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Scott Lowther, Monday, 12-2-13 December 3, 2013

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Scott Lowther, Monday, 12-2-13


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Guest:  Scott Lowther.  Topics:  Historical archiving and documenting cancelled aerospace projects.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.

We welcomed Scott Lowther to the program to discuss his Aerospace Projects Review work for cancelled aerospace projects.  In the first segment of our 90 minute program, Scott introduced us to his work and his website http://aerospaceprojectsreview.com.  Also check out his blog at www.aerospaceprojectsreview.com/blog.  In explaining what he does, he talked about the larger aerospace companies, their dismissal of old records and materials, their lack of saving and archiving even important files and plans.  Boeing was the one exception to this practice.  He then described his experience at the Boeing archive library & the type of data he found there, including hardware samples.  We talked about why companies don’t save and archive material. Besides the more typical reasons including costs, space, and things like that, he said that there might be some documents that an attorney could get a hold of in researching a liability case and use something in the report, even a 20 year old report, as cause against the company in possible litigation.  Scott also talked about companies using a storage facility under control and management of Iron Mountain Data and Storage Backup.  One of his favorite projects was the X-20 Dyno-Soar and we talked about this vehicle project in detail.  On his website, you will also see his U.S. Bomber Series drawings and information.  In discussing this series, our guest was asked what the first U.S. bomber was.  He cited a biplane bomber used against Pancho Villa.  We talked about specific aviation projects such as the A-12 Flying Wing.  Another favorite project was the Orion nuclear propulsion vehicle of which our guest had much to say.  Toward the end of this segment, Anthony called in to talk more about the X 20.

In the second segment, we started out with Scott providing us with the mechanics of his website, products he sells, signing up for info on his email list, blue prints for famous projects such as the Saturn 5, and more.  Scott was asked about the impact of ITAR regulations on archiving material and he shared a KSC story about this with us.  Later in the segment, we talked about the smaller private companies saving material and projects that were cancelled or not developed.  He said this was up to the companies and they may not do it for cost and space reasons.  He mentioned that he did have good information on the Kistler Aerospace project.  He was then asked about the NASA HL20 lifting body.  Toward the end, he talked about the NASA Technical Reports Server (http://ntrs.nasa.gov).

Please post your comments on The Space Show blog above.  You can reach Scott through my email address.


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2. James Fincannon - March 25, 2014

Great show! Yes, it does seem like alot of projects get cancelled prior to completion. This can be discouraging because sometimes it is not clear why. Regarding conceptual designs, there are alot of those that never really go anywhere. Its sort of a survvial of the fittest.

Regarding the interesting story about JFK cancelling Orion, I found a link to that story.
I never realized Orion was like the project described in this link.

Perhaps I was thinking of the Bussard Ramjet.

3. Kelly Starks - December 5, 2013

I’m surprized Scott hasn’t been on before

You know, I’m surprizedI can sympathize with Scotts anguish about what was thrown out that should have gone to a museum. When I started at JSC in ’81 on the shuttle program in the flight planning department – one of mu early tasks was to throw out the archives from the Skylab missions. Draft plans, documents with margin notes from mission planers, etc – all to go into the trash. No they didn’t want to have their NASA historian office look at it etc. Just clear it out. I felt like I was trashing national history.

As to car companies and how much of their designs they archive – its spotty to. Talking to folks who work around GM for instance, they’ve seen multi block long strings of show cars, design study cars, etc. All lined up for a crusher kept around for such purposes. Even cars they loan to car customizer shows to work on, or for supliers to demo their new aftermarket parts on – they all are demanded back and crushed. (Safer with the lawyers.)

On the other hand they have a museum of a couple hundred of their classic cars. No idea what goes where, or how much.

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