This Mysterious Pasadena Rocket Scientist Is the Subject of a New Television Series

He also had an infatuation with the occult.

The co-founder of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena is considered by many to be the father of rocketry. And now that man, Jack Parsons, is the subject of a new drama on CBS All Access called Strange Angel.

“He was a man who—like so many of L.A.’s great historic figures—found himself caught between grandiose fantasy and cold, hard, mathematically sound realty,” says Los Angeles Magazine. “According to his real-life working partner, he ‘was a self-trained chemist who, although he lacked the discipline of a formal higher education, had an uninhibited and fruitful imagination.” And in Strange Angel, as in life, his imagination propels him forward in the face of ever-worsening odds, caution be damned. A careless experiment fills his lab with noxious fumes. A risky rocket contraption explodes. An ill-conceived dinitrogen trioxide heist goes awry. In every episode, we’re left to wonder: How far can Parson’s unshakeable belief in his own whimsical dreams take him when disaster is constantly nipping at his heels?’”

The new series also delves into Parsons’ relationship with the occult, particularly Thelema, the religious movement spearheaded by Aleister Crowley. You can see the trailer for Strange Angel and read more about Parsons here.