Dr. Frank J. Malina (1912-1981)
Frank J. Malina is considered by some to be the father of modern rocketry. Born on October 2, 1912, in Brenham, Texas to Czech immigrants, his life was a rare combination of science and art. In 1934, Malina received a graduate fellowship from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he quickly became involved with its Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory (GALCIT). In his dissertation he examined the problems of rocket propulsion and sounding rocket flight performance. Malina served as an assistant professor at Caltech from 1942 until 1946.
Theodore von Kármán was the Director of GALCIT and Malina's doctoral adviser. While pursuing rocket research, Malina and von Kármán developed a close, lifelong working relationship. In 1936, with encouragement from von Kármán, Malina and a small group of men began developing and testing rocket motors, and both solid and liquid propellants. Their work attracted the attention of the US Army Air Corps, and earned a series of grants for research and testing of rocket motors. In 1942, von Kármán and five other scientists formed Aerojet Engineering Corporation, to accept contracts for building jet engines. In 1944, after reports that German scientists were developing rockets for military use, US Army Ordnance established a contract with Caltech to produce American counterpart weapons. The project became known as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with von Kármán as JPL's first Director. However, when von Kármán began spending much of his time in Washington, DC, Malina administered JPL and from 1944-1946 served as its Acting Director.
From 1947-1953 Malina worked for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris. There he studied ways to decrease national barriers to allow the free movement of scientists and their equipment, he worked on the Arid Zone Research Program and eventually became head of the Division of Scientific Research. In 1953, Malina resigned from his post at UNESCO to become a studio artist, pursing his interest in kinetic sculpture that linked art, science and technology. He created more than 250 works, using electric light in motion, which were exhibited across Europe. Malina also founded Leonardo, a magazine of contemporary arts, and acted as its editor from 1967-1968.
In the late 1950s, Malina returned to rocketry and helped found the International Academy of Astronautics, created to promote international cooperation in astronautics. The academy was unique in that it transcended Cold War barriers. Malina made numerous contributions to rocketry during his career, including the theory of constant-thrust long-duration solid fuel rocket motors, development of a safety pressure relief valve for solid propellant rocket motors, and development of a hydrazine-nitric acid fuel, which was used to propel the Apollo Service and Lunar Excursion Modules.
- Characteristics of the Ideal Solid-Propellant Rocket Motor, von Kármán, T. and F. J. Malina, [JPL] Report No. 1-4, December 1, 1940.
- Characteristics of the Rocket Motor and Flight Analyses of the Sounding Rocket. Thesis (Ph.D.), Malina, F. J., California Institute of Technology, Imprint 1940.
- Characteristics of the Rocket Motor Unit Based on the Theory of Perfect Gases, Malina, F. J., [JPL] Report No. R-6, October, 1940. (Published in Journal of the Franklin Institute, Vol. 230, 1940.)
- Comparative Study of Jet Propulsion Systems as Applied to Missiles and Transonic Aircraft, von Kármán, T., F. J. Malina, M. Summerfield, and H. S. Tsien, JPL Memorandum No. JPL-2, March 28,1944.
- Considerations of the Descent of a Parachute from High Altitude, Chombré, P. L. and F. J. Malina, JPL Progress Report No. 4-24, July 26, 1946.
- Considerations of the Feasibility of Developing a 100,000-ft Altitude Rocket (the Wac Corporal), Malina, F. J. and H. J. Stewart, JPL Memorandum No. 4-4, January 16, 1945.
- Description of the Experiment Station of the Air Corps Jet Propulsion Research Project, von Kármán, T. and F. J. Malina, [JPL] Report No. 1-6, February 26, 1941.
- Development and Flight Performance of a High-Altitude Sounding Rocket, the Wac Corporal, Malina, F. J., JPL Report No. 4-18, January 24, 1946.
- Facilities and Equipment of the Air Corps Jet Propulsion Research Project, von Kármán, T. and F. J. Malina, [JPL] Progress Report No. 1-4, May 28, 1943.
- Final Report for 1939-40, Malina, F. J., J. W. Parsons, and E. S. Forman, [JPL] Report No. 1-3, June 15, 1940.
- Flight Analysis of the Sounding Rocket, Malina, F. J. and A. M. O. Smith, [JPL] Report No. R-2, January 26, 1938. (Published in Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences, Vol. 5, 1938.)
- Flight Analysis of a Sounding Rocket with Special Reference to Propulsion by Successive Impulses, Tsien, H. S. and F. J. Malina, [JPL] Report No. R-3, June, 1938. (Published in Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences, Vol. 6, 1938.)
- An Investigation of a Number of Liquid Propellants and a Study of Scale Effect on Jet Motor Performance, Malina, F. J., W. B. Powell, and N. Kaplan, [JPL] Report No. 1-20, October 18, 1943.
- Jet Propulsion -- Its Effect Upon Engineering Education, Malina, F. J., JPL Publication No. 2, February 20, 1946. (Also released as Memorandum No. JPL-5.)
- The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, GALCIT, Malina, F. J., JPL Memorandum No. JPL-3, June 25, 1945.
- Kinetic art: theory and practice. Selections from the journal Leonardo, edited by Malina, F. J., New York: Dover Publications, 1974.
- The Liquid-Propellant Rocket Motor -- Present Status and Direction of Development, Malina, F. J. and H. S. Seifert, JPL Memorandum No. 4-7, August 28,1945.
- Lunar International Laboratory Symposium. 1st, Athens, 1965. Proceedings of the First Lunar International Laboratory (LIL) Symposium [on] Research in Geosciences and Astronomy, edited by Malina, F. J., Vienna, New York : Springer-Verlag, 1966.
- Lunar International Laboratory Symposium, 2d, Madrid, 1966, Life Sciences Research and Lunar Medicine; Proceedings, edited by Malina, F. J., Oxford, New York : Pergamon Press, 1967.
- Lunar International Laboratory Symposium, 3d, Belgrad, 1967, Research in Physics and Chemistry; Proceedings, edited by Malina, F. J., Oxford, New York : Pergamon Press, 1969.
- Lunar International Laboratory Symposium, 4th, New York, 1968, Applied Sciences Research and Utilization of Lunar Resources; Proceedings, edited by Malina, F. J., Oxford, New York : Pergamon Press, 1970.
- Memorandum on the Design, Construction and Operation of a Towing Channel for Under-Water Jet Propulsion Research, von Kármán, T. and F. J. Malina, JPL Miscellaneous No. 2, February 20, 1943.
- Notes on Tour of Inspection to the United Kingdom and France, Malina, F. J., JPL Miscellaneous No. 4, December 5, 1944
- Pitture Cinetiche, Malina, F. J., Rome, Italy : Obelisco, Gallery, 1966.
- Plans and Progress of the Galcit Rocket Research Group, Malina, F. J. [JPL] Report No. R-1, July, 1938.
- The Possibilities of Long-Range Rocket Projectiles and a Review and Preliminary Analysis of Long-Range Rocket Projectiles, von Kármán, T., H. S. Tsien, and F. J. Malina, JPL Memorandum No. JPL-1, November 20,1943. (Also released as External Publication No. 117.)
- The Problem of Escape from the Earth by Rocket, Malina, F. J. and M. Summerfield, JPL Publication No. 5, August 23, 1946.
- Properties and Performance of Various Liquid Rocket Propellants, Kaplan, N. and F. J. Malina, JPL Memorandum No. 1-4, September 15, 1945.
- Results of Flight Tests of the Ercoupe Airplane with Auxiliary Jet Propulsion Supplied by Solid-Propellant Jet Units, Malina, F. J. and J. W. Parsons, [JPL] Report No. 1-9, September 2, 1941.
- Take-Off and Flight Performance of an A-20a Airplane as Affected by Auxiliary Propulsion Supplied by Liquid-Propellant Jet Units, Malina, F. J., [JPL] Report No. 1-12, June 30, 1942.
- Visual Art, Mathematics and Computers: Selections from the Journal Leonardo, edited by Malina, F. J., Oxford, New York: Pergamon Press, 1979