One-way rocketry


in Bombs and rockets, Geek stuff, Science

Finally somebody in authority sat down and thought the problem through. The specifications of JP-4 [jet fuel] were as sloppy as they were to insure a large supply of the stuff under all circumstances. But Jupiter and Thor [ballistic missiles] were designed and intended to carry nuclear warheads, and it dawned upon the thinker that you don’t need a large and continuing supply of fuel for an arsenal of such missiles. Each missile is fired, if at all, just once, and after a few dozen of them have been lobbed by the contending parties, the problem of fuel for later salvoes becomes academic, because everybody interested is dead. So the only consideration is that the missile works right the first time—and you can make your fuel specifications just as tight as you like. Your first load of fuel is the only one you’ll ever need.

Clark, John D. Ignition! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants. Rutgers University Press Classics, 2017. p. 95–6

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