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Robert H. Goddard was an American engineer and inventor who is known as the Father of Modern Rocketry because he built the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket. He was also a professor and physicist.
See the fact file below for more information on the Robert H. Goddard or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Robert H. Goddard worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life & Fascination with Science
- Robert H. Goddard was born in October 5, 1882, to Nahum Danford Goddard and Fannie Louise Hoyt.
- He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, but his family moved to Boston. They moved back to Worcester in 1898.
- Goddard had always been fascinated with science since he was young. This fascination only grew after reading H.G. Wells’ space science-fiction novel The War of the Worlds.
- October 19, 1899, was the day that would be pivotal for young Robert – a day that would later be known as his “Anniversary Day”. He climbed a cherry tree and thought for the first time of inventing a device that could possibly take him to Mars.
Education & Work Experience
- He graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in physics in 1908. He received his Master’s and Doctorate degrees in physics from Clark University.
- He came up with the idea of liquid-fueled rockets when he was still a student. He also wrote an article proposing a method for automatically stabilizing airplanes using gyroscopes, which got published in Scientific American.
- In 1912, he became a research fellow at Palmer Physical Laboratory at Princeton University. Two years later, he became a part-time instructor and research fellow at Clark University.
- He was engaged to his high school classmate, Miriam Olstead, before they called off their relationship in 1909.
- In 1919, he met Esther Christine Kisk, a secretary in Clark University’s President’s office. The couple wed in 1924. They did not have any children.
Robert’s Rocket Experiments
- While he was teaching physics at Clark University, he was also carrying out rocket experiments. The first rockets he invented were powder rockets fueled by gunpowder, which he found to be inefficient as the rockets were converting only 2% of the fuel into thrust. He improved the rockets’ efficiency by using De Laval nozzles. These were nozzles invented by Swedish engineer, Gustav De Laval.
- What was then Goddard’s measures of rocket efficiency is now termed as internal efficiency.
- Through his experiments, he was the first to prove that thrust and propulsion can work in a vacuum.
- He was also the first to use liquid fuels (liquid oxygen) in rocket engines.
- History would forever be changed on March 16, 1926, when Goddard successfully built and tested the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket. The rocket’s brief flight took place in Auburn, Massachusetts.
- While at Clark University, Goddard also experimented with ion thrusters, which produce a stream of ionized air.
- As Robert’s experiments went on, he sought grants and sponsorships from the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geographic Society and the Aero Club of America.
- The Smithsonian provided Goddard a five-year grant worth $5 000.
Grants and Financing of Goddard’s Experiments
- In 1919, the Smithsonian published Goddard’s work entitled A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. This was one of the first books on the science of rocketry.
- In 1929, aviator Charles Lindbergh took interest in Goddard’s work and helped him get financing from the Guggenheim family. Harry F. Guggenheim funded Goddard’s research for four years, worth $100 000.
- In 1929, Goddard was the first to launch a scientific payload (a camera, a barometer and a thermometer) all in one rocket flight.
Rockets in Roswell
- In 1930, Goddard together with his wife moved to Roswell, New Mexico.
- While in Roswell, New Mexico, he was able to launch 31 rockets over 15 years.
- He was the first to use vanes in a rocket motor blast as well as experimented on gyroscopic control apparatus in guiding rockets.
- In 1934, Goddard started working on his A series rockets which were rockets powered by gasoline and liquid oxygen pressurized with nitrogen.
- In 1935, he became the first to fly a liquid-fuel rocket faster than the speed of sound.
- From 1936 to 1939, Goddard worked on the K and L series rockets, which were bigger and could launch to high altitudes.
- From 1940 to 1941, the P series began, which used propellant turbopumps and was designed to have a more powerful engine than its predecessors.
- He proposed his work for military use during the World War II but was turned down due to the Army’s lack of interest.
Death and Legacy
- In 1945, Goddard died of throat cancer.
- The U.S. government made a $1,000,000 settlement for the use of his patents. The 86th Congress issued a gold medal in his honor.
- Goddard holds over 214 patents and his wife secured 131 additional of those patents after his death.
- The Goddard Memorial Library at Clark University was named after him. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, which was established on May 1, 1959, was also named in honor of the genius physicist.
- Schools named after him are Robert H. Goddard High School in Roswell, New Mexico and Robert H. Goddard Middle School in Glendora, California.
- Goddard Ave. in Norman, Oklahoma; Goddard Park in Auburn, Massachusetts; and Goddard Drive, the main road through Malmstrom Air Force Base, are all named in his honor.
- A cartoon character is even named after him, which is Goddard of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron.
- Goddard is also found on a U.S. airmail stamp.
Robert H. Goddard Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Robert H. Goddard across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Robert H. Goddard worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Robert H. Goddard who was an American engineer and inventor who is known as the Father of Modern Rocketry because he built the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket. He was also a professor and physicist.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Robert H. Goddard Facts
- In the Beginning
- The War of the Worlds
- Anniversary Day
- Master of Firsts
- Experiment Era
- Rocketry Timeline
- Rocket Series
- Contribution Checklist
- In Memory Of
- According to Goddard
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Link will appear as Robert H. Goddard Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 29, 2018
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