Korolev Sergei Pavlovych (1906-1966)


Sergei Pavlovych Korolev created the first Soviet rockets and spacecraft. He was a legendary figure in space crafting and launching. He was responsible for creating the first long range ballistic missiles, the first space launchers, the first artificial satellite, and putting the first man in space.

Sergei Korolev was born on January 12 1906 in Zhytomyr. He studied in Kiev Polytechnic Institute from 1924 to 1926, and then at Moscow Higher Technical University (MVTU). There he was involved in design and construction of gliders SK-4 designed for duration flights in the stratosphere.

In 1937 he under the guidance of Korolev the first rocket propelled manned aircraft RP-318 was made. It was powered by the rocket engine ORM-65, constructed under the guidance of Valentin Petrovich Glushko.

During World War II Sergei Korolev was involved in the design of the Tupolev Tu-2 bomber and the Petlyakov Pe-2 dive-bomber, rocket aircraft boosters, missiles, the tank armor, and RD-1KhZ auxiliary rocket motor tested in a fast-climb Lavochkin La-7R to protect cities from high-altitude German attacks. In 1945 Korolev was awarded the Badge of Honor for his work on the development of rocket motors for military aircraft.

The first ballistic missile R-1 designed by Sergei Korolev was first tested in October 1947. The R-2 doubled the range of the V-2, and was the first design to utilize a separate warhead. This was followed by the R-3, which had a range of 3000 kilometers. R-5 had 1200 km range. This completed a successful first flight by 1953. However, the first true intercontinental ballistic missile was the R-7 Semyorka. This was a two-stage rocket with a maximum payload of 5.4 tons, sufficient to carry the nuclear bomb for 7000 km. The R-7 was successfully launched on August 1957.

In 1953 he first proposed the use of the R-7 design for launching a satellite into orbit. Korolev managed the assembly of the fist Sputnik 1, and on October 4, 1957 the satellite was placed in orbit. Then followed Sputnik 2 and Sputnik 3.

Korolev has a dream to reaching the Moon. The modified version of the R-7 launch vehicle was used with a new upper stage, and the engine designed to be fired in the outer space. Luna 2 successfully impacted the Moon surface. Luna 3 was launched in 1959 was the first spacecraft to photograph the far side of the Moon.

Korolev's group was also working on ambitious programs for missions to Mars and Venus, putting a man in orbit, launching communication, spy and weather satellites, and making a soft-landing on the Moon.

In 1958 the future Vostok spacecraft was designed. Four tests were then sent into orbit carrying dogs.

February 12, 1961 Venera 1, the first spacecraft to fly by Venus, was launched. On February 19 at a distance of about two million km from Earth, contact with the spacecraft was lost. On May 19 and 20, 1961 Venera 1 passed within 100,000 km of Venus and entered a heliocentric orbit. This launch helped to check the methods of setting space objects on an interplanetary course, to check an extra-long-range communications and control of the space station, to calculate the dimension of the solar system, etc.

On April 12, 1961, the first human Yuri Alexeevich Gagarin was launched into space in Earth orbit on board of Vostok 1.

This was followed up by additional Vostok flights. Vostok 2 was launched with German Titov. Vostok 3 was launched on April 10, 1962 with Andrian Nikolaev, who stayed 5 days in the space. Vostok 4 was launched on April 15, 1962 with Pavel Popovich on board. Vostok 5 was launched on June 14, 1963 with Valeriy Bykovskiy, culminating with 81 orbits completed. The launch of the first woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova on Vostok 6 was made on June 16,1963.

On October 12, 1964 Voskhod 1, the world's first multi-manned spacecraft, the first to carry a scientist and a physician into space, was launched. The crew were Vladimir Komarov, pilot; Konstantin Feoktistov, scientist; and Boris Yegorov, physician. On March 18, 1965 Voskhod 2 was launched, with a two man crew of Pavel Belyayev and Aleksey Leonov. During Voskhod 2's second orbit, Leonov stepped from the vehicle and performed mankind's first walk in space. After 10 min of extravehicular activity, he returned safely to the spacecraft through an inflatable airlock.

Korolev with his staff started to design the immense N1 rocket. Sergei Korolev had in work the design for the Soyuz manned spacecraft, which many years later went on to carry the first space tourists, as well as the Luna vehicles that would soft-land on the Moon, and the missions to Mars and Venus.

Centre of International Education

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