Rocketry

Rocketry
Rocketry, the use of rocket power as a propulsion mechanism, has changed the boundaries of man?s domain.Before the advent of efficient rocket power, space flight was seen as an impossibility and exclusively the subject of science fiction stories.The nature of rocket power changed in the early twentieth century when a man named Robert Hutchings Goddard focused his research and his entire life on efficient rocket propulsion.Rocket power had been thought of long before Goddard?s time, but he was the first to have success with it.
The earliest record of rocket propulsion dates to 1232 CE from China.Chinese Chronicles of the battle of Kai-Feng make mention of a ?flying fiery arrow? that was used during battles ?with telling effect against invading Mongol hordes? (xiii Goddard & Pendray).This object was a form of what we now call fireworks that was packaged with more propellant.During the middle ages, other objects were adapted from the Chinese invention in many other countries and were also used as a weapon to confuse, and to a lesser extent attack, the enemy.This practice was continued into the late eighteen hundreds.

Rocketry did not progress greatly for a long time after its first uses.The next large advancement came from Hermann Ganswindt (1856-1934) of Germany.Ganswindt was a failed lawyer whose real passion was for science.He predicted rocket propulsion in theory and made the first design that was sound in principle in 1891.Ganswindt proposed his ideas to the German War Ministry, but was sadly rejected and was looked on as a non-professional scientist trying to do professional work.He had made the underlying theory that is used in modern space ships, but the theory was ?too far in advance of his time for it to be understood?(23 Gartmann).Subsequently, Ganswindt had no success or advancement in the field and lost all his money in the aftermath of World War I preceding his death in 1934.

Sir Isaac Newton?s laws of motion had been published and widely known for quite some time by this point, but Konstantin Tsiolkovski saw that the third law of motion provided the mechanism for successful rocket propulsion in space.In 1898, Tsiolkovski completed and published The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Rocket.The book meticulously and rigorously set forth the calculations associated with rocket propulsion.This act was the mathematical quantification of rocketry.When the calculations are examined, the physics of the propulsion showed that a liquid fuel, as opposed to a solid or composite propellant, would prove to be a more efficient power source and Tsiolkovski asserted that a liquid fuel would be necessary.With this assertion, he designed the first liquid cooled rocket combustion chamber.He also showed a great deal of insight by proposing theories as to how life could be sustained in space while accounting for the lack of air and the vacuum environment.The book became an early guide on how to not die in space.

The father of all that is modern rocketry, Robert Goddard, was the next person to contribute a significant amount to the field.Goddard had always gravitated towards the sciences, especially physics, and was very analytical and determined.Reading science fiction novels as a young child that spoke of interplanetary travels, like Wells?s The War of the Worlds or Verne?s From the Earth to the Moon, inspired Goddard.Goddard obtained his bachelor?s degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1908.For his master?s degree and doctorate in physics, Goddard attended Clark University.

Goddard?s first experience with rockets was with the British and United States Marine?s life-saving rockets in 1912.He noticed that these rockets used a powder-based fuel for propulsion and these ?ordinary powder rockets [used] only about three percent of the energy in the explosive?(Gartmann 39).This certainly wasn?t acceptable and Goddard ?was?never satisfied with merely knowing that a rocket combustion chamber using solid propellant develops a certain measurable thrust, so long as there was the slightest likelihood of improving its efficiency? (Gartmann 37).At this point, Goddard found that he agreed with Tsiolkovski in that liquid fuel was necessary for effective propulsion.Even with the liquid fuel, the efficiency was minimal.He decided to implement a nozzle for focusing the energy of the jet stream, which had already been invented by Gustav De Laval.With the new nozzle, he achieved ?jet velocities between 7000 ft/s and 8000 ft/s and efficiencies of up to 63%? (Stern).

Goddard?s experimental and observational notes were extensive and meticulous, almost to the point of tedium.However, this tedium is quite necessary for experiment replication and so that other scientists can perfectly understand his work.It was also very conducive to a successful environment for experimentation and was a key to his completely logical thought process.As an example, a misconception of Newton?s third law in the context of rocketry in a vacuum prevented space travel in theory, by implying that the ?rocket exhaust would, in effect, be sucked out of the engine?(Page 490), which would cancel out any motive force.Goddard saw that this was invalid and proved his position with a series of vacuum-chamber tests.Even with all of this success and clearly logical methods, only the Smithsonian Institute provided the funding for his independent research initially.At first, Goddard funded his research out of his own pocket, exhausting some eight hundred dollars before receiving an initial grant from the institute for five thousand dollars.Goddard collected enough data to write A Method of Attaining Extreme Altitude in 1919 as a report to the Smithsonian Institute of his progress and a request for more funding so that he could continue his research.The essay contained calculations to obtain ?infinite? altitude and methods for multi-stage rockets using a ?machine-gun? loading apparatus for fuel cartridges.While the idea for fuel cartridges died off rather quickly, the multi-stage engine became an important factor in obtaining the infinite altitude.Infinite altitude corresponds to leaving the gravitational field of the Earth in space flight.He used a theoretical experiment for testing the functionality of his new theory with an example.If a payload of flash powder was propelled towards the moon in its ?new? stage and detonated once the destination had been reached, the flash could be observed from the Earth with a telescope.Observing the flash would mean that the rocket had exited the high atmosphere of the Earth and entered space.

The media frenzy that ensued over this publication, with all its claims, was immense.Goddard had already disliked publicity and was very secretive about every aspect of his existence.The media coverage was quite often inaccurate and lead to many false claims and myths about the extent of their progress and processes.The example of the flash powder explosion experiment generated a ?journalistic controversy concerning the feasibility of such a thing.Much ridicule came Goddard?s way? (?NASA Facts?).An editorial in the January 13, 1920 New York Times asserted that Goddard ?seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools? (494 Page).This only hardened Goddard?s attitude toward the press, which remained with him the rest of his life.Goddard is even quoted as saying ?The subject of projection from the earth, and especially a mention of the moon, must still be avoided in dignified scientific and engineering circles? (Goddard & Pendray).

The media?s did garner quite a bit of attention for Goddard.In particular, he obtained the attention and interest of Charles Lindbergh.Lindbergh was very interested in what Goddard had to say and what his work was implicating for the future of flight and exploration.On a visit to the workplace of Goddard, Lindbergh proposed funding from another source, the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation.The grant was for the amount of fifty thousand dollars.This was quite a bit more that what Goddard was accustomed to receiving.After the grant was delivered, Goddard moved his operation to Roswell, New Mexico.In 1929, Goddard?s rocket flight carried with it the first scientific payload, a barometer and a camera.By the nineteen thirties, high altitude and high velocity flights were routine operations.The greatest achievement that Goddard achieved was stability of the flight.?Goddard?s work largely anticipated in technical detail the later German V-2 missiles, including gyroscopic control, steering by means of vanes in the jet stream of the rocket motor, gimbalsteering, power-driven fuel pumps and other devices (Stern).Goddard contributed all essential features of the aerodynamically shaped liquid-propelled rocket.The Germans became famous for their work on rockets using Goddard?s rocket shape.The shape provided stability and predictability in flight path.It also placed the center of pressure in front of the center of gravity and provided airflow stability.He also ?tried out, in one form or another, practically every one of the ideas that have since been developed successfully in large rockets?(xix Goddard & Pandray).On August 10, 1945, Robert Goddard suddenly died of complications from a throat operation.

The research and development of rocketry did not stop with the passing of Goddard.The Russians were the first to deposit a payload in space to orbit the Earth.This was during the cold war era, and the sense of competition was already great, but having the Russians beat the United States at anything only caused the sense of competition to increase.The ussr was also the first to put a man in space with Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961.The importance of the space program was now critical to national pride.A good way to raise interest and, consequently, funds was to appeal to the practical applications of rocketry or to have wild demonstrations.In 1928, automobile tycoon Fritz von Opel drove a rocket car at 125 miles per hour and later that year Opel piloted a rocket-glider at 95 miles per hour (von Braun 65).

The first commercial rocket company, Reaction Motors, Inc., was established in 1941 by Lovell Lawrence Jr., Hugh Franklin Pierce, John Shesta, and James Hart Wyld.The first motor was developed by Wyld and was a ?445 Newton (100 lb) thrust regeneratively-cooled rocket motor?(Launius 77), which was the first American made motor to use generative cooling for all parts of the motor.The Navy contracted the company for work.The contract called for 100 pounds of thrust for $5,000 of investment money.The goal was obtained successfully and a second contract was brought about.The new contract asked for 1,000 pounds of thrust for $20,000 (Launius 77-79).This goal was also obtained successfully.The company grew and continued research with a high success rate, producing more powerful rocket engines and more applications for those engines.A 700-2000 pound variable thrust engine was also developed during the 1950?s and the development of a rocket powered piloted aircraft that could travel faster than the speed of sound was another major development by the company for the military.One of the more notable applications was the jato project.jato stands for Jet Assisted Take Off.jato was used mainly for seaplanes and boats at the time but the practical applications of rocket power were starting to surface themselves.

Although none of the men involved with the initial development of rocketry were able to witness the ultimate goal of space flight, they paved the way for innovation by future scientists.Reaction Motors, Inc. saw the commercial viability of the rocket engine and started a whole new market.Rockets today are used in many applications that Reaction Motors initiated like the jato project, which is now commonplace, and in jet aircraft.The International Space Station would not be a possibility without the dependence on rocket propulsion, nor would any sort of zero gravity research projects.The science of rocketry is still comparatively young and continues to evolve with time.The future of space exploration depends on it.

Rocketry 7.3 of 10 on the basis of 1856 Review.