Dr. Goddard is often regarded as the father of modern rocketry
One hundred years ago in 1914 a man was granted two patents, one for liquid-fuelled rockets and another for multi-stage rockets. The patents went largely unnoticed but, although it wasn’t appreciated at the time, they signified the beginning of the era of modern rocketry. The patents were granted to a man named Robert Hutchings Goddard, who led a troubled life as he battled with criticism and poor health to design, build and develop the first rockets from which our modern marvels are derived.
Goddard was born on 5 October 1882 in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. From an early age, as electric power was introduced into American cities, Goddard became fascinated by science and technology and was readily encouraged by his father. An epiphany of sorts came for him at the age of 17 when, perched atop a cherry tree, he “imagined how wonderful it would be to make some device which had even the possibility of ascending to Mars”, as he later recalled.
In 1907 he had his first taste of rocketry at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, when he attempted to propel a small rocket with gunpowder. In 1909 ...