by Bill Rose
for UFO Magazine UK
from AboveTopSecret Website
There is growing evidence that a mini-shuttle was developed shortly after the space shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986 and that the trials began in 1992.
Operating under the mysterious Aurora Project, the system is believed to comprise a space-plane roughly the size of an SR-71 spyplane and a hypersonic launch vehicle resembling the experimental XB-70A strategic bomber designed in 1957-60.
This large aircraft could perform a number of roles, but it appears to have been designed specifically to carry the smaller space-plane to a suitable launch altitude.
Sightings of the aircraft described as a “mothership” first began in the late summer of 1990. It was said to resemble a modernized version of the highly advanced North American XB-70 Valkyrie bomber, developed for the USAF, but never put into production. Designed to achieve high efficiency through a very close integration of propulsion and aerodynamics, the XB-70 could achieve a speed of Mach 3.
On September 13 and October 3, 1990, sightings of the aircraft were made at Mojave, near Edwards Air Force Base (AFB). Another sighting occurred north of Edwards AFB in April 1991. On May 10, 1992, a journalist with CNN saw the plane flying near Atlanta, Georgia. The final sighting occurred on July 12 at 11:45p.m. near Lockheed’s Hellendale Facility and because it coincided with a severe thunderstorm in the Groom Lake area, speculation arose that an emergency divert had taken place.
An indication as to the aircraft’s manufacturer came on January 6, 1992, when there was a sighting of an SR-71 shaped forward fuselage section being loaded onto a C-5 transport plane at the Lockheed Skunk Works facility in Burbank, California. It was about 65 to 75 feet long and 10 feet high. The C-5 was bound for Boeing Field in Seattle.
The aircraft was described as having a large delta wing and a large forward fuselage. The wingtips were upturned to form fins. The edges of the wing and fins had a black tile covering, while the rest of the fuselage was white. The rear fuselage had a raised area with a black line extending down it. Some witnesses reported seeing a long-span canard near the nose. It was said to be about 200 feet long.
Nothing is known, however, about the aircraft’s propulsion system. If the “Super-Valkyrie” has been designed as a hypersonic launch vehicle, the most likely method of propulsion would be Pulse Detonation Wave Engines (PDWEs).
Operating on a different principle then conventional ramjets, PDWEs don’t continuously burn kerosene, but detonate fuel as it starts to leave the combustion chamber. This generates a regular pulse which may be responsible for producing the unusual “doughnuts-on-a-rope” contrails. The most probable fuel for PDWEs would be cryogenic liquid methane, which could also act as a structural coolant.
At 1:45p.m. on August 5, 1992, A United Airlines 747 crew reported a near miss with an unknown aircraft as the airliner headed out of Los Angeles International Airport. The airliner was in the vicinity of Georges AFB, California, when the 747’s Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) warned the flight crew that an aircraft was approaching at high speed.
The unidentified aircraft flew past the 747 about 500-1000 feet below it at high supersonic speed. The UFO was described as having a lifting-body configuration, much like the forward fuselage of an SR-71, and being roughly the size of an F-16. It was speculated that the aircraft was a drone that had “escaped”.
Could this have been the secret space-plane?
It has been reported that the space-plane is codenamed Brilliant Buzzard or Blue Eyes. The space-plane has most likely been based on NASA’s X-24C proposals or the highly classified USAF FDL-5 Project. The aircraft was also most likely to have been developed alongside the “North Sea” Aurora. Feasibility studies by many companies all led to the same conceptual design: A one-man delta-shaped vehicle with a 75-degree sweep.
The X-24C rocket-plane was intended to follow NASA’s X-24B. At the same time, the USAF was considering the black budget Lockheed FDL-5 as a successor to the X-15 rocket-plane, the most successful US high-speed research aircraft with 199 flights to speeds of Mach 6.7 and altitudes of 354,200 feet. A mockup was built, and if the X-24C was fully developed and tested, it would explain why the X-24C was cancelled by NASA.
It may be however, that the FDL-5 and the proposed X-24C were actually “black” and “white” versions of the same vehicle.
Despite the X-24C being officially scrapped in 1977 and NASA and the USAF apparently unable to produce enough money to build prototypes, historian Rene Francillon, in a survey of Lockheed aircraft published in 1982, reported that Lockheed had already flown an experimental aircraft capable of sustained flight at Mach 6.
If Lockheed had developed a hypersonic vehicle like the X-24C, it is possible that technology was used in the development of the “North Sea” Aurora and the space-plane. Testing of the vehicle would have been undertaken at the top-secret Groom Lake installation and the decision to go ahead with constructing prototypes of the “North Sea” Aurora and two-stage space-plane may have coincided with the Challenger disaster in 1986.
The commissioning of these two systems would also explain unusual changes within the “black world” and it’s “white” exterior: The Pentagon’s decision to scrap the military space shuttle launch facilities at Vandenberg AFB, the appearance of a major black program in the mid-1980s, and also its appearance showing up in Lockheed’s company accounts in the form of an extreme budget.
Another factor reinforcing the belief that these projects left the drawing board in 1986, is the redevelopment carried out at Groom Lake. The old housing area, built for A-12 Oxcart personnel, was replaced by modern accommodation blocks. An indoor recreation facility and a new commissary were also built. Four water tanks were built and an extensive runway upgrade program was undertaken.
Another improvement was the construction of a new fuel tank farm at the south end of the base, which was believed to store the liquid methane which fuelled Aurora. These improvements were initially attributed to the “North Sea” Aurora spy-plane, but a larger hangar was built.
Larger than the rest, this could house the “mothership”, the Super-Valkyrie/space-plane Project.