Tag "Willy Ley"

Anti-Ballistic Missiles that can hit their targets with a high probability have proven very difficult to produce. While we’ve had some success with intercepting medium range missiles, taking down ICBMs has been much harder. Bonus: check out this crazy video of a kill vehicle guidance and tracking being tested.

Related: The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, complete with cutting edge, 3-D drop shadow technology.


A rocket expert looks at our chances of withstanding a missile invasion.


SOMEBODY said recently that he would not be surprised if the AAF were researching itself out of business, at least as far as flying personnel is concerned. This somewhat surprising statement was based on the fact that a good number of the research projects which have been made known are aimed at high-velocity flight, either true supersonic flight or something close to it. Most of this fast flying would necessarily take place at very high altitudes where there is not too much air to interfere. And since the ramjet, the rocket and the rocket airplane can be improved more than the pilot, the pilotless missile is bound to be the final result in many cases.

Invasion Base on the Moon (Apr, 1948)

Invasion Base on the Moon

“The first nation to establish a lunar military outpost will rule the earth” says Willy Ley, expert in rocket research.

THE man in the moon may plot the attack that will open World War III. For the man in the moon will be a powerful “spy in the sky” rocketed to the earth’s satellite by the aggressor nation to prepare the way for an all-out assault to conquer the world.

Soon after a 20th-century Columbus pilots his rocket to the moon, the nation that sent him there will have a lunar base that will expose any spot on earth to celestial spying and sudden rocket invasion.

race to the planets (Jul, 1947)

race to the planets


It won’t be long! Earthmen are fast removing all obstacles to me conquest of Interplanetary space* EARTHMEN have set their thoughts on the conquest of space. More than that, they have set their hands to it. In dead earnest they are committed, in both the Old World and the New. It now can definitely be said, the race to the planets is on!

Most experts are agreed that the first unmanned guided missile will strike the Moon some day during the next ten years. The fist manned Moon rocket will probably follow within five years after that. But that trip will not include a landing; it will be merely a trip around the Moon, at a comparatively close but respectful distance, with return to Earth after circling it a few times.

Daring Men in Seven Nations Aim to Harness GIANT Rockets (Aug, 1931)

Daring Men in Seven Nations Aim to Harness GIANT Rockets

FIFTEEN years ago the rocket was a toy, fit only for fireworks or laboratory demonstrations. Twelve years ago only one scientist in the world, the American physicist, Dr. Robert H. Goddard, of Clark University, Worcester, Mass., was working to transform this ancient plaything into a source of power for fast vehicles. So rapid has progress been, since then, that today the rocket is a young giant, though as yet too impetuous and uncontrolled for commercial use.

How The Flying Saucer Works (Mar, 1956)

How The Flying Saucer Works

If you haven’t seen saucers yet, you will—and they’ll be built to Air Force specifications.

By Willy Ley

Editor’s Note: Ever since 1950 when TRUE The Man’s Magazine discussed existence of flying saucers, the world press has been continuously interested in the flight possibilities of disc-shaped aircraft. The most recent Air Force report on flying saucers, issued in November 1955, states that there are rational explanations for practically all the so-called flying saucer “spottings.” Most interesting portion of the Air Force report to many readers, however, was the section dealing with America’s plans for building a disc-shaped aircraft capable of vertical flight and easy maneuverability. To bring you more details on exactly how such a craft would operate, we have asked the world-famed authority on rockets and guided missiles, Willy Ley, to visualize for us how the craft now under development for the U.S. Air Force might be constructed in the light of what is now known about jet propulsion and vertical flight. Mr. Ley’s observations are based on conversations with VTO authorities in the U.S. and on a lifetime of research in jet propulsion and rocket-powered flight.

How Will You Talk to the Martians? (Dec, 1947)

How Will You Talk to the Martians?

How can thought be exchanged? Maybe they haven’t got mouths!


BEFORE long Earthmen are going to Mars. On Mars they may find civilized beings of one form or another. These beings will have a language utterly different from those of earth. How can there be talk? How can there be understanding? How can communication be begun?

Here lies a special problem.

The first suggestion of how we might communicate with other worlds was made just one century ago. It was not made by some wild-eyed crackpot, but by one of the very great men in the history of science. He was the top mathematician of his time and possibly of all time—Karl Friedrich Gauss.

This is the Supersonic Barrier (Feb, 1947)

This is the Supersonic Barrier

Extraordinary things happen close to the speed of sound.


FOR millenia man dreamed about flying—and did nothing about it. In 1783 the balloon was invented and people could fly wherever the wind happened to blow them. More than a century later the airplane was invented—and people began to be able to fly where they wanted to go.

Now, forty-four years later, man wants to fly faster than sound. He will do it. Aeronautical science is close to this goal; it may take only a year or two. But there are difficulties, and most, of them are tied up with something which is called a Mach number. (The term honors the Austrian physicist Dr. E. Mach, who was one of the first to investigate the problems of air resistance at high speeds.)

Life Aboard a Space Ship (Jan, 1956)

Life Aboard a Space Ship

Eating, washing and sleeping will be tough problems for passengers on the first flights to outer space.

By Willy Ley, World-Famed Rocket Authority

NEVER doze off without tying yourself down or you’ll crack your head on something. If you feel a sneeze coming, hang on to something or you’ll slam into the bulkhead. Don’t try to pour from a bottle and don’t smoke without turning up the air conditioner.” This advice may well be given to a space cadet in about 1980 by an experienced hand. All of it refers to the little tricks men will have to learn if they want to survive a trip through space and be reasonably comfortable while doing so. Reasonably comfortable; real comfort is not likely to come to the space lanes for many years.


I screwed up when scanning this article and I’m missing the last few pages. So I’m sorry but you’ll have to make due with the first 15.

As Jayessell pointed out in the comments to another article from this magazine, the cover image as well as the first page of this article are from the 1929 Fritz Lang picture “Frau im Mond”. I’m not sure if the landscapes and moonscapes are from the same movie, but they are beautifully done.


The favorite theme of science fiction is no longer a fantasy-latest advances in rocket research make it a distinct possibility.


Charter Member of British Interplanetary Society and Author of Rockets—Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere


WITH the exception of an occasional comet, our moon is the nearest of all celestial bodies. Its average distance, in round figures, is 240,000 miles. Sometimes it is distant by 13,000 miles more, sometimes, when the moon is closer in its orbital gyrations, it is almost 20,000 miles less. The average, or mean, of all the possible distances is 240,000 miles; or, if you want to be more precise, 238,900 miles.

As astronomical distances go, this is very close indeed; it is not even very far when a purely terrestrial yardstick is applied. I know a Hollywood producer who, for business reasons, has to come to New York five times every year. After eight years of flying to New York five times a year and back, he will have travelled the whole distance to the moon. Taken as one trip, it would be 900 hours on a fast transport, 600 hours on a modern fighter plane.

Forecast: A SKY FULL OF SATELLITES (Jan, 1958)


By Richard F. Dempewolff

MAN’S GREAT DREAM of stepping off his island in the universe to explore the spangled reaches of space took a giant step toward realization on October 4, 1957. That date marks the exclamation point in history when a 184-pound moon, boosted by a mighty rocket smashing skyward from an airfield on the Caspian Sea, was programmed into an 18,000-mile-per-hour orbit around the earth.