This week I travelled to D.C. to present at a conference on spacecraft anomalies. I flew back yesterday, but before I caught my flight out of Dulles, Joe Minow and I paid a brief visit to the part of the Air and Space Museum located very near that airport (it was his idea - a very good one, I may add). The place is pretty awesome, filled with all sorts of planes including the Enola Gay, a Concorde, and a beautiful, beautiful Pan Am Clipper. There was also some space stuff, located in the Space Hanger. The big draw there was the Space Shuttle Discovery; seeing it evokes sadness when I realize that the magnificent machines are no longer flying. There were also some rockets and missiles on display, and I was drawn to the inert round of the U.S. ASM-135 anti-satellite missile. Back in September 1985, one of these was launched from the belly of an F-15, taking out Solwind P78-1, an gamma ray satellite orbiting at 555 km altitude. Even though successful, the program was cancelled in 1988 - yet another government head scratcher (why cancel a successful and obviously important program?). The ASM-135 looked like it could be easily scaled down to a flying rocket, and I took some pics to establish the dimensions and markings.
|ASM-135 anti-satellite missile on display at the Air and Space Museum (click to enlarge).|
|Another view (click to enlarge).|
|Information plaque on the ASM-135 (click to enlarge).|
|Open Rocket 1/13th scale design of the ASM-135 (click to enlarge).|