Pyrotechnic applications in the aerospace industry have multiplied in scope and function since introduction of personnel escape systems in 1947. An overview of significant advances in design, application and testing is presented. Emphasis is placed on the engineering approach rather than the “black magic” aspect so frequently found in early developments. A pressure-controlled propellant-actuated device is discussed along with new test techniques for performance evaluation. A look into the crystal ball concerning the future aspects of pyrotechnics is also presented.