Goddard, Dr Robert Hutchings

Goddard, Dr Robert Hutchings
b. 5 October 1882 Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
d. 10 August 1945 Baltimore, Maryland, USA
American inventory developer of rocket propulsion.
At the age of seventeen Goddard climbed a tree and, seeing the view from above, he became determined to make some device with which to ascend towards the planets. In an autobiography, published in 1959 in the journal Astronautics, he stated, "I was a different boy when I descended the ladder. Life now had a purpose for me." His first idea was to launch a projectile by centrifugal force, but in 1909 he started to design a rocket that was to be multi-stage and fuelled by liquid oxygen and hydrogen. Not long before the First World War he produced a report, "A method of reaching extreme altitudes", which was for the Smithsonian Institution and was published in book form in 1919. During the war he worked on solid-fuelled rockets as weapons. His book contained notes on the amount of fuel required to raise 1 lb (454 g) of payload to an infinite altitude. He incurred ridicule as "the moon man" when he proposed the use of flash powder to indicate successful arrival on the moon. In 1923 he severed his connections with military work and returned to the University of Massachusetts. On 16 March 1926 he launched the world's first liquid-fuelled rocket from his aunt's farm in Auburn, Massachusetts; powered by gasoline and liquid oxygen, it flew to a height of 12 m (40 ft) and travelled 54 m (177 ft) in 2.4 seconds.
In November 1929 he met the aviator Charles Lindbergh, who persuaded both the Guggenheim Foundation and the Carnegie Institute to support Goddard's experiments financially. He moved to the more suitable location of the Mescalere Ranch, near Roswell, New Mexico, where he worked until 1941. His liquid-fuelled rockets reached speeds of 1,100 km/h (700 mph) and heights of 2,500 m (8,000ft). He investigated the use of the gyroscope to steady his rockets and the assembly of power units in clusters to increase the total thrust. In 1941 he moved to the naval establishment at Annapolis, Maryland, working on liquid-fuelled rockets to assist the take-off of aircraft from carriers. He worked for the US Government on this and the development of military rockets until his death from throat cancer in 1945. In all, he was granted 214 patents, roughly three per year of his life.
In 1960 the US Government admitted infringement of Goddard's patents during the rocket programme of the 1950s and awarded his widow a payment of $1,000,000, while the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) honoured him by naming the Goddard Spaceflight Center near Washington, DC, after him. The Goddard Memorial Library at Clark University, in his home town of Worcester, Massachusetts, was also named in his honour.
Further Reading
A.Osman, 1983, Space History, London: Michael Joseph. P.Marsh, 1985, The Space Business, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
K.C.Parley, 1991, Robert H.Goddard, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Silver Burdett Press. T.Streissguth, 1994, Rocket Man: The Story of Robert Goddard, Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Goddard,Robert Hutchings — God·dard (gŏdʹərd), Robert Hutchings. 1882 1945. American physicist who developed and launched the first successful liquid fueled rocket (1926) and invented numerous rocketry devices. * * * …   Universalium

  • Goddard, Robert Hutchings — born Oct. 5, 1882, Worcester, Mass., U.S. died Aug. 10, 1945, Baltimore, Md. U.S. inventor, regarded as the father of modern rocketry. He received his doctorate (1911) from Clark University, where he taught for much of his career. In laboratory… …   Universalium

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