Jet Propulsion Laboratory

34.199444444444 - 118.17444444444Koordinaten: 34 ° 11 ' 58 "N, 118 ° 10' 28 " W

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory ( JPL short, English for jet propulsion laboratory ) builds and controls satellites and spacecraft for NASA.

JPL is part of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech ) in La Cañada Flintridge; under his leadership, the successful space projects at NASA were conducted. To be able to maintain contact with the probes, the JPL operates the Deep Space Network. JPL is working except for NASA for the Defense of the United States, the Department of Energy and other government bodies. In addition, it advises the producers of science fiction movies and series ( for example, in Babylon 5).

JPL is now located on a 72 hectare site in La Canada Flintridge ( in California ), the official address is, however, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109th JPL employs approximately 5,500 full-time employees and several thousand more, employees at service people. 2003, the budget was nearly 1.4 billion U.S. dollars.


The JPL developed in the 1930s, when Caltech professor Theodore von Kármán began with students and assistants to conduct experiments with rocket propulsion. On 31 October 1936, they launched their first rocket.

From Kármán convinced the U.S. Army to support him. The army asked the newly formed team to investigate the German V-2 rocket, which for the first time the name Jet Propulsion Laboratory ( Jet Propulsion for jet propulsion ) was used. This name was given to the research organization to achieve outward a serious impression, because at that time was the preoccupation with missiles as untrustworthy.

Based on the research results of JPL was the Corporal rocket, which began the Americans in the Korean War. On 3 December 1958, two months earlier founded NASA JPL took over from the military. In contrast to the other centers, JPL is not affiliated part of NASA, but NASA. JPL is part of the University Caltech.

The JPL retained his name, although in the following years no research on jet engines ( rockets) were more performed. It developed instead, the world's leading center for space probes, their technology and planetary research. However, the JPL lately grows by the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University serious competition.

Space Exploration

On 31 January 1958, the JPL Explorer 1 was launched with the first satellite of the United States. In the 1960s, JPL launched the first space probes to the Moon ( Ranger) and missions to other planets ( Mariner ). On December 14, 1962 Mariner 2 flew past another planet (Venus) the first spacecraft. 1975 was sought with the Viking spacecraft for the first time on Mars for life. 1977 Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched to the outer planets. In October 1998 was started with ion propulsion and other new technologies with a Deep Space 1 spacecraft.

Furthermore, the so-called JPL sequences were developed by JPL. These are special code sequences which are used, inter alia, in space applications for the distance measurement and to reduce the synchronization time for the spread spectrum signals. Furthermore, see JPL consequences of the global positioning system (GPS ) to send the military use P / Y-code application.


In the 1970s, JPL showed that one could examine with the instruments on board spacecraft and the earth, from which the Seasat mission was born.


One of the missions of the JPL include:

  • Explorer 1 to 5
  • Mariner 1 to 10
  • Ranger 1-9, Surveyor 1 to 7
  • Seasat
  • Viking 1 and 2
  • Voyager 1 and Voyager 2
  • Galileo
  • The Mars Pathfinder rover, Opportunity and Spirit
  • Cassini
  • Mars Science Laboratory

JPL also built instruments for other projects, such as the wide-angle camera of the Hubble Space Telescope.

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