The Rocket Science
                      Institute supports amateur experimental rocketry.

Rocket Science Book Reviews

Your first
                        resource for unusual, hard-to-find,
                        out-of-print, and historic books about rockets,
                        missiles, propulsion, and space.


Safety Manual for Experimental & Amateur Rocket Scientists

Advanced Nitrate-Type Solid Propellants

Amateur Rocket Motor Construction

All About Jetex

Building / Designing Maintenance & Care of Jetex Miniature Jet Propulsion Engines for Models

Jets & Models Guide

Welcome to Aerojet

Jet Propulsion:  Advanced theory and operation of simple pulsejet engines 


Unsolicited comments about our books and service


Solid Propellant Engineering, Vol 1:  Safety Manual for Experimental & Amateur Rocket Scientists

What a book!  For those interested in the absolute safety aspects of experimental rocketry and pyrotechnics, then this book DEMANDS its own place in your library, lab, or workshop.

Not content with the already known "do's and don'ts" in handling explosives, pyrotechnics and fireworks, this little book is jam-packed with bits of knowledge we all should be aware of, yet aren't always willing to admit we don't know.

There are four chapters and an expanded appendix to this little "classic" (my opinion).  Each chapter deals out an in-depth examination of the juiciest bits of information you normally would find in 5 or 10 books relating to the same topic.  Most of the information given is, or should be, common knowledge for ANYONE working with chemicals and explosive propellants in the field of experimental and amateur rocketry.  But this is where this book is at its best. The author, having decades of practical experience in this field, gives more "by the numbers" information on each step toward the safe design, development, and delivery of propellants for amateur and experimental rocketry.

This is, for its size and price, a very definitive book on the most safety conscious aspects in this field of experimental and amateur rocketry.  Do not think for one moment you already know everything there is to know in handling, mixing, and developing rocket propellants.  You don't!  The moment you stop learning something new, or even refreshing what you already know, is the moment that accident will happen. 

This book will greatly assist you and any working with you in the safety aspects of a most dangerous field.  Do not be without one.  Buy it now and demand that all your employees read it not once, but over and over again.  This should be required reading.  Sure, it isn't as thick as a college textbook, but then again, what it does cover is black and white.  Buy two, one for the workshop and one for a friend! 

This book is worth the money I spent and more!!!  I spent the afternoon reading it from cover to cover.  It may not be "The Blaster's Handbook" but it sure is "The Rocket Scientist's Little Book"!

Review by: Jim Baskin, Geologist/Paleontologist and amateur rocket scientist

GET THIS BOOK!  This is an up-to-date, clear and concise, safety bible that will help you grow old gracefully. If you are an amateur rocket scientist or a newcomer to the science of pyrotechnics, this is one of the best reference books you could ever own.  Layman and practitioner alike easily understand the modern chemical formulas and practices presented. 

This book should serve to undo a lot of the "basement bomber" mentality that has crept back into the rocketry hobby due the lack of available igniters and propellant loads. This book can save you lots of time, money and effort by preventing you from: (a) buying the wrong stuff;  (b) mixing the wrong stuff; and/or  (c) remodeling (yourself or your house!). There is a fairly comprehensive list of chemicals (although I do wish a periodic chart had been included for reference) with interactions and the best tip (pg 25) I have ever seen for handling flash powder. This book is worth twice the price and whatever bounty you could put on your life, health and safety. 

Forget about the "secret internet recipes", wannabe mercenary formulas found in "cookbooks", ancient Chinese firecracker secrets found in a Tibetan cave, or Uncle Rodney's favorite home-brewed "stumpblower/whitelightning/hair remover/fleasoap" kitchen stove special.  There are no arcane, complex charts with mysterious footnotes, nor do you suffer through the fascinating history of bat guano processing. 

Every rocket club should have at least one copy and it should be required reading for level 3 certification. The best pyrotechnicians are old (and intact) and what was written here was paid for by years of experience. This book is worth twice the price and whatever bounty you could put on your life, health and safety. 

Dave Pearce (TRA #2383)

This book provides a great deal of safety information that is not readily available to the experimenter.  Highly recommended. 

Dr. Terry W. McCreary

Highly recommended practice for professional and amateur rocket experimenters who don't want to get sent to the proving ground in the sky by accident.

David Fritchman

My wife gave me the books she had ordered as a Xmas gift (the "Safety Manual," and "Advanced Nitrates," Solid Propellant Engineering Vol 2).  The books look very good.  Your edition is very good, the illustrations came out better than I had expected. 

Paul Adam

As an owner of this book, gotta give it two big thumbs up.  Almost too much information.  If you can, grab it ASAP.   Thanks for the book.

Michael Williams

Solid Propellant Engineering, Vol 2:  Advanced Nitrate-Type Solid Propellants

Reviewed by David Fritchman

James Taylor's book is far beyond the level of the casual Estes rocket flyer.  However, it's a "must read" for anybody who wishes to pursue self-made pyrotechnics as a hobby, and/or amateur solid fuel rocket makers in particular.  A good course of chemistry on the high school level is the minimum suggested level of knowledge to find the book useful. 

The emphasis of the book is quite wide, with the main theme being "exothermic reactions" mostly related to rocket propellants, propellants in general,  and explosives.  The chapter  on initiating explosives could very well be the possible starting part for either the pyrotechnican or as an "idea generator" for the rocket developer needing a reliable igniter.  the chapter on power cartridges could be of interest for those needing 'chute deployment, stage separation, or other gas generating devices for power production.  Need a localized gas-less heat source to keep a line unfrozen, or your hands warm at a winter launch?  Check the chapter on gasless reactions. 

This book is an excellent reference for those looking to develop solid propellants and explosives for pyrotechnics and solid fuel rockets, as a hobby.

Reviewed by Edward Jones, PhD 

Dr. James Taylor spent his illustrious career, as he put it, discovering "tame explosives, to replace human effort."  His research was oriented to "finding safer chemical compositions for providing energy to carry out various jobs," ranging from mining coal to powering target drone aircraft. 

The book shows fine blend of applied science and propellant engineering:  Dr. Taylor's investigations were carried out to discover immediate, practical applications.  As the author says, these were "technical rather than scientific investigations." 

Presenting a broad treatise on chemicals as a source of energy, Dr. Taylor develops this theme for the first time along the broad lines that would soon evolve into dozens of modern military and civilian devices, many used to this day. 

The author invented a multitude of operations and purposes for gas generating mixtures.  This book describes a wide range of chemical compositions which were developed as sources of energy for various interesting and unusual applications.  Many of the tools and machines which employ this application are illustrated and described in detail. 

It was Taylor who actually developed the propellant formulations originally used by the Jetex model airplane motors patented by Charles Wilmot and Joseph Mansour in the late 1940s.  Those solid rocket propellants were originally used in sustainer motors for British defensive drone aircraft during World War II. 

Propellant developers and experimental "amateur" rocket scientists will benefit from Taylor's presentation of the fundamental chemistry of self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions.  Focus remains on AN- and GN-type propellants, but also useful are the studies of the various energy bases of exothermic compositions, from single-chemical substances (such as azides, RDX, PETN, TNT), oxidizers, fuels, and metals.  Oxygen balance is critically examined, along with the stability of explosives. 

All in all, one of the most useful and educational reference texts in my library.  It has been out-of-print and "lost" for too long.

My wife gave me the books she had ordered as a Xmas gift (the "Safety Manual," and "Advanced Nitrates," Solid Propellant Engineering Vol 2).  The books look very good.  Your edition is very good, the illustrations came out better than I had expected. 

Paul Adam

Amateur Rocket Motor Construction

The single best book I've seen on how to make professional-quality black powder rockets from scratch, and I've been looking for such texts for more than 50 years!  Worth every dollar spent, and then some.

Edward Jones, PhD

Many thanks indeed, the book arrived yesterday and what a superb book it is.  Looking forward to buying more books from your fantastic bookshop.

For your information it would not be possible to find any such books on rocketry in the UK. Although there is great interest in the hobby, we try to pursue this clandestine activity in the most remote areas we can find (difficult) so as not to attract attention.  There are laws in place here that would prohibit almost everything written in David Sleeter's book.  Long live amateur experimental rocketry.

C M, in the UK

All About Jetex

Reviewed by Edward Jones, PhD

For more than 40 years this has been the "Jetex Bible."  Although condensed, it contains a wealth of useful and practical information for success with these microjet rocket motors.  Del Gatto was an innovative and advanced aeromodelling designer, and many of his plans in this book are quite progressive.  Certainly the best single Jetex reference book around.

Building / Designing Maintenance & Care of Jetex Miniature Jet Propulsion Engines for Models

Reviewed by Edward Jones, PhD

Quite similar to Paul Del Gatto's book "All About Jetex," but includes additional and supplementary information.  A valuable text for every rocket-powered aeromodeller.

Jets & Models Guide

Reviewed by Edward Jones, PhD

The best all-around guide to every kind of small pulse-jet engine for aeromodelling, plus chapters on using Jetex micro rocket engines.  If you are interested in Dyna-Jet, M.E.W., or similar pulsejets, this book has just about everything you might want to know for operating these unique powerplants.  The Jetex section is a bonus.

Welcome to Aerojet

Reviewed by Edward Jones, PhD

A rare glimpse into life inside the world's largest rocket propulsion company during the Cold War era.  One-of-a-kind.

Jet Propulsion:  Advanced theory and operation of simple pulsejet engines

Reviewed by Arch Stanton, propulsion scientist and engineer

I've had a long-standing interest in pulsejets since childhood, and was hooked when I saw a Dyna-Jet fired up in the 1960s. I acquired a reprint of the "GALCIT Jet Propulsion" booklet from the Rocket Science Institute, based upon their claim that this manuscript gives a fascinating historic and concise technical review of the World War II V-1 "Buzz Bomb" engine.

The book exceeded all of my expectations.  (Even the cover has retained the original security designation of "restricted," though the material has long since been declassified.)

The author(s) give a theoretical analysis of how the pulse jet works based on classic (non-statistical) thermodynamics, which I (and others with a college-level powerplant thermodynamics background) should be able to follow. The theory had been reduced to a few equations to allow for design of similar engines.  Pressures, fuel consumption versus altitude, and pulsation frequency are estimated.

Improvements on the design are suggested in the report, such as improving the the inlet/cross section area of the "flapper" valve with the use of a resonant inlet. (Such a suggestion is very tricky technically, in my opinion, which is probably why the Germans used it at that time. They needed something that could be made reliably, and with low material cost, under war conditions, by under-fed slave labor. Practicality trumped "nicety of detail."

The authors did note (in 1946!), that the "valveless aeropulse is especially promising for supersonic flight," something that has yet to be achieved in any practical form by civilian or non-classified military work. Lighter materials, raising combustion pressure with more rapidly burning fuel and timed fuel injection, and streamlining the engine inside the missile body, are other suggested improvements.

The authors also noted that the pulse jet would would be a good solution for "relatively short duration operation[s] at high speed, such as transonic airplanes and flying bombs" because of its simplicity and light weight. However, they noted it was doomed for low-speed work because of its high fuel consumption at low speed, and the rapid drop-off in perfomance at increasing speeds.

I highly recommend the "GALCIT Jet Propulsion" text for anybody that has an interest in jet and rocket propulsion, historian and non-historan alike. A physics/power engineering technical background is suggested to gain the maximum benefit from this booklet, but most "amateur" rocket people should be able to understand the material from related rocket calculations.

Unsolicited comments about our books and service

Wanted to let you know after just returning from a week long trip I did find your package in the accumulated mail I picked up.  The Rocket Manual book is in good shape -- just as advertised!  Thank you for the clear communication, careful and secure packing, and prompt shipment.  I was completely satisfied and glad to post my best feedback for you.  Thanks again for a totally professional transaction, it was a pleasure doing business with you.


Got the package today.  Wow!  What a great set of books.  Thank you so much.  I'm really looking foward to looking at these.

Rob C.

You have gone beyond good customer relations.  I feel that what you ask for these special engineering books
is already a deep discount.  I'm learning much from this first book and I'm sure I'll be back to buy more.  I will recommend your site to others and ask for your permission to put a link and icon to your site from my rocket web page.  Thanks again for courteous service. 


Just had to drop a line to say I was so pleased to see your information on Jetex!  It was great to see so many people still captured by the concept of it all.  I'd heard some years ago the factory had burn't down and figured that was that.  How exciting to find so much info on something I though was dead and gone forever!


Man, do you have some interesting hobbies!  I often wonder how different my life would be had I grown up with a home computer and the internet.  As it was, so many things we now take for granted required deliberate effort and very often ingenuity. (I'm just thinking of 8mm home movies with, and I hope you are sitting down, sound!)   But I'm glad I'm not 10 years old again and stumble upon some of the manuals.  "Boy would I love this and I'd start saving my allowance right away."

Seriously, you have an amazing resource of information dealing with many things I been interested in for years but have not found such one stop shopping.  I'd like to purchase twenty-odd titles but all at once is not convenient.  I'll look forward to getting some of these titles and thanks for the stuff on Jetex!  Man, does that take me back! 


My hat is off to your group. Your way of doing business is the way it should be and I congratulate you for that fact, but more importantly your methods make it easier for me to conduct the business at hand without having to do ten emails to get the quantity and the combined shipping unified. Please see my attachment, as this is what I always send to other entities that can not get coordinated. Have a great day and I look forward to receiving the books from you.

Doug M, Florida

Received "Advanced Nitrate Solid Propellants," & "Rocketry, Fireworks, Pyro & Explosives Safety" books for Xmas; look like great books and packaged well.  How about a book telling your "war stories" with the Aerobee and early amateur rocketry? Would be very interesting!! 


Just to let you know the books arrived in Australia yesterday (my home in Sydney), intact and look to be mighty fine reading if I may say so.  Thanks for your help.

Dean Hawthorn, Australia

Just a quick note to let you know that the NASA Rocket Engineering & Design Handbook (Vol 1 of 5) and the NASA Rocket Fuel Propellant Chemistry Computer Program book arrived safely.  It's been great doing business with you again this time and perhaps again in the future.  In the meantime, you have my sincere thanks!

Michael A. Robinson, Ph.D.

Thanks for providing this very needed educational service.  I will be ordering more copies of your books to help teach about this interesting hobby.  BTW -- I read your (safety) book in one sitting ... couldn't put it down it was GREAT!! 

Dave Pearce

Many thanks, for your prompt and very helpful reply to my enquiry.  My brother-in-law, a keen free-flight modeller and ex-engineer from Farnborough, told me that he'd heard from fellow modellers that Jetex was  undergoing something of a revival.  Well, I thought, if it really is, there's sure to be something on the web, and went hunting via AltaVista. And there you were. What joy! Thanks, too, for your references to your other Jetex books -- they're a veritable treasure-house of info. And I will subscribe to the mailing list, too.  Great to have found you guys -- you're doing a wonderful job to keep alive a rather intriguing model technology that I thought had been lost for ever!


I just received  "Advanced Nitrate-Type Solid Propellants" and wanted to tell you how pleased I am with it. Thank you for making this book available, it's a real gem.  Anon

I must say that doing business with you and exchanging e-mails has been a very uplifting experience for me. If others don't feel this way doing business with you, I pity them.  Your a gentleman, Edward, and that I truly like. Thanks again.  James Baskin

Thank you, we hope to use these books to educate our new engineers.  Mike Ryan

These guys never let me down! Fast shipping! Good packing! I am happy! Thank you very much!!!  Anon

A very nice group to do business with!  They will take good care of you!  Very fast shipping and great packaging on an almost impossible to find booklet.  Thanks!!   "Lamart"

Hey Rocket Man!  The books arrived today, and the crew wants me to pass on their appreciation
of how nicely you guys pack them...  Thank you!  "Audrey" (Loompanics Unlimited)

Excellent vendor! Highly recommended!   "Eismeister"

I confirm you the good reception of the book.  I'm very satisfied with the conditions of our exchange. 
Perhaps I will order on an other occasion.  "M. Poisson," France

Great products, the Doc is friendly and professional--a credit to our community. Thanks!   "Planet"

Very good to deal with, accurate description of items, prompt delivery. "Spaceman"

Excellent professional service.  Fast shipping, proper packaging, clear communications.  No weaknesses.   "Rocket Glider"

Great service, good communication, prompt shipping.... Have NO fear dealing hear !!!!!  "Bobby B."

The whole transaction was handled professionally, an excellent vendor.   "Ad Astra"

Purchased 3 books--packaged very securely and shipped very fast. Thanks.   "Nikes"

The book reproduction was obviously constructed with great care, bound well and just a joy to read.  Well worth the price for the labor alone.  Packed well, shipped promptly.  Excellent handling of a complex transaction.  Buy with confidence, you'll get exactly what is described.   "Barron"

Great service for a good product!   "J.D. Cluster

Quality info as promised, great to deal with, super fast ship!  "J. Plunket"

Thanks for taking care of our order so promptly.  And your books always arrive very well packed.  We appreciate that!  "Audrey"

Thanks for being there with such wonderful material.  Michael Passerotti

Once again great service!   "Rocketsci"

I received the first 3 books today and I like them a lot.  Thanks my friend! José Miraglia, Brazil

Thank you so very much for the extra front cover -- that means that I can frame the cover, and my husband
can have the details.  That was just so nice of you -- I don't know anything to say.  "Thank you" doesn't
sound adequate. Let's try: WOW  THANK YOU  WONDERFUL  GREAT  TERRIFIC  COOL !  I really appreciate it.  Thanks! "Bev"

Fast shipper -- was as promised, and gave additional helpful information. "Anon"

Excellent service from VERY nice people!  "Jim B."

Great Transaction!  Book as described and received in good condition.  A+ seller.  "skied43"

Perfect transaction!  Highly recommended.  Terry Tingle

Great people to do bussiness with.  Highly recommended.  Thanks, AAAAA+++++ "ro_man"

Great transaction.  Thanks!    M. McGill

Your website is fantastic!  Please continue to expand it.  Anthony Richards

Item rec'd promptly & was as advertised, would deal with again anytime.  A++    "roketrik"

Awesome book, great packing, shipped superfast!  I love sellers like this! J. C. Brown

Outstanding to do business with!!  Great transaction!!    J.C. Callahan

Great service -- fast & as advertised. Thanks!    "pcrancher"

Very fast delivery!  Thanks!  Kun Jackson

Delivered as promised, fast shipping, recommended!  E. Frak, Jr.

Great Book, Fast Delivery.  S.J. Armstrong , Australia

Prompt Shipment -- Item as described.  First Class!  "Baron" 

Packed well, shipped promptly.  Excellent handling of a complex transaction.  Buy with confidence, you'll get exactly what is described.  "Taldin"

As promised, as advertised, and on time!  What more can a guy ask?  "Nitram578"

Item as described, fast shipping. Thanks!   "Ngflyer"

Received "Advanced Nitrate Solid Propellants" book today, and the book was just as they said.  Shipping was very fast, good communication, prompt responses.  Thanks for the book!  "Rokitman" 

Received the PYROTECHNICS book today ,and the book was just as they said.  Shipping was very fast, good communication, prompt responses. Thanks. "Rokitman" 

Item was well described and shipped fast.  "Lytmfyr"

Great Shipper fast transaction.  "2ndstage"

A+ transaction, excellent seller.  Item exactly as described, very well packaged, shipped next day.  "Saturnv"

Prompt, courteous, efficient service.  "Powder"

Great communication, very fast shipping!  "Nacl"

Very smooth transaction, recommend highly! AAAAA+++  "Tmcd"

Packs well, ships very fast. A+ transaction.  "Fredshark" 

GREAT to deal with.  Prompt responses, delivery as expected.  They even managed to anticipate some of my questions and requests.  Thanks Much!!! "Len_l"

I admire your work on this.  Yikes, I find the amount of Jetex stuff on this amazing! "David"

A most impressive site, both in size and content.  Daniel Hartstein

What a great group of people!!!  In less than 3 hours someone had found plans I've not seen in over 20 years!!! Then Edward finds the same set the very next day!!!!  Thank you all once again!!  "Hans"

Just want to say that I found the Jetex history interesting and well written. My only interest comes from having owned a 50 with machined housing back in the 50s, but I read it all.  "Ian M"

Thanks for your wonderful service! And compliments, too, on the steadily expanding website!. I do admire your commitment and energy!  "John"

Hi Edward, I got the jetex items today, great stuff!, and THANKS for the bonus goodies, keep up the great info in the newsletter.  Take care and thanks again. Bob Hancock

By the time my pecuniary status had improved, I thought that Jetex had passed into technological history. 
How wrong I was!  John Miller Crawford, New Zealand

You guys have a great site.  Keep it going.  "Dick"

By the way what a great web site you have!  Thanks.  Bill Thompson

Your website gets more interesting as time goes on.  A lot of great information. Gary L. Kinnamon

I bless the day he invited me to join the [Jet-Ex-Press] mailing list.  Getting together with such a good-hearted bunch of enthusiasts has proved a most welcome diversion from the mundane world.  "JME"

Kudos on a job well done !  "Tim"

I'm making sure to list your web page with everything since I think that it is a great source of info.  "Grant"

I am very impressed by your homepage. Your scientific approach and detailed descriptions have really helped me. Thank you.  Morten Frost

Great site [Jet-Ex-Press] with loads of information, I never know Jetex was so popular.  It must have taken a long time to get all the data together? Keep up the good work.  Bill Shive

What a great list [Jet-Ex-Press] this is!  "Marty"

Like your site.  Keep up the good work.  Peter Williams

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The Rocket Science
                      Institute supports amateur experimental rocketry.

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 USA     •     e-mail:

Book Catalog
Nitrate-type Propellants Group

Your first
                        resource for unusual, hard-to-find,
                        out-of-print, and historic books about rockets,
                        missiles, propulsion, and space.