ALL ABOUT ROCKETS AND JETS (circa 1958)

ALL ABOUT ROCKETS AND
JETS BOOK COVER

Copyright 1958 by Random House, Inc. and Copyright 1955 by Fletcher Pratt


DISCUSSION

The above cover picture is by artist Jack Coggins. Artist Coggins provided many paintings for science fiction publications as well as science periodicals. Though the above book was authored for a junior audience, several historic rocket projects are interesting to readers of all ages. Among these are the Farside Project and the tale of the runaway X-17. Project Farside's goal was to achieve the highest altitude possible based on the limitations of rocketry in 1957. To achieve the goal, a four-stage rocket (each a solid fuel type) was lifted by a plastic balloon high into the atmosphere (80,000 feet) and fired. When the first solid stage ignited, it sent the rocket up through the balloon. The four stage burning in succession climbed to an altitude of more than 2,700 miles. (The above narrative is a paraphrase of pages 120 and 121 of the above text.)

Another very unique rocket project called the X-17 proposed to create a "re-entry missile" to examine how the atmosphere's friction burns up objects which reenter from space. The scientists wanted to re-enter at so great a velocity that the remaining stage would be sure to burn-up on re-entry. To accomplish this, the first stage lofted the X-17 to an altitude of 200 miles in space. Next, the rocket began its way back to Earth when a second stage ignited to increase the velocity of re-entry. Finally, a third stage further increased the re-entry velocity to assure the "burn-up" would occur. When one of the subsequent X-17s launched in early 1957, the orientation control system malfunctioned so that the second and third stages failed to fire toward Earth. Instead, they lofted in succession, the upper stage to an altitude of 1,000 miles! (The above description of the runaway X-17 is a paraphrase of the discussion of the subject on pages 88-91 of the above text.)


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