American Interplanetary Society

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Early History

On April 4th 1930 the first meeting of the American Interplanetary Society; (later the American Rocket Society and also a fore-runner of today's American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) took place at West 22nd street in New York at the home of G. Edward Pendray and his wife Lee Gregory Pendray . In attendance were Charles P. Mason, Adolph L. Fierst, Nathan Schachner, Warren Fitzgerald, Fletcher Pratt, William Lemkin, Laurence E. Manning, David Lasser, and Charles W. van Devander.

Almost all of this small group of people were writers of both science fiction, for famous publisher Hugo Gernsback, and science fact; but in the early 1930s they would turn their hands to the practical work of building liquid fueled rockets.

The AIS would also be the spawning ground for one of America's preeminent rocket manufacturers, Reaction Motors Inc. The first chairman of the AIS was David Lasser, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and social activist. Lasser was also the editor of Gernsback's pulp magazine Science Wonder Stories. In 1932 Lasser would write the book The Conquest of Space which would address the concept of spaceflight in a book in plain English for the first time.

In 1934 the AIS would change its name to the American Rocket Society while under the leadership of Canadian-born Laurence E. Manning, an ex-Canadian military officer.

American Rocket Society letterhead (ca. 1954)


Astronautics - Journal of the American Rocket Society