A-Blasts Propel the Atomic Pulse Rocket Into Space (1960)

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"This is the Atomic Pulse Rocket, a pot-bellied ship nearly the size of the Empire State Building, propelled by a series of atomic blasts." Sure, it sounds like a bad idea now but back then it was on the cutting edge: it only needed "a thousand atomic blasts-each equal to 1,000 tons of TNT" to push the 75,000 ton behemoth out of Earth's atmosphere. Once transit speed was reached, things went green: power was then provided by "solar batteries plating the wing and body surfaces."

Inside the rocket, living quarters are situated in the rim of a pressurized wheel-like cabin which revolves to provide artificial gravity. Radio and radar antennae revolve with it. Tubular hydroponic "gardens" on either side of the rim grow algae to produce oxygen and high protein food.

If that wasn't enough, the Atomic Pulse Rocket "could transport payload to the Moon at $6.74 per pound, less than one quarter the prevailing air freight charges over equivalent distance." Or so said this ad for American Bosch Arma Corporation-the folks who brought you the "inertial guidance system for the ATLAS ICBM" missile.