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Entries in air force (3)


Nuclear-Powered Aircraft (1960)

The Winter, 1960 edition of Air Progress magazine featured two nuclear-powered aircaft on its cover. Much like the nuclear-powered car, which was a popular idea among forward-thinking automobile designers of the 1950s, this idea never really took off. (Get it? Took off! TOOK OFF! Nevermind.)

Previously on Paleo-Future:



Space and National Security (1963)

The 1963 U.S. Air Force film Space and National Security envisioned futuristic wars conducted in space. The clip above is taken from the fascinating NOVA episode, Astrospies. Many thanks to Matt Chapman of for bringing this clip to our attention.


As Matt points out, the "non-animation animation" is similar in style to many of the 1950s Disneyland TV episodes like Mars and Beyond, and Man and the Moon, as well as non-Disney films like Rhapsody of Steel.

See also:
Air Force Predictions for 2063 (1963)
2063 A.D. Book (1963)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Man and the Moon (1955)
Rhapsody of Steel (1959)


Air Force Predictions for 2063 (1963)

The 1963 book, 2063 A.D., includes the predictions of Brigadier General Irving L. Branch. Branch was a commander at the Air Force Flight Test Center and predicted that by 2063 exploration of the near planets (Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn) will have been accomplished with manned vehicles. He also predicted that the moon and Mars will be heavily populated with researchers living in space colonies.

His contribution to the book appears below.

1. What kind of space vehicles do you think man will be using?


In the year 2063, a broad spectrum of space transportation systems will exist. Fusion power will provide the primary energy source for the large space transports of 2063. Single stage, high thrust recoverable boosters using a conventional thermal rocket engine propulsion cycle will provide ascent capability from the surface of earth or other planets, whereas low thrust electric propulsion will give an efficient means of transport in the low acceleration environment of free space between the planets. Both chemical and nuclear propulsion will, however, be used as required to extend the operational domain of man.

2. How far out in space will we have moved?

Thorough exploration of the near planets - Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn - by manned vehicles will have been accomplished by 2063. Preliminary manned exploration of the outer planets and all secondary bodies of the solar system as well as comets will be in process. A major effort will be fully organized to develop a transportation system for manned exploration of our closer stellar neighbors.

3. What sort of colonization will have taken place on other planets?

Population of the moon will have attained 100,000 by 2063. Primary products of the lunar colony will be rocket propellants for planetary exploration. Mars will attain a population of 10,000 by 2063, though rate of growth at that time will far exceed that of the moon. Population centers of the moon and Mars will consist primarily of research and engineering personnel with supporting technicians. Colonies will contain an acceptable mix of both male and female personnel. Development of these extra-terrestrial colonies will occur employing a transport mechanism operating with a steadily reducing crew return rate, i.e., emphasis will be given to encouraging a oneway system of space transport. Scientific and economic information will be readily communicated between the colonies though personnel and cargo will tend to remain fixed upon first delivery to the specified target body of the solar system.

4. Will we have moved closer to a one-world concept in our space efforts?

The one-world concept in our space efforts will not be particularly strengthened because of steady improvements made in propulsive capabilities. Independent scientific exploration and economic development of our solar system by many nations will be possible prior to 2063, due to readily available low cost propulsive systems.

5. What will ballistic missiles be used for?

Ballistic missiles will not be employed as a weapon system by 2063 due to development of other more lethal military systems and due to increased international competition in the scientific exporation and economic development of our solar system.

6. What natural resources will be taxing in outer space?

No extra-terrestrial natural resources will be taxed with direct monetary return to earth though the growing economic systems of the lunar and planetary colonies will maintain independent taxation for maintenance and development of local activities. Monetary benefits to the international bodies on the earth will accrue only through application of scientific information derived from interplanetary and interstellar exploration.

7. What commercial ventures will have derived from this feature?

Space transportation will have comprise the bulk of interplanetary activities though the primary goals of such extra-terrestrial colony will be the extraction of scientific data and transmission of this information.

See also:
General Dynamics Astronautics Time Capsule (1963)
Broken Time Capsule (1963-1997)
Lyndon B. Johnson on 2063 A.D. (1963)
Edmund G. Brown's Californifuture (1963)
James B. Utt on Space Travel (1963)