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Ion propulsion test tubes, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This device was used by the American rocket pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945) during the period 1924-28 to determine the feasibility of ion propulsion for space travel. Ion propulsion, in which electrically charged particles of atoms called ions are discharged, produce extremely high exhaust velocities. Because of that and potential long duration of operation, ion engines are ideal for deep space propulsion. However, ion engines produce very low thrust and must be placed in space by conventional rocket boosters. Experiments in space with ion propulsion first took place in 1964.

According to a 1964 tag written by Russell B. Hastings, one of Goddard's graduate students at Clark who helped make these kinds of tubes, they were "probably a type of ion collecting apparatus." Mrs. Goddard gave them to the Smithsonian in 1965.

Liquid Oxygen Tank, Rocket Engine, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This tank was part of a static test of a rocket engine made by rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard at Roswell, New Mexico, in 1931. The tank held liquid oxygen. The gasolene fuel was kept in a separate tank. Both tanks fed the propellants into the engine's combustion chamber for firing.

During the test, according to Goddard's notes, the flame was "short, noisy, and intensely white" and lasted for 15 seconds. The thrust was from 30-40 pounds. After the test, the oxygen tank was cut along the sides for inspection, which accounts for the rectangular hole. The tank was donated to the Smithsonian in 1959 by Esther C. Goddard.

Nozzle, Rocket Engine, Liquid Fuel, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This is a nozzle used by U.S. rocket experimenter Robert H. Goddard to static test a liquid fuel rocket. It was to test the feasibility of "curtain cooling," a method of cooling the inside of the combustion chamber wall of rocket motors. The test was made at Worcester, Massachussetts, on 25 May 1929. Liquid oxygen and gasoline were the propellants.

The entire rocket weighed 22 pounds empty and with the propellants, 100 pounds. The rocket developed a thrust of about 300 pounds and used pressure feeding of the propellants into the combustion chamber. The motor fitted with this nozzle was also tested three other times during 1929 but no flights were made. The nozzle was donated in 1959 to the Smithsonian by Esther C. Goddard.

8c Robert H. Goddard single

National Postal Museum
mint

Memorial Award, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum

Pen Knife, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This pen knife belonged to the American rocket pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945). A professor of physics at Clark University, Goddard launched the world's first liquid fuel rocket on March 16, 1926 and made many advances in rocket technology thereafter. From 1942-1945, he undertook developmental work for the Navy in adapting the liquid fuel rocket as Jet Assisted Take-Off units for aircraft. Goddard died on August 9,1945.

According to Paul Garber, director of the National Air Museum from 1952-1957, this penknife was included in a group of personal mementos collected from Dr. Goddard’s widow, Esther, in 1957 for inclusion in an exhibit of Dr. Goddard’s rocket material. Because Garber had come “to admire the warmth and genius of Dr. Goddard,” he wanted to “convey that sense of humanness” in the exhibit.

Although received by the Smithsonian in 1957 for the exhibit, the penknife and the other pieces of personal memorabilia were not officially cataloged into the National Air and Space Museum's collection until 1975.

Coin Purse, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This coin purse belonged to the American rocket pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945). A professor of physics at Clark University, Goddard launched the world's first liquid fuel rocket on March 16, 1926 and made many advances in rocket technology thereafter. From 1942-1945 he undertook developmental work for the Navy in adapting the liquid fuel rocket as Jet Assisted Take-Off units for aircraft. Goddard died on August 9, 1945.

According to Paul Garber, Director of the National Air Museum from 1952-1957, this coin purse was included in a group of personal mementos collected from Dr. Goddard’s widow, Esther, in 1957 for inclusion in an exhibit of Dr. Goddard’s rocket material. Because Garber had come “to admire the warmth and genius of Dr. Goddard,” he wanted to “convey that sense of humanness” in the exhibit.

Although received by the Smithsonian in 1957 for the exhibit, the coin purse and the other pieces of personal memorabilia were not officially cataloged into the National Air and Space Museum's collection until 1975.

Control Vane Assembly, Rocket, Liquid Fuel, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This device, made by U.S. rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard, was part of his system of controllable vanes in the exhaust path of a rocket. The vanes were linked to a gyroscope within the rocket's nose in order the stabilize the rocket in flight. The rocket first using this system was successfully launched on 30 December 1930 and reached a height of 2,000 feet.

A similar although more complex arrangement was used in the German V-2 rocket of World War II. However, Goddard's control vane system was not connected with the development of the system on the V-2. This object was donated to the Smithsonian in 1959 by Esther C. Goddard.

Combustion Chamber, Rocket, Liquid Fuel, Robert H. Goddard, 1929

National Air and Space Museum
This liquid-propellant rocket motor of Dr. Robert H. Goddard was flown on his rocket launch of 17 July 1929. The propellants were liquid oxygen and gasoline. It was the first liquid-propellant rocket to carry scientific instruments (an aneroid barometer and thermometer). The rocket flew to 28 m (90 feet) but crashed, the noise and resulting grass fire creating a public sensation. The publicity led to Goddard's rocket work coming to the attention of aviator Charles Lindbergh. Thanks to his intervention, Goddard would be supported in the 1930s by the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics.

The Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fund gave this motor to the Smithsonian.

Wrist Watch, Dr. Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This wrist watch was worn by the American rocket pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945). A professor of physics at Clark University, Goddard launched the world's first liquid fuel rocket on March 16, 1926 and made many advances in rocket technology thereafter. From 1942-1945, he undertook developmental work for the Navy in adapting the liquid fuel rocket as Jet Assisted Take-Off units for aircraft. Goddard died on August 9,1945.

According to Paul Garber, director of the National Air Museum from 1952-1957, this watch was included in a group of personal mementos collected from Dr. Goddard’s widow, Esther, in 1957 for inclusion in an exhibit of Dr. Goddard’s rocket material. Because Garber had come “to admire the warmth and genius of Dr. Goddard,” he wanted to “convey that sense of humanness” in the exhibit. He noted that the watch was in working condition when it arrived.

Although received by the Smithsonian in 1957 for the exhibit, the watch and the other pieces of personal memorabilia were not officially cataloged into the National Air and Space Museum's collection until 1975.

Academic Hood, Doctorate, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This is the doctoral hood presented to Dr. Robert H. Goddard on June 2, 1945 when he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Clark University, Worcester, Mass., the same institution at which he earned his Ph.D. in Physics in 1911. The honor was bestowed on Goddard for his life-long achievements in the development of the liquid fuel rocket. The yellow velvet on the hood indicates science while the white and green silk colors represent Clark University. Goddard died later that summer, on August 10, 1945.

Goddard's widow, Esther, gave the hood to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air Museum in 1958.

Academic Regalia, Doctoral Gown, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This academic regalia (the set includes a robe, mortarboard, and hood) was worn by the American rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945) when he received his doctorate in Physics from Clark University, Worcester, Mass., on June 15, 1911. The black doctoral robe with dark blue velvet trim has Goddard's initials monogrammed on the interior neck of the robe, below the manufacturer's label. Paul E. Garber, the founding curator of what later became the National Air and Space Museum, requested the regalia from Goddard's widow in 1958 for a biographical exhibit about Goddard, who launched the world's first liquid fuel rocket in March 1926.

Because Goddard had lent the outfit to Dr. John Elliott Nafe, who wore it for his own doctoral hooding at Columbia University in 1948, however, it was initially lent to the Museum by Dr. Nafe, a prominent oceanographer and geophysicist. It has been in the Museum's collection ever since.

Academic Regalia, Doctorate, Mortarboard, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This mortarboard from a set of academic regalia (the complete set also includes a robe and hood) was worn by the American rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945) when he received his doctorate in Physics from Clark University, Worcester, Mass., on June 15, 1911. The black doctoral robe with dark blue velvet trim has Goddard's initials monogrammed on the interior neck of the robe, below the manufacturer's label. Paul E. Garber, the founding curator of what later became the National Air and Space Museum, requested the regalia from Goddard's widow in 1958 for a biographical exhibit about Goddard, who launched the world's first liquid fuel rocket in March 1926.

Because Goddard had lent the outfit to Dr. John Elliott Nafe, who wore it for his own doctoral hooding at Columbia University in 1948, however, it was initially lent to the Museum by Dr. Nafe, a prominent oceanographer and geophysicist. It has been in the Museum's collection ever since.

Academic Regalia, Doctoral Hood, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This doctoral hood from a set of academic regalia (the full set includes a robe, mortarboard, and hood) was worn by the American rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945) when he received his doctorate in Physics from Clark University, Worcester, Mass., on June 15, 1911. The traditional American doctoral hood features a blue velvet border (indicating a Doctor of Philosophy) with white and green silk interior (the colors of Clark University). Paul E. Garber, the founding curator of what later became the National Air and Space Museum, requested the regalia from Goddard's widow in 1958 for a biographical exhibit about Goddard, who launched the world's first liquid fuel rocket in March 1926.

Because Goddard had lent the outfit to Dr. John Elliott Nafe, who wore it for his own doctoral hooding at Columbia University in 1948, however, it was initially lent to the Museum by Dr. Nafe, a prominent oceanographer and geophysicist. It has been in the Museum's collection ever since.

Ribbon, Robert H. Goddard Achievement, Civil Air Patrol

National Air and Space Museum
Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Robert H. Goddard Achievement; white background, thick black stripes at either end of the ribbon accompanied by a thin red stripe slightly separated by a thin white stripe from the black stripe; another thin white stripe per side separates the red stripes from the blue rectangle with a stylized arrow in white adorning it that takes up the center of the ribbon.

The Robert H. Goddard Achievement ribbon is awarded to CAP cadets who have reached the rank of Cadet Chief Master Sergeant and who have completed the trials beforehand. The white rocket in the center was removed after 1985.

Trophy, Robert H. Goddard Memorial, 1964, Hugh L. Dryden

National Air and Space Museum
This Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy was awarded to Dr. Hugh L. Dryden by the National Space Club on March 20, 1964, for "his exceptional scientific contributions to space exploration." Dryden's research led eventually to his position as Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The National Space Club established the Goddard Trophy in 1958 as a way to honor an individual or group who had contributed to an outstanding achievement to the U.S. space program the previous year. The Trophy consists of a bust of Dr. Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945), the American rocket pioneer.

In 1974, Dr. Dryden's widow, Elizabeth, donated the trophy to the Museum along with several boxes of Dr. Dryden's other awards.

Medal, Daniel Guggenheim Medal, Robert H. Goddard, 1964

National Air and Space Museum
The Daniel Guggenheim Medal; Obverse: the Ryan "Spirit of St. Louis," hot air balloon, and nose of airship over sun burst and clouds depicted in relief; raised letter text on outer ring surrounding relief; Reverse: three stylized bird wings surrounding raised letter and inscribed text.

Pin, Lapel, Fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Robert H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity pin (numbered 6314 on the reverse) belonged to the American rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945). Goddard was initiated into this fraternity on January 31, 1908 while attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts. Later a professor of physics at Clark University, Goddard launched the world's first liquid fuel rocket on March 16, 1926 and made many advances in rocket technology thereafter. From 1942-1945, he undertook developmental work for the Navy in adapting the liquid fuel rocket as Jet Assited Take-Off units for aircraft. Goddard died on August 9,1945.

In the late 1950s, Mrs. Esther Goddard sent the pin, along with some other of Dr. Goddard's personal mementos, to the National Air Museum for an exhibit put together by Paul Garber. After the end of the exhibit, Garber kept the items for safekeeping. The National Air and Space Museum formally accessioned the objects, already in present in the collection, in 1975.

Case, Presentation, Medal, Daniel Guggenheim Medal, Robert H. Goddard, 1964

National Air and Space Museum
The Daniel Guggenheim Medal; Obverse: the Ryan "Spirit of St. Louis," hot air balloon, and nose of airship over sun burst and clouds depicted in relief; raised letter text on outer ring surrounding relief; Reverse: three stylized bird wings surrounding raised letter and inscribed text.

Robert Goddard

National Portrait Gallery
Born Worcester, Massachusetts

Robert H. Goddard, an internationally recognized advocate for spaceflight, was a pioneer of modern rocket propulsion. In 1917 he received a grant from the Smithsonian to further his rocket experiments, and the Smithsonian subsequently published his treatise, A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. In 1926 Goddard successfully launched the world's first liquid-propellant rocket. His work attracted the attention of aviator Charles Lindbergh, who helped Goddard secure additional funding. In 1930 Goddard moved his research laboratory from Massachusetts to Roswell, New Mexico, where he enjoyed favorable weather all year.

This photograph, taken on location for the National Geographic Society, shows Goddard in his lab checking the fuel pump on a rocket. Goddard's work led to the development of the bazooka and other rocket-propelled weapons; it was appropriated by the Germans, who used it to develop the V-2 rocket.

Ion Propulsion Test Tube, R. H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
This glass tube device was used in experiments by U.S. rocket pioneer Robert H. Goddard during 1924-1928 to determine the feasibility of ion propulsion for space flight. Ion propulsion, in which electrically charged particles of atoms called ions are discharged, produces extremely rapid exhaust velocities. Because of this and their long duration of operation, ion engines are ideal for deep space propulsion.

However, they produce very low thrusts and must be placed in space by larger conventional chemical propellant rocket boosters. Experiments with ion propulsion in space occured when the first succesful Space Electric Test (SERT-1) took place in 1964. This object was donated to the Smithsonian in 1965 by Esther C. Goddard.

Flask, Liquid Oxygen, R.H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
American rocket experimenter Dr. Robert H. Goddard used Dewar flasks like this one for carrying liquid oxygen for some of his earliest liquid-propellant rocket experiments. It dates to about 1923-1924. Each flask appears to hold about a liter of liquid oxygen. The flasks were needed to contain the extremely low temperature of the liquid oxygen which quickly evaporated when exposed to air. Goddard at first worked with solid propellants from 1915-1920, then switched to liquids in 1921 and continued to experiment with liquid propellant rockets until his death in 1945.

Mrs. Robert H. Goddard donated this object to the Smithsonian Institution in 1959 as part of a large collection of artifacts from her husband.

Flask, Liquid Oxygen, R.H. Goddard

National Air and Space Museum
American rocket experimenter Dr. Robert H. Goddard used Dewar flasks like this one for carrying liquid oxygen for some of his earliest liquid-propellant rocket experiments. It dates to about 1923-1924. Each flask appears to hold about a liter of liquid oxygen. The flasks were needed to contain the extremely low temperature of the liquid oxygen which quickly evaporated when exposed to air. Goddard at first worked with solid propellants from 1915-1920, then switched to liquids in 1921 and continued to experiment with liquid propellant rockets until his death in 1945.

Mrs. Robert H. Goddard donated this object to the Smithsonian Institution in 1959 as part of a large collection of artifacts from her husband.

In honor of Robert H. Goddard, "A method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes"

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Poster in black and red ink on cream cardstock. In center is an image of Robert Goddard (inventor of first high altitute rocket) in light gray jacket, dark gray pants. His skin and tie are red. He stands in front of a geometrical form resembling a partial rectangular box, formed by a black parallelogram receding right and a white parallelogram receding left. At the top right corner of the black parallelogram is a white circle and crescent, which are repeated in an open box at the bottom left corner of the parallelogram. Title and additional text imprinted diagonally in red paralleling the receding black parallelogram.
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