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Transportation Technology

The Ephemerality and Reality of the Jetpack 127

First time accepted submitter Recaply writes "Here's a look back at the 1960's Bell Aerosystems Rocket Belt. 'Born out of sci-fi cinema, pulp literature and a general lust for launching ourselves into the wild blue yonder, the real-world Rocket Belt began to truly unfold once the military industrial complex opened up its wallet. In the late 1950s, the US Army's Transportation Research Command (TRECOM) was looking at ways to augment the mobility of foot soldiers and enable them to bypass minefields and other obstacles on the battleground by making long-range jumps. It put out a call to various aerospace companies looking for prototypes of a Small Rocket Lift Device (SRLD). Bell Aerospace, which had built the sound-barrier-breaking X-1 aircraft for the Army Air Forces, managed to get the contract and Wendell Moore, a propulsion engineer at Bell became the technical lead.'"
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The Ephemerality and Reality of the Jetpack

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  • Re:Almost as if (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @07:56PM (#46384375) Journal
    Jetpacks make sense if you can get them to work. If you can get one to every person in your army, imagine the mobility you would have. Think of the kinds of flanking maneuvers you could perform. The same would be true for flying cars. Of course, the barriers are cost, controllability, range.....things like that.

    Space elevators and asteroid mining can make sense too, but in those cases (assuming the space elevator can actually be built, which it can't with today's materials) it becomes a cost/benefit analysis. Is it cheaper to mine asteroids, or get the same materials here on earth? As soon as it's cheaper to get them from asteroids, we will get them from asteroids. Is it cheaper to get things into orbit via space elevator? We don't know yet, but if it is, then we will build a space elevator.
  • 1950s (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @09:01PM (#46384669)
    I suspect they ran the numbers and decided that rather than making medicore-range quasi-flyers out of ground soldiers, the smart money was on just getting it over with and develop better helicopters, instead. Better speed; longer flights; bigger payloads - all much cheaper than adding limited flight capabilities to the individual.
  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday March 02, 2014 @10:02PM (#46385005) Homepage

    Anyone expecting printed materials to survive environments typically found inside jet or rocket engines needs to be awfully patient.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly