You might not recognize his name, but Jack Parsons played a big role in getting humanity into space. Parsons was a literal rocket scientist who invented the first castable solid-state rocket fuel in 1942. He paved the way for mass production of the devices that would both launch humans into the stars and fuel weapons of war. Alongside associates from the California Institute of Technology, he founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, an organization that paved the way for NASA.
Now, CBS All Access—the streaming service that also hosts Star Trek: Discovery—will air a series based on Parson’s life called Strange Angel. It’s based on George Pendle’s book by the same title. It’s a biopic we’ve wanted to see happen for years.
Parsons also pursued a lifelong obsession with the occult, sex, and the intersection of the two. He joined Thelema, the occult movement founded by British occultist Aleister Crowley, and took over the movement's California branch. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard lived in Parson’s home for a time and slept with his wife. Parsons attempted, repeatedly, to use sex magick to summon various deities to the Earthly plane. All while continuing to work as a rocket scientist.
Parsons' life is strange and fascinating. He was a devoted scientist who helped push humanity to the stars, but he pursued strange obsessions and died in a home lab explosion at the age of 37.
Strange Angel begins June 14.