Notes on Robert Goddard
ROBERT GODDARD WAS PIONEER IN AMERICAN ROCKET
Goddard made basic contributions to rocketry in flight hardware.
Following graduation from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Goddard
completed graduate work at Clark University in 1911 and became
a member of the faculty there.
In the 1920's, he continued earlier experiments with liquid-fueled
vehicles and is credited with the first flight of a liquid-propellant
rocket on March 16,1926. With private support, Goddard was able
to pursue development of larger rockets; he and a small crew of
technicians established a test site in a remote area of the Southwest
not far from Roswell, New Mexico.
From 1930 to 1941, Goddard made substantial progress
in the development of progressively larger rockets, which attained
altitudes of 2,300 meters, and refined his equipment for guidance
and control, his techniques of welding, and his insulation, pumps
and other associated equipment.
In many respects, Goddard laid the essential foundations
of practical rocket technology, including his research paper entitled
"A Method of Attaining Extreme Altitude" (published
by the Smithsonian Institution in 1919)—a primer in theory,
calculations, and methods—and his numerous patents that
comprised a broad catalog of functional hardware.
In spite of basic contributions in workable hardware,
his work went unheralded for years. Goddard preferred to work
quietly, absorbed in the immediate problems of hardware development
and wary of the extreme sensationalism the public seemed to attach
to suggestions of rocketry and space travel.