After working on jet-assisted takeoff 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
Jack Parsons (1914–1952) was an American rocket engineer and rocket propulsion researcher, chemist, and Thelemite occultist. Associated with the California Institute of Technology.
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.
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Parsons’ occult and libertarian polemical writings were published posthumously, with Western esoteric and countercultural circles citing him as one of the most significant figures in propagating Thelema across North America.
After a brief involvement with Marxism in 1939, Parsons converted to Thelema, the English occultist Aleister Crowley’s new religious movement. In 1941, alongside his first wife Helen Northrup, Parsons joined the Agape Lodge, the Californian branch of the Thelemite Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.).
At Crowley’s bidding, he replaced Wilfred Talbot Smith as its leader in 1942 and ran the Lodge from his mansion on Orange Grove Avenue.
He has been the subject of several biographies and fictionalized portrayals