Science: Rockets Up & Down

When engineers let their imaginations go—in a properly professional manner—they are apt to think about rockets, whose limit is above the sky. Last week a Manhattan meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers heard Professor Hsue-shen Tsien, Chinese-born rocket expert from Caltech, on the prospects in rocketeering. Most of Dr. Tsien's paper was technical, e.g., how to keep the walls of combustion chambers from melting. But his conclusion was clear and startling: present-day technology is capable of building a transcontinental rocket ship.

Dr. Tsien's rocket liner would be 78.9 ft. long and...

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