Science: Hydrogen Harnessed

The dream fuel of rocket engineers is liquid hydrogen. It develops more thrust per lb. than kerosene, the standard ingredient for liquid-fuel rockets. But because of its low boiling point ( — 423° F.), it is hard to keep in liquid form, has to date proved too tricky for use in major rocketry.

Last week the Pratt & Whitney division of United Aircraft Corp. announced the development of a new engine in which balky liquid hydrogen is successfully harnessed. Under test, it ran dependably under simulated outer-space conditions, and developed a thrust of 15,000 lbs.

When hydrogen combines with oxygen, its hot exhaust...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!