Robert Godwin

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Robert Godwin (born 1958, England) is a British author who has written about rock music and spaceflight. Early in his career he was a rock music impresario who managed a venue in Burlington, Ontario and founded Griffin Music.

Personal information[edit]

After attending Ellesmere College in Shropshire, where he studied Mathematics and Physics, he emigrated to Canada.[1] His third cousin was New Zealand military aviator James Gowing Godwin and Lt. Sidney Godwin, who rode with Marshall's Horse, was his great-grandfather.

Music business[edit]

In 1981, he managed the Orient Express night club, a venue in Burlington, Ontario where many world class rock acts performed including Rick Derringer, Steppenwolf, Joe Perry and Mountain. In 1983 Godwin turned to music management and assisted in the recording and production of albums by Michael White & The White. In 1987 he started the process to establish his own record label Griffin Music and his own book publishing company, Collector's Guide Publishing. In 1990 the first album by Michael White was released on Griffin Music. Over the next few years Griffin would release many classic rock acts' back-catalogs through Griffin, notably, the BBC in Concert series, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, David Bowie, Motörhead, Thin Lizzy, Mike Oldfield, Olivia Newton-John, Hawkwind, and Nazareth.[2][3]


In 1984, Godwin wrote The Illustrated Led Zeppelin Collection a book for Led Zeppelin collectors. Books he authored between 1987 and 2007 include The Illustrated Collector's Guide to Led Zeppelin, The Illustrated Collector's Guide to Hawkwind, The Illustrated Collector's Guide to Kate Bush, Apollo 11 The First Men on the Moon, Project Apollo The Test Program, Project Apollo Exploring the Moon, Mars, The Lunar Exploration Scrapbook, Russian Spacecraft, Space Shuttle Fact Archive and The Making of Led Zeppelin IV. In 2005 Godwin co-authored Saturn with Alan Lawrie. The book won the Sir Arthur Clarke Award for Best Presentation Written in 2006.[4] In 2013 he co-authored a biography of Arthur C. Clarke with Fred Clarke, brother of Arthur.[5] In 2014 he co-authored 2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey with Frederick I. Ordway III,[6] who was technical adviser to Stanley Kubrick for the film 2001 A Space Odyssey. Godwin also contributed feature articles to such publications as Goldmine (magazine)[7] and Boeing Employee Times [8][9]

In October 2015, Godwin wrote and published The First Scientific Concept of Rockets for Space Travel,[10] an essay in which he asserted that a Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Canadian University Principal named William Leitch was the first scientist to determine, for the correct reasons, that rockets were the best method for powering space flight. Godwin's essay was publicly endorsed by Frank H. Winter, retired Curator of Rocketry at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and by David Baker, editor of the British Interplanetary Society's magazine, Spaceflight.[11][12][13] Leitch's proposal for rockets appeared in September 1861 in the magazine Good Words, effectively pre-dating the modern proponents of rocketry, such as Robert Hutchings Goddard and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky by more than three decades. In late 2016 Godwin released his findings as a book entitled William Leitch - Presbyterian Scientist & The Concept of Rocket Space Flight 1854-1864.

Print publishing[edit]

Between 1987 and 1998 Collector's Guide Publishing released books on many different rock artists including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Kate Bush, Alice Cooper, Wishbone Ash and Kiss.

In 1998, at the invitation of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Godwin would begin his imprint Apogee Books.[14]

Between 1998 and 2018 Apogee Books published over 150 book titles about space flight with contributions from Buzz Aldrin, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, David R. Scott, Harrison Schmitt and Wernher von Braun.[15][16][17]


Godwin has edited dozens of books including the NASA Mission Reports series (39 titles as of 2018),[18] Dyna-Soar Hypersonic Strategic Weapons System,[19] Rocket & Space Corporation Energia, X-15,[20] The Conquest of Space, Columbia Accident Investigation Report[21] as well as a series of vintage science fiction books in 2006 under the Apogee Science Fiction imprint. Titles with forewords by Godwin and editorial content include Garrett P. Serviss' Edison's Conquest of Mars and A Columbus of Space, Hugo Gernsback's The Scientific Adventures of Baron Munchhausen, Otto Willi Gail's By Rocket to the Moon, and George Griffith's The World Peril of 1910, A Honeymoon in Space and Around the World in 65 Days. The series also included the first uncut English edition of Wernher von Braun's Project Mars manuscript.[22]


For his 1999 book Apollo 11 The NASA Mission Reports[23] he created the first ever seamless QTVR digital panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography(1999)as well as the first commercial release of the digitised footage of the Apollo 11 moonwalk broadcast, both on an accompanying CDROM.[24][25] For the second volume Godwin published the declassified crew debriefing which included the transcript of the infamous crew UFO sighting.[26] He also produced and directed the 2002 direct-to-DVD Apollo 11 – Moonwalk which featured the first ever time-synchronized multiple-camera-angle movie of the first moonwalk and moon landing. The DVD first appeared in the book Apollo 11 – The NASA Mission Reports Volume 3. (2002).[27][28] Godwin has consulted on the Discovery Channel TV series Rocket Science [29] and in 2007 Mars Rising.[30][31] He also consulted on the Led Zeppelin episode of VH-1 Legends television show.[citation needed]

Awards and achievements[edit]

In 2002 Godwin's Mission Reports series won the Space Frontier Foundation's Best Presentation of Space Award.[32]

In 2007 the International Astronomical Union's Committee for Small Body Nomenclature approved the naming of a main belt asteroid after Robert and his brother Richard Godwin for their efforts in documenting space history and raising public awareness about Near Earth Objects. "4252 Godwin" is an absolute magnitude 12.7 minor planet discovered in 1985 by H. Debehogne at the European Southern Observatory.[33]

From 2008 to 2011 Robert was the Space Curator at the Canadian Air and Space Museum in Toronto.[34][35]


  1. ^ Leblanc, L Godwin Turns Fandom into BusinessBillboard (28 Sep 1996)
  2. ^ Nickson, C Robert GodwinDiscoveries: For Record & CD Collectors (June 1996)
  3. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (28 September 1996). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 14 December 2017 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "The Arthur C Clarke Awards 2006 Winners". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Arthur C. Clarke: A Life Remembered - The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  6. ^ "San Diego Science Alliance". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  7. ^ Hawkwind Sonic Assassins - Goldmine Vol 19 No 13 July 9, 1993
  8. ^ DynaSoar Boeing's Lost Spacecraft - Employee Times Vol X No 1 Jan 2004
  9. ^ Lunar Exploration Scrapbook - Vol XIII No 12 Dec 2007
  10. ^ "Main Page - The Space Library". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  11. ^ MacDonald, Fraser (9 October 2015). "A Fife church minister first imagined space flight - beating Jules Verne". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Canadian university head proposed rocket spaceflight in 1861". San Francisco Chronicle. October 4, 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Canadian university head proposed rocket spaceflight in 1861". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  14. ^ Ott, Terry From Rock to the MoonNational Post Canada (3 January 2000)
  15. ^ Agle, D.C. Just The FactsAir & Space Smithsonian (Oct/Nov 2000)
  16. ^ Hicks, L. Wayne Publisher Sees Sales from Space – The Denver Business Journal ( 11–17 Feb 2000)
  17. ^ Space is the PlacePlayboy Magazine (March 2000)
  18. ^ Taylor, B Armchair AstronautThe Toronto Star (27 December 2001)
  19. ^ "Interview". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  20. ^ Hiscox, J. X-15 – The NASA Mission ReportsAstronomy Magazine (May 2002)
  21. ^ Kelly, J. A year after Columbia disaster many wonder how to get reportFlorida Today (21 April 2004)
  22. ^ Kelly, J. Von Braun's vision not far offFlorida Today (16 November 2003)
  23. ^ Mosley, J Apollo 11 – The NASA Mission Reports – The Planetarian Journal of The International Planetarium Society (June 2004)
  24. ^ Extracts of Apollo 11 CDROM at NASA's Apollo Lunar Surface Journal
  25. ^ "NASACORE educational site. Apollo 11 The NASA Mission Reports". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  26. ^ Frazer-Harrison, Alex Book Reveals Space Secrets – Calgary Mirror (9 August 2000)
  27. ^ "Apollo 11 The NASA Mission Reports Vol 3 DVD". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  28. ^ Taylor, R. Apollo 11 Vol 3.Spaceflight (Dec 2002)
  29. ^ "Rocket Science". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  30. ^ "Mars Rising". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  31. ^ "Mars Rising". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  32. ^ "Space Frontier Foundation - Annual Awards". 9 December 2004. Archived from the original on 9 December 2004. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  33. ^ Chamberlin, Alan. "JPL Small-Body Database Browser". Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  34. ^ Canadian Air and Space MuseumCBC Radio As it Happens (23 September 2011)
  35. ^ Howell, Elizabeth Saving History, The Canadian Air and Space Museum TeetersSpaceref [9 January 2012)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]