Skunk Works


Been reading up a bit on the Lockheed Skunk Works. This stuff is stranger than fiction, Thunderbirds meets the X-Files. A small team of engineers using what IT people would call a combination of agile and deathmarch methodologies to build some very scary aeroplanes. Clearly the origin of the triangular UFOs featured on the X-Files. The X-Wing fighter bay in Star Wars looks suspiciously like it's been copied from their construction hanger (see photo in article). They were going to build a hydrogen-powered space-plane at one point.

The very, very impressive thing about the space-plane thing is they had the guts not to do it. Apparently it worked out to be no better than kerosene, so they just stopped. That's a mind blowing thing for any large research effort: to just stop doing something because it's turned out to be a bad idea. It's such an unexpected move that it spawned whole families of conspiracy theories from people who just could not believe you could set out to build a hydrogen powered space-plane, set up hydrogen production, start building, then just stop.

They designed a stealth-boat too.