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Thread: Rocket man gets reply to 52 year old letter

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    Supporting Member Rapunzel's Avatar
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    Rocket man gets reply to 52 year old letter

    When Denis Cox wrote an urgent letter to the scientists at the Woomera Rocket Range as a child, he implored them to write back.

    It never happened, and at some point, he forgot all about the letter.

    Imagine his surprise then when another man tracked him down after finding the letter on the National Archives website, 52 years later.

    Now it seems he may even receive a letter back from rocket scientists.

    When Mr Cox wrote the letter as a child, he thought it was too important to go to just any old bod in a white lab coat.

    "I think I [wrote] 'scientist' and then a little arrow saying 'top scientist'," he said.

    After all, the letter contained important stuff - plans for a rocket ship.

    It was emblazoned with the Australian Air Force Insignia and had four Rolls Royce Jet Engines, all of which could be fired individually.

    "If you wanted to go one it'd fire one, and if you wanted to go the other way it'd fire another one of course," he said.

    But the young Denis wasn't too cocky. He added instructions for the scientists to fill in the details.

    "I thought it would be more effective than me trying to put the details in," he said.

    "I could have attempted some detail but I thought people at Woomera, particularly top scientists rather than just scientists, would be more aware of what the detail should be."

    Space obsession

    Years later, the letter found its way into the National Archives and ended up on the website, where it was spotted by another man, who had been similarly obsessed by the space race in his childhood.

    "It's a totally charming letter and one that you can be completely familiar with - things that you've written to people when you were a kid, famous people, and just silly stuff that you write down that really means nothing in the big scheme of things," Bob Meade said.

    "You think they're important because they're important to you. This is just the perfect example of that about a kid who's got a dream."

    Mr Meade was so captivated by the letter that he decided to track down its author.

    It only took a little detective work.

    "That led me to a work email address where he works for a government department that has some interest in science, so I sent him an email asking him if he was the same Denis Cox," he said.

    Cold War paranoia

    Mr Cox wrote the letter during a tense time in world affairs.

    The paranoia of the Cold War was reaching into space and the Russians had launched Sputnik, the world's first orbiting satellite just weeks before the letter was penned.

    Young Denis saw Sputnik from the corrugated iron roof of his father's shed and says that may have been why he felt an urgent need to draw up plans for a rocket.

    But he says seeing the letter now conjures up memories of a simpler time.

    After all, he was growing up in Mordialloc near Melbourne, where everyday life was quite removed from the space race.

    "I remember my father had an old Willie's ute and he used to chuck the four of us kids in the back of the ute with a shotgun and a big canvas bag and go out shooting rabbits," he said.

    "[He would] come home and my mother would cook it up and that was the days of the 50s when there was no TV sets and walk to school and swim in the creek and it was quite, quite different."

    The Defence Science Technology Organisation is now finally organising a letter from rocket scientists in response to the letter.

    Who knows, maybe on the strength of the rocket design, he will be offered a job. Or maybe he'll just receive a pleasant thank you note.

    After 52 years, he thinks either one would suffice.

    Rocket man gets reply to 52yo letter - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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    Supporting Member Rapunzel's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket man gets reply to 52 year old letter

    TO A TOP SCIENTIST

    Schoolboy Denis Cox sent the following urgent letter to Woomera's Rocket Range in 1957, the intention being that one of the facility's top scientists would see the plans within, build the rocket ship according to the blueprint and enter Australia into the Space Race. Just weeks previous to the letter being written, the world had emitted a collective gasp following the announcement that the Soviets had trumped the U.S. with the successful launch of Sputnik 1. Clearly, no-one had anticipated young Denis throwing his hat into the ring on Australia's behalf.


    Click on link to read Denis' 1857 letter and see his plans for building a rocket ship.

    Letters of Note: TO A TOP SCIENTIST

    How cute is that?

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    Senior Member Richard Bell's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket man gets reply to 52 year old letter

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapunzel View Post
    Imagine his surprise then when another man tracked him down after finding the letter on the National Archives website, 52 years later.
    I think it's gonna be a long, long time.

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    BORN TO BE A RED! abbey's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket man gets reply to 52 year old letter

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Bell View Post
    I think it's gonna be a long, long time.

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    Senior Member farmer giles's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket man gets reply to 52 year old letter

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Bell View Post
    I think it's gonna be a long, long time.
    thanks first guffel of the day

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    Senior Member Odie's Avatar
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    Re: Rocket man gets reply to 52 year old letter

    Register to remove this ad.
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Bell View Post
    I think it's gonna be a long, long time.
    Life is just to short for drama.

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