New York Times Falsely Claims Rockets Can’t Fly
On this day in history, 1920, the New York Times reported that rockets couldn’t fly.
Earlier that year, the Smithsonian had published a formative piece titled “A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes,” by Robert H. Goddard, an American engineer, professor, physicist, and inventor. The article explained Goddard’s mathematical theories of rocket flight.
In response to Goddard’s article, an unsigned New York Times editorial, titled “A Severe Strain on Credulity,” falsely claimed that a lack of air would provide the rocket with nothing to react against, thus making acceleration impossible. The writer questioned Goddard’s understanding of Newton’s laws by writing:
That Professor Goddard, with his “chair” in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action and reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react — to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.
Goddard went on the build the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket, which he successfully launched on March 16, 1926.
Endeavour Launches on 3rd Mission
On this day in history, 1993, Endeavour launched on STS-54, her third mission, to deploy the sixth satellite in the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) series, TDRS-F.
Additionally, the STS-54 carried a shuttle bay instrument called the Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer (DXS) to survey the diffuse x-ray background in the Milky Way galaxy.
During the five day mission, the crew also tested its ability to move freely in the cargo bay, climb into foot restraints without the use of their hands, and simulate carrying large objects in a microgravity setting.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense