Have you ever dreamed about soaring through the sky? Using the flying rocket belt, better known as the jet pack, these dreams can become a reality.
The jet pack was first invented in 1962 by Bell Aerosystems. Wendell F. Moore, one of the greatest engineers of his time, created the design in the late 1950s. The original jet pack had a length of three feet and a width of 18.5 inches. The device worked by forcing separated hydrogen peroxide particles through exhaust nozzles, thus propelling the pack up with a thrust of up to 300 pounds. It could hover, turn, ascend, and descend. The jet pack couldn't, go long distances, however, because its fuel was too heavy to carry. In fact, it could only fly up to 20 seconds at a top speed of 80 miles per hour and as far as about 860 ft.
Since the invention of the jet pack, it has been featured in several different shows and movies, including the James Bond movie “Thunderball” and in TV shows like “Gilligan's Island” and “Lost in Space.” The pack is also a favorite for half-time shows. One of its most famous moments was during the 1984 Olympic opening ceremonies.
Since the invention of the first jet pack, there have been several attempts to improve it. The only successful attempt was by the American Rocket Belt Corporation, which consisted of three men, Brad Barker, Joe Wright and Thomas Stanley, in the mid-1990s. They built an improved jet pack that could fly 10 seconds longer than the original. Sadly, the partnership was broken up due to a feud over money, and the new invention was forever lost.
Though the jet pack will most likely never become an efficient way of travel, it is still monumental to humankind's dreams of flying. Perhaps someday, someone will invent a machine that will allow us to fly efficiently. Until then, we can only keep on dreaming.
[Sources: Smithsonian Magazine; army.mil]