The AIS quickly focused on liquid-fuel rockets. In 1931 founders Ed and Lee Pendray visited Berlin, where they saw a rocket test stand and befriended Willy Ley, an influential German spaceflight enthusiast. The first AIS tests took place in rural New Jersey that year, and their first successful launch came in 1933.
With the shift toward practical experiments, engineers and technicians came to dominate AIS leadership. In 1934 they voted to change the society's crackpot-sounding name to the American Rocket Society (ARS).