Reading Time: 2 minutes
I was reminded by my Mom that we have an important event to celebrate this week. I would be remiss if it were not for Mom’s reminder. We’ve been celebrating one way or another since my second grade science project. (side note: didn’t realize that my elementary school was closed for a newer school).
If it weren’t for Goddard and the rest we wouldn’t have Virgin Galactic or Spaceship One.
“American physicist who is looked upon as one of the three main founders of modern rocketry, along with Tsiolkovsky and Oberth. Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket on March 16, 1926. The flight lasted just 2.5 seconds, reaching an altitude of 12.3 meters and landing (crashing, actually) 55.2 meters from the launch site in his Aunt Effie’s cabbage patch.
In 1920, the Smithsonian Institution published Goddard’s paper on rocket concepts, ‘A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes.’ Towards the end of his article, Goddard began to hint at his thoughts for the future by detailing his plans for launching a small, unmanned rocket that would be sent to Earth’s Moon, wherein it would strike the surface and explode its payload of flash powder, so that observers with telescopes could see where the rocket had landed. Goddard was cautious not to mention flights to Mars or any other planet, as any celestial object beyond the Moon was considered by many scientists at that time to be too far away from Earth to ever be reached by humans. Goddard suddenly found himself ridiculed by the press. The prestigious New York Times dismissed Goddard’s ideas and said that he didn’t even possess an elementary knowledge of physics. The Times’ editor incorrectly thought that rockets could not work in space. He thought the exhaust from the vehicle would have nothing to push against; he did not realize that the rocket exhaust would be acting against the inner walls of the rocket itself, thus creating the required reaction.
Luckily, aviator Charles Lindberg took an interest in Goddard’s concepts and decided to help finance his work on rockets. Lindberg also convinced philanthropist Daniel Guggenheim to help fund “
Goddard, Robert (1882-1945) — from Eric Weisstein’s World of Scientific Biography: “Goddard, Robert (1882-1945)