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Posted by: FerrisValyn - Mon Mar 06, 2006 2:37 pm
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Space Station Commander
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Post    Posted on: Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:30 pm
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Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:25 am
Posts: 887
Post    Posted on: Thu May 18, 2006 6:09 pm
Some thoughts on Blackstar by a modeler with many contacts in the aerospace field:
I have just reviewed the Aviation Week article about that Blackstar
spaceplane, and i must say that in all evidence, most if not all of
which is yet another disinformation story (go see the website "Above
top secret" and you will find out that several knowledgable people
agree on this.

Just for a short resume, because the whole story will take several
long articles which i plan to post later on, i conducted a 4 year
and a half inquiry on what is generally known as "Aurora" (whatever
that project may be, real or imagined that this purportedly black
project code name may hide) starting back in 1998, which started
with almost a full year of research on all the disinformation
stories out there, and there were many of them, both in publications
and on the web, most of them originating in.. Aviation Week.

For your information, i personally interviewed William Scott during
the course of my research, specifically on the article about the
infamous "flying pumpkin seed" supposed secret military space
shuttle published and authored by him in Aviation Week. I also spoke
to other journalist who know him. What he had to say and what i
learned from the other (very well known) journalist was most
interesting to say the least. Basically the way it is, William Scott
gets excited about a story of a black project aircraft, and then
gets "leads" (most of which are unverifyiable, or questionnable at
best), or even just one lead, and publish a story, with many
eyewitnesses that i would call questionnable too, as they always
remain unnamed, or are people who push a whole series of black
project aircrafts on their personal websites, and who sometime live
from publishing such stories (so many black aircrafts where shown on
the website of one such eyewitness that even the entire black budget
could not cover for the cost of half of them).

The person who drew that "pumpkin seed" space shuttle thing in the
early 1990's or around the end of the 1980's (i"ll post the exact
reference later on, as i am not at home now) was a well known
aviation artist who had previously worked for a big contractor. I
tried to contact him many times during the time of my search, but to
no avail. He never replied. This guy appeared on the Art Bell show
(that should tell you a thing or two about his story), by which time
his "pumpkin seed" drawing had grown two tails (!) (one below
fuselage, and one on top) and then had gained a full SR-71 front
fuselage to it.. (!).
When i showed drawings of the thing that illustrator of the
Aviation Week "flying pumpkin seed" story by William Scott had
described in detail on the Art Bell show to a well known aerospace
propulsion engineer, the only thing right about it was the frontal
cross section (!), which was correct for an hypersonic vehicule, but
everything else about it (from the buried inlets to the (totally
ineffective) exhausts (which were merely small holes distributed on
the tail of that vehicule..) was totally wrong (including that
negative trailing edge (remember if you saw those drawings in AW&ST,
the "pumpkin seed" shuttle had the shape of a losange !! (not
something you would like to do for any hypersonic vehicule: too much
drag ! (and almost not control).

In any case, same author, but different secret airplane story..
(though they both seem to come under what "Aurora" would be).
As for the illustrator of that pumpkin seed, i also heard
more about him through the same journalist i talked to about William
Scott, and about Bill he said that "AW usually keep him under
control" (so that he won"t publish too far out stories like what
happened about that pumpkin seed thingy..).

Also, many of the stories that originated in AW&ST about Aurora as
well as on many websites, some of people who are well known book
authors of NASA, military and hypersonic aircrafts have all had the
same "source" at one point (!),someone who was posting on the DLR
website (Dreamland Resort) under a nickname and borrowed names
(which he changes quite frequently) and who is a disinformation
agent, and an OSI agent.. (i should know about it.. as i ran into
him during my search on the Lockheed FDL-5.. we talked, and he told
me he was an OSI agent.. ahem... gulp... no kidding... (he even
said he was "retired".. since a few weeks.. (me i say he was still
active). The same journalist i talked to about Bill Scott knows well
about him. The author of the NASA X-Planes book also was quoting
this guy as a source.. This guy disinformed quite a lot of people. I
still have pictures he sent me when i was at DLR website, where he
was "leaking" like there is no tomorrow at the time i was posting
about FDL-5 there for the first time.
One picture he sent me is supposedly of the Lockheed HGV in a wind
test tunnel..
(as well as other stuff, including a full size mock-up of some
hypersonic spaceplane project from the 1960's which i had never seen
before, but which he tried to pass to me as being "FDL-5"...).

I showed that "HGV" picture to another engineer, because i thought
it looked fishy (did not look exactly like the HGV (Hypersonic Glide
Vehicule), which is a large winged Lockheed classified missile, of
which only one illustration publicly exist (shown in Lockheed
Horizons, under the nickname AXE (same vehicule, different version).
not much came out of it, because the leaker was never answering my
questions for more details about what he was posting or saying to
me.. instead, he would leak something else which had no relation
about what i was researching, and would send me in all kinds of
directions (the wrong ones), as this is what they usually do: to
make you waste time on dead end stories and non-existing projects.
In any case, i did not publish the picture, because i sensed that
might be a trap. Funnily, the DLR website DID publish it and posted
proudly: picture of the HGV in a wind test tunnel (!).
(in any case, if that was HGV, it did not have wings ! (maybe)(and
no vertical fins (it should have 4). It was just a simple cone-
cylinder, as shown on the picture. I'll post much more info
pertaining to that later, as i have lots of stuff at home.

In any case, all that to say that in 4 years and a half of research,
you see lots of things, you meet lots of.. interesting people.. and
you find lots of stories that do not hold much truth. But you also
find lots of interesting, factual stuff, very fascinating stuff,
lots of which i will publish here and in other venues.

Stephane Cochin.
Stratosphere Models.

The "new" story of a TSTO hypersonic launcher
system called Blackstar is another disinformation story.

The reason the Lockheed D-21 drone initially failed when launched
from the top of the M-12 motherplane (the D-21 drone carrier-
launcher version of the Lockheed A-12 Mach 3.5 spyplane) was because
they used pyrotechical separation of the ceramic and metal nose cone
that covered the nose of the D-21 prior to ignition of its ramjet
engine. When that manoeuver happened, the M-12 and drone were
already flying at over Mach 3... so imagine the damage the dynamic
force of the stream of air caused when it slammed the nose cone
parts back into the M-12 and D-21...
I wrote to Ben Rich a few years back about that very problem with a
series of drawings, as i was trying to make a painting showing the
separation sequence, and i wanted to get my facts right, he replied
through his flight test engineer, Keith Beswick, who flew back seat
in the M-12 :) (and who confirmed what i suspected: the debris
would have slammed into the M-12 due to the pyrotechnic separation
(and breaking up of) the nose cone cover.

There was nothing wrong with the back launch of the D-21 from the M-
12, in fact, this is one of the ONLY two safe places from which to
launch another vehicule at high speeds or at hypersonic speeds :
either from the back, or from a tube in exiting in the tailcone (a
la A-5 Vigilante). That's because dynamic forces are lesser on the
back of a Mach 3 or of an hypersonic aircraft on its back. That<s
also why the skin of an hypersonic aircraft is also less thick on
its back (!). If you study the construction blueprints for
hypersonic vehicules (exemple: X-24 C), you will see this clearly
The more thick panels are usually on the nose and underside of the
fuselage, and on the leading edges of the fuselage and wings, and
the base of fins.
You can see that the thickness of outer skin panels follow the areas
where the flow of air gets the hottest on the airframe (i am
refering to all metal airframes here, not the Nasa type Shuttle
vehicules covered with RSI tiles). That's where the "stagnation" of
the flow of air gets the highest (read hottest).
And as we are talking also about flow, it also means more turbulent
air, in those regions where it gets hotter.

In fact, the M-12 never had to make a negative G pushover. The D-21
was released by a piston hidden inside the pylon (!) which pushed it
up and away.

So, in the case of a TSTO, you would never want to launch or carry
it from under the fuselage. It immediately makes the Blackstar story
and drawing as yet another disinformation story.
It remember not without a bit of amusement, my conversation with a
well known hypersonic propulsion engineer who had worked on many of
the lifting body projects from the 1960's, including FDL-7 MC,
he said that Aviation Week would also be an ideal vehicule for
disinformation stories (meaning, check your sources.. and he then
sent me a list of 70 technical papers i should read (!) to know more
about hypersonics (and avoid the trap and pitfalls of disinformation
stories), several of which authored by him, and by Fred Billig if i
remember well.

Best regards,

Stephane Cochin,
Stratosphere Models

Yah, i now remember the name of the aviation artist who had authored
the "Flying pumpkin seed" hypersonic space shuttle drawings from the
William B. Scott article of the early 1990's or late 1980's.

It is Mark McCandlish.
(and it is this guy who was on the Art Bell show about the same
story, but with a "pumpkin seed" which had by then considerably
morphed in shape..). And the way it sounded from the article and
from what i learned later on, it seem it may even be Mark McCandlish
who was acting as the disinformation channel in that article,
pushing the "pumpkin seed" shape and sightings, or pushing his own
sources for sightings of such.

Popular Science (or Pop Mech, i forgot which one) then picked up the
same story and the same sources.. (with a different artist this
time, but same pumpkin seed vehicule) without questionning any of
the sources of the AW article.. (they did not do much in depth
research.. as usual).

Just out of curiosity, can anyone tell me who is the author of the
artist concept drawing in the new Aviation Week article on
the "Blackstar" TSTO "black project" of last month ?

(I don't have access to that copy of Aviation Week right now).


Stephane Cochin.
Stratosphere Models.

He is quite talented

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