Archives and Special Collections

Robert Hutchings Goddard Biographical Note

1882, October 5 Born at Maple Hill, Worcester, MA
1883 Moved with family to Roxbury, MA
1888-1898 Attended Mount Pleasant, Hugh O'Brien, and English High Schools in Boston
1889 Began thinking about flight into outer space
1898 Moved with family to Maple Hill, Worcester
1899, October 19 "Anniversary Day" of dedication to the development of a method of attaining great heights
1899-1901 Kept from school by illness
1901-1904 Student, South High School, Worcester
1904-1908 Student, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (B.S. 1908)
1908-1909 Instructor of Physics, W.P.I., and special student in Physics, Clark University
1909-1911 Fellow in Physics, Clark University (A.M. 1910, Ph.D. 1911)
1911-1912 Honorary Fellow in Physics, Clark University
1912 First explored mathematically the practicality of using rocket power to reach high altitudes and escape velocity
1912-1913 Research Instructor in Physics, Princeton University
1913-1914 Contracts and partly recovers from tuberculosis
1914, July 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 (eventually awarded 214 patents, 1914-1956)
1914-1915 Instructor in Physics, Clark College; Assistant Professor 1915-1919; Associate Professor, 1919-1920
1915 Proves experimentally that a rocket will provide thrust in a vacuum
1916-1918 Instructor, Clark University
1917, January 5 Received first financial assistance from the Smithsonian Institution ($5,000 from Hodgkins Fund); Further grants made through 1929 and in 1932
1917-1918 Developed the basis for the rocket weapon, later known as the bazooka, done for U.S. Army Signal Corps & Ordnance Department, in the shops at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, at Clark University, and later at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California. This was demonstrated successfully at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds on November 10, 1918, before representatives of the armed services.
1919 First to publish in the U.S. a basic mathematical theory underlying rocket propulsion and rocket flight, together with results of experiments with solid-propellant rockets, "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes", Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 71, No. 2
1920-1923 Part-time consultant on solid-propellant rocket weapons for U.S. Government at Indian Head, Maryland
1920-1925 First to develop a rocket motor using liquid propellants (liquid oxygen and gasoline)
1920-1943, August 5 Professor, Clark University
1923-1943 Director of the Physical Laboratories, Clark University; chairman of the physics and mathematics departments
1924, June 21 Married Esther Christine Kisk
1925 Static test at Clark University: liquid-propellant rocket lifted its own weight for first time
1926, March 16 First to launch a liquid-propellant rocket, at Auburn, MA
1929, July 17 Tested first rocket containing instruments at Auburn, MA, which attracted wide public attention
1929, November 23 First meeting with Charles A. Lindbergh
1930, July 10-1932 First two-year grant from Daniel Guggenheim. Began conducting full time rocket research at Roswell, NM (on leave of absence from Clark University)
1932 First developed gyro stabilization apparatus for rockets
1932 First used deflector vanes in the blast of the rocket motor as a method of stabilizing and guiding rockets
1932-1934 Teaching at Clark University. Continued research financed by the Smithsonian Institution and The Daniel & Florence Guggenheim Foundation
1935 "A" series rocket tests (14-test series; rockets at this stage were about 15 feet long)
1935, March 8 First to launch a liquid-propellant rocket which attained a speed greater than that of sound (700 mph)
1935 Rocket reached altitude of 7500 feet
1936, March 16 Publication of "Liquid Propellant Rocket Development", Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 95, No. 3
1936-1938 "L" series rocket tests (30-test series; rockets were about 18 feet long)
1937 Rocket reached height of 9000 feet
1938-1941 "P" series rocket tests (this 36-test series represents his last flight rockets; they averaged about 22 feet in length)
1942-1945 Director of Research, Navy Dept., Bureau of Aeronautics developing jet-assisted takeoff and variable-thrust liquid- propellant rockets, at Roswell, NM & Annapolis, MD
1943-1945 Consulting Engineer, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Caldwell, NJ
1944-1945 Director, American Rocket Society
1945, June 2 Received an honorary Doctor of Science degree, Clark University
1945, August 10 Died at Baltimore, MD. Buried in Hope Cemetery, Worcester, MA

ORGANIZATION MEMBERSHIPS: Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences; Member of the American Physical Society; American Meteorological Society; American Rocket Society; National Aeronautics Association; Geophysical Union; American Institute of Social Sciences; Sigma Xi; Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Esther Christine (Kisk) Goddard Biographical Note

1901, March 31 Born at Worcester, MA
1917 Student, South High School, Worcester, MA
1918-1920 Secretary to President Edmund C. Sanford, Clark College
1920-1922 Student, Bates College
1922-1924 Secretary to President Wallace W. Atwood, Clark University
1924, June 21 Married Robert Hutchings Goddard
1945 Johns Hopkins University (B.S.)
1947 Member, Worcester Branch, National League of American Pen Women
1948 Editor, with G. Edward Pendray, of Rocket Development, condensation of Dr. Goddard's notes on his experiments, Prentice-Hall Co., reissued 1961
1951 Clark University (A.M.)
1958 Citation by the Trustees of Worcester Polytechnic Institute
1958 "Woman of the Year" of the Worcester Business and Professional Women's Club
1961 Goddard Educational Award, given annually at Women's Space Symposium, Los Angeles, CA
1963-1970 Member, Board of Directors, Age Center of Worcester Area, Inc.
1964-1970 Trustee, Clark University
1962- Honorary Member, Chamber of Commerce of Auburn, MA
1964- Member, Executive Board of Mass. Chapter, Arthritis Foundation
1965-1970 Member, Board of Trustees, Medical Research Institute of Worcester
1965 Honorary Alumna, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
1965-1973 Director, Worcester Federal Savings and Loan Association
1966-1972 Member, Advisory Board, Anna Maria College, Paxton, MA
1966-1970 Member, Advisory Historic Landmark Committee for the City of Worcester, MA
1966, March Named "First Missile-Tracking Photographer" by Point Mugu, California Chapter of the Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers)
1967 Fellow, American Astronautical Society
1967, May Citation for meritorious public service from the Massachusetts Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs
1967 Honorary Member, Soroptimist Club of Worcester, MA
1969 Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Honorary Sc.D.)
1970 Honorary Member, Directors Council, Worcester Science Center
1970 Editor with G. Edward Pendray, The Papers of Robert H. Goddard, 3 volumes, McGraw-Hill Book Co.
1970 Honorary Member, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, New York City
1970 Member, Board of Governors, National Space Club, Washington, D.C.
1970 Honorary Member, Air Force Association, Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA
1970 Honorary Citizen, Roswell, NM
1970 Trustee, Cathedral of the Pines, Rindge, NH
1970 Outstanding Member, American Association of University Women
1972 Named "Pen Woman of the Year", National League of American Pen Women
1972 Clark University (Honorary Degree, L.H.D.)
1982, June 4 Died at Worcester, Massachusetts