Robert Goddard was an American physicist who is now recognized as the father of modern rocket.
When he was only seventeen, Goddard wrote about the possibility of using rockets for interplanetary travel. He was ridiculed and mocked, but by 1916 he had made enough progress to receive a grant from the Smithsonian Institution to continue his researches.
Interrupted by Word War I, when he experimented with rockets as weapons, Goddard continued his research on rocket development and in 1919 submitted a report to Smithsonian Institution. He suggested the multiple-step principle be used and he also advised the use of liquid rather than powder propellant.
In 1926 Goddard launched the first successful liquid fuel rocket. It carried two tanks – one for fuel and one for liquid oxygen needed for combustion – and traveled up to 184 feet in two and one half seconds. Its maximum speed was 60 miles per hour. Goddard however did not make public the news of this fight until 1946, and by that time other scientists had made better rockets. When a German researcher wrote asking for a copy of the Smithsonian report, refused to cooperate with the Germans.
Although Goddard continued his research, he made no outstanding discoveries. He had already made his contributions to scientific history.