This newly reissued debut book in the Rutgers University Press Classics Imprint is the story of the search for a rocket propellant which could be trusted to take man into space. This search was a hazardous enterprise carried out by rival labs who worked against the known laws of nature, with no guarantee of success or safety. Acclaimed scientist and sci-fi author John Drury Clark writes with irreverent and eyewitness immediacy about the development of the explosive fuels strong enough to negate the relentless restraints of gravity. The resulting volume is as much a memoir as a work of history, sharing a behind-the-scenes view of an enterprise which eventually took men to the moon, missiles to the planets, and satellites to outer space. A classic work in the history of science, and described as “a good book on rocket stuff…that’s a really fun one” by SpaceX founder Elon Musk, readers will want to get their hands on this influential classic, available for the first time in decades.
"Ignition! is a hard-to-get-your-hands-on account of early rocket science...Clark was an American chemist active in the development of rocket fuels back in the 1960s and 1970s, and the book is both an account of the growth of the field and an explainer of how the science works."
"Ignition! is a history of liquid rocket propellants, but it's also a history of cold war and the space race, told from a particular point of view....That humor helps the accessibility, and as long as you remember some high school chemistry you shouldn't have a problem with the science either."--Ars Technica
"Ignition!, originally written in 1972, is back in print after a long hiatus. A classic book, it tells a rollicking story of an era when space was the frontier. An informative history, it reads like an adventure story."--Galveston County Daily News
In Re John D. Clark - foreword by Issac AsimovPrefaceHow It StartedPeenemunde and JPLThe Hunting of the Hypergol . . . . . . and Its MatePeroxide - Always a BridesmaidHalogens and Politics and Deep SpacePerformanceLox and Flox and Cryogenics in GeneralWhat Ivan Was DoingExoticsThe Hopeful MonopropsHigh Density and the Higher FoolishnessWhat Happens NextGlossaryIndex