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42 – Jack Parsons Part I: The Suicide Squad

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Pioneering rocket engineer, founder of Jet Propulsion Laboratories, occultist, and disciple of Aleister Crowley, Jack Parsons is one of the most fascinating, compelling, and misunderstood counter-culture figures of the 20th century. Over the next four weeks, we’re going to be taking a deep dive into the incredible, strange, often hilarious, and tragic life of John Whiteside Parsons. In part I we learn about Jack’s early life in Pasadena, blowing up rockets in the desert with fellow miscreants and maniacs Ed Forman and Frank Malina and how, despite Jack and Ed not having college degrees and despite rocketry being considered by the scientific establishment truly and completely stupid, the three men founded a rocket research group at the California Institute of Technology that, due to the nature of blowing stuff up, would earn the nickname “The Suicide Squad” and would form the basis for the American space program.

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