Ohio Valley Soaceport

Ohio Valley Soaceport

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Lost Opportunities: Missions That Never Flew: Part 6- Winged Gemini

 After a long absence from the Spaceport I am back with new material. Thank you all for your continued interest in this Blog-spot! I now have over 100,000 hits from all over the world to this site-Thank You!  I hope to not take so long between postings in the future!

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The Air Force 'Winged Gemini' Concept Model

The possibilities that were considered with the 1960's U.S. space program both with NASA and the U.S. Air Force never cease to amaze me. Budgetary concerns, Congressional funding, and advancements in optics made some of these proposed concepts obsolete before the first metal was turned for construction.

I have covered several of these concepts in earlier postings. For this one I am featuring the "winged Gemini" concept that was considered by the U.S. Air Force.

A McDonald-Douglas drawing from the 1960's of a "winged Gemini" concept
. (credit:Encyclopedia Astronautica)
The Air Force looked at several variations on the basic NASA Gemini design. The Rogollo-Wing concept was one. Another the "Big Gemini" intended to haul several astronauts and cargo was another.

If it had not been for the 1968 movie, 'Planet of the Apes' I wonder if maybe the winged Gemini would have never caught the attention of space history buffs. 'Planet of the Apes' features a winged spacecraft dubbed 'Icarus' that crashed in a desert lake at the beginning of the movie. Its design tantalizingly looked remarkably like the Gemini with short delta wings.

The ANSA 'Icarus' from 'The Planet of the Apes'. (credit: uncleodiescollectibles.com
 Supposedly the model makers from 20th Century Fox gleaned the concept from the proposed winged Gemini.
There certainly can be a fair argument for the similarities between the Icarus and winged Gemini.(Credit: Encyclopedia Astronautica)
With just the two illustrations I decided to attempt to do a concept model of the winged prototype. Utilizing spare parts from a 1/48 Revell Gemini kit I kit-bashed the model below. The wings were scratch-built and resin-casted from the polystyrene original.

My concept of the winged Gemini concept.
'Minus -X view. The Adapter Module was fashioned after the Air Forces "Blue Gemini' concept.
The aft view. The Blue Gemini access tunnel for egress into the Manned Orbital Lab.
The bottom view with lower vertical rudder.
A fanciful image of a winged Gemini in low Earth orbit.

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Horizon's 1/72 Scale Mercury Spacecraft

With retirement looming in the next few years I have to consider less space for my model collection. Much of it is systematically being liquidated on EBay. Any replacements of these kits are now limited to 1/144 and 1/72 scales. The Horizon Models company Horizon Plastic Models
from Australia has been producing some exquisite space kits of late. Their first is a 1/72 Mercury kit.

This kit features 2 complete Mercury spacecraft with optional configurations.
 Below are a few photos of my 1/72 scale Horizon Mercury.

Yes, it's tiny!!! (Astronaut figure does not come with the kit!) 
Kit detailing at 1/72 is amazing and accurate!
The retro-pack features photo-etched straps and accurate decal markings!
With the Dragon 1/72 Gemini for comparison.
Here's hoping Horizon will continue producing additional 1/72 scale real space subjects!!! Gemini? Apollo? Russian and Chinese spacecraft???