Author Topic: NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane  (Read 4759 times)

Offline Brian da Basher

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NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane
« on: July 15, 2014, 03:42:00 AM »
The NASA X-planes are truly legendary. From the nascent X-1 which broke the sound barrier to the X-15 which set the stage for manned space flight, these aircraft have earned their prominent place in the annals of aviation. Except for the utterly unknown Bell X-37.





Why would NASA sweep such an iconic-looking aircraft under the rug? On the surface, the X-37 seemed to have all the right stuff.





Yet no aviation history even mentions the needle-nosed record-contender. Not one entry on the X-37 is to be found in Jane's All the World's Aircraft nor is it noted anywhere in official NASA records. How can this be?



Such a thoroughbred certainly deserves at least a footnote, right?





Unfortunately, the X-37 was anything but the stuff of legend. While looking sharp enough to cut the very wind, the Bell X-37 suffered from incurable control problems. After dropped from the B-52 mother ship, the test-pilot put the experimental rocketplane into a climb, but the aircraft instead did an outside Cuban 8 which lit up the night sky.



It took much blackmail from the FBI's secret files to keep this screw-up secret and no answer was ever found for the X-37's control problems. Finally, the X-37 was tested to destruction trying to solve the riddle.





Bell Aircraft would never build another X-plane (or anything else) for NASA and today this useless step in man's effort to conquer space is completely forgotten, save for these top-secret Polaroids smuggled out of Muroc.



Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: July 15, 2014, 04:14:11 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline Cliffy B

  • Ship Whiffer Extraordinaire...master of Beyond Visual Range Modelling
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Re: NASA Bell X37 rocketplane
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2014, 03:46:03 AM »
That's what you get for ripping off the Lighting Bell!!!!  ;D

Another great one Brian!!
"Radials growl, inlines purr, jets blow!"  -Anonymous

"Helos don't fly.  They vibrate so violently that the ground rejects them."  -Tom Clancy

"If all else fails, call in an air strike."  -Anonymous

Offline Brian da Basher

  • He has an unnatural attraction to Spats...and a growing fascination with airships!
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Re: NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2014, 03:52:21 AM »
This all began with a Tamiya 1/100 B.A.C. Lightning I picked up on the cheap.



I had the nose from an F-104 rattling around in the spares box which wasn't a bad fit. The upper wings from a small-scale Space Shuttle backed with card were substituted for the kit wings.







I covered up the slots for the horiz. stabs. with 1/144 torpedo halves.



The last step was rounding off the tail and ventral fins to match the new wingtips.



The model was brush-painted by hand with acrylics and decals are from spares and a nameless, dwindling NASA sheet.





I had a lot of fun on this model which took me about four days from start to finish. A tip 'o the pin to Jeff & Bill for sending me the Space Shuttle.



I hope you enjoyed the X-37 and reading about yet more esoteric aviation history.

Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: July 15, 2014, 04:08:52 AM by Brian da Basher »

Offline kitnut617

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Re: NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2014, 04:46:30 AM »
Now that I like --- brilliant stuff BdB ---   :)

Offline finsrin

  • The Dr Frankenstein of the modelling world...when not hiding from SBA
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Re: NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2014, 05:53:56 AM »
Ditto what kitnut617 said :)
Appreciate your research into X-37 mystery.  Always wondered what happend to/with it.
No kits of X-37 are available.  Yet you had the kitbash vision to build near identical likeness ;)

Offline jcf

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Re: NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2014, 08:50:48 AM »
Another great addition to BdB's alt-X Plane list.  :)

So what does the whole Bashverse list look like?, and where does it divert from the OTL.  ;)
“Conspiracy theory’s got to be simple.
Sense doesn’t come into it. People are
more scared of how complicated shit
actually is than they ever are about
whatever’s supposed to be behind the
conspiracy.”
-The Peripheral, William Gibson 2014

Online Dr. YoKai

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Re: NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2014, 08:02:12 AM »
 Rocket planes are the bomb.

 Beautiful work as always, Brian!

Offline Weaver

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Re: NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2014, 05:11:15 PM »
That's great - really looks the part with that nose, and I've always liked the idea of a delta-Lightning!  8)
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

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Offline Tophe

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Re: NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2014, 06:50:24 PM »
Wonderful! :-*

Offline mrvr6

  • Accidentally created a Tejas….
Re: NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2014, 07:21:01 PM »
oh i like that  8)

Offline Claymore

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Re: NASA Bell X-37 rocketplane
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2014, 04:41:03 AM »
Yes, yes... a never ending supply of Lightnings. Very cool  8)
Friendly fire isn't and suppressive fire rarely does!