Suborbital Maneuvering Vehicle (SOMV)
Production Run: 2011-2013
About the Design
The FDL-6C SOMV (Sub Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle) is one of several designs to come out of the AFFDL (Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio during the 1960’s. The FDL series of shapes were developed to explore the hypersonic regime at high mach numbers for orbital re-entry and sub-orbital Boost Glide vehicles. The FDL-6 shape was one of the shapes explored by the Lockheed Corporation.
It is rumored that, in the 1970s, the shape was explored again and the vehicle was sized to 33 feet long to fit in the cargo bay of the US Space Shuttle. This would allow it to be launched from orbit for a return flight to the United States. Whether this actually ever happened or not is unknown. The vehicle was to have an all metal TPS (Thermal Protection System) consisting of overlapping Columbium (Niobium) and Hastelloy “shingles” as opposed to the more fragile ceramic tiles seen on the US Space Shuttle. It would likely have needed some kind of active cooling for the leading edges and nose similar to that designed for the McDonnell FDL-7.
About the Model
Designed in CAD, the model was produced, in part, using computerized stereo lithography.