March 06, 2006
Serves Me Right for not Checking the Mail Box Earlier

Because otherwise Fark wouldn't have beaten me to this Aviation Week story summarizing all they know about what might be a two-stage-to-orbit spacecraft system the US Air Force has been operating for perhaps the past 16 years:

A large "mothership," closely resembling the U.S. Air Force's historic XB-70 supersonic bomber, carries the orbital component conformally under its fuselage, accelerating to supersonic speeds at high altitude before dropping the spaceplane. The orbiter's engines fire and boost the vehicle into space. If mission requirements dictate, the spaceplane can either reach low Earth orbit or remain suborbital.

They're publishing all this because the whole program has apparently been shelved. If it existed at all. Which it might not, but probably does. Ain't black government programs fun?

Posted by scott at March 06, 2006 08:55 AM

eMail this entry!

It's more Powerpoint engineering. Sure, there may have been some money thrown around, but in the end it probably wasn't anything more than a few posters, a presentation, and some models.

Although I'm sure that it had a completely-staffed four-level management structure right from day one. After all, those B-school grads have to go somewhere!

Posted by: DensityDuck on March 6, 2006 11:49 AM
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