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From Missiles to Space: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1955-1960

Koppes, Clayton R. (1977) From Missiles to Space: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1955-1960. Social Science Working Paper, 188. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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While most of JPL's research and development activities in the 1940s and 1950s were devoted to terrestrial problems, space had never been far from the minds of the laboratory's scientists and engineers. Frank Malina and Mart in Summerfield had calculated in 1945 that it was possible to build a rocket that would "escape earth's atmosphere." In 1949 the Bumper WAC, a WAC Corporal mounted on a V-2, had set an altitude record by ascending 250 miles; it had also proved the feasibility of rockets operating in stages. Passing the time between test flights at White Sands, New Mexico, in 1950, some JPL engineers scribbled back-of-the-envelope calculations that showed it was possible to cluster some Loki rockets on a Corporal missile and land an empty beer can on the moon. More seriously and certainly more formally, JPL director William Pickering was active throughout the 1940s and 50s on the Upper Atmosphere Research Panel, which sponsored research using high-altitude sounding rockets.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:188
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171023-112607398
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82585
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:24 Oct 2017 21:18
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:56

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