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Plate, Ceramic, Commemorative, First Liquid Fuel Rocket Flight, R.H. Goddard


Display Status:

This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar room at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Plate, Ceramic, Commemorative, First Liquid Fuel Rocket Flight, R.H. Goddard

Collection Item Summary:

This commemorative plate honors the 50th anniversary of the launch of the world's first liquid propellant rocket, built and designed by U.S. rocket experimenter Dr. Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945). The rocket, using liquid oxygen and gasoline, reached 41 feet in 2.5 seconds, averaging 60 miles per hour, and landed 184 feet from the launching frame for a total flight path of 220 feet. In 1976, a local bank in Auburn, Massachusetts, the site of the launch, used the coincidence of its 25th anniversary with the 50th anniversary of this milestone to create this commemorative item.

The scene is a copy of a painting that appeared in an advertisement at the time by the Equitable Life Insurance Co. The artist's choices dramatize Goddard in a dynamic pose, whereas he probably was not in the open and was in a crouched or near crouched position after activating the mechanism for launching the rocket.

The Robert H. Goddard Committee donated this plate to the Museum in 1976.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Gift of the Robert H. Goddard Committee




3-D: 23.8cm (9 3/8 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number