[Daily article] October 30: Jack Parsons (rocket engineer)

Jack Parsons (1914–1952) was an American rocket engineer and rocket
propulsion researcher, chemist, and Thelemite occultist. Associated with
the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Parsons was one of the
principal founders of both the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the
Aerojet Engineering Corporation. He invented the first rocket engine
using a castable composite rocket propellant, and helped develop both
liquid-fuel and solid-fuel rockets. Inspired by science fiction
literature, he developed an interest in rocketry in his childhood and in
1928 began amateur rocket experiments with school friend Ed Forman. In
1934 he united with Forman and graduate student Frank Malina to form the
Caltech-affiliated GALCIT Rocket Research Group, supported by Guggenheim
Aeronautical Laboratory chairman Theodore von Kármán. After working on
Jet-Assisted Take Off for the U.S. military, the GALCIT Group became JPL
in 1943. For his contributions to rocket engineering, his advocacy of
space exploration and human spaceflight, and his role in the founding of
JPL and Aerojet, Parsons is regarded as one of the most important early
figures of the U.S. space program.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


Having seized the throne of England after the War of the Roses,
Henry VII was formally crowned at Westminster Abbey.


War of the Fourth Coalition: Believing they were massively
outnumbered, the 5,300-man German garrison at Stettin, Prussia (now
Szczecin, Poland), surrendered to a much smaller French force without a


Russian Revolution: Tsar Nicholas II reluctantly signed the
“October Manifesto”, establishing the State Duma as the elected
legislature in Imperial Russia.


Surgeon and scientist Michael Woodruff performed the first
successful kidney transplant in the United Kingdom at The Royal
Infirmary of Edinburgh.


The Madrid Conference, an attempt by the international
community to start a peace process through negotiations involving Israel
and the Arab countries, convened in Madrid.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

(construction) A coat of cement mortar on the face of rough masonry, the
earth side of foundation and basement walls.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  A work is never completed except by some accident such as
weariness, satisfaction, the need to deliver, or death: for, in relation
to who or what is making it, it can only be one stage in a series of
inner transformations.  
–Paul Valéry

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