrared source climbing
> > out of the atmosphere. But you don't have to tell them *what* you're
> > going to launch, just where and when. So what would Moscow know that's
> > worth spilling? (Especially if this thing flew only a few times.)

Henry's point is that the "Russkis" would have been told in advance by
the US that something would be passing overhead in a particular orbit.
They would not have been told what it was. What would their press
release have been? "Unknown object launched from the United States
enters orbit! Aiiieee!!!". Big whoop.

Presumably they would have routinely tried to collect the best possible
imagery of all such items. They would not have released any of those
pictures because that would have revealed something about their imaging
capability.

Terrell Miller

unread,
Mar 7, 2006, 8:43:35 AM3/7/06
to
"Henry Spencer" <he...@spsystems.net> wrote in message
news:IvqEM...@spsystems.net...

> You're assuming it worked. The story fits the facts much better if the
> thing was only marginally functional, with minimal payload and huge
> maintenance workload (the words "boron" and "gel" together certainly
> inspire thoughts of the latter) -- a borderline technical success but an
> operational failure.

or it could be a MMU scenario where it worked well enough...but there were
other existing options that worked even *better* adn were much less complex.
In this case, unmanned launchers, cruise missiles and drones.


The '90s and early Noughties were riddled with examples of "cutting edge"
tech that died because it didn't really do something better than the
existing alternatives.

There's an old science fiction short story by George R. R. Martin called
"fta" that I recommend in situations like this...

--
Terrell Miller
mill...@bellsouth.net

"If Pop is a basket of kittens, and Punk a snarky little terrier, modern
Prog is the giant squid beast that eats them all"
-Entertainment Weekly


Ed Kyle

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Mar 7, 2006, 10:47:19 AM3/7/06
to
Terrell Miller wrote:
>
> or it could be a MMU scenario where it worked well enough...but there were
> other existing options that worked even *better* adn were much less complex.
> In this case, unmanned launchers, cruise missiles and drones.

Surely it would be cheaper to do once-around overflight
missions using a small unmanned rocket-based air-launch
system - something like Pegasus. Unless the big benefit
of a Blackstar was (if it was) that it could avoid detection
by the satellites that watch for ICBM launches.

- Ed Kyle

Pat Flannery

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Mar 7, 2006, 11:05:18 AM3/7/06
to

lex...@ix.netcom.com wrote:

>Since the carrier aircraft is supposed to be derived from the B-70...
>it'd be a dandy time for some synergy. Put together a 1/144 B-70, then
>modify it for this role.
>
>MUAAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!
>
>P.S. I saw drawings of the "XOV" around 1997-98. Neener-neener!
>
>

Here's some more goodies: http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php
From the above:
There are two more articles about the Blackstar system in the
subscription-only section of Aviation Week online.The cover of the print
issue released today shows a XB-70-like aircraft releasing a small
spaceplane.

* Secret Spaceplane May Have Suffered Damage During Air-Launch:
Air-dropped spaceplane described as a transatmospheric 'boost-glide'
vehicle
<http://www.aviationnow.com/publication/awst/loggedin/AvnowStoryDisplay.do?pubKey=awst&issueDate=2006-03-06&story=xml/awst_xml/2006/03/06/AW_03_06_2006_p48-53-02.xml&headline=Secret+Spaceplane+May+Have+Suffered+Damage+During+Air-Launch>:

- More about sightings made by "fighter pilots, civilian contractors and
an Air Force security police officer"
- The system is also referred to as "Black Magic," "Speedy" and "XOV"
(experimental orbital vehicle)
- One F-15 pilot in 1994 at Holloman AFB "watched activities [on the
ground] associated with the XOV/spaceplane for some time" and made a
detailed drawing
- He described a "A 90-100-ft.-long, highly swept-winged, blended and
contoured lifting body. "
- The description of the propulsion system seems consistent with linear
aerospike engines.
- The vehicle appears also to use solid rocket boosters.
- This pilot's observation occurred not long after an incident in which
several fighter pilots carrying out exercises near Okinawa were diverted
to make way for an "aircraft in distress" to land at Kadena AB. The
Okinawa base was locked down and later it was heard that a "fat" C-5
went to the north Pacific and returned to Holliman. The pilot may have
seen the craft brought back for repairs after a launch mishap.

XOV look like the one on the upper right by any chance?:
http://www.geocities.com/stratomodels/Pics/FDL5A4.jpg
This thing?: http://www.geocities.com/stratomodels/Pics/FDL5A5.jpg

Pat

Pat Flannery

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Mar 7, 2006, 11:08:14 AM3/7/06
to

OM wrote:

>...What I haven't figured out is why you haven't done an HL-10 for one
>of the better B-52 kits, complete with mounting point *and* Steve
>Austin in pressure suit figure.
>
>

Didn't he crash in the M2F2? Or did they show him being airdropped in
the HL-10?

Pat

Pat Flannery

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Mar 7, 2006, 11:13:40 AM3/7/06
to

OM wrote:

>...One of the excuses the Soviets were given was that these were the
>surviving XB-70 and two test fit mockups that were being prepped for
>the NASM.
>
>

What two test fit mock-ups? Are either of those still around?

Pat

Pat Flannery

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Mar 7, 2006, 11:32:25 AM3/7/06
to

Matt wrote:

>My reaction to the article was "You gotta be kidding." We're talking
>about a major leap in space technology and capability which apparently
>had no influence whatever on conflicts, operations, or doctrine while
>it was supposedly in service. Add to that that we have exactly one
>named witness, no photos, no documents, no budget trail, and no leaks
>while billions of dollars and thousands of workers were involved...
>AvWeek has destoryed its credibility with this, and God alone knows
>why.
>
>

They did something like this once before when funding was needed for our
nuclear powered bomber project:
http://modelarchives.free.fr/archives_P/Aplane/Aplane_Bounder_S.html
Anyone remember this BTW?: http://ufocasebook.com/cosmonaut1979.html
Maybe this gizmo has been flying longer than we think. ;-)

Pat

Dave Michelson

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Mar 7, 2006, 11:32:49 AM3/7/06
to

Correct on both counts.

Also, the exterior shots of the "OSI" Building are actually the Russell
Senate Office Building as seen from the Senate side of the Capitol,
across Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC.

--
Dave Michelson
da...@ece.ubc.ca

Pat Flannery

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Mar 7, 2006, 11:45:30 AM3/7/06
to

lex...@ix.netcom.com wrote:

>Pat Flannery wrote:
>
>
>
>>Lockheed, as stealth pioneers, would know how to incorporate it into the
>>orbiter.
>>
>>
>
>Incorporating stealth into RV's is much harder than for regular
>aircraft. Kinda hard to mask plasma and somethign white-hot.
>
>

But this would be on-orbit stealth, not during reentry which is assumed
to be made over non-hostile territory.
And that Lockheed drawing does mention stealth:
http://www.geocities.com/stratomodels/Pics/FDL5A5.jpg
I wonder if they incorperated plasma emmision into it to decrease its
radar signature and reduce reentry heating?:
http://www.aeronautics.ru/plasmamain.htm
http://www.aeronautics.ru/mach50.htm

>
>
>>What's interesting here is why this is being leaked.
>>
>>
>
>What's beign leaked? AW&ST is sayign nothign that they haven't been
>sayign for years. Now they've simply attached a name to it, and have
>said it's been mothballed.
>

Yeah, but they hushed up on this whole thing for several years after
their initial spate of articles, and I assumed that meant either they
had found out it was a pile of BS or they were worried about getting
into trouble for releasing classified data...like the Morison mess with
the KH-11 photos of the Soviet aircraft carrier:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Loring_Morison

>
>
>>Why wasn't one of these sent up to have a gander at Columbia and rescue
>>its crew if damage was evident?
>>
>>
>
>That assumes damage was evident.
>
><nut>
>
>

If this pans out, people are going to ask that question; you can count
on it.

Pat

Pat Flannery

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Mar 7, 2006, 12:06:27 PM3/7/06
to

lex...@ix.netcom.com wrote:

>Because the boron-based super-fuels have *all* *kinds* of problems. Not
>only toxicity issues, but gumming up the turbopumps and melting the
>engines.
>

Maybe it doesn't use turbopumps...maybe it uses pistons and cylinders.
Remember, a few years ago we got that posting about using the multiple
cylinder pump mechanism to feed fuel to a rocket motor from a
unpressurized supply tank?
As far as cooling goes, maybe that could be accomplished with the
oxidizer instead of the fuel. In fact, a modification of Thiel's veil
cooling using LOX or hydrogen peroxide could be how some of the
oxidizer reacts with the fuel.

Pat

Pat Flannery

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Mar 7, 2006, 12:13:39 PM3/7/06
to

OM wrote:

>
>
>...Unless they actually built it using the XB-70 as a framework. Most
>of the mechanics were already in place for the thing to fly, the rest
>of the $$$ would have been for powerplant upgrades and any
>infrastructure relating to deploying the parasite.
>
>

Looky: http://www.strange-mecha.com/aircraft/Prototype/b70rbs-2.JPG
B-70 RBS (recoverable booster system).

Pat

lex...@ix.netcom.com

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Mar 7, 2006, 12:22:22 PM3/7/06
to

Pat Flannery wrote:
> lex...@ix.netcom.com wrote:
>
> >Pat Flannery wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >>Lockheed, as stealth pioneers, would know how to incorporate it into the
> >>orbiter.
> >>
> >>
> >
> >Incorporating stealth into RV's is much harder than for regular
> >aircraft. Kinda hard to mask plasma and somethign white-hot.
> >
> >
> But this would be on-orbit stealth, not during reentry which is assumed
> to be made over non-hostile territory.

It'll be hot from ascent heating for some time while in space. Not
white hot, but warm enough to show up on good IR sensors.

> And that Lockheed drawing does mention stealth:
> http://www.geocities.com/stratomodels/Pics/FDL5A5.jpg

Pah. That vehicle configuration was invented in the mid-60's, when they
knew as much about stealth as Ted Kennedy knows about cutting taxes.
What's shown there is a mid-80's TAV concept which used a warmed-over
and enlarged FDL design.


> >What's beign leaked? AW&ST is sayign nothign that they haven't been
> >sayign for years. Now they've simply attached a name to it, and have
> >said it's been mothballed.
> >
>
> Yeah, but they hushed up on this whole thing for several years after
> their initial spate of articles, and I assumed that meant either they
> had found out it was a pile of BS or they were worried about getting
> into trouble for releasing classified data...

Or that they had no new information/speculation.

lex...@ix.netcom.com

unread,
Mar 7, 2006, 12:24:00 PM3/7/06
to

Pat Flannery wrote:
> lex...@ix.netcom.com wrote:
>
> >Because the boron-based super-fuels have *all* *kinds* of problems. Not
> >only toxicity issues, but gumming up the turbopumps and melting the
> >engines.
> >
>
> Maybe it doesn't use turbopumps...maybe it uses pistons and cylinders.

Somehow I doubt things would get any better by using a piston pump
that's tryign to expel a gel full of grit.

Message has been deleted

Jeff Findley

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Mar 7, 2006, 2:19:05 PM3/7/06
to

"Henry Spencer" <he...@spsystems.net> wrote in message
news:IvqDx...@spsystems.net...

Then it would be the US equivalent of the USSR's Buran space shuttle. Even
though they got it to work (it did fly the first unmanned landing of a space
shuttle on a runway), it cost too much, and clearly had some remaining
problems to work out (e.g. the TPS).

Jeff
--
Remove icky phrase from email address to get a valid address.


Damon Hill

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Mar 7, 2006, 3:26:22 PM3/7/06
to
Pat Flannery <fla...@daktel.com> wrote in news:120rc9lc4gqf367
@corp.supernews.com:

The question then would be how the "mockups" got to that remote and
inaccessable location...

--Damon

Andrew Gray

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Mar 7, 2006, 6:42:59 PM3/7/06
to
On 2006-03-06, Markus Baur <ba...@REMOVETHIS.chello.at> wrote:
> lex...@ix.netcom.com wrote:>
>> Already under discussion with Fantastic Plastic. Prolly 1/144 scale.
>> It'll be after I finish the T/Space CXV (all them little bitty tiles
>> are driving me buggo) and its associated booster (PS: anybody
>> interested in a 1/72 model of the SpaceX Dragon???).
>
> here i was thinking you was suggesting a 1:72 model of seadragon .. ok
> - i could put it up, but then my flat has rooms 4 1/2 meters high. .
>
> you must agree that it would be an impressive model ..

But surely you can already just go out and buy a length of drainpipe?

--
-Andrew Gray
andre...@dunelm.org.uk

Henry Spencer

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Mar 7, 2006, 10:39:32 PM3/7/06
to
In article <1141753957....@e56g2000cwe.googlegroups.com>,
Rusty <reuben...@yahoo.com> wrote:
>Two C-5 Galaxy's were rebuilt as C-5C Galaxy's for "NASA" use -
>(68-0213 and 68-0216). They were used to carry space program related
>components...

Ah yes, those will be the spysat carrier aircraft. One of them carried
Hubble from California to the Cape for launch; the aircraft and the
satellite container that fits it were made available to NASA on condition
that photography be strictly limited. Surprise surprise, the satellite
container was just the right size for Hubble...

AW&ST had a story about these, some years ago, when they were first built.
It took considerable cleverness to get a shuttle-cargo-bay-sized object
into a C-5. There isn't quite enough headroom under the wing spar, so it
has to go entirely aft of the spar. The deck area aft of the spar isn't
quite long enough, so the tail end of the object has to be lifted up so
the doors can close. That meant removing the troop deck that normally
occupies the space above the cargo deck aft of the spar... and the space
above the doors still isn't quite tall enough, so they had to modify the
doors to intrude less on the interior.

Henry Spencer

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Mar 7, 2006, 10:41:41 PM3/7/06
to
In article <1141746439....@j33g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,

Ed Kyle <edky...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>Surely it would be cheaper to do once-around overflight
>missions using a small unmanned rocket-based air-launch
>system - something like Pegasus...

Depends on whether you were thinking of doing it once or twice, or a whole
bunch of times. The latter would make you think in terms of reusable
systems, not expendables like Pegasus. Doing *that* unmanned is harder.

BlagooBlanaa

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Mar 8, 2006, 6:17:08 AM3/8/06
to
<snip> "Unknown object launched from the United States

> enters orbit! Aiiieee!!!". Big whoop.

well yeah - since when did the russkis pass up on any opportunity to have a
gloat?
especially if the darkstar faltered and landed in at kadena, in distress

if this was a black op mega mission then they would have been warned, and
they would have looked at it as hard as possible and they would have known
about a divert to kadena as well as a fat assed c5 floating around

and then they said nothing, anywhere, about the failure of some
hypervelocity reuseable black ops gadget?

c'mon

blackstar schmackstar I say

maybe if the blackstar was designed to intercept UFO's with the blessing of
the russkis, praps
THAT I could (sorta) believe

BlagooBlanaa

unread,
Mar 8, 2006, 6:24:02 AM3/8/06
to
nah

i'd use a diaphragm
either in the tank or in the motor or both

stinkin great diaphragm in the tank pressurized by peroxide and lox...

or a big screw

or stick the fuel in lotsa little toothpaste tubes

or just pressurise the crap out of it

use the peroxide/lox combustion product to cool the jets

too easy


"Pat Flannery" <fla...@daktel.com> wrote in message
news:120rfck...@corp.supernews.com...

Chuck Stewart

unread,
Mar 8, 2006, 7:57:54 AM3/8/06
to
On Wed, 08 Mar 2006 22:17:08 +1100, BlagooBlanaa wrote:

Y'know... they don't pay you enough for this... ;)

--
Chuck Stewart
"Anime-style catgirls: Threat? Menace? Or just studying algebra?"

Pat Flannery

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Mar 8, 2006, 11:41:18 AM3/8/06
to

Henry Spencer wrote:

>
>Maybe. Assuming that the AW&ST article is something close to the truth
>(which I don't take for granted),
>
Here's a question: if the orbiter section is around 100 feet long, how
come it's never been spotted by satellite watchers while it's in orbit?
Even if it were painted black (which I think might be a good guess as to
its coloration) it still should be fairly bright given its size. Does it
only orbit for a short time and over inaccessible parts of the world?
(oceans, etc.)

> the way I read the tea leaves is that
>this thing was *not* particularly successful.
>

That's what John Pike's theory was a few years back when he was with
FAS; that they'd thrown a hell of a lot of money at this thing and ended
up with a lemon, and the reason it was still secret was to cover up what
a fiasco it all had been.

> My guess would be that it
>underperformed badly, was a maintenance nightmare,
>

I can easily see that, given that the shuttle is very maintenance
intense and it basically only has one reusable component.

> and has flown only a
>handful of times.
>
>
>
Of course for the missions it seems intended to perform - quick response
reconnaissance, small milsat launch and SAINT type inspection or
destruction of enemy satellites - it might not need be flown over a few
times a year at most.


>>sort of small-scale version of Max
>>Faget's shuttle brought to life with the added advantage of horizontal
>>takeoff and landing for the booster stage from conventional airfields.
>>
>>
>
>And the massive disadvantages of (possibly) a one-of-a-kind carrier
>aircraft,
>
Even if the carrier were a modified B-70...and I doubt that...It would
end up with so many mods as to probably be almost a new aircraft. That's
certainly the way the AW&ST article seems to describe it when they speak
of the engines being moved into two separate clusters (North American
Aviation artwork shows a derivative of the B-70 as a SST with two groups
of two larger engines mounted under its wings, B-1 style), and that
brings up another problem- parts for YJ-93 engines would to be hard to
come by in the 80's and 90's- only 38 total motors of that type were
made, although they were supposed to have an upper operating limit of
Mach 4 assuming you could get an airframe that could take the heat.
Grabbing the engines off of the SR-71 would seem to be an obvious answer.

> and (definitely) a dangerous, expensive fuel with a long list of
>handling and maintenance problems -- the combination of "boron" and "gel"
>is enough to make anyone who knows something about the history of rocket
>fuels back rapidly away. (For starters, gel fuels are notorious for being
>impossible to purge from injectors after cutoff, which means that residual
>engine heat bakes them into rock-hard deposits, which have to be drilled
>out before you can fire the engine again.)
>
>
>

Although if the stuff has as high a energy density as they implied in
the article, it would make for a compact orbiter.
A single-use disposable rocket motor package? If used in combination
with H2O2 it would make for a lot of power in a small space, and the
hydrogen peroxide could also run the APU, engine pump, and RCS systems.

>>As an economical way to take crews to the ISS this probably has the
>>Shuttle or Stick/CEV beat all to hell.
>>
>>
>
>It may not even be able to reach the ISS orbit.
>
>
If I were designing something to possibly inspect or destroy enemy
satellites, I'd give it pretty good inclined orbit and altitude
capabilities. As for the high inclination orbit, the ability of the
carrier aircraft to take it to the correct position and heading for
economical climb into orbit would be a big plus.
I'm still eyeballing that UFO the Soviet cosmonaut saw in 1979, as it
looks a hell of a lot more like a TAV of some sort than a flying saucer:
http://ufocasebook.com/cosmonaut1979.html

Pat

Pat Flannery

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Mar 8, 2006, 12:01:01 PM3/8/06
to

BlagooBlanaa wrote:

>hmmm
>Russkis are paranoid (especially about rocks)
>what makes you think that they miss anything?
>
>

They missed the concept of overthrowning America by selling it
staggering amounts of cheap consumer goods.
It took the Chinese commies to figure that one out. ;-)

Pat

Markus Baur

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Mar 8, 2006, 12:01:16 PM3/8/06
to

yes i could - but as always, the devilis in the details ...

servus

markus

Pat Flannery

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Mar 8, 2006, 12:29:26 PM3/8/06
to

Ed Kyle wrote:

> Unless the big benefit
>of a Blackstar was (if it was) that it could avoid detection
>by the satellites that watch for ICBM launches.
>
>
>

That's a good point; those would be able to pick up the exhaust plume of
the ascending orbiter, wouldn't they?

Pat

Jim Oberg

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Mar 8, 2006, 12:52:26 PM3/8/06
to
The plume would not be visible if the launching occurred
far enough north. Geosync-eq satellites are 'too close'
to Earth's curvature to see the air above regions near
both poles. Ditto for sub-launched satellites if the sub
is cruising in the Arctic Ocean -- an angle of some concern
when the Soviets (and now Russians) began operationally
making such launches (but nowadays, farther south in the
White Sea).

True, Russia has Molniya-orbit (hi-incl) Early
Warning satellites but the network degraded in the
mid-1990s and still has insufficient payloads for
continuous coverage, thus allowing somebody with
knowledge of which birds were working and which were
not to find lots of holes big enough to drive an undetected
rocket through.


"Pat Flannery" <fla...@daktel.com> wrote >

Jim Oberg

unread,
Mar 8, 2006, 12:56:18 PM3/8/06
to

"BlagooBlanaa" <Blagoo...@BlagooBlanaa.biz> wrote i

> well yeah - since when did the russkis pass up on any opportunity to have
> a gloat? especially if the darkstar faltered and landed in at kadena, in
> distress

A perceptive point. Compare this to the shrill propaganda campaign Moscow
ran in the mid-1980s when NASA set up an abort landing site on Easter
Island for Vandenberg shuttle launches (a second site was on Hao Island in
French
Polynesia -- and payment for that deal included NASA flying a French
spationaut
on a shuttle mission). Moscow shrieked that the runway made Chile a player
in 'Star Wars' and a potential target in a nuclear war -- and all the usual
leftie
suspects took up the refrain. I wrote about this for 'Analog' and still have
the dozen
or so nasty Soviet cartoons about evil Pentagon demons raping Easter Island
statues -- ought to post them some day as a reminder <grin>.


thom...@flash.net

unread,
Mar 8, 2006, 12:56:37 PM3/8/06
to
Pat Flannery wrote:

> Of course for the missions it seems intended to perform - quick response
> reconnaissance, small milsat launch and SAINT type inspection or
> destruction of enemy satellites - it might not need be flown over a few
> times a year at most.

I'm more than dubious about the AvWeek article -- some of the airplane
watchers have noted that the stuff about C-5s does not correspond to
any known reality.

But, taking it semiseriously just for fun, my read on the vehicle is
that it would have been most suited to suborbital or perhaps
once-around trans-SIOP reconnaissance for the purposes of strategic
relocatable target(*) spotting and BDA.

Under such circumstances, an extended service life would not have been
expected.

BTW, does anybody here have an opinion about the laser-augmented
adaptive optics recce camera? I initially thought it was totally bogus
for a variety of reasons, but realized that, with a few word changes,
it could be promoted from bogosity into the category of hand-waving.


(*) E.g., SS-16 and SS-25 TELs

Bill Higgins

unread,
Mar 8, 2006, 3:08:20 PM3/8/06
to
On Wed, 8 Mar 2006, thom...@flash.net wrote of the secret spaceplane
revelations in *Aviation Week and Space Technology*:

> I'm more than dubious about the AvWeek article -- some of the airplane
> watchers have noted that the stuff about C-5s does not correspond to
> any known reality.

To me the most important part (but certainly not the most interesting part
or the most surprising part) of the article is the preamble:

"Considerable evidence supports the existence of such a highly classified
system, and top Pentagon officials have hinted that it's 'out there,' but
iron-clad confirmation that meets *AW&ST* standards has remained elusive."

So they broke their own rules in publishing this bagful of fragmentary
evidence.

"Now facing the possibility that this innovative 'Blackstar' system may have
been shelved, we elected to share what we've learned about it with our
readers, rather than let an intriguing technological breakthrough vanish
into 'black world' history, known only to a few insiders."

(March 6, 2006 issue, page 48.)

--
BRAIN: Pinky, operating this machine requires | Bill Higgins
calculations on the fly, split-second decisions, | Fermilab
huge amounts of data, incredible mental ability, |
and precise timing. In other words-- |
PINKY: I couldn't do it. | Internet:
BRAIN: No. | hig...@fnal.gov

Bill Higgins

unread,
Mar 8, 2006, 3:28:32 PM3/8/06
to
On Wed, 8 Mar 2006, Jim Oberg wrote:

>
> "BlagooBlanaa" <Blagoo...@BlagooBlanaa.biz> wrote i
>> well yeah - since when did the russkis pass up on any opportunity to have
>> a gloat? especially if the darkstar faltered and landed in at kadena, in
>> distress
>
> A perceptive point. Compare this to the shrill propaganda campaign Moscow
> ran in the mid-1980s when NASA set up an abort landing site on Easter
> Island for Vandenberg shuttle launches (a second site was on Hao Island in
> French Polynesia -- and payment for that deal included NASA flying a
> French spationaut on a shuttle mission). Moscow shrieked that the runway
> made Chile a player in 'Star Wars' and a potential target in a nuclear war
> -- and all the usual leftie suspects took up the refrain.

Friends recently returned from a vacation to mainland Chile and Easter
Island with the trivia question, "Where is the longest runway in South
America?"

I didn't guess correctly, but I hadn't thought of EI as part of South
America...

Apparently tourguides like to point this out. Having an extended runway
made a big difference in the size and frequency of incoming flights.

When my friends revealed the answer, I already knew about the runway, of
course. Heck, I even read the "Lee Correy" novel.

--
She was only a | Bill Higgins
rocket scientist's daughter, | Fermilab
but she left the boys | Internet:
exhausted behind her. | hig...@fnal.gov

Derek Lyons

unread,
Mar 8, 2006, 3:36:28 PM3/8/06