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Keep in mind that whether you are designing a rocket for your SF novel, or for a science fictional wargame, the ship can be the center of attention.
Think about the proud series of vessels which formed the focus for high adventure.
If the book is out of print, second-hand copies can often be found via Book Carol Maxwell: "What makes you think you can discover anything? Knowing at the time a negligible amount of real science, I swallowed whole and then regurgitated to my friends everything presented as science in the SF magazines.
That quickly built me a reputation as a person stuffed with facts and theoriesmany of them wrong and some of them decidedly weird.
In many cases, the ship becomes a character in and of themselves.
The more real you make the ship, the more real the rest of the story will be.
But even the invented material is designed to be consistent with and derived from what is known today.
It does not contradict current theories, although you will not find papers about it in the Physical Review or the Astrophysical Journal.
This is the "stone soup" method of website design, with me supplying the stones. There is some controversy over a few technical details on this site.
If you disagree with something you read on this site, first check this page.
The writers didn't bother to distinguish the scientific theories that they borrowed, from the often peculiarly unscientific theories that they made up for the story. I knew all about the canals on Mars; and that, no matter what alien races might have developed on other worlds and be scattered around the Galaxy, humans would prove to be the smartest, most resourceful, and most wonderful species to be found anywhere. As Pogo remarked long ago, true or false, either way it's a mighty sobering thought. We had them in school for the works of Shakespeare.