Robert Hutchings Goddard was an American professor, physicist, and inventor who is credited with creating and building the world's first liquid-fueled rocket, which he successfully launched on March 16, 1926. Goddard and his team launched 34 rockets between 1926 and 1941, achieving altitudes as high as 2.6 km and speeds as high as 885 km/h.
Goddard's work as both theorist and engineer anticipated many of the developments that were to make spaceflight possible. Two inventions of Goddard's 214 patented — a multi-stage rocket, and a liquid-fuel rocket — were important milestones toward spaceflight. His 1919 monograph A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes is considered one of the classic texts of 20th-century rocket science. Goddard successfully applied three-axis control, gyroscopes and steerable thrust to rockets, to control effectively their flight.
Although his work in the field was revolutionary, Goddard received little public support for his research. Press sometimes ridiculed his theories of spaceflight. As a result, he became protective of his privacy and his work. Years after his death, at the dawn of the Space Age, he came to be recognized as one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry. He was the first not only to recognize the scientific potential of missiles and space travel but also to bring about the design and construction of the rockets needed to implement those ideas.