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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

An appropriation-friendly, image-rich, experimental research library. Independent and open to the public.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Current Reading: Missiles and Rockets

Thanks to the generosity of the Houston Public Library, our collection has recently expanded to include several interesting and unusual new periodical titles. Among them is Missiles and Rockets, "magazine of world astronautics," of which we now have the first fifteen volumes (or so, we haven't finished unpacking yet). Here in vol. 3, no. 4., April 1958, appear two charts: Atmosphere and Altitude. Both were prepared by the Garrett Corporation's AiResearch Manufacturing Divisions ("as a service to industry and the military"). The photographs included here don't do justice to the artwork, which draws on design conventions popular in 19th century school atlases to show relative scale of world-wide geologic formations. Of high interest to sci-fi fans and San Francisco area residents is the detail in the lower left corner which reveals that the artist is none other than space-age visual fantasist extraordinaire Chesley Bonestell, who subtly included the Golden Gate Bridge, a recurring motif in his noncommercial artwork.
Throughout the pages of Missiles and Rockets are other commercial and graphical illustrations that express a weak distinction between the science of fiction and the science of the Cold War rocket era. The magazine's look and feel has more in common with Asimov's when it was at its artistic peak in the early 'Sixties than with other mid-century professional journals. --MSP


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was an early subscriber to "Missiles and Rockets magazine" while I was in Junior high school. I remember this issue because I was able to locate a large wall chart (from the same image) by Garrett AiResearch and mount it proudly on my bedroom wall with my name and the words "rocket engineer". I later received my bachelors degreee and worked for Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena, CA. My nephew now does research there and is a Cal Tech professor of Astronomy. That was a long time ago! I had lots of good memories and some very bad ones. As a child, listening and reading about a probable nuclear World War was very frightening. As children, we were forced to confront our own mortality and the specter of a world wide nuclear disaster! I had lots of nightmares. We have the same danger today, but no one talks about it anymore.

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you for writing. Very interesting to hear about your work at JPL, etc. Coincidentally, the blog post that you responded to contained in it the seeds of ideas that have since become a book that I'm writing. Get in touch if you are interested in hearing about it, or being interviewed for it. It's about the early space race, 57 - 62.

thanks again,
Megan Prelinger

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good heavens! "Missiles and Rockets". I was addicted to it beginning in 1961. I used to carefully read the updated stats on all satellites as well as the specs on all missile systems.

I was a senior in high school and I fully intended to major in aero eng., which I did for half a year before switching to geology. I got as far as equations of state, entropy, Reynolds numbers and conformal maps.

My uncle was a pad safety office for many missions and I caught a glimpse of him on TV during the Apollo 11 mission. Those were the days! Chesley Bonestell, Russell Porter - they don't make them like that anymore.

6:55 PM  

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