And there was always the problem of gross pollution. Say that somebody dropped (accidentally or otherwise) a greasy wrench into 10,000 gallons of 90 percent peroxide in the hold of the ship. What would happen —and would the ship survive? This question so worried people that one functionary in the Rocket Branch (safely in Washington) who had apparently been reading Captain Horatio Hornblower, wanted us at NARTS (Naval Air Rocket Test Station) to build ourselves a 10,000-gallon tank, fill it up with 90 percent peroxide, and then drop into it —so help me God —one rat. (He didn’t specify the sex of the rat.) It was with considerable difficulty that our chief managed to get him to scale his order down to one test tube of peroxide and one quarter inch of rat tail.
IGNITION! An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants, on the woes of trying to use hydrogen peroxide for rocket fuel onboard an aircraft carrier, a compound that detonated upon contact with just about anything