A list of space and defense projects

Ever since I was a wee kid, I have been fascinated in military and space technologies. This is an ongoing list of projects and ideas that I still find fascinating.


From Hacker News I found Ignition: An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants (1972), which lead me to Sciencemadness Dot Org. Years ago, decades ago, I found Sciencemadness and then forgot the site.

Maybe you’d be interested in The Rocket Manual For Amateurs by Capt. Bertrand R. Brinley.

Project Horizon was a 1959 study to determine the feasibility of constructing a scientific / military base on the Moon, at a time when the U.S. Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force had total responsibility for U.S. space program plans. Horizon never progressed past the feasibility stage, being rejected by President Dwight Eisenhower when primary responsibility for America’s space program was transferred to the civilian agency NASA.

  • Volume I: Summary and Supporting Considerations
  • Volume II: Technical Considerations and Plans

Three space colony summer studies were conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s. A number of artistic renderings of the concepts were made. These have been scanned and are available here as small, medium, large, and publication quality jpeg images.

Threat, Haven, or Fantasy? US Moon Base Concepts from 1959 to 2020 and Beyond | by Adeene Denton | Medium

Also, of importance is the Cosmic Train Schedule


Space-based ballistic missile defense: a multidimensional analysis (1985) | Hacker News

On February 25, 1991, during the Gulf War, an American Patriot Missile battery in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, failed to track and intercept an incoming Iraqi Scud missile. The Scud struck an American Army barracks, killing 28 soldiers and injuring around 100 other people. A report of the General Accounting office, GAO/IMTEC-92-26, entitled Patriot Missile Defense: Software Problem Led to System Failure at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia reported on the cause of the failure. It turns out that the cause was an inaccurate calculation of the time since boot due to computer arithmetic errors. Specifically, the time in tenths of second as measured by the system’s internal clock was multiplied by 1/10 to produce the time in seconds.

The Fishback ramjet revisited

The technology behind the Lilium jet

DARPA’s investment strategy follows a portfolio approach. Reaching for outsized impact means taking on risk, and high risk in pursuit of high payoff is a hallmark of DARPA’s programs. They are listed here. Past DARPA research programs can be viewed in the Past Programs Archive.

The B-2 Bomber:


In late 1944, General Leslie Groves commissioned a multi-volume history of the Manhattan Project called the Manhattan District History. It was only recently in 2014. The entire thirty-six volume Manhattan District History is available here.

In 1962 the United States conducted its final atmospheric nuclear test series, Operation Dominic. The absolute final bomb was Ripple II, test 2. This article pulls everything we know about the test, which still remains classified. There is a lot of evidence that it was a pure fusion device, which has only been theorized.

Floating nuclear power plants
A Review of Criticality Accidents
Narrative Summaries of Accidents Involving US Nuclear Weapons 1950-1989


First published Dec 8, 2023