1882–1945, born in Worcester, Massachusetts
Robert Goddard was among the few people who independently discovered the rocket as the key to space before World War I, and he was one of three (along with Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Hermann Julius Oberth) who worked out all the equations. He went on to create the world’s first flying, liquid-fuel rocket and made many other pioneering contributions to rocket technology.
Sadly, Goddard’s desire for secrecy and his limitations as an engineer greatly limited his technological influence on later rocketry. But his impact on the world’s imagination was profound.