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Esther Christine (Kisk) Goddard (1901–1982) tirelessly cataloged Robert Goddard's work after his death, filing over 131 of his patents.
Accessing the Robert Goddard Collection
Robert H. Goddard Papers Finding Aid
Dr. Robert H. Goddard was a member of the Clark Physics Department for 29 years. Foremost American pioneer of rocket research, he laid the technical and theoretical foundations for many of the developments in long-range rockets, missiles, satellites and space flight, which collectively put us into the Space Age.
Robert H. Goddard Digital Collection
This collection includes over 48,000 scans of documents created by or about Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the father of modern rocketry. The writings by Dr. Goddard include the handwritten notebooks in which he documented his theories and techniques as well as his diaries, kept throughout his life.
Robert H. Goddard
Robert Hutchings Goddard is known as the "father of modern day rocketry" for his contributions to the study of rockets. He launched the first successful liquid-fueled rocket, proved that a rocket could provide thrust in a vacuum, and developed gyro stabilization for rockets.
- Robert Goddard was born at Maple Hill in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1882.
- He attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute, graduating with a B.S. in 1908. He also attended Clark University as a "Special Student" in Physics, then a Fellow, receiving an A.M. 1910, Ph.D. 1911.
- Goddard continued to teach at Clark and became the Head of the Physics Department.
- He was awarded first two patents for rocket apparatus: U.S. Letters Patent #1,102,653 liquid-fuel gun rocket; U.S. Letters Patent #1, 103,503 a multistage step rocket. Goddard was eventually awarded 214 patents between 1914-1956.
- He proved experimentally that a rocket will provide thrust in a vacuum in 1915.
- On March 16, 1926, he was the first to launch a liquid-propellant rocket, at Auburn, MA.
- Goddard received funds from the Smithsonian and the Guggenheims at several points in his career to fund his research.
- In 1930, he began conducting full-time rocketry research in Roswell, New Mexico with a grant from the Guggenheim family.
- Next, he worked in Annapolis, Maryland as the Director of Research, Navy Department, Bureau of Aeronautics. Goddard developed jet-assisted takeoff and variable-thrust liquid- propellant rockets.
- Goddard died in 1945. His legacy was preserved and touted by his wife, Esther Christine Kisk Goddard, who organized and published his papers, pursued many of his patents, and commissioned his biography.
Oakland California Tribune, January 14, 1920. Many newspapers mocked Goddard after he published a mathematical theory about rocket propulsion and rocket flight, "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes", Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 71, No. 2.