Page:Goddard papers - goddardsept1916.djvu/2

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2

I hesitate, however, permitting Dr. Webster to place the matter before this Board for two reasons: First, I can trust no one to explain the device and its capabilities but myself. If I am not permitted to do this, in a manner satisfactory to myself, the Board may be poorly impressed; and public opinion may thus be influenced against the method, even before it has been given a fair presentation. My other reason is that the device will, I am certain, be of very great importance to pure science, especially to meterology; whereas, although it may indeed have applications, I feel that its possibilities in warfare may be somewhat limited. In short, the exclusive use of the device for warfare would, I am certain, be a loss to science; and I therefore feel that an investigation of my method should be conducted by such a body as the Smithsonian Institution (working independently, or in collaboration with the Naval Board if thought desirable); with the understanding that if, in subsequent work, results should arise which appeared to be of importance for National Defence, the government should be given exclusive data concerning these results.

The following is a very brief description of the method, and of the experimental results:

Four years ago, while at Princeton University, I developed a theory of rocket action in general; taking into account air resistance and gravity. The problem was to determine the initial mass of an ideal rocket necessary, in order that on continuous loss of mass, a final mass of one pound would remain, at any required altitude. On solving the problem (an approximate method was necessary in order to avoid a new problem in the