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“Now it is clear that anyone working with rocket fuels is outstandingly mad. I don’t mean garden-variety crazy or a merely raving lunatic. I mean a record-shattering exponent of far-out insanity.
“There are, after all, some chemicals that explode shatteringly, some that flame ravenously, some that corrode hellishly, some that poison sneakily, and some that stink stenchily. As far as I know, though, only liquid rocket fuels have all these delightful properties combined into one delectable whole.”
(From the Forward to Ignition!, an Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants, by John D. Clark)
Clark’s autobiographical book is an entertaining read and, while giving a fair amount of technical detail, is accessible for those of us who barely remember the chemistry we learned in high school. All that rocketry that looks like magic? Really it’s lots of engineering.Published in