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Home >Early Days of Rocket and Aeronautics > MSFC Goddard Rocket Replica Project > Patents


During Dr. Goddard's lifetime, 48 patents were issued to him. Thirty-five others, for which he had applied, were completed and issued after his death. Mrs. Goddard, as executor, applied for and obtained 131 additional patents, based on notes, sketches, and photographs left by Dr. Goddard. The total number of Goddard patents is thus 214.

In 1960 the United States Government acquired rights to use the Goddard patents. The settlement was announced in August 1960 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in these words:

"Dr. Robert H. Goddard's work as a universally recognized pioneer in rocketry has recently formed the basis of a settlement by the Army, Navy, Air Force and NASA with his widow, Mrs. Esther C. Goddard, and the Guggenheim Foundation. This settlement is in the amount of $1,000,000 for rights to use over 200 of Dr. Goddard's patents which cover basic inventions in the field of rockets, guided missiles and space exploration. The Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation, a nonprofit organization located in New York City, sponsored almost all of Dr. Goddard's research in rocketry and jet propulsion between 1930 and 1941. In gratitude for the Foundation's assistance, Dr. Goddard had assigned a half interest in his patents to the Foundation. In 1951 the Guggenheim Foundation and Mrs. Goddard filed an administrative claim with the military departments based on Government use of Dr. Goddard's patents in certain missiles then under research and development. Upon acceleration of the missile and space program in recent years, production for defense and space use, involving certain of Dr. Goddard's inventions, indicated need for acquisition of rights there under. NASA became a party to the claim after its establishment, October 1, 1958."

For more information:

Some of the documents below have been prepared using Adobe Acrobat and require you to Download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

  • Table listing all 214 of the Robert H. Goddard patents
  • DISPOSITION FORM DD96, U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal, 1 July, 1957, "Infringement Claim - Mrs. Esther C. Goddard".
  • A poster (.pdf) featuring eight Goddard patents and modern examples of their use.

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