How the journey will be made is even now known in considerable detail. Rocket experts at Johns Hopkins and Caltech report that the space ship will look like this: A number of separate rocket motors (probably between three and five), each with its own fuel tanks and controls, make up the power plant. The .first motor, or stage, pushes the ship up a few hundred miles, when, its fuel exhausted, it is dropped off. The second stage then starts automatically and accelerates the ship until it uses up its fuel and is jettisoned. This process continues, each stage adding more speed, until the last stage completes the job of getting the 22,000-m.p.h. velocity needed to escape from the earth's gravitational pull. Once free of the earth, the space ship can coast to the moon (there would be no air resistance). Only a little power would be needed for steering.
This rocket, the Tiamat, developed by the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, has two stages. One of its most important features is an accurate control system that permits it to be flown through fairly complicated maneuvers. Although quite small-less than 15 feet long and weighing about 600 pounds-it is probably a good indication of the design of the moon rocket of the future.
Better fuels—that is, hotter fuels—have been available for a long time. Rockets run on heat. The hotter the gases in the combustion chamber, the greater their pressure, the higher their speed as they shoot out the nozzle, and the faster the rocket is pushed ahead.
Building a true space ship—one that could take a crew up and back—is far more difficult because the pay load necessary is many times greater. To the weight of the men themselves must be added the weight of the things needed to keep them alive: a strong, airtight cabin; air, food and water supplies; some kind of cooling system to keep them from baking to death under the direct blaze of the sun, which would no longer be impeded by the blanket of air protecting the earth; and perhaps equipment to safeguard them against cosmic rays, too. Most important, however, is the weight of fuel for the return flight and braking during landings. Even with the best chemical fuels operating at 100 percent efficiency, a round- trip rocket would be unreasonably large.
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