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  Aviation Week: Operational spaceplane shelved?

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Author Topic:   Aviation Week: Operational spaceplane shelved?
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 03-05-2006 10:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Aviation Week & Space Technology:

Two-Stage-to-Orbit 'Blackstar' System Shelved at Groom Lake?
By William B. Scott
03/05/2006 04:07:33 PM

quote:
For 16 years, Aviation Week & Space Technology has investigated myriad sightings of a two-stage-to-orbit system that could place a small military spaceplane in orbit. 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. 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 to only a few insiders. U.S. intelligence agencies may have quietly mothballed a highly classified two-stage-to-orbit spaceplane system designed in the 1980s for reconnaissance, satellite-insertion and, possibly, weapons delivery. It could be a victim of shrinking federal budgets strained by war costs, or it may not have met performance or operational goals.

This two-vehicle "Blackstar" carrier/orbiter system may have been declared operational during the 1990s.


Read the full article here.

dtemple
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From: Longview, Texas, USA
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posted 03-06-2006 12:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like the U.S. had some secret astronauts. Now how does a collector fill-in these voids in their collection?!

eurospace
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From: Brussels, Belgium
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posted 03-06-2006 01:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dtemple:
Looks like the U.S. had some secret astronauts. Now how does a collector fill-in these voids in their collection?!

Secretely, of course. ;-)


------------------
Jürgen P Esders
Berlin, Germany
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Astroaddies

skippy in space
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From: Aberdeen Scotland
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posted 03-06-2006 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for skippy in space   Click Here to Email skippy in space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What month is the magazine issue, March or April?

newsartist
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posted 03-06-2006 03:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for newsartist   Click Here to Email newsartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is this week's issue. The online version had the article a couple days earlier than the hard copy arrives.

burnsnz
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posted 03-06-2006 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for burnsnz   Click Here to Email burnsnz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember a recent episode of "The West Wing" where the ISS was leaking, and the shuttle fleet was grounded so there were no rescue options.

This dealt with the fact that there was a secret Military Shuttle - maybe the script writers knew something as well......

CJC
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posted 03-06-2006 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CJC   Click Here to Email CJC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, that is a very interesting article. I wonder if this spacelane really exists. Imagine if a "west wing" scenario happens and it's existence is officially revealed?

CJC

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
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posted 03-06-2006 06:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Of course, it's related to the Columbia accident, but now I wonder if the 2010 retirement date for Shuttle is related to a second-generation military spaceplane....

issman1
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posted 03-07-2006 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If this spaceplane truly exists, then the US government has no right to complain about any other nation's military space efforts.
My main bone of contention is that the US taxpayer may well have paid unknown billions of dollars for some Pentagon pet-project while civilian NASA Space Shuttles struggled two decades to fulfil their raison detre.
Additionally, attempts to replace the Shuttle with NASP, VentureStar and Orbital Space Plane came and went with hundreds of millions of dollars wasted. Disgraceful !
Is it any wonder the majority of people frown upon today's space programme as a needless luxury ?

DavidH
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From: Huntsville, AL, USA
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posted 03-08-2006 11:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So, I ask the illustrious, informed cS crowd --

Believe it or not?

------------------
http://allthese worlds.net/space/
"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
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posted 03-08-2006 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
My main bone of contention is that the US taxpayer may well have paid unknown billions of dollars for some Pentagon pet-project while civilian NASA Space Shuttles struggled two decades to fulfil their raison detre.
Additionally, attempts to replace the Shuttle with NASP, VentureStar and Orbital Space Plane came and went with hundreds of millions of dollars wasted. Disgraceful !
Is it any wonder the majority of people frown upon today's space programme as a needless luxury ?


I could be wrong, but I always thought that the individual components of the budget were separated by department. That is, there is no saying, "Gee, let's cut $400 million from NASA and give it to the Defense Department," that all the departments submit their request irrespective of what another government department wants.

I would also submit that anyone who views the amount the space program spends as needless (and I'm not picking on you, issman1) ask their congressman/woman when's the last time they cut back on projects for their district, or ask how much is wasted by the Department of Health and Human Services.

I would also submit that if there is a secret spaceplane, that the technology may be so classified that only a few people know about it - even within the company - and therefore the technology is not transferable between projects, which is why this spaceplane (assuming it does exist) succeeded while others like NASP, VentureStar, etc. failed.

As well, boosting two military pilots, in pressure suits, to orbit is easier than boosting 380 people in their shirt-sleeves on a suborbital trajectory to Tokyo. There's a whole mess of regulations and considerations one has to take in account for the latter than in the former.

OV-105
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posted 03-08-2006 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well all I can say is it sure sounds possible. Remember the SR-71, F-117, and B-2? These programs were all black programs that did see the light of day. That dose not mean thtat others have not stayed in the black.

Rodina
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posted 03-09-2006 12:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rodina   Click Here to Email Rodina     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
Additionally, attempts to replace the Shuttle with NASP, VentureStar and Orbital Space Plane came and went with hundreds of millions of dollars wasted. Disgraceful !

If this story is true, the money dumped into that stuff ended up being funneled into this hardware. Fine by me.

karlitko
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posted 03-09-2006 02:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for karlitko   Click Here to Email karlitko     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by OV-105:
That dose not mean thtat others have not stayed in the black.

Yes, few black projects are still in the black.
Some test pilots (e.g. David Ferguson, Joe Lanni and others) admit that they have tested SEVERAL aircraft still not unveiled.

Karel

albatron@aol.com
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posted 03-09-2006 07:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron@aol.com   Click Here to Email albatron@aol.com     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had one lifting body test pilot tell me he saw stuff at Groom Lake during the LB tests that was so secret, he wondered if it would ever be revealed. And apparently it still hasn't.

Was this particular project real? Fact is, who knows. Aviation "Leak" & Space Technology is generally accurate and while they missed the specificity of the F-117 when it was being tested and crashed, they had it about 80% correct.

I do believe, as this test pilot related, there is stuff there we cannot imagine.

As for funding, black ops funding is a whole different bag. There is not one slash from this budget or that budget to enhance black projects. Believe me, they have more money than you can imagine.

DavidH
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From: Huntsville, AL, USA
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posted 03-10-2006 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceDaily has an article today saying "this report is almost certainly bogus."
Blackstar A False Messiah From Groom Lake

That said, there's a certain irony to an article that tells you to consider the source of the rumors that's written by Jeffrey Bell.

------------------
http://allthese worlds.net/space/
"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

[This message has been edited by collectSPACE Admin (edited March 22, 2006).]

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-22-2006 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Along the same lines as the SpaceDaily article cited above, is an article by Dwayne Day for The Space Review: Six blind men in a zoo: Aviation Week’s mythical Blackstar

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-05-2006 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceWorks Engineering has released a white paper on the "Possible Existence of the "Blackstar" Orbital Spaceplane System" - in brief, their conclusion is that:
quote:
...it can be surmised that, from an extended aerospace engineering standpoint, such a crewed reusable two-stage-to-orbit vehicle system might be considered a "doable proposition."
Download the white paper as a PDF here.

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