The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a testament to the diverse nature of the Arroyo Seco. For over a half century JPL has captured the public’s imagination for its exploration of space and the possibilities of human travel to other worlds.
JPL’s location in the Arroyo Seco (within a few miles of the Rose Bowl, Norton Simon Museum, Jackie Robinson Stadium, Colorado Street Bridge, Arroyo Seco Parkway, and Southwest Museum) further elevates the region as one of the most significant cultural wonders of the world.
The early rocket tests by the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT) led to government sponsorship and the establishment of JPL on the same land in 1944.
On October 31, 1968, surviving members of the original rocket test, Apollo M.O. Smith, Frank Malina and Edward Forman were among the honored guests at a ceremony in observance of the 1936 rocket test.
In the 1930s and 1940s residents who lived near this section of the arroyo recall hearing strange sounds, loud noises, and the occasional big bang!
The late 1960s was a time of great success for America’s space program. Kids sported crew cuts to look like their heroes the astronauts. And people of all nationalities looked up to the moon pondering their connection with the cosmos.
Early Spanish explorers trekked through the Arroyo Seco to learn about their “New World.” Two hundred years later the same land is used to build space probes leaving Earth to learn about other worlds in our solar system and beyond.
Throwback Thursday is written and produced by Rick Thomas