British Spaceplanes

Part 1 - Unmanned

As part of a programme of research into a hypersonic spaceplane, the RAE built an unmanned experimental spaceplane which was launched using a method copied from the US Space Shuttle, albeit only a quarter of the size.

( External tank and boosters from an Academy 1/288 Shuttle, Orbiter scratchbuilt )

Part 2 - Manned

When Wing Cdr. David Campbell was assigned as project pilot for the British spaceplane project, and saw the colour of the aircraft he would be flying, he knew there was only one name for it. The fact that the natural colour of the heat resistant alloy used in its construction is dark blue only served to re-enforce his determination to get it officially named after his Uncle and Grandfather’s record breaking machines. Surprisingly he met with few bureaucratic obstacles, and the aircraft was officially unveiled to the public as Bluebird X.

   It is shown here with its Vulcan mothership, which has a twin tail arrangement to avoid turbulence issues from the dorsally mounted payload ( though a vestigial centre spine remained for structural reasons ).

( Airfix Vulcan, scratchbuilt Bluebird )