Author Topic: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane  (Read 32521 times)

Offline rsp1202

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #20 on: 08/14/2009 08:37 PM »
I saw this stealthy "thing" at the Air Force Museum a few weeks ago.  It was hard to photograph.  The damn thing is still almost invisible!  You can't see its means of propulsion from the public viewing spots.

Teledyne-Ryan Compass Arrow

Offline Blackstar

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #21 on: 08/14/2009 09:53 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. I'm surprised SR-71 didn't overfly the Soviets. Years ago I had read a book on converted bombers that overflew the soviets in the 50's (some were downed) and I just assumed overflights continued in later decades.

SR-71s did not overfly the USSR.  This was because of the May 1960 U-2 incident.  There were proposals for A-12 OXCART flights, but all were denied.

There were a number of overflights by converted bombers around 1954-1956.  There was some substantial misinformation on this in the late 1990s, but a 2-book series by Cargill Hall, "Early Cold War Overflights," really set the record straight.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #22 on: 08/14/2009 10:07 PM »
I saw this stealthy "thing" at the Air Force Museum a few weeks ago.  It was hard to photograph.  The damn thing is still almost invisible!  You can't see its means of propulsion from the public viewing spots.

Teledyne-Ryan Compass Arrow

That's right!  It was designed to overfly mainland *China*, at 78,000 feet, to photograph nuclear sites, unmanned.  Its jet engine was mounted on top, and its underside was shaped to minimize radar cross section.  This was an early "stealth" plane!  It would have been air-launched from a C-130-something and recovered while it dropped under a parachute, by a helicopter.  This was an extension of the Ryan unmanned drone effort during Vietnam.     

Teledyne-Ryan was all set to go, then Nixon went to see Mao and the program had to be shut down!

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/050323-F-1234P-012.jpg

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Blackstar

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #23 on: 08/15/2009 12:58 AM »
That's right!  It was designed to overfly mainland *China*, at 78,000 feet, to photograph nuclear sites, unmanned.  Its jet engine was mounted on top, and its underside was shaped to minimize radar cross section.  This was an early "stealth" plane!  It would have been air-launched from a C-130-something and recovered while it dropped under a parachute, by a helicopter.  This was an extension of the Ryan unmanned drone effort during Vietnam.     

Teledyne-Ryan was all set to go, then Nixon went to see Mao and the program had to be shut down!

There's a picture of one of these pancaked on a highway somewhere.  I think they had a flight control failure.  If memory serves, that exposed the program.  It is also shown, but not explained, in the book Lightning Bugs and Other Reconnaissance Drones.  (There's a story behind that book.  I don't know the full details, but apparently it was a classified drone history that somebody let get public by accident.)

Offline edkyle99

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #24 on: 08/15/2009 03:13 AM »

There's a picture of one of these pancaked on a highway somewhere.  I think they had a flight control failure.  If memory serves, that exposed the program.  It is also shown, but not explained, in the book Lightning Bugs and Other Reconnaissance Drones.  (There's a story behind that book.  I don't know the full details, but apparently it was a classified drone history that somebody let get public by accident.)

I have that book, which still amazes.  The horizon to horizon photo returned from one drone taken as it flew *under* a high voltage power line deep inside North Vietnam while people stood below, gaping up at the unmanned jet, is alone worth the price of the book.  Compass Arrow and something even bigger called Compass Cope are shown in drawings presented in the book, with little or no description in the text. 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline JosephB

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #25 on: 08/15/2009 04:24 AM »
"The horizon to horizon photo returned from one drone taken as it flew *under* a high voltage power line deep inside North Vietnam while people stood below, gaping up at the unmanned jet, is alone worth the price of the book."


I got a good belly laugh at that one, quite the visual.
How do you say "CHEESE" in vietnamese?

So many great books to get...

Offline JosephB

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #26 on: 08/15/2009 10:54 PM »
Would it be fair to say the need for a winged vehicle to make a high speed intel run is history with the advance of sats? As much as I'd like to hope there was a follow on to the A-12, I just can't see what you could do that a sat couldn't.

Tactical & loiter are another thing of course.
I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good book on the P3 Orion that had to land in china? Any comment on how much damage was done or did the crew manage to take care of the critical items? Sorry for getting off topic.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #27 on: 08/16/2009 02:23 AM »
1-Would it be fair to say the need for a winged vehicle to make a high speed intel run is history with the advance of sats? As much as I'd like to hope there was a follow on to the A-12, I just can't see what you could do that a sat couldn't.

2-Tactical & loiter are another thing of course.

3-I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good book on the P3 Orion that had to land in china? Any comment on how much damage was done or did the crew manage to take care of the critical items? Sorry for getting off topic.

1-Yep.  That's been true since the early 1990s.

2-The term is "persistent surveillance."  Flying over a target at Mach 3 means that you can see that target for a few minutes at most.  But if you're looking for the insurgents planting an improvised explosive device alongside a road, or the terrorist emerging from his house and getting into an SUV, you need to stay overhead for a long time, waiting for something to happen.

3-The pilot of the plane wrote a biography a few years ago.  But it was apparently mostly a personal religious account, not anything about the mission or aftermath.  That was 8 years ago, however.  If the US took an intelligence hit because of it (such as the Chinese learning how to hide their signals), that happened years ago.

The E-3 is being replaced in the next few years.

Offline JosephB

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #28 on: 08/16/2009 04:01 AM »
In your last article you mentioned Dwayne Day watches too much bad television and needs to read more books. Well, my personal TV peeve is Discovery, TLC & History channels should be grounded in science or fact. Monster Quest? What the…
Or how about a team setting up their ghost detecting equipment while filming a paranormal show in “nite shot” mode? Reverse engineering Alien technology at Area 51? How many crab pots can a guy take? Yep, there goes another truck down the ice road. Hope they don’t slip.

I live in MN, I drive a damn ice road 5 months out of the year.
If upgrading to the highest cable tier didn’t soak me for an additional 60 bucks in order to get science channel etc… How about shows with some substance? The latest developments in any science field and it application?

Anyway, sounds like the P8 & (E8)Poseidon will be a real Cadillac.

For those that want a quick summary of the P8:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3936369728460662331
Edit: another neat vid

« Last Edit: 08/18/2009 05:12 AM by JosephB »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #29 on: 08/16/2009 12:08 PM »
In your last article you mentioned Dwayne Day watches too much bad television and needs to read more books.

He does.  The kid needs to get outside more.

In my view, Discovery Channel does a pretty good job with their science documentaries.  It is the History Channel that resorts to a lot of pseudo-science crap.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #30 on: 04/12/2010 02:45 PM »
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1602/1

A bat outta Hell: the ISINGLASS Mach 22 follow-on to OXCART
by Dwayne Day
Monday, April 12, 2010
 
Soon after the U-2 was flying in the latter 1950s, the CIA began work on a successor that eventually resulted in the A-12 OXCART, better known because of its more prominent offspring, the SR-71 Blackbird. The May 1960 shootdown of Francis Gary Powers over the Soviet Union threw ice water on plans to send more manned reconnaissance aircraft over the Soviet Union. Even though CIA officials talked about OXCART missions over the USSR, some of them even flying missions coordinated with satellites far overhead, both politics and the perceived vulnerability of the OXCART to sophisticated defense prevented this from ever happening. But by the mid-1960s the CIA began looking at a potential replacement for the OXCART, a Mach 22 rocket-powered glider known as ISINGLASS.
 
« Last Edit: 04/12/2010 04:54 PM by Blackstar »

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #31 on: 04/12/2010 03:22 PM »
Excellent article, two quick questions.

1. Did the nozzle extension extend while the engine was running vs. shutting down in flight, extending, restarting?

2. So did your research indicate if lesson's learned applied to the RL-10 nozzle extension?
I just saw some idiot at the gym put a water bottle in the pringles holder on the treadmill.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #32 on: 04/12/2010 03:48 PM »
1-I presume it extended while in operation.  This was a booster, so it burned for a short period and then shut off.

2-I don't know.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #33 on: 04/12/2010 05:31 PM »
Just noticing the Jack screw and wondering if there was a connection to a similar solution.

One and one may not equal two here, but a web image of an RL-102-B showing the screws

http://www.b14643.de/Spacerockets_2/Diverse/US%20engines/RL-10B-2_1.jpg

and your article image

http://www.thespacereview.com/archive/1602b.jpg
 
I just saw some idiot at the gym put a water bottle in the pringles holder on the treadmill.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #34 on: 04/12/2010 06:53 PM »
You can download the report on the XLR-129 engine here:

http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/AD881744

WARNING: this is a 17 megabyte file!

Offline yinzer

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #35 on: 04/12/2010 06:59 PM »
Quote
Pratt & Whitney engineers obviously felt they had a superior product, but what happened to it and why probably requires further investigation.

Bill Mulready's book talks a lot about the XLR-129 and the Space Shuttle and a little about ISINGLASS.  Once you account for his obvious and justifiable personal biases, it seems like a pretty clear chain of events.

NASA issued reliability/reusability and performance goals that in combination were probably out of reach.  Pratt offered an engine that would be reliable and reusable but had a performance hit, while Rocketdyne offered an engine that was lighter but less reliable.  NASA had a long and positive history with Rocketdyne, NASA has always been a sucker for high performance, Pratt was probably going to have their hands full with the F100 turbofan for the F-15 and F-16 anyway, and without the SSME Rocketdyne would have been in a bad spot.  SSME contract goes to Rocketdyne.

The SSME's reliability and reusability turned out to be a problem, and down the road Pratt got a few big contracts to significantly redesign the SSME to enhance reliability at the cost of some weight and performance.
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #36 on: 04/12/2010 10:59 PM »
I was responding to what seems like an urban legend that grew up at P&W that they had a superior product and they got screwed over.  I always doubt those kinds of claims, because the people making them a) are biased, and b) usually lack the information on why decisions were really made.

Offline yinzer

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #37 on: 04/13/2010 02:24 AM »
I agree that most claims of "we had a better product and got screwed over" are self-serving, even if the person making the claim truly believes it.  But in this case it's easy to see why each party thought they had a better product at the time.
California 2008 - taking rights from people and giving rights to chickens.

Offline Graham2001

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #38 on: 04/13/2010 05:14 PM »
You can download the report on the XLR-129 engine here:

http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/AD881744

WARNING: this is a 17 megabyte file!

Interesting, if the Space Review article is correct all documentation on this engine was supposedly destroyed...

Offline Blackstar

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Re: ISINGLASS reconnaissance spaceplane
« Reply #39 on: 04/13/2010 06:01 PM »
Interesting, if the Space Review article is correct all documentation on this engine was supposedly destroyed...

That's not what the article says.  It says "Pratt & Whitney employees later claimed that they were told to destroy their blueprints and test data to “avoid embarrassing NASA."


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