There was a wonderful book called "Ignition!" by John D. Clark, published around 1972, very interesting to read. That book covers the history of the rocket fuel development in the middle of the XX century, from an insider's standpoint. It ends with this claim, among others:

There appears to be little left to do in liquid propellant chemistry, and very few important developments to be anticipated. In short, we propellant chemists have worked ourselves out of a job. The heroic age is over. But it was great fun while it lasted.

Author's conclusion behind this claim is that the following list of types of the fuel is the best which can be made and no further significant improvement seems possible:

  1. Short-range tactical missiles - RFNA-UDMH, ClF5, hydrazine.
  2. Long-range strategic missiles, lunar landers, service modules - N2O4, hydrazine.
  3. First stage space boosters - liquid oxygen + RP-1
  4. Upper stages of space bootsters - J-2 (hydrogen-oxygen combo)
  5. Deep space - methane, ethane, diborane with OF2 or ONF3, NO2F as oxidizers.

What were the actual advances in the rocket fuel engineering since the 1972? Are the above claims stood the test of time?

To better illustrate what I'm talking about I'm including verbatim copies of the relevant pages from the book purely with the "fair use" intentions, but if it's inappropriate I'll take them down no questions asked.

Copy of Ignition! page 190, copyright 1972 Rutgers University Copy of Ignition! page 191, copyright 1972 Rutgers University Copy of Ignition! page 192, copyright 1972 Rutgers University

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    $\begingroup$ I think he even managed to overestimate developments in here. BTW I don't see why post here and not on Space Exploration.SE $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Apr 2, 2023 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ Cross-posting is frowned upon. If the post gets closed than it can get migrated there, but you shouldn't repost it there. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Apr 2, 2023 at 17:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Mithoron lol, this question have actually already been asked on SE.SE!.. :D space.stackexchange.com/questions/19608/… Thank you so much for pointing me to that community. $\endgroup$
    – hijarian
    Apr 2, 2023 at 17:16
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    $\begingroup$ Would be so cool to see B2H6 + OF2 flame, though! $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Apr 2, 2023 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ For readers, RFNA-UDMH stands for red fuming nitric acid + unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Apr 2, 2023 at 18:19


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