Aircraft & Rockets

Goddard’s “Hoopskirt” Rocket Liquid Oxygen Tank and Alcohol Stove

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Goddard launched this rocket on December 26, 1928, when it went 62 meters (205 feet). The “Hoopskirt” was nicknamed after a 19th-century dress fashion.


This photograph shows a liquid oxygen tank, and below it the “alcohol stove,” on one of legs of the Goddard “Hoopskirt” rocket. Liquid oxygen was heated by the burning alcohol. The resulting gaseous oxygen pushed the still-liquid oxygen into the lines to the head of the combustion chamber at the top of the rocket.  There the oxygen burned in the combustion chamber with the gasoline.

After three unsuccessful attempts, Goddard finally launched the rocket on December 26, 1928, when it went 62 meters (205 feet) in 3.2 seconds. The “Hoopskirt”—so nicknamed because its hoops resembled a 19th-century dress fashion—was reconstructed later out of the resulting wreckage. In 1959 Goddard’s widow gave it to the Smithsonian.



National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

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NASM 2011-00541
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