FDL-6 Suborbital Maneuvering Vehicle (SOMV) (1975)
About the Design
The FDL-6C SOMV (Sub Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle) is one of several designs to emerge from the AFFDL (Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory) during the 1960’s. The FDL concepts developed to explore the characteristics of spacecraft during hypersonic re-entry. 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 not known. 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 Kit
Released in late November 2009, the FDL-6 kit was mastered and cast by BLAP! Models exclusively for Fantastic Plastic. The 23-piece kit could be built either in its in-flight or landed configuration, and with its cockpit hatch open or closed. The decals by JBOT allowed markings for either a NASA research or operational USAF version