Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Robert Goddard: Inventor of the first liquid-fueled rocket

Robert Goddard was the brilliant, but reclusive, American physicist who promoted rocket science and cofounded the field of astronautics in the early part of the 20th century.

Robert Goddard (October 5, 1882 – August 10, 1945) was born in Worchester, Massachusetts to Nahum Danford Goddard and Fannie Louise Hoyt Goddard.

His father was a machine shop superintendent and visits to his father’s shop helped nurture his fascination with gears, levers and all types of mechanical gadgets. Goddard suffered from stomach problems as a child and as a result fell two years behind in his schoolwork.

As he matured, he became deeply interested in reading and reportedly made regular visit to his local library,

He received bachelor’s degree in physics from Worchester Polytechnic Institute in 1908, a master’s degree from Clark University in 1910, and a PhD from Clark University in 1911.In 1912, he moved to Princeton University on a research fellowship.

However, he suffered a near-fatal relapse of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1913 that incapacitated him for many months. Recovered, Goddard joined the faculty at Clark University the following year as an instructor of physics.

By 1920 he was a full professor of physics and also the director of the physical laboratories at Clark.

Inspired by writings of H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, Goddard began experimenting with solid propellant rockets during World War I. In 1919, he published a book titled A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes which is one of the reasons he is known as one of the founders of modern rocketry.

He set about experimenting with liquid engines in 1923 and launched his first successful flight on March 26, 1926.

Goddard conducted more than 100 static tests, 48 live flight tests and developed the first functional gyroscopic attitude control system for rocket.
Robert Goddard: Inventor of the first liquid-fueled rocket

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