Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Birthday JPL!

FROM PASADENA TO THE PLANETS -- AND BEYOND The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena will today celebrate the 70th anniversary of the rocket motor test that led to the creation of the lab, one of NASA’s most successful centers.

Although some of its unmanned probes have crashed, blown up or disappeared over the decades, JPL is controlling 16 satellites and explorers, including two rovers on Mars and three orbiting the planet.

The lab, which is managed by Caltech, rose from modest beginnings on the site of what today is JPL. Here’s a tiny snapshot of some of JPL’s finer moments.

Oct. 31, 1936: Seven “rocket boys” – including Frank Malina, Jack Parsons and Ed Forman – make four attempts to light a rocket motor and fail. Weeks later, they succeed on the grounds of the current JPL.

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