Highlights From the Life of Robert H. Goddard

1882, October 5Born in Worcester, Massachusetts
18831Family moved to Boston
1888-18986-16Attended Mount Pleasant, Hugh O'Brien, and English High Schools in Boston
18897Began thinking about flight into outer space
189816Moved with family to Maple Hill, Worcester
1899, October 1917"Anniversary Day" experienced vision of space travel while climbing cherry tree; began keeping notebooks of work and ideas
1900, fall18Attended morning classes at Becker Business College for a few months where he acquired a fine Spencerian Script until he became too ill to continue
1899-190117-19Kept from school by illness (TB)
1901-190419-22Student, South High School, Worcester
1904-190822-26Student, WPI, B.S. 1908
1908-190926-27Instructor of Physics, WPI, special student in Physics, Clark U.
1909-191127-29Fellow in Physics, Clark University, Master's thesis "Theory of Diffraction", 1910; Ph.D. thesis "On the Conduction of Electricity at Contacts of Dissimilar Solids", 1911.
Honorary Fellow in Physics, Clark U.
191230First explored mathematically the practicality of using rocket power to reach high altitudes and escape velocity
1912-191330-31Research Instructor in Physics, Princeton U.
1913-191431-32Illness--TB--not accepted at Rutland sanitarium--too ill, given one week to live
1914, July32Awarded first two patents for a rocket apparatus: A Liquid Fuel Gun Rocket; and a Multistage Step Rocket
1914-191532-33Instructor in Physics, Clark College
191432test launched rockets in the early morning over Coe's Pond
1915-191933-37Assistant Professor, Clark College
1919-192037-38Associate Professor, Clark College
191533First proved experimentally that a rocket will provide thrust in a vacuum
1917, January 535Received first financial assistance from the Smithsonian Institution ($5,000 from Hodgkins Fund); Further grants made through 1929 and in 1932
1917-191835-36Developed the basis for the rocket weapon, the Bazooka, done for U.S. Army signal Corps and ordinance Department, in the Magnetic Lab at WPI, at Clark U. and later at the Mt. Wilson Observatory in California. Successfully demonstrated at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds on Nov. 10, 1918, before representatives of the armed services
191937First to publish in the U.S. a basic mathematical theory underlying rocket propulsion and rocket flight, together with results of experiments with solid-propellant rockets, "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes", Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 71, No. 2
1920-192338-41Part-Time consultant on solid propellant rocket weapons for U.S. Government at Indian Head, Maryland
1920-192538-43First to develop a rocket motor using liquid propellants (liquid oxygen and gasoline)
1920-1943, August 538-61Professor, Clark University
1923-194341-61Director of Physical Laboratories, Clark University
1924, June 2142Married Esther Christine Kisk
192543Static test at Clark U.; Liquid-propellant rocket lifted its own weight for first time
1926, March 1644First to develop and launch a liquid-propellant rocket, at Auburn, MA
1929, July 1747Tested first rocket containing instruments at Auburn, MA, which attracted wide public attention
1929, November 2347First meeting with Charles A. Lindbergh
1930, July 10-193248-50First two year grant from Daniel Guggenheim, began conducting full time rocket research at Roswell, New Mexico (on leave of absence from Clark U.)
193250First developed gyro stabilization apparatus for rockets
193250First used deflector vanes in the blast of the rocket motor as a method of stabilizing and guiding rockets
1932-193450-52Teaching at Clark U., and continued research financed by the Smithsonian Institution and the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation
1934-194252-60"A" series rocket tests (14-test series; rockets at this stage were about 15 feet long)
1935, March 853First to launch a liquid propellant rocket which attained a speed greater than that of sound (700 mph)
193553Rocket reached altitude of 7500 feet
1936, March 1654Publication of "Liquid Propellant Rocket Development," Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 95, No. 3
1936-193854-56"L" series rocket tests (30-test series; rockets were about 18 feet long)
193755Rocket reached height of 9000 feet
1938-194156-59"P" series rocket tests (This 36-test series represents his last flight rockets; rockets averaged about 22 feet in length)
1942-194560-63Director of Research, Navy Dept., Bureau of Aeronautics developing jet-assisted takeoff and variable thrust liquid propellant rockets, at Roswell, New Mexico and Annapolis, Maryland
1943-194558-60Consulting Engineer, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Caldwell, New Jersey
1944-194562-63Director, American Rocket Society
1945, June 263Received honorary Doctor of Science degree, Clark U.
1945, August 1063Died of throat cancer, Baltimore, Maryland. Buried in Hope Cemetery, Worcester, MA

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