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How Goddard got us to the Moon

Robert H. Goddard is considered to be one of the most influential scientists of the 20th Century. He was the first inventor and scientist to create a liquid-fueled rocket that didn’t explode on the launchpad the first time they tried to set it off. If that had happened, you can be sure that the Laboratory Relocation Services of would have been in great need.

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Goddard was able to launch several successful rockets between the first one in 1926 and the final rocket in 1941. All were almost capable of achieving escape velocity, which is when something is going fast enough to break the gravitational pull of the Earth. The use of rockets was not new. The Chinese had developed them in the Middle Ages, but their practical use for anything other than destructive purposes was unresearched.

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Goddard’s most important work was from two particular patents. These were the liquid-fuel rocket and the multi-stage rocket. Goddard recognised that rather than going with one big explosion of energy, it was better to fire another booster and then another when the Rocket was in the upper atmosphere. There was less air and wind resistance to the rocket’s flight by this point. This is exactly the process that the Apollo space missions used. With complex Mathematics, they aimed the rocket at where the Moon was going to be and fired the final stage to boost the astronauts’ Aldrin, Collins and Armstrong to it.

Despite this, he was unrecognised in his own life and never lived to see the fruits of his ideas, passing away in 1945, some 5 or 6 years before the start of the Space Race.

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