Important alundum cement rocket nozzle liner attributed to the world's first liquid-fueled rocket launched by Robert H. Goddard on March 16, 1926. The piece measures approximately 1.25 x 2.25 x .5 and has scorch marks on the interior from use. This artifact was given to Frederick C. Durant III by Goddard’s widow, Esther Goddard, and has been kept in an envelope labeled in Durant’s hand, “Ceramic rocket nozzle liner used by R. H. Goddard in 1920s, possibly from the 1926 (March 16) flight.” Accompanied by several detailed photographs of the piece and their associated negatives.
Frederick C. Durant III, the former head of astronautics at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, was one of the world’s foremost authorities of spaceflight and rocketry. This is one of several artifacts he received from Esther Goddard, likely in the 1960s, and from either her testimony—Esther was a witness to the launch of March 16, 1926—or through other research, he determined the 1926 flight as a possible origin. The small size of the piece lends credence to this conclusion, as Goddard’s rocket experiments grew larger and larger over time; if not from the very first, then this nozzle liner is at least from one of Goddard’s early rockets.
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