In the year 2350 the youth (17-23) of the alliance come together at the West Point of the future, Space Academy, located somewhere in the North American Midwest. At the Academy, the best are tested and re tested before becoming cadets of the Solar Guard. Once accepted as cadets the young men are placed into rigorous training. Cadets study such subjects as Astrogation, Nucleonics, Extraterrestrial Biology, Interplanetary Law and Space Medicine. Many lessons are taught at night through the use of a study machine. This marvelous machine is used to fill the subconscious with the needed information while the cadets are asleep. The cadets clamp a subject spool to the machine, slip on a pair of headphones, turn a knob and go to sleep. By morning the cadets subconscious has absorbed the basic information.
Cadets are placed into units of three cadets each. Each cadet has a speciality on the team, power, radar and command. Advanced Science Cadets is a 4th classification which stay at the Academy for research and study. Many times an Advanced Science cadet will join the three man units on special assignments. Each unit must work together, study together and room together to establish a unit from three individuals. Team work is not only necessary but is required. The power cadet is located "below" and is in charge of "feeding" reactive material into the atomic engines for blastoff and course changes, based on the command cadet's orders. The radar cadet is in charge of communications, tracking and Astrogation of the unit's space ship. This team work is so important that if one cadet fails in an academy subject than the whole unit may be washed out.
The command cadet for the Polaris Unit is Tom Corbett. Tom is a curly hair, hard working referee between the other unit members. Tom comes from New Chicago and is probably from a blue collar working family. He has a younger brother who wants to be "just like Tom" when he grows up. Astro, an orphan with no last name, is from Venus. He is a head taller than Tom and Roger with more knowledge about rocket and atomic engines than any book written. Astro has a background in the Merchant Space corps and may be a little older than his unit mates. The blond haired, slender framed Roger Manning is the radar cadet for the unit. Roger is a brilliant astrogator, ladies man, wise guy who is always ready for a fight. Many times his unit mates have to pull Roger out of trouble because of his temper. In fact the early relationship with Roger and Astro almost destroyed the Polaris unit. It is only through the efforts of Tom that the unit survived to become the best unit of the Academy. The fighting between Roger and Astro eventually becomes a good natured kidding between friends, although anyone unfamiliar with the unit would think it was deadly serious.
Discipline is severe and 3 demerits can cause the ouster of a cadet from the Academy. The Polaris unit come close to expulsion many times but through teamwork and nature ability of each cadet they somehow pull through.
Each unit is supervised by a solar Guardsman and in the case of the Polaris unit, Capt Steve Strong has the honor of riding herd on the cadets. Cadets are trained not only in classrooms, but with actual duty assignments under the direction of the unit supervisor. These duty assignments provide the action seen in Tom Corbett. The goal of each cadet is to become fully accepted as officers of the Solar Guard. Promotion happens at different times to each cadet or unit as the officer in charge of the unit feels the cadet has earned and learned enough to be commissioned as Solar Guardsmen. Often they are commissioned in the field without a formal graduation.
The Polaris unit may be found within three settings. First the Space Academy with its moving sidewalks, monorail transportation, space port and tall buildings made of Titan Crystal. Among the buildings are the dormitories (42-D the home of the Polaris Unit), Galileo tower (which chimes the hours) and the classrooms where the cadets study. The Academy is located in the low hills of the former desert of North America within the North American Commonwealth. The Academy is proclaimed to be the university of the planets where future solar Guardsmen from Earth, Venus, Mars and the 3 large satellites of Earth, Titan and Saturn and Ganymede of Jupiter come to be cadets of the Solar Guard. Few cadets are accepted and only 21 of 1000 will become officers and of the 21 officers only 7 will become pilots. Many washed out cadets enlist in the Space Marines or become research assistants to the Academy.
The spaceship Polaris is the other action setting for the series. Each unit is assign a ship according to their unit ratings. The Polaris is 200 feet of polished Beryllium steel with four powerful atomic engines. Near the nose is a large blister of clear Titan Crystal containing the radar deck, twelve feet below the radar deck is the control deck and at the base of the ship the power deck. The ship is armed with 3" & 6" atomic blasters, space torpedo's and carries paraloray guns and blast rifles.
The Atomic fuels needed for the Polaris are made with a catalyst known as N72C. The catalyst refines the natural titanium into reactive mass which is feed into the engines at a D5W rate. The power deck is considered both radioactive "hot" as well as temperature "hot". Astro is often stripped to the waist while working.
Other main characters include Arkwright, Commander of the Space Academy, Dr Dale, instructor, Major "blastoff" Connell, the bane of the Polaris unit, Cadet Alfie Higgins Science Cadet, Professor Sykes and Warren Officer Mike McKenny. The Academy, the spaceship Polaris and the characters were combined in may ways over a six year period to provide entertainment and document the adventures of .....T-O-M...... C-O-R-B-E-T-T .......Space Cadet!!!!!!!!!!!