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Credit: Courtesy NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Explanation: Robert H. Goddard, one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry, was born in Worcester Massachusetts in 1882. As a 16 year old, Goddard read H.G. Wells' science fiction classic "War Of The Worlds" and dreamed of space flight. By 1926 he had designed, built, and flown the world's first liquid fuel rocket. Launched 75 years ago today from his aunt Effie's farm near Auburn Massachusetts, the rocket, dubbed "Nell", rose to an altitude of 41 feet in a flight that lasted about 2 1/2 seconds. Pictured here Goddard stands next to the 10 foot tall rocket. To achieve a stable flight without the need for fins the rocket's heavy motor is located at the top, fed by lines from liquid oxygen and gasoline fuel tanks at the bottom. During his career Goddard was ridiculed by the press for suggesting that rockets could be flown to the Moon, but he kept up his experiments supported in part by the Smithsonian Institution and championed by Charles Lindbergh. Widely recognized as a gifted experimenter and engineering genius, his rockets were many years ahead of their time. He died in 1945 holding over 200 patents in rocket technology. A liquid fuel rocket constructed on principles developed by Goddard landed humans on the Moon in 1969.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.