An illustration I found somewhere online showing a spaceship drawing for “Amazing Stories,” 1938. At first glance, it’s pretty much the stereotypical spaceship from the 1930s… bullet-shaped, with curved tailfins, lots of rivets or bolts, rocket “tubes” and a dearth of adequate propellant volume. On closer examination, it has some interesting features.
The rocket engines use hydrogen and oxygen for propellants. Onboard storage volume is tragically pathetic, but the propulsion system is otherwise interesting. Instead of a steady-state rocket engine of the type normally used, this vehicle uses a pulse detonation system, sort of a chemical Orion. Such a system would have notably higher specific impulse than the conventional rocket, at the expense of lower average thrust, greater dead weight and a rough ride. But even with that higher Isp, performance is going to be pathetic with those few small propellant tanks.
The interior include a centrifuge that takes up a good deal of the volume of the craft. Much like the centrifuge on “2001: A Space Odyssey’s” USS Discovery, this would allow the crew to operate more or less normally on long duration trips. Unlike pretty much every centrifuge ever, this one include massive magnets used for… something. Additionally, it’s not entirely clear that the artist had a good grasp of the acceleration vectors… it would seem that the tables and chairs in the “dining room” are on the walls, not the floor.
It has what look like turreted cannon, but these are in fact “steering rocket tubes.” They would provide adequate degrees of freedom for proper attitude control.