On 16 March 1926, Robert H. Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket.
A liquid rocket used liquid propellants. This allows the volume of the tanks low. The pressure of the tank can also be low because the liquids are pumped into the combustion chamber. This also means that the propellant tanks can be lighter.
Both reasons combined result in lighter and more powerful rockets.
Goddard was both a theorist and engineer. His inventions and experimentations paved the way for rockets technology that made spaceflight possible.
First Liquid-Fueled Rocket
The rocket that was launched from Auburn, Massachusetts was dubbed Nell. It rose 41 feet and flew for 2.5 seconds before crashing into a cabbage field.
This seemingly insignificant flight proved the theories that Goddard came up with 15 years earlier about the possibility of liquid-fueled rockets.
In total, Goddard and his team launched a total of 34 rockets. The highest reached 2.6 km in altitude and achieved a speed of 885 km/h.
Goddard was a very productive researcher and held a total of 214 patents to his name. Two of those proved instrumental: that for a multi-stage rocket (1914) and a liquid-fuel rocket (1914).
Spaceflight as his life's purpose
He single mindly dedicated his life to the pursuit of the spaceflight. Here is how he stumbled onto that mission when he was 17: