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Hypersonic Strategic Weapons System

Compiled and Edited
by Robert Godwin


S u m m a r y

Publisher's Details: APOGEE BOOKS
C. G. Publishing Inc.
3465 Mainway Drive, Unit # 3
Burlington, Ontario L7M 1A9
ISBN: 1-896522-95-5
Media: Paperback - 7" x 10", 464 pages, 16 pages of color pictures. Includes one region free DVD with archival X-20 program footage
Price: Suggested retail: $32.95 USA, $42.95 CAN, £23.95 UK
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Scale drawings, dimensions, photographs of great value to modelers; compelling history; 90 minites of rare DYNA-SOAR footage on DVD.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by David L. Veres

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com




Canadians lament the CF-105. And British mourn the TSR-2. Aerospace history abounds with technologically advanced programs myopically axed by politics and economics.

But few efforts held the promise of America's revolutionary X-20 Dyna-Soar - a remarkable, reusable "space shuttle" originally slated for orbit in the mid-1960's.

Now APOGEE BOOKS has provided a matchless compendium of critical government documents outlining the story of this extraordinary lost opportunity.

Inspired by Eugen Sänger's efforts to develop a sub-orbital intercontinental bomber for Nazi Germany, the design evolved from a successful 1952 initiative by former German General Walter Dornberger.
By 1954, the United States Air Force and Bell Aircraft Company teamed to chart the nascent bomber-reconnaissance weapon system. And five years later, Boeing won the first prime development and manufacturing contract.

Project progress literally pushed the envelope of aerospace research. Eventually dubbed Dyna-Soar - short for DYNAmic SOARer - the spacecraft was designed to reach 18,000 miles per hour and any point on Earth in hours.

Although production had begun and test pilots selected, the X-20 never flew. By program termination in late 1963, the Dyna-Soar effort consumed $430 million of U.S. taxpayer's money - a vital down payment, nonetheless, on S.T.S. Space Shuttle R&D.

Expertly edited by Robert Godwin, the 464-page volume features dozens of chronically arranged archives, data, and promotional material. Modelers will value the book's extraordinary X-20 vehicle details: scale drawings, dimensions, and photographs. Historians will relish Dyna-Soar and booster evolution through the prism of official sources. And technology enthusiasts will marvel at the astonishing number of X-20 program breakthroughs.

But all will appreciate APOGEE's special bonus: a region-free DVD with over 90 minutes of rare Dyna-Soar film footage. Of special interest are the USAF's "1961-1962 Dyna-Soar Progress Report" and "The Story of Dyna-Soar" documentary - the latter bearing striking semblance to Walt Disney's innovative "Man In Space" telecasts.

From airframe design to materials development to crew ergonomics, still-born X-20 technology remains surprisingly valid today. And Robert Godwin's evocative compendium does superb justice to one of aerospace history's great "what ifs".

Highly Recommended.

Available through most bookstores

Review Copyright © 2003 by David L. Veres
This Page Created on 30 August, 2003
Last updated 30 August, 2003

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