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View of JPL in 1942
  In February 1942, only a few buildings stood at the site that would become JPL.
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  The young rocketeers were encouraged by Caltech professor and aerodynamicist Theodore von Karman. After the mid-November tests, he secured space for them on the Caltech campus. He also insisted that the experimenters know the mathematics that described the performance of their rocket motors.

Over time, the inventors' explosive and noisy motors proved too dangerous for the campus. In 1940, a new facility -- across the Arroyo from the original test site -- was built in the foothills of Pasadena. Three test stands and tarpaper shacks marked the first buildings of what von Karman would name the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in November 1943. He would become JPL's first director.

Learn more about Theodore von Karman

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