Frank Joseph Malina (October 2, 1912 – November 9, 1981) was an American aeronautical engineer and painter, especially known for becoming both a pioneer in the art world and the realm of scientific engineering.
Malina was born in Brenham, Texas. His father came from Bohemia. Frank's formal education began with a degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University in 1934. The same year he received a scholarship to study mechanical engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he obtained his doctor degree in 1940. 
In 1935, while a graduate student at Caltech, Malina persuaded Professor of Aeronautics Theodore von Kármán to allow him to pursue studies into rocketry and rocket propulsion. The formal goal was development of a sounding rocket.
Malina's group was forced to move their operations away from the main Caltech campus into the more remote Arroyo Seco. This site and the research Malina was conducting would later become the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Malina served as the second Director of JPL.
By late 1945, Malina's rockets had outgrown the facility at Arroyo Seco, and his tests were moved to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Here, the project's WAC Corporal sounding rocket was the first U.S. rocket to break the 50-mile altitude mark, becoming the first sounding rocket to reach space.
During 1947, with rocket research in high gear, Malina's demanding travel and administrative schedule, along with a dislike of so much rocketry research being devoted to weapons systems and not scientific research, caused him to re-evaluate his career and leave Aerojet. Malina's interest in the Communist Party, Caltech's "Unit 122," and labor activism while he was a graduate student in the 1930s had also attracted the attention of the FBI. However, there is "scant evidence" that Unit 122 or its "communist offshoot" ever passed rocket information to the Soviet Union in the 1930s or 1940s. ("The surveillance of suspected 'communists' hardly ever revealed espionage and served mainly to feed prejudice.")
He moved to France and joined the fledgling United Nations as secretariat of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) under Julian Huxley. In 1951, Malina became head of UNESCO's division of scientific research. Two years later, Malina left UNESCO to pursue an interest in kinetic art. In 1952, at the height of the Red Scare, Malina was indicted for having failed to list his Communist Party membership on an old security questionnaire from Caltech. He was declared a fugitive, to be arrested if and when he returned to the United States.
In 1968 in Paris he founded Leonardo, an international peer-reviewed research journal that featured articles written by artists on their own work, and focused on the interactions between the contemporary arts with the sciences and new technologies. The Leonardo journal is still published as of 2018[update] as a project of Leonardo/ISAST, the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology.
Death and familyEdit
Frank Malina died in 1981 in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France. His widow Marjorie Duckworth Malina died in 2006. Their sons Roger and Alan Malina live and work in France and Portugal, respectively.
References and notesEdit
- MacDonald, Fraser (14 October 2015). "Frank Malina and an overlooked Space Age milestone". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
- Arthey, Vin (6 July 2019). "Rocket Men". The Scotsman. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
- "About Frank Malina". Leonardo/ISAST. 2016-10-04. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- "Memoir On the Galcit Rocket Research Project, 1936-38". Frank Joseph Malina's presentation at the First International Symposium on the History of Astronautics, " PRE-1939 MEMOIRS OF ASTRONAUTICS ", organized by the International Academy of Astronautics with the cooperation of the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science at Belgrade on 25-26 September, 1967. 
- "Leonardo's Strange Angel: Behind the Scenes with Jack Parsons and Frank Malina". Leonardo/ISAST. 2018-06-11. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
- "Early History". JPL.
- The U.S. at the time used a definition of space as beginning at 50 miles' altitude, instead what would become the international standard 100 kilometers (62 miles). See Kármán line.
- Johnson, James L. (August 2014). "America's Forgotten Rocketeer". IEEE Spectrum: 56. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- "Frank Malina, JPL Director, 1944 - 1946". JPL.
- McCray, W. Patrick (February 1, 2016). "Rocketeer Frank Molina's Life as an Artist". IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- "Review of "The Three Rocketeers"".
- Origin of Leonardo journal at its official website
- "Home". Leonardo/ISAST. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- Sheppard, David (September 27, 1990). "Slayton to Join Space Hall of Fame". El Paso Times. El Paso, Texas. p. 9 – via Newspapers.com.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frank Malina.|
- "Malina, Frank Joseph". American National Biography.
- 'Frank Malina On Line Archive'
- Biography at the Wayback Machine (archived March 5, 2005)
- Frank Malina timeline
- Leonardo Journal
- JPL history
- MG Lord (2005). Astro Turf: The Private Life of Rocket Science. New York: Walker & Company. ISBN 0-8027-1427-7. Includes a detailed account of Malina's post-JPL life, by a scholar who had access to his FBI file
- "Propulsion" –– The documentary, Huffington Post