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May 28, 1930 - Goddard to Secretary Abbot Thanking Smithsonian for its Support

Robert Goddard Letter - May 28, 1930

Dr. C. G. Abbot, Secretary
Smithsonian Institution
Washington D.C.

Dear Dr. Abbot:

The last of the advances on the $5000 grant for the rocket tests has been used, and I am now calling upon the Carnegie Institution, which offered a similar grant after the conference we had a Dr. Merriam's home. I did not wish to use the Carnegie grant until all the work possible had been done under the Smithsonian grant, so that I could be sure afterward of what particular developments had been made under each grant.

The long delay in making a decision regarding the larger-scale work has placed me in a very awkward position. I had hoped that the smaller-scale development could be carried on under Smithsonian auspices exclusively, until the larger grant was made. In view of the grant already made by the Carnegie Institution, I naturally do not feel like asking the Smithsonian to continue its support.

Colonel Lindbergh called me up last week, and after reiterating his interest in the work, said that I might hear from him in a week or two regarding the larger support.

During the winter I have made a substantial increase in the gas ejection velocity, from 4,000 feet per second, in the rockets used in the flights last summer. To between 5,000 and 6,000 feet per second. Further, some of the work this winter has indicated that the rocket, used as an engine, has possibilities for great horsepower with small weight, and will, I believe, have important applications in aviation.

I am deeply appreciative of the support the Smithsonian has given this rocket work, from its start as a bare idea with little experimental verification, in 1917. I am also particularly grateful for your interest, encouragement, and far-sightedness. I feel that I cannot overestimate the value of your backing, at a time when hardly anyone else in the world could see anything of importance in the undertaking.
Sincerely yours,
[signed] R. H. Goddard