75th Anniversary of Goddard Rocket

March 15, 2001


Provided by: NASA/GSFC
Summary author: Jim Foster

Robert Goddard, as a boy, dreamed of going to the moon. As a young man, Goddard studied physics in college and later became an instructor at both Clark University and Princeton University. In 1914, he was awarded his first two patents for rocket apparatus, and over several years received a number of others. Goddard also developed the basis for what is now known as the bazooka.

Goddard's vision of spaceflight became reality on March 16, 1926, in Auburn, MA when he tested his first liquid-fuel rocket, which rocket rose to a height of only 41 feet. Three years later, another rocket flight carried the first scientific payload, a barometer, and a camera. He later developed a gyroscope for stabilization of his rockets, and in 1937, he launched a rocket that reached the height of over a mile - going to the moon was no longer a far-fetched dream.

Goddard was perhaps the first scientist who not only realized the potential of rocketry and space flight but also contributed directly to their reality. On September 16, 1959, the 86th Congress authorized the issuance of a gold meal in the honor of Professor Robert H. Goddard.

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