- Aug 7, 2002
- Reaction score
I thought this was quite an interesting story, which wasn't previously familiar to me:
The day Robert Condit set fire to a hunk of metal filled with 50 gallons of gasoline, it was supposed to be only a test. The hope was that the bullet-nosed contraption that he’d designed and built with the help of two brothers, Harry and Sterling Uhler, would find the propulsion necessary to leave the pockmarked macadam of a city street. It was 1927, a warm August afternoon. The kind of blue-sky day that inspires trouble in bored kids, but these were three grown men, in their 30s, standing on a street in Hampden, a neighborhood just north of downtown Baltimore.
The 24-foot-tall rocket, an amalgamation of angle iron, scrap materials and amateur engineering was meant to eventually blast Condit out of Earth’s atmosphere and to the planet Venus. Charles Lindbergh had managed the width of the Atlantic Ocean in a monoplane earlier that year, and flying great distances was no longer a daydream. Why not aim for the stars?