Goddard, Robert Hutchings

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Goddard, Robert Hutchings,

1882–1945, American physicist and rocket expert, b. Worcester, Mass., grad. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (B.S., 1908), Ph.D. Clark Univ., 1911. From 1914 he was associated with Clark Univ., becoming a professor of physics in 1919. Goddard designed and built early high altitude rockets. In 1926 he completed and successfully fired the world's first liquid fuel rocket. He developed the first smokeless powder rocket, the first practical automatic steering device for rockets, and innumerable other rocket devices. He was one of the first to develop a general theory of rocket action and to prove experimentally the efficiency of rocket propulsion in a vacuum.


See his papers ed. by his wife, Esther C. Goddard (3 vol., 1970).

Goddard, Robert Hutchings


Born Oct. 5, 1882, in Worcester, Mass.; died Aug. 10, 1945, in Baltimore. American scientist and a rocket pioneer.

Goddard graduated from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1908. In 1914 he began working at Clark University, where he was a professor from 1919 to 1943. He served as director of research for the Bureau of Aeronautics of the United States Department of the Navy from 1942 to 1945. Goddard began to work with problems related to the development and use of rockets in 1907. Between 1914 and 1940 he received 83 patents for inventions in rocket technology, and after 1945 an additional 131 patents were registered in his name from archival materials. He began experimenting with hydrocarbon and oxygen liquid fuel in 1920 and bench-testing liquid-fuel rocket motors using oxygen-ether fuel in 1921. In Worcester in 1926, Goddard for the first time publicly launched a liquid-fuel rocket. The fuel was liquid oxygen and gasoline. In the following years he developed and tested a number of experimental liquid-fuel motors and rockets. A crater on the far side of the moon has been named after Goddard.


A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. Washington. D. C, 1919.
Liquid-Propellant Rocket Development. Washington, D. C, 1936.
Autobiography of Robert Hutchings Goddard, Father of the Space Age. Worcester. 1966.


Lehman, M. This High Man: The Ufe of R. H. Goddard. New York.1963. (Bibliography.)
The Papers of R. H. Goddard. vols. 1–3. New York. 1970.