Goddard, Robert Hutchings, 1882–1945, American physicist and rocket expert, b. Worcester, Mass., grad. Worcester Polytechnic Institute (B.S., 1908), Ph.D. Clark Univ., 1911. From 1914 he was associated with Clark Univ., becoming a professor of physics in 1919. Goddard designed and built early high altitude rockets. In 1926 he completed and successfully fired the world's first liquid fuel rocket. He developed the first smokeless powder rocket, the first practical automatic steering device for rockets, and innumerable other rocket devices. He was one of the first to develop a general theory of rocket action and to prove experimentally the efficiency of rocket propulsion in a vacuum.
See his papers ed. by his wife, Esther C. Goddard (3 vol., 1970).
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