Robert Goddard

By: Matthew Dages

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Who is Robert Goddard?

Robert Goddard was an educator, an engineer, an inventor, a scientist, and a physicist. What he is know most for, though, is his liquid-fueled rocket. He is often referred to as "The Father of Modern Rocketry."

Goodard's Early Life

Robert Goddard was born on October 5, 1882, in Worchester, Massachusetts. He was the son of Fannie Louise Hoyt and Nahum Danford Goddard. Robert had a sickly childhood, and he spent the majority of his childhood sitting in a tree while filling up notebooks with ideas for rockets. He was inspired by science fiction, such as "War Of The Worlds" by H.G. Wells and "From The Earth To The Moon" by Jules Verne.

Goddard's Education

Goddard attended the Worchester Polytechnic University, where he gained attention when he tried to fire a powder rocket from the physics basement. He later joined the Palmer Physics Laboratory at Princeton University, and also served as a part-time instructor at Clark University.

Goddard's Invention

Goddard went on to make a liquid-fueled rocket in 1926, the first of its kind. The rocket was a rocket that could burn a mixture of gasoline and liquid oxygen for fuel, instead of running on gunpowder. He also tried to get the attention of the military to use his rockets. Many people said his ideas were bogus, but that just made him work harder, and he didn't let anyone affect that.

More Information

Goddard married Esther Christine Kisk. He also was given the Langley Gold Medal. An interesting quote from him is, “It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”

Why he is Important

Without Goddard’s discoveries, NASA might not have come into existence. We wouldn’t have satellites up in space telling us what is happening on Earth. We could only dream of sending a rover to Mars. There would be no space travel unless some other person thought of the idea of liquid fueled rockets. He is inspiring because he stuck to his ideas, and he didn't just give up.
Goddard died on August 10, 1946, in Baltimore, Maryland. He died of Laryngeal Cancer. Even though he never got to see his success, he left a big impact in space travel and inventing.