"Report From Aerojet:  The Power of the Future"

Aerojet Engineering Corporation


Report From

Report From Aerojet:  The Power of the Future

Aerojet Engineering Corporation  •  Affiliate of the General Tire and Rubber Company

A rare and extremely informative, 42-page book entirely devoted to JATO ("jet-assisted take-off") rocket engines.  Originally published in 1947 by the inventors of rocket propulsion for launching airplanes, it covers both the history of rocket powered takeoff engines, their technology, and their (probable) future applications.

Describes in great detail the early history of what would become "the world's largest research, development, and production company."  Beginning with the small five-man team that evolved into the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at California Institute of Technology (GALCIT), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and Aerojet-General Corporation, this valuable document relates one of the most fascinating stories you'll ever read about rocket science, engineering, and technology.

Under the leadership of Dr. Theodore von Kármán, Dr. Martin Summerfield, Dr. Frank J. Malina, Edward Forman, and John Parsons set out in 1939 to build rockets that would boost warplanes into the air fast from any take-off point.  Some months before, this concept had grown out of a discussions between Dr. von Kármán and General H. H. "Hap" Arnold, commander of the Army Air Forces. 

All sample illustrations here, from the book, shown at reduced size and resolution

The only thing resembling rockets in this country at the time were Fourth of July fireworks.  So this small team started from scratch, trying every kind of chemical mixture that would ignite.  After little more than a year of trial and error, the group came up with two propellants--a liquid and a solid.  When ignited in a specially designed steel container, either of the propellants shot a blast out of a nozzle opening faster than the speed of sound, and with a terrific thrust.

This text describes how the first JATOs (as the military called them) were tested, how the Navy and AAF ordered a few, and this work soon supported military efforts during World War II.  It also describes (and illustrates with many photos) the use of JATO motors for take-offs from Navy aircraft carriers, and for daring Pacific sea rescues with rocket-powered Catalina "flying boats."

But in addition to the history of early U.S. rocket power, "Report From Aerojet" also explains the theory and operation of rocket engines, shows and explains how JATO rockets are designed and built.  The book's photos are themselves quite fascinating, with several showing JATO production lines, test stands, individual JATO "bottles," etc.

For the rocket scientist and engineer, the book also provides specifications and descriptions of JATO motor cases, nozzles, propellant, safety burst diaphragms, igniters, ignition temperature, impulse, and thrust curves.  The Aerojet Model 12AS-1000 D-1 JATO rocket motor is described in great detail.

Several pages are devoted to the use of JATO rockets on civilian aircraft, including the DC-3, Lockheed "Lodestar," Curtis CW-20 (C-46 "Commando"), together with complete specs and data for JATO takeoffs with heavy loads from short runways at high elevations, and how these planes can clear obstacles with rocket assistance.

Fascinating test photos and oscillograph data logs show C-47B (DC-3) aircraft in action with JATO power.  The book also describes the benefits of JATOs for four-engine planes--the Douglas DC-4 "Skymaster," DC-6, and Lockheed "Constellation."  There's also a full chapter about JATO use for seaplanes (the PBM / PB2Y3), and another chapter about JATO rockets for light planes, and yet another about JATOs for gliders and sailplanes--complete with propellant and thrust requirements for various rates of climb and acceleration.

A "Question and Answer" chapter covers 19 important questions about these novel propulsion units:

  • Can the Aerojet motor damage the airplane?
  • Can the pilot determine the amount of thrust at any time?
  • How are these motors stored?
  • Can the motor be reloaded?
  • Will the jet motor frighten the passengers?
  • What kind of smoke does a jet motor give off?
  • Can the motor be dropped?
  • What is one Aerojet motor equivalent to in horsepower?
  • Can Aerojet motors be used successfully in "instrument" take-offs?
  • ... and other interesting topics ...
The book closes with an imaginative chapters:  "Supersonic Journey ... 1955."  This section--replete with exceptional artist's renderings--predicts the future of rocket-powered vehicles.  "Your stratosphere rocket ship is waiting....  The airspeed needle says you're going 2,000 miles per hour....  At this point you are 60 miles above the earth and traveling at a velocity of 5,000 miles per hour....  Bring on that trip to the moon!"  This part is really rather like reading a nice science fiction article.

This exceptional book was found among the private collection of a retired Aerojet rocket scientist.  Almost impossible to find, and long, long out-of-print, this new limited edition has been republished by the Rocket Science Institute.  It's printed with a high-resolution laser printer on high-quality, bright-white, 24-pound, acid-free paper for years of reference use.  More than 60 photos, illustrations, drawings, graphs, tables, and charts!  42 pages, 11" x 8-1/2" size. $22.95

USA (Insured Priority Mail: $5.65)
International (Airmail: $9.85)

Priority Mail Postage US $5.65            Global Priority Mail (Canada / Mexico) US$9.95          Global Priority Mail International US$14.95.

For details about ordering your copy, click here.


The Rocket Science Institute is a non-profit scientific and educational foundation in support of "amateur" experimental rocket science, engineering, and technology.

Rocket Science Institute, Inc., P.O. Box 1253, Carmel Valley CA 93924      •     e-mail: books@ rocketsciencebooks.com

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Nitrate-type Propellants Group