This drawing from the magazine Air Force and Space Digest shows a proposed NASA “ONE-STAGE-TO-ORBIT” aerospace plane. The craft would be able to take off from a regular airport using turbojet engines, then switch to ramjet propulsion at supersonic speed. To reach orbital speed in space, the aerospace plane would use a third set of engines using rocket propulsion.
In the drawing (above) the combination turbo-ramjet engines are housed in pods, just inside the vertical tailfins (on either side). The huge scoop atop the rear half of the fuselage contains the rocket engines and a novel collection and compression unit for gathering oxygen to burn in the rockets. The other propellant would be liquid oxygen carried in the craft’s tanks.
After it’s orbital mission, the aerospace plane would be able to reenter the atmosphere and land as a conventional aircraft at an airfield. The craft would be about 90 feet long and weigh some 100,000 pounds.
CREDIT LINE (UPI PHOTO) 7-21-62 (ML)
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL ROTO SERVICE
Image credit: USAF
Image source: Numbers Station