Pacific Rockets

Bear with me while I dredge up some old memories.

When I was studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder, I used to hang out in two different libraries. First, the main library (Norlin), up on the 3rd floor, in the back, where I found “many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.”

Second, I spent time in the Engineering library, in the basement of the Engineering building. (I gather from the CU web site that it has moved, now.)

One thing I have always loved about libraries is their used book and magazine sales. You know, stuff that they were going to throw out, but decide to see if they can get some “enthusiast” to pay a few nickels or a couple of bucks for. Quite often, I am one of those enthusiasts. Over the years, I have picked up any number of musty old tomes, as well as stacks of magazines that interested me.

And, now, to the topic at hand. One time, I picked up four issues of a little staple-bound journal called “Pacific Rockets: Journal of the Pacific Rocket Society, Inc.”

I mean, how could I pass those up, at four bits each?

I have the following issues:

  • June 1946 (This may be the first issue.)
  • Summer 1947, Vol 2, No 1
  • Winter, 1948-49, Vol 3, No 3
  • Spring 1949, Vol 3, No 4

Some of the topics in these slim 8-1/2 x 6 inch volumes include spacecraft design, nuclear propulsion systems, range safety protocols, experiments with both plastic and wood as propellant, and an article by Arthur C. Clarke.

This last is apparently the first installment of a transcription of an address that Dr. Clarke delivered to the British Interplanetary Society in 1946.

The whole thing makes me feel like I missed the most exciting decades of the 20th Century by being born too late.

A bit of searching produces a reference to http://www.translunar.org/prs, which page does not inspire confidence, and appears to be untouched in this century. Trans Lunar Research, the organization appearing at http://www.translunar.org/ appears to be nearly as static as its child page.

A little searching on one of the names mentioned in the June 1946 issue led me to Edmund Vail Sawyer and Crescent Engineering, and the next thing I know I am deep in the Smithsonian Institution’s online card catalog.

And that is as far as I am willing to chase this topic right now.

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