X-23 with X-24
X-23 with Orbital X-24
Credit: Lockheed Martin
American manned combat spacecraft. Cancelled 1961. At the beginning of the 1960's, the USAF examined a number of approaches to a manned spacecraft designed to rendezvous with, inspect, and then, if necessary, destroy enemy satellites.
The preferred design was a lifting body, a development line that led eventually to the X-24C spaceplane. The project was quickly squelched by USAF X-20 Dyna-Soar advocates (or possibly it went deep black). Alternatives publicly mentioned as replacements for the mission were the Dynasoar with special payload provisions, or Gemini variants with combat provisions.
On 19 May 1961 the USAF Space Systems Division (SSD) announced its SAINT-II manned space interceptor concept. This was to be a two-man lifting body spacecraft, using subsystems developed for the SAINT-I unmanned satellite inspector. SAINT-II would be capable of orbital rendezvous and limited space logistics missions. Launch vehicle would be a Titan II equipped with a Chariot LF2/Hydrazine high-performance third stage. Following an unmanned test flight in early 1964, 12 manned orbital missions would be conducted, including both near- and far-earth flights. DynaSoar I was seen as not being capable of the mission, due to its limited payload, and restriction to low earth orbits. SSD estimated the total cost for SAINT-II to be $413.8 million, to be spent in the period FY1962 - FY1965.
Naturally this program was seen by USAF DynaSoar advocates as a threat to their project. In October 1961 a USAF management group criticized the proposed SAINT II program as unrealistic in schedule and budget. Not only was it eventually cancelled, but also the USAF later prohibited further use of the SAINT designation in proposals.
More... - Chronology...
Pesavento, Peter, "Russian Space Shuttle Projects 1957-1994", Spaceflight, 1995, Volume 37, page 226.
Godwin, Robert, editor, Dyna-Soar: Hypersonic Strategic Weapons System, Collector's Guide Publishing, Ontario, Canada, 2003..
SAINT II Chronology
1958 June 19 -
- USAF issues requirement for an anti-satellite system - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. Summary: USAF GOR-170 is issued for a system to inspect and destroy enemy satellites..
December 1959 -
- Public furor as the USAF fails to properly identify unidentified object in space. - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. Summary: This humilitation led the Air Force to pursue its SAINT ASAT project..
1959 December 21 -
- STL completes study on an anti-satellite systems - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. Summary: Space Technologies Laboratory completed a USAF-funded feasibility study on the topic..
1960 January 31 -
- RCA completes study on an anti-satellite system - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. Summary: Radio Corporation of America completes an ARPA-funded feasibility study on the topic..
1960 February 5 -
- US National Security Council briefed on USAF plans for an anti-satellite system. - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. Summary: Assistant Air Force Secretary Joseph Charyk presented the plan..
1960 April 5 -
- Conditional approval for SAINT development. - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. As usual, Herbert York, McNamara's Director of Defense, Research, and Engineering, was hostile to the concept. It was approved only on the condition that Gerneral Schriever, Commander of the Air Research and Development Command, fund it from the existing budget by cutting back other programmes.
1960 April 21 -
- SAINT System Development Requirement issued. - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. Summary: It also allowed follow-on manned systems to be pursued..
1960 July 15 -
- USAF Air Staff approval for SAINT development - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II.
1960 August 23 -
- Final Department of Defense approval for SAINT development. - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II.
1960 November 1 -
- Chelomei R winged manned spacecraft project starts - .
Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Chelomei; Myasishchev; Tsybin. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spaceplane. Spacecraft: Raketoplan; SAINT; SAINT II. Immediately after cancellation of similar projects at Myasishchev and Tsybin bureaus, Chelomei's new bureau is assigned to build equivalent of US Dynasoar / Saint II. Winged manned spacecraft for interception, inspection, and destruction of US satellites up to 290 km altitude. Two man crew, 24 hour mission duration, large aft drag brakes.
1961 March 16 -
- Project SAINT Phase I contract signed by RCA. - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. Project SAINT (SAtellite INTerceptor) was a large and still deeply classified US Air Force program begun in the late 1950's covering a wide range of technologies for interception, inspection, and destruction of enemy spacecraft. After studies in the 1950ís. The Phase I development contract was let to Radio Corporation of America. Saint Phase I would have weighted 1,100 kg and been launched by Atlas D/Agena B.
1961 May 29 -
- Advanced Re-entry Technology program and SAINT II program. - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Dynasoar; Asset; SAINT; SAINT II. Summary: The Space Systems Division completed two development plans for an Advanced Re-entry Technology program and a SAINT II program..
1962 October -
- Project SAINT cut back. - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. Summary: Project SAINT satellite interceptor project was cut back, leading to its eventually cancellation. The spacecraft would have rendezvoused with hostile satellites, inspected them with television cameras, and then disabled them..
December 1962 -
- SAINT is cancelled. - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SAINT; SAINT II. Summary: The unmanned SAINT-I and manned SAINT-II anti-satellite systems are cancelled..
1963 November 18 -
- Dyna-Soar use for satellite inspection missions (SAINT II) studied. - .
Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Dynasoar; SAINT II. Summary: With the assistance of the Boeing Company; the Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Company, and the Air Force Aerospace Medical Division, the X-20 office completed a report for SSD on the use of Dyna-Soar for satellite inspection missions..
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