A man in bright red pants and a pink shirt holds a giant red balloon. To his left are two tall computer stations with various nobs and buttons and another man wearing an all white denim suit.


Saturday, October 31


Online (see event details)

Target Audience:

General Audience


Today, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is known as NASA's premier center for designing, building, and operating spacecraft that journey throughout the solar system, touch down on other worlds, and reveal mysteries of the Earth and universe beyond. But that wasn't always the case. When JPL was founded in the 1930s by a group of Caltech students and rocket enthusiasts, the laboratory was a test-bed for some of the earliest rocketry experiments – thus the name Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The group's first successful rocket test happened on Oct. 31, 1936, marking what is now considered JPL's official founding date.

Visit the links below to learn more about JPL's history, how it transitioned from rocketry to space exploration, and about a team of "human computers" who played a pivotal role in the laboratory's success. Plus, discover standards-aligned STEM lessons and activities related to the history of space exploration.

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