Despite the fact that this was Arthur's first published novel (came out in 1951), it is one of his most interesting in many ways. First, note the date I listed above of it's publication. That's right, it came out several years before Sputnik (much less Apollo) and yet still offers up numerous technical-drenched in-book conversations detailing the ins and outs of rockets and spaceships. Arthur describes an elaborate plan of how to build and execute a spaceship, many of which were taken into account in the eventual building of the first spaceships (ACC placed the first Moon landing in 1977, and thought he was being optimistic), and several of which we have yet to fulfill. An interesting thing to note is that he uses atomic technology for the spaceships.
Aside from what I already mentioned above, there are several othe prophetic things in this book. For example, Clarke mentions an array of satellites positioned above earth to be used for communications purposes (this is written by the man who invented the Com-Sat, after all), and this book was written in 1947!
Also, Clarke fans will notice that this lays the foundation for many of his later works. It is a Prelude To Space in more ways than one. For one thing, he mentions in the book how we will attempt to colonize the Moon, something that has been done in the majority of his subsequent novels. It makes one wonder why we haven't done this in real life. Also, in an ironic twist of fate, the novel ends with the earth at the turn of the century, in the year 2001! Truly amazing stuff.
This is a good story in and of itself, and it is interesting to go back and read older (pre-Apollo) books like this and see how close they were to the real thing. As interesting as it would have been to read a groundbreaking (back then) book as this at the time it first came out, it is just as interesting, if not more so, to read such a book now.