These guys crack me up.
I get a shrug every time I ask anyone who might have an interesting answer to this question: “Why is there so much numeric symbolism in the visual imagery of the USAF (especially “black” projects)?”
This photograph clearly depicts five crew members and two vehicles, possible a coded boast they are at Area 52 of the Groom Lake facility in Nevada. It seems a little far-fetched until you see some of the insignia made visible by FOIA requests.
In fact, it’s public knowledge that OXCART did operate out of Area 51.
I’m sure it’s just a funny coincidence that the vehicle’s test range operating from the continental US would put the Russian capitol in reach.
After reaching an undisclosed altitude, the aircraft jettisoned from its protective cover atop the rocket, then nose-dived back toward Earth, leveled out and glided above the Pacific at 20 times the speed of sound, or Mach 20. The plan was for the Falcon to speed westward for about 30 minutes before plunging into the ocean near Kwajalein Atoll, about 4,000 miles from Vandenberg.
So, the idea is to build something like an ICBM MIRV, but with control surfaces so you can change its persistent re-entry vector through the thinnest edges of the earth’s atmosphere. The vehicle might actually resemble a stone skipping across the surface of the earth’s atmosphere. Or, a cigarette racing boat leaping across the water. The rudder does no good when it’s not in the water.
I don’t have anything — I just wanted to see how the title looked.
Found this in LA Public Library from 1961.
Link to photo page here: http://photos.lapl.org/carlweb/jsp/FullRecord?databaseID=968&record=2&controlNumber=78802
It looks kinda like a Space Shuttle, but it’s markings are Air Force, not NASA.
“Today, we took another important step with the successful launch of the second OTV, enabling the [Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office] to further experiment with the vehicle and its ability to operate in low-Earth orbit,” Cooning continued. “Close teamwork between the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, the United Launch Alliance Atlas team, and the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station made this launch a success.”