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At the end of this block of study, you should be able to:

5.38 Discuss Robert Goddard's accomplishments in rocketry.
5.39 Discuss Hermann Oberth's accomplishments in rocketry.

During the 1920s and 1930s great strides were made in rocket development, but for the most part, rocketry was ignored by the public and government. It was during this period that Dr. Robert H. Goddard, a physics professor, was conducting experiments in rocketry using liquid fuels. His work not only included the research, but he actually built the hardware. On March 16, 1926, he launched the world's first liquid­fuel rocket. For the next 20 years, he did most of the pioneering research on liquid-fuel rockets. He developed methods for steering rockets, ways to pump propellants, and designs for the combustion chamber and nozzle. His work laid the foundation upon which the space age was built and because of this has been called the "Father of Modern Rocketry."

Dr. Robert Goddard, "Father of Modern Rocketry"

The first liquid-fueled rocket launch, March 16, 1926, Worcester, MA.

The liquid-fueled rocket Goddard and his team built and flew in Roswell, New Mexico.

Another rocket pioneer of this period was Hermann Oberth. He led the German liquid-fuel rocket program in the 1920s and early 1930s. His research led directly to the German rocket program of world War II and the development of the liquid-fuel V-2 rocket.

Dr. Hermann Oberth


Dr. Oberth standing to the right of an early liquid-fueled rocket. A young Werner von Braun is to be found second from the right.



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Updated: 12 March, 2004