Ohio Valley Soaceport

Ohio Valley Soaceport

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lost Opportunities: Missions That Never Flew: Part 4- X-20 Dyna-Soar

A program that never made into space that always intrigued me was the U.S. Air Force's X-20 Dyna-Soar spaceplane from the early 1960's. Born out of the cold war this hypersonic glide rocket weapons system was a "catch-all" platform for orbital reconnaissance, bombing, and satellite repair or sabotage. The program ran from 24 October 1957 to 10 December 1963 and was cancelled just after spacecraft construction had begun.

Sanger Amerika Bomber

The X-20 owes its lineage to the WWII German "Amerika Bomber" designed by Eugen Sanger. The "Amerika Bomber" was a dynamic soaring bomber that was to have the capability to be launched from Europe, rocketed across the Atlantic, bomb its target (Washington or New York), and glide back to Europe.

X-20 with Titan III

The X-20 development reached a point that by 1962 seven pilots were announced including Neil Armstrong. An Air Force Titan III rocket was to be the launch platform for the X-20 and its orbital transstage. The spaceplane was nearing construction when then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara pulled the plug on the funding citing cost overruns and delays.

Below is an interesting video from the early 1960's created by the U.S. Air Force documenting the development of the X-20.

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The X-20 in 1/72 Scale

My scratch-built X-20 Dyna-Soar 
 Although there are available "garage" kits available of the X-20 in 1/72 and 1/48 scales I chose to stretch my modeling skills by going for scratch project of this vehicle. Utilizing available online resources and drawing I essentially carved my X-20 out of balsa wood. Landing struts were from a Revell 1/48 Gemini kit. Decals were aftermarket sets by Microscale. 

The final installment on my "Lost Opportunities" series takes a look at the 1960's Soviet reach for the Moon in 1/96 scale!

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LMV's 1/24 Gemini Interior Set: part 1 

In earlier post I showed a "quick-view" of the new 1/24 scale Gemini Interior set by  LMV Studios.
For this installment I have a few "in-progress" photos of this project. 

The aft bulkhead grafted on to the Revell bulkhead

One of the beautifully detailed Gemini ejection seat. Note: a great deal of care must be exercised in the folding of the photo-etched parts!

Detail parts for the hatch.

The kit instructions call for scratch building a back panel for the PE control panel parts. The detail is stunning!
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That's it for this installment. Happy New Year!!! 


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