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Posted: 12/14/2001 9:46:33 AM EDT
You guys remember the reports from the early 90's of sonic booms over southern KA that were reported to be the Aurora hypersonic recon jet that was to replace the SR-71. It was also a part of the Area 51 craze of a couple years ago and both Popular Science and Mechanics had their articles. The Aurora site on the FAS site has been dormant for several years. But the last couple of years, total silence. So what's the latest that people on this have heard, speculate or know about? Did Aurora ever fly, if so when and where the aircraft (spacecraft) located now? Merlin
Link Posted: 12/14/2001 9:50:06 AM EDT
It has flown for years. Since it is so top secret, no one knew.
Link Posted: 12/14/2001 10:03:56 AM EDT
Inside info----I saw photocopies of flight plans.......yep it flew.....and one developed serious trouble in Britain......
Link Posted: 12/14/2001 10:08:09 AM EDT
http://aurorapage.tripod.com/ excellent page
Link Posted: 12/14/2001 10:17:08 AM EDT
Yeah, that's a weird one. Aviation Weekly was doing a lot of articles on a fairly diverse family of black projects in the early 90s, to which a crudload of $$ were being devoted each year. I recall a figure in the tens of billions per year. AWST described a diamond shaped aircraft of some sort. There were also those photos of strange exhaust contrails. "Donuts on a string." Lots of anecdotal evidence, but nothing conclusive. Despite all those interesting and insinuating reports of strange stuff, there hasn't been jack recently. No reports of strange fuselages being loaded into C-5s, nothing. I think the real story is this: the aliens got pissed off and drove their ships away after they found out that General Mills was not going to feature them on the Wheaties box. Seriously though, Merlin, it is a little weird. All that initial evidence, and so little recent evidence. Only explanation is the technology was fundamentally flawed in some way that made further progress impossible. Too expensive, too environmentally damaging, too difficult to maintain, or tactically irrelevant, there must have been something. Maybe it became an embarassment and got swept under the rug.
Link Posted: 12/14/2001 10:30:39 AM EDT
I've done alot of research into it and my hypothsis is that the reason you don't hear much about it anymore is that it's development phase is over, so there's not as much money being syphoned into the program and they are being smarter where they are flying so they don't boom civil centers. Also acording to Popular Mechanics top secret development projects are suppopsedly no longer taking place at Area 51, allegedly some new 'black center' has taken over. So maybe the new area 51 is someplace even more remote like one of the closed down SAC bases in Alaska? Personaly I don't think the Aurora was really ever intended to be a dedicated reconisance craft, but insteade an SSTO. Remember the NASP program in the early 90's, scram jet powered areospace plane? 80% of the funding came from the airforce and as the technologies for it started to mature they sundenly pull out all the funding, can you say black program? Also the Copper Canyon program of the 80's which developed into the NASP also mysteriously dissapeared. It just makes sense that the airforce is oporating an SSTO. Space based weapons and reconisance platforms are the next revolutionary thing in warfare. It only makes sense for the Air Force to develop a reliable means of rapidly getting there. That's my opinion I could be miles off, but I thought I'd throw it in there...and there are NO ALIENS IN AREEA 51!
Link Posted: 12/14/2001 11:09:29 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/14/2001 11:18:37 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/14/2001 11:40:24 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 10:21:59 AM EDT
Thanks for the serious replies. I still have the same impression that it flew, but something didn't work and it was canceled. The web sites have pretty much the same info as they did 2-3 years ago, with nothing really new. One site hasn't even been updated since July, '97! Thanks, Merlin
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 11:18:55 AM EDT
Where's Jimmy Carter when we need him to reveal top secret airplanes? (I don't know if some of the young guys remember this... I barely do).
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 11:24:56 AM EDT
I do not think it was canceled, I think it changed form or the project got tired of being scooped all the time and moved away from prying eyes......the guys watching in Nevada had gotten very good at scoping out flights and perhaps the flights are now somewhere else....like the arctic circle......
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 11:27:26 AM EDT
Yes, Jimmy Carter blew the B-1 whistle. The aurora has flown for years. It just doesn't get seen or heard so nobody thinks about it so much. They painted it to match the sky and none of the pilots brag about it cause it is an unmasculine pastel shade of blue or pink.
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 11:31:01 AM EDT
[url]http://aurorapage.tripod.com/[/url]
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 11:45:52 AM EDT
I've heard different things, one is that the project was canceled, but who really knows. One thing is sure though the Airforce did'nt make much of a stink about retiring the old SR-71's and that ought to tell you something.
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 11:46:56 AM EDT
I am assuming that unless our blessed Aurora uses some sort of magic carpet or levitation technology, it is propelled through some sort of combustion. It is also supposedly travelling at above 4200mph, which produces a fair degree of frictional heat, right? This is all going to lead to one hell of a thermal trail zooming back and forth across the sky. It might even leave a visual cue as has been reported. I find it difficult to believe that nary a one of the myriad atmospheric monitoring, recconaissance satellites, or foreign espionage agencies would leak nothing about signs of non-shuttle hypersonic aircraft zipping around. To say nothing of visual or IR sightings via other aircraft. Maybe it's flying too high, but to me it's a Loch Ness Monster: Not Currently Extant.
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 11:53:34 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Armed_Scientist: I've done alot of research into it and my hypothsis is that the reason you don't hear much about it anymore is that it's development phase is over, so there's not as much money being syphoned into the program and they are being smarter where they are flying so they don't boom civil centers. Also acording to Popular Mechanics top secret development projects are suppopsedly no longer taking place at Area 51, allegedly some new 'black center' has taken over. So maybe the new area 51 is someplace even more remote like one of the closed down SAC bases in Alaska? Personaly I don't think the Aurora was really ever intended to be a dedicated reconisance craft, but insteade an SSTO. Remember the NASP program in the early 90's, scram jet powered areospace plane? 80% of the funding came from the airforce and as the technologies for it started to mature they sundenly pull out all the funding, can you say black program? Also the Copper Canyon program of the 80's which developed into the NASP also mysteriously dissapeared. It just makes sense that the airforce is oporating an SSTO. Space based weapons and reconisance platforms are the next revolutionary thing in warfare. It only makes sense for the Air Force to develop a reliable means of rapidly getting there. That's my opinion I could be miles off, but I thought I'd throw it in there...and there are NO ALIENS IN AREEA 51!
View Quote
Armed, would you please tell me what SSTO stands for ?? Are we speaking of direct earth-to-orbit (and back) vehicle ??
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 12:16:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 12:33:16 PM EDT
Sorry, For the uninitated SSTO stands for single stage to orbit. An SSTO is the holy grail of launch vehicles, To Earth orbit and back no bosters, no thrown away parts. The fact that we don't see the sort of contrails and thermal images that Ustulina was talking about supports the fact that it would be an SSTO, going up and coming back to the same secluded location, while spending the rest of it's mission in low earth orbit where it would be safe from areodynamic heating and visual aquisition. The other thing that supports it being a launch vehicle versus a recon plane is when it was developed, the early to mid 80's, the golden age of the SDI program. For the SDI archeitecture they were talking about it would require literaly hundreds of satelites, but not only that, they would have to be reamred and refueled in orbit. At the present rate of 10,000 dollars a pound, definetly not realistic. However if getting to LEO was as easy as loading a C-130 with supplies and sending it on it's way suddenly things seem more realistic. Again that's just my take on things, but I am reasonably certin that it does exist. I am also willing to bet the name ceased to be Aurora after that sliped out in the budget report.
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 12:46:52 PM EDT
Yes...
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 12:50:23 PM EDT
For the truly paranoid (me) the fact that the name "Aurora" appeared in the budget I assumed was disinformation.
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 1:46:01 PM EDT
aurora - or atleast what was proported to be it was very evident in the early 90s in socal. having personally heard unusual sonic booms and no aircraft in sight makes one wonder. from what i heard - mostly falsehoods i'm sure, the plane could do mach 36(!?!) and had motors that used the hydrogen molecules of the upper earth atmosphere to power it's motors (water powered!) also rumors of it being unmanned were heard (an updated varient of the 'manless' f117a system). i can only imagine - more money and effort are being put into the sportster program as it can do more/better then the aurora. area 51's been dead since the early 90s also - all the cool stuffs been moved to area 64 near moab. not steve
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 1:52:25 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 1:55:58 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 4:53:25 PM EDT
I think it does. I think it is the logical replacement for the SR-71. The Blackbird, for all it's cool stuff is basically 1960's technology. The SR-71 would not have been discarded by the USAF/CIA unless they had another manned, quick response, strategic recce system in operation to replace it. Recce satellites are very good but they are (1) predictable and (2) somewhat restricted in their flight paths and (3) few in number and slow to respond to emergent tasking. There are known incidences of certain civilian and military sensors tracking an unidentified flying object over the Pacific Ocean and SoCal at speeds of over Mach Six...or nearly 4500mph. The SR-71 won't match that. The unique exhaust trails have been sighted. I think now that the planes always try to fly at night to mask this tattletale. Imagine this for a mission profile: 2230 takeoff from isolated field in Nevada. Climb out to 35,000 to meet tanker. Top off fuel. Climb to operational altitude of over 100,000ft and accelerate to operational speed of M7+ TAS. Decelerate and descend for tanking vic Wake Is. Arrive at target in about two hours from launch, make two passes over target using all EO/IR/RF sensors, linking data to ground station via satellite comlinks. Make WIDE turn to begin return flight. Over southwest pacific again, slow to standard air-breather speed and descend to meet tanker. Tank again vic Guam...accelerate and climb to operational speed for final run home. Arrive at home base approximately 6-8 hours after departing, and before sunup. Target for this flight...Sydney, Australia, approx. 7500 miles from LaLa Land and about 8000 from base. Target could just as easily be Kandahar, Bagdad, Kosovo...or Beijing. Neat huh? The engine propulsion technology has been around for a number of years. It was first postulated many years ago for the NASA space plane...but the basic designs and the raw technology suddenly was declared TS (codeword) by the government and disappeared into the Black. The annual DoD/Intel budget listed in the Congressional Record accidently included a weird notation some years ago for a lot of IR&D funds for a strange project that had no obvious sponsors...yet the project got all of its money. The listing mistake was never repeated. (Pity that poor bureaucrat who made that boo-boo!) BTW, I think the new spook base is at Tonopah, Nevada...although Area 51 remains in limited operation. It may take years to clean it up, since they have been using highly toxic exotic materials for years. (Shhhhh...they're listening!) [8D]
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