Download Vulture blueprints

Drawn by Bob Roberts, 1979


The Vulture
Special Effects | Estes Model Rocket | 3D Computer Model | Paper Model
The Vulture was literally made of junk. Harry Broderick and his team assembled an unorthodox moonship out of old NASA equipment and whatever they had laying around at the time. The main body was once a Texaco gasoline truck. The capsule was a cement mixer. The landing feet were recycled tires. The main engines came from NASA surplus Agena D upper stage boosters.
Harry's team of ex-engineers built a ship about one tenth the size of rockets used by NASA that relied on a powerful fuel called mono-hydrazine to get up and go. Though it provided the power necessary for such a small ship to reach the moon, mono-hydrazine was extremely unstable above 150 degrees F. The solution was to build a cooling system into the main tank, making it in effect a large flying refrigerator.
Vulture Cutaway
Its real ingenuity lay in the fact that as fuel was burned during the flight, the accordian tank drew up within the main body, leaving plenty of cargo space at the bottom of the ship for stowing salvaged items. Guidance for the Vulture was provided via a radio link with ground computers, which were either hacked into or accepted as a courtesy from NASA.
Computer guidance was crucial during liftoff and landing because a human pilot could not keep track of the ship's systems, the engine controls and the ship's trajectory all at the same time. Lunar trajectory is a complicated thing to calculate, even for a simple spaceship made of junk.After the moonflight, the Vulture was converted for conventional fuel and in order to satisfy FAA requirements was given the registration name "Experimental Hover Machine Salvage-1".

Vulture Drawing
Vulture Specifications:
Height: 33' 6"
Diameter: Capsule: 9'
Tank: 7' 6"
Fuel: Mono-Hydrazine (unstable above 150 degrees F)
Fuel Capacity: 1000 gallons
Weight: 5 tons empty
Crew Capacity: 2 (later modified for 3)


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