Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Robert Hutchins Goddard :: biographies biography bio

Many of the the most important features of modern rockets, missiles, and even spacecraft use the principles pioneered by Dr. Robert Goddard. Before his work, many people didn't even believe thrust could propel a rocket in a vacuum and, because of this, he was ridiculed by the New York Times when he proposed that space travel with rockets was possible4. When he tried to tell the U.S. Army about the possibility of the Germans using rockets as weapons just before World War II, he was rebuffed. What he had warned became a reality however, when German V-2 rockets hit London. After the war was over, German scientists admitted that much of the design for the V-2 had been taken from Goddard's patents, which were publicly available4. Even though many people didn't take his work seriously, this didn't deter Goddard from the work he loved. He always kept working to advance rocketry, which he believed someday would be the means to travel into space. From his early experiments of measuring the thrust of solid fuel rocket engines on a bench with a ballistic pendulum3, to his last experiments with liquid fuel powered rockets that were over 20 feet long and traveled to altitudes of 9000 feet1, he forged the means to the space age. Before him, rocketry was relatively dead, while after him it was at the forefront of scientific research. Unlike when he first started his work, Dr. Goddard is now recognized for the important role he had in the fields of rocketry and liquid fuel propulsion. He is now known as the father of modern rocketry5. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland is named after him. He recently was named one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century by Time magazine4. In 1969, the New York Times even printed a piece acknowledging that Goddard had indeed been correct about thrust working in a vacuum. Robert Goddard's achievements 1,2 * First to explore mathematically the practicality of using rocket propulsion to reach high altitudes and even the moon (1912) * Received first U.S. patent in the idea of a multi-stage rocket (1914) * Proved, by actual test, that a rocket will work in a vacuum (1915)

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