Author Topic: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body  (Read 9622 times)

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #20 on: 03/07/2018 02:11 PM »
Just a question. Since Kodak was in Rochester, N.Y, and since the objective was to get the pictures as fast as possible, I suppose that the lifting body would have landed at a military base close from Rochester ?

It sounds logical, in order to minimize transit time by road or by air, plus I suppose the NRO would be quite nervous about USSR very high-res picture travelling across the U.S countryside, even under cover.

So I wonder, was there an Air Force base near Rochester where the lifting body could have quietly and discretely landed ?

just asking...
Well, it wouldn't be "quiet" with the sonic boom announcing it's arrival... ;) ;D
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #21 on: 03/07/2018 02:29 PM »
Another Babylon 5 episode reference.  Thank you, Dwayne!  (Season 5, episode 17) 8)

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Offline Blackstar

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #22 on: 03/07/2018 02:35 PM »
Just a question. Since Kodak was in Rochester, N.Y, and since the objective was to get the pictures as fast as possible, I suppose that the lifting body would have landed at a military base close from Rochester ?

I lived in Rochester and liked it. But the weather is not great. You want clear skies and low winds to catch a vehicle hanging under a parachute, and Rochester and upstate New York doesn't have that.

I suspect that if they had pursued this, they would have brought the reentry vehicle down either at Edwards or in Nevada. Reentry could start off the West Coast (Alaska, Canada) and then direct it inland.

Also, bringing a space vehicle down in New York would attract a lot of attention and people would ask why they were doing that. And then people might say "Kodak is not far away and they do film..." So it would be bad for secrecy. Nevada is better.

If they did the catch with a C-130, I don't know if they would just send the aircraft all the way to Rochester, or if they'd land and transfer the film to a C-135 that could go faster.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2018 02:46 PM by Blackstar »

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #23 on: 03/07/2018 03:18 PM »
Just a question. Since Kodak was in Rochester, N.Y, and since the objective was to get the pictures as fast as possible, I suppose that the lifting body would have landed at a military base close from Rochester ?

It sounds logical, in order to minimize transit time by road or by air, plus I suppose the NRO would be quite nervous about USSR very high-res picture travelling across the U.S countryside, even under cover.

So I wonder, was there an Air Force base near Rochester where the lifting body could have quietly and discretely landed ?

just asking...
Griffiss AFB was a SAC base near Rome, NY in that timeframe.  However, I doubt there would be enough cross-range capability to reenter over water and land in the Eastern US.  I would guess reentry over the Pacific, landing at Edwards AFB, and then flying the film to Rochester would be more likely.

Don't forget, the Seneca Army Depot was also just outside of Rochester in Romulus had a long runway. Being a nuclear (alleged) munitions depot it would had the extra security and been perfect for black programs.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2018 03:20 PM by kevin-rf »
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Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #24 on: 03/07/2018 03:38 PM »
Following on the idea to land a film receptacle lifting body RV in upstate NY, near(er) the Kodak facilities in Rochester:

Was it ever considered to co-locate the RV re-entry over-land range, the facility to receive the RV and its film, AND the film processing facility?  (Co-location meaning all within a 50 or 100 km distance of each other.)

Vandenberg?
Edwards?
Nevada Test Range?
White Sands?
Dugway/Utah Test Range?

I figure there would be (many?) reasons not to, but did anyone analyze this?  Just a thought.
« Last Edit: 03/07/2018 03:41 PM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Jim

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #25 on: 03/07/2018 04:57 PM »
where the lifting body could have quietly and discretely landed ?


No such thing.  There will always be sonic booms

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #26 on: 03/07/2018 06:05 PM »
I figure there would be (many?) reasons not to, but did anyone analyze this?  Just a thought.

There were two locations: Kodak in Rochester, and Westover AFB in Massachusetts.

There was a lot of logic to Kodak in Rochester. That's where all the expertise was. Keep in mind that the engineers and technicians who worked for Kodak were the best in the world at film technology, both the manufacturing and the processing. It's not really like you would train some people and then have them go work elsewhere; you'd want the processing facility where the geniuses did all their other work. They really were held in very high esteem by the US scientific leadership and intelligence community. I don't know much about the particulars, but they were apparently able to get more data out of film by treating each roll differently. I don't know how they would know what would work best ahead of time, but maybe they would develop a few exposures at the beginning of a real, look at them, and then adjust the chemistry for the rest of the roll.


Offline kevin-rf

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #27 on: 03/07/2018 10:32 PM »
Kodak use to keep detail records beyond just the lot number on every roll of film they produced, even consumer film. I would hazard they knew everything in every step in the manufacturing process, from where on the web it came, the conditions and age of all chemicals used, temperatures, humidity, crystal structure, everything. Kodak was crazy, in college I spent a semester working in the single use camera group with the people who developed Kodak's Disc camera, instant camera, and single use camera's. They lived and breathed film.   

My point, before developing the film they knew more about each roll of film than you than you most likely know about yourself.
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Offline GClark

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #28 on: 03/08/2018 08:07 AM »
From Andreas Parsch at designation-systems.net:

"The X-23A designation is generally attributed to the Martin Marietta SV-5D PRIME unmanned lifting body reentry test vehicle, but available USAF nomenclature records show that X-23A was never actually assigned. On 16 November 1965, the designation X-23A was requested for the SV-5P [sic!] vehicle, which is known to have been designated as X-24A in mid-1967 (see next paragraph). The vehicle description accompanying the designation request of 1965 clearly describes the SV-5P as a low-speed (Mach 2 to landing) manned lifting-body aircraft. However, in a letter dated 15 December 1965, the request was disapproved for the reason that the subject aircraft was unmanned (at that time, the aircraft designation system was still used as originally intended in 1962, i.e. for manned aircraft only)! This appears to be very weird indeed, but apparently there was a severe misunderstanding regarding the nature of the research aircraft at the office which had to approve the designation.

In late 1966, the offices responsible for the USAF's lifting body reentry programs again pondered the question how to designate the test vehicles. After a stillborn proposal to introduce a completely new designation category for gliding reentry vehicles, it was decided that the best way to go was to request the designations X-23A for the unmanned SV-5D PRIME and X-24A for the manned SV-5P. X-24A was accordingly requested and approved, but it appears that no actual request for X-23A was ever sent to the nomenclature office. Reasons are unknown, but maybe it was realized that an MDS request for an unmanned vehicle was futile, especially when the rejection of the 1965 request for X-23A explicitly said that unmanned aircraft need no designation. Whatever the reasons, the designation X-23A was never even requested for, let alone allocated to, the SV-5D PRIME vehicle."

FWIW...


Offline Rocket Science

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #29 on: 03/08/2018 11:54 AM »
Just a question. Since Kodak was in Rochester, N.Y, and since the objective was to get the pictures as fast as possible, I suppose that the lifting body would have landed at a military base close from Rochester ?

It sounds logical, in order to minimize transit time by road or by air, plus I suppose the NRO would be quite nervous about USSR very high-res picture travelling across the U.S countryside, even under cover.

So I wonder, was there an Air Force base near Rochester where the lifting body could have quietly and discretely landed ?

just asking...
Griffiss AFB was a SAC base near Rome, NY in that timeframe.  However, I doubt there would be enough cross-range capability to reenter over water and land in the Eastern US.  I would guess reentry over the Pacific, landing at Edwards AFB, and then flying the film to Rochester would be more likely.

Don't forget, the Seneca Army Depot was also just outside of Rochester in Romulus had a long runway. Being a nuclear (alleged) munitions depot it would had the extra security and been perfect for black programs.
Those deer are probably robo-snipers... ;D
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Offline kevin-rf

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #30 on: 03/08/2018 03:45 PM »
The Depo is famous for having the largest white deer herd on the planet.
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #31 on: 03/08/2018 11:02 PM »
More info on PRIME and ASSET here:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36029.0

Blackstar, I'm always impressed by your work.
F=ma

Thank you, that is most kind. I'm never even sure that anybody's paying much attention.

Coming up:

-the decision to build the KH-11 KENNEN
-astronauts on MOL

(And after that: 2001: A Space Odyssey, QUILL, HIGHER BOY, a book review or two, and maybe I'll revisit the SIGINT satellite stuff, and I still really want to write about UPWARD/LMSS in detail. But my day job keeps getting in the way of my hobby...)

Offline Blackstar

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #32 on: 03/08/2018 11:42 PM »
Kodak use to keep detail records beyond just the lot number on every roll of film they produced, even consumer film. I would hazard they knew everything in every step in the manufacturing process, from where on the web it came, the conditions and age of all chemicals used, temperatures, humidity, crystal structure, everything. Kodak was crazy, in college I spent a semester working in the single use camera group with the people who developed Kodak's Disc camera, instant camera, and single use camera's. They lived and breathed film.   

My point, before developing the film they knew more about each roll of film than you than you most likely know about yourself.

Here is the official history of the Kodak facility:

http://www.nro.gov/history/csnr/programs/docs/prog-hist-06.pdf

There's also an official history of the processing facility at Westover:

http://www.nro.gov/foia/declass/asfp.html

http://www.nro.gov/foia/declass/historical/15-02.PDF

http://www.nro.gov/foia/declass/historical/15-03.PDF

http://www.nro.gov/foia/declass/historical/15-04.PDF
« Last Edit: 03/08/2018 11:49 PM by Blackstar »

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: PRIME X-23 Lifting Body
« Reply #33 on: 03/10/2018 01:48 AM »
Thanks for the link
If you're happy and you know it,
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