Robert H. Goddard's Theories of Space Flight

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Robert H. Goddard was a scientist, and a U.S. professor of physics. As a child he had many problems with disease. On March 16, 1926, he became the first person in the world to build and launch a liquid-fueled rocket. From 1930 to 1935 Goddard launched rockets that attained speeds of up to 885 km/h (550 mph). Though his work in the field was revolutionary, he was sometimes ridiculed for his theories about space flight. As a child, Goddard was a thin and frail boy who was almost always in fragile health with colds, stomach problems and bronchitis he fell two years behind his classmates. While sick Goddard became a voracious reader, with regular visits to the local public library to borrow books on the physical sciences. As his health improved, he continued his schooling at South High School in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1901. As a sophomore at South high he excelled in his coursework and twice his peers elected him as class president. At his graduation ceremony in 1904, he gave his class oration as valedictorian and in his speech, which he titled ‘On Taking Things for Granted,’ Goddard included a phrase that would become emblematic of his life, from Wikipedia: ‘It has often proved true that the dream of yesterday is the hope of today, and the reality of tomorrow.’ Goddard enrolled at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 1904 and quickly impressed A. Wilmer Duff, the head of the physics department. Professor Duff took him on as a laboratory assistant as he tutored him. At Worcester, Goddard joined the SAEF (Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity), and began a long relationship with high school classmate Miriam Olmstead, an honor student who had graduated with Goddard as salutatorian, the second highest graduate of the entire graduati... ... middle of paper ... ...Goddard’s’ work dealt with the theoretical and experimental relations between propellant, rocket mass, thrust and speed, a last section titled ‘Calculation of least mass required to raise one pound to an "infinite" altitude’ discussed the possiblity of using rockets, not only to reach the upper most of our atmosphere, but to be able to escape the Earth's gravitation altogether. Goddard discussed the matter of launching a rocket to the moon and igniting a mass of flash powder on its surface, so as to be visible through a telescope seriously, even down to an estimate of the amount of flash powder required. Goddard's conclusion was that a rocket with a starting mass of 3.21 tons could produce a flash that was "just visible" from Earth. And after Forty years, Goddard's concept was proven when the Soviet space probe Luna 2 crash-landed on the Moon on September 14, 1959.

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