Rocket Belts'
Slow Liftoff

  

Illuminant by
Robert Wilfred Franson

  

August 2008

  

Skylark of Space, Amazing Aug 1928 - Frank R. PaulRocket belts, or any variety of jet pack that a person can wear or strap on, continue their slow liftoff into airy practicality.
  

Of course the physical liftoff into air has to be quite slow, because the belt operator is not a pilot in a shielded rocketcraft. In space, or above an airless surface like Luna's, one could move faster; although with additional sorts of risk.

A fascinating evolution of vehicles can be traced in online exhibits at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Virginia. In the Cold War section is an illustrated page on rocket belts, including some science fiction illustrations. As the Transportation Corps says of the primacy of transport and logistics: Nothing happens until something moves.
  

Larry Greenemeier has a couple of articles in Scientific American, on the history:
The Trouble with Rocket Packs: They're crowd-pleasers, but they'll never live up to the expectation Buck Rogers set in the 1920s;

— and on the prospects:
Will the Personal Jet Pack Ever Get off the Ground? Despite decades of interest in human flight powered by backpack jets, the technology's limitations have kept it grounded, but this could soon change.
  

My uncle Donald L. Franson discusses a famous flying belt in Amazing Stories, 1926-1995: An Obituary, with an Aside on Buck Rogers.

I develop this line a little further in a review of David Kyle's Illustrated Book of Science Fiction Ideas & Dreams.
  

The rocket belt is a device that science fiction has been more or less impatiently anticipating for a long time. I'm glad the liftoff continues.

  

© 2008 Robert Wilfred Franson


  
Thanks to BH.

Amazing August 1928 cover
by Frank R. Paul
  

  
ReFuture at Troynovant
history of science fiction
& progress of fantasy
  


  

Troynovant, or Renewing Troy:    New | Contents
  recurrent inspiration    200 Recent Updates

www.Troynovant.com
emergent layers of
untimely Reviews
& prismatic Essays

  

Share this item —

Bookmark & Share

Essays A-L, M-Z: mining the prismatic veins of Knowledge
Follies: whimsical Ventures, shiny light-hearted Profundities
Illuminants: glances brightening to heat
Memoirs: Personal History, personally told
Postcards: flat-carded Scenes of Passage
Satires: a point or a quiver-full

Strata | Regions | Personae   © 2001-2017 Franson Publications