The untold story of the engineers, dreamers and rebels who started the American space programme. In particular, it is the story of Frank Malina, founder of what became Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the scientist who cracked the, as he called it, problem of escape from the Earth by rocket. It’s a wild ride. Jack Parsons, Malina’s chemistry-expert research partner, was a bed-hopping occultist with delusions of grandeur. We get all the horrible details: drug parties and sex magic, cameos by Aleister Crowley and L. Ron Hubbard, and an ill-fated attempt to start a mail-order religion. Armed with hitherto unpublished letters, journals, and documents from the Malina family archives, Fraser MacDonald reveals what we didn’t know.