The influence of the Goddard Rocket on modern liquid rocket engine
design can not be overstated. This first functional liquid rocket
is comprised of the bare minimum of systems and components necessary
to achieve operability.
Thus, in developing this rocket, Dr. Goddard also developed,
refined and integrated together for the first time,
all of the basic system elements and functions found in all modern-day
liquid rocket engines, including the following:
- Combustion chamber
- Pressurized Tanks
- Flow control devices
- Hi Fidelity Valves
- Fuel and oxidizer feed system Launch stand
- Igniter and combustion devices
- Handling of cryogenic liquids
- Thermal protection, insulation
- Launch sequence procedures
Wernher Von Braun and his colleagues in Germany were well aware
of Goddard's brilliance and followed his work as closely as they
could from afar. But it was not until after they came to America
in 1945, the year Goddard died, to work for the U.S. Army that
their indebtedness became obvious.
In 1957 a claim of patent infringement was made by Mrs. Esther
Goddard on behalf of her late husband against the United States
Government, specifically regarding the technologies being developed
in building the Redstone and Jupiter missiles at Redstone Arsenal
in Huntsville, Alabama.
In response, a detailed engineering assessment was made of the
40 Goddard patents in question by the ARMY, (later NASA) engineers
and indeed, it was found that there were many infringements. In
1960, the litigation was settled with a sizeable award from NASA
to the Goddard Estate.
This legal action proves the direct link between the work of
Dr. Robert H. Goddard in the 1930's and 40's and the work of Dr.
Wernher Von Braun and his team at Marshall Space Flight Center
20 years later.
Esther C. Goddard and G. Edward Pendray, editors, The
Papers of Robert H. Goddard, Volumes I-III, McGraw-Hill
Book Company, 1970
DISPOSITION FORM DD96,
U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal, 1 July, 1957, "Infringement Claim
- Mrs. Esther C. Goddard".
Milton Lehman, Dr. Robert H. Goddard : Pioneer
of Space Research, Da Capo Press, 1988. Originally published
as "This High Man," by Farrar, Straus and Company, in