Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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Jet Propulsion Laboratory(JPL) An institution for space research and engineering at Pasadena, California, run by the California Institute of Technology under a contract from NASA. It is concerned primarily with the development and operation of crewless interplanetary spacecraft and control of planetary missions. These activities are facilitated by the use of the Deep Space Network, which is also run by JPL. The laboratory also manages more local science missions, such as NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the GALEX (Galaxy Evolution Explorer) satellite. JPL was founded in 1944 by a group of scientists that included Theodore von Kálmán, a Hungarian-born US engineer who worked on rockets and missiles at Caltech during World War II. JPL was responsible for Explorer 1, the first US artificial satellite launched in 1958, and has since controlled NASA's many interplanetary missions, including the Mariner and Pioneer series of probes, Voyagers 1 and 2, and Galileo.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006