This device is the oldest surviving liquid-propellant rocket in the world. It was designed and built by U.S. rocket experimenter Robert H. Goddard in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was Goddard's first in which the motor was placed at the base, instead of in the nose. He had used the latter configuration on the world’s first liquid-propellant rocket to fly, which he launched on 16 March 1926. The May rocket likely includes the nozzle from that historic vehicle. His attempt to launch his new rocket on 4 and 5 May 1926 was not successful, as it did not have enough thrust to lift itself.
The Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation for the Promotion of Aeronautics gave this rocket to the Smithsonian in 1950.