Robert Goddard Launches the World’s First Liquid-Fuel Rocket

After working to develop solid-fuel rockets for the U.S. Army in World War I, Goddard switched to liquid fuels, which had the energy needed to reach space. He quickly settled on liquid oxygen and gasoline as the most convenient propellant combination.

In 1926 he was finally ready to launch his liquid-fuel rocket. On March 16 at a farm outside Worcester, it took off on a 2.5-second flight, reached an altitude of 41 feet, and covered a distance of 184 feet. It was the first liquid-fuel rocket launch in history.

Robert Goddard with the “Hoopskirt” rocket before an attempted launch on September 29, 1928.