Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vintage amateur rocketry abroad

Earlier today, Flickr user Morbius19, sent me a couple of links regarding the Manchester Interplanetary Society's rocketry activities circa the 1930's. The main site, Harry Turner's Footnotes to Fandom - Pictures of Rocketeers and Fans, presents a set of photos from the Society's history. I noted a couple of the photos feature a "guest of honor' - Midshipman Robert C. Truax, USN, holding an experimental liquid-fuel rocket motor. I included a copy of one of the clearer photos to perk your interest:

The rocket that exploded at the Manchester Interplanetary Society March 1937
meeting being shown off by its maker, Bill Heeley. The two gents on the far right expressed interest in membership, but proved to be plain clothes detectives...
This photo is also a good segue to the second page, FOOTNOTES TO FANDOM #1, which gives a detailed account of the incident mentioned in the photo caption.  It appears the Brit rocketeers of the day also had to contend with their creations being labelled 'explosives' or 'fireworks' and thereby running afoul of the law.  We are blessed to have had individuals like G. Harry Stine, Vern Estes, and the entire crew that prevailed in the NAR/TRA lawsuit that removed those monikers from our precious ACPC.

After reading those articles, I quickly ran into a TRF post that provides a link to a BBC news article: Lebanon’s forgotten space programme. This details the activities of the Lebanese Rocket Society, a science club from a university in Beirut. The effort, which began as a group of amateurs building rockets from paper tubes and metal piping, eventually came under control of the Lebanese military. Evidently there is also a film, which may make it's way to the net (?)

Cedar III launched in 1962 (Credit: Manoug Manougian.)