Roger, nope I'm certain it was V-MAX fuel we were talking about. Nitrocellulose and wood pulp if memory serves. The cordite stuff used in wartime V12 desert starter motors was indeed carved down by airforce technicians to small jetex type applications. Not for me man!
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It is a privilege to correspond with someone who can trace his lineage back to the legendary Jack Parsons. Edward mentioned Karman and Malina, but one mustn't forget the 'hands on' engineer Forman, nor the later Tsien. Interesting guys, interesting times.
Parsons' invention of AP/plastic (bitumen was the first) propellants was a real breakthrough, but he was inspired by Malina's solving of Karman's differential equations that showed a stable combination of burn rate/chamber pressure/-nozzle diameter was possible. What a guy!
Incidentally, the emphasis on 'jets' rather than 'rockets' in both 'Aerojet' and 'JPL' names was because rockets at that time were universally derided. If you doubt this, look what happened to Goddard.
I remember taking my little Rapier powered models on to a flying field with only R/C fliers in attendance. I was treated with ... well ... 'contumely' springs to mind.
Rocket flying will always be a minority interest but at its best it offers a thrill available nowhere else.
For those interested in rocket development history, it is good to know there are transcripts of interviews with Alex Hutchinson (Taylor's protege) Bert Judge (who developed the Sebel formulations) available thanks to Andy. There is also an interview with Dr Zigmund out there.
For those interested in the Jack Parsons Aerojet and JPL, I can recommend the following:
I note that the early Jato units had storage problems - the propellant shrank and fissures appeared .... Bang!! on ignition.
I store my rapiers with silica desiccant - this may be a mistake if it causes the propellant to shrink.
I feel a bit like the lookout of the SS Californian, stopped in field ice and surrounded by colossal icebergs! The main event is happening in the distance and I'm not sure if I can appreciate what's happening. Is that a rocket in the distance, or a company signal? I do know I'm amongst Titanic personalities.