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Author(s) of the publication: Nikolai SEVASTYANOV

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by Nikolai SEVASTYANOV, President and General Designer of the Energiya Aerospace Corporation, Korolev

100 years have passed since the birth of Acad. Sergei Korolev, a prominent scientist, founder of practical cosmonautics, legendary designer of rocket-space engineering, the most gifted organizer of work on the exploration of extraterrestrial space, head and chief designer of experimental Design Bureau, OKB-1 (now the Energiya Aerospace Corporation named after S. Korolev).

Over a long period of time his name has been under a thick veil of secrecy. The reason for that was the complicated international situation obtained immediately following the defeat of German fascism and as a result of military rivalry of the two superpowers-USA and USSR.

As is generally known the Soviet Union broke the USA atomic-and-thermonuclear-weapons monopoly in 1949 and 1953. However, the USA, as before, had an

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absolute supremacy in nuclear delivery vehicles. Moreover, according to plan under the code name Trojan the Americans intended to drop 320 atomic bombs on USSR cities, whose yields of explosion were twenty times as high as those exploded over Japan in 1945. It could only be possible to put an end to those insidious designs by creating an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a nuclear charge to USA territory. And on May 20, 1954, the leaders of our country adopted a resolution on development of such a delivery vehicle with a flying range of 8,000 km and with a thermonuclear warhead of up to 5.5 t. The fulfillment of this task was entrusted to OKB-1 (city Kaliningrad, now Korolev near Moscow) headed by Sergei Korolev - a designer of new formation*.

While a student of Kiev Polytechnic Institute and then of Bauman Moscow Technical University, he designed gliders, tested and flew them. And beginning from 1927 he worked at the same time as a designer at capital aviation plants. Then since 1932 he headed the Group for Investigation of Reactive Motion, whose experts have created and launched the first domestic rocket 09. Two years later he began to work at the Reactive Research Institute founded on the initiative of Marshal M. Tukhachevsky. This Institute showed no analogues in the world of rocket manufacturing. It was created in the capital on September 21, 1933. It should be noted that the program of work for this Institute was initiated by our prominent scientist and designer in aerodynamics and rocket dynamics, founder of modern cosmonautics K. Tsiolkovsky.

Sergei Pavlovich could not escape even repressions of many representatives of Soviet intellectuals-arrest (June 27, 1938), interrogations, prisons, Kolyma camp from which he got out by a miracle thanks to the interference in his destiny by legendary pilots M. Gromova and V. Grizodubova, who earlier had accomplished unexampled nonstop flights Moscow-North Pole-USA-Far East. Later, Korolev was a secret chief designer of rockets providing for the parity in confrontation of nuclear powers.

With this object in view, appropriate work was organized in 1947 in Kaliningrad at specially created N11 - 88 (Research Institute) from which the above-mentioned enterprise OKB-1 (now the Energiya Aerospace Corporation) has been separated**. And then Sergei Pavlovich became a head and chief designer firstly of department No. 3 of this Institute and later of the whole design bureau.

Under the direction of S. Korolev there have been developed solid and liquid-propellant complexes, including those with high-boiling and low-boiling components, among which the oxygen-kerosene carrier R-9A of ground and silo versions became "a long-lived" one. Rocket R-7 occupied a significant place among the effective nuclear warhead delivery vehicles to probable targets. Later on this rocket became a technical foundation for

First Artificial Earth Satellite. 1957.


* See: Ya. Renkas, "Pioneer of the Space Era", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2002; Yu. Markov, "They Blazed the Trail Into Space", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2004. - Ed.

** See: A. Morozenko, V. Shutov, "Korolev, Capital of Russian Cosmonautics, Science in Russia, No. 1, 2000. - Ed.

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human breaking-through to space Korolev dreamed of, but until a certain time did not say openly about it. The matter is that at first (since 1948) the tests and launchers were conducted at the Kapustin Yar test range in the interfluvial area of Volga and of its left branch, Akhtuba. But the rocket flight range did not exceed 1,500 km, which was not enough for intercontinental missiles suitable for delivery of artificial satellites and man to near-earth orbit. Therefore, in Kazakhstan, a new launching complex was built in Baikonur, which was opened on June 2, 1955*.

That was here that the rocket R-7 was launched. It was worked out according to so-called "package" configuration. The central rocket pod "A" worked as the first and second stages and the side stages "B", "C", "D", "E" attached to the central pod, as the fist one. In launching all the five stages were initiated immediately, then, the "side ones" were detached. The main pod "A" continued to operate and could deliver the cargo to the other continent of the Earth or inject it to space.

Thousands of specialists were involved in creating the rocket R-7. Let us name only some direct creators of this miracle, the Korolev's nearest associates-his deputies V Mishin, B. Chertok and some other managers of large scientific organizations, chief designers V. Glushko (engines), N. Pilyugin (control systems), V Kuznetsov (gyroinstruments), V. Barmin (launching complex)-future academicians and Corresponding Members of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Thinking of combat complexes, Korolev kept in mind the interests of fundamental and applied sciences. In 1951, using launch vehicles created under his leadership, geophysical experiments were conducted and rockets with scientific equipment and experimental animals were vertically launched**. In 1956, in Moscow, the All-Union Conference on the investigation of upper layers of the terrestrial atmosphere took place, on which Sergei Pavlovich gave a lecture. One of the main tasks in this direction the legendary designer named the man-in-space flight. Here, for the first time, his prophetic words were heard "...modern development is such that one would expect the creation of artificial earth satellite in the nearest future...The real task is the development of the rocket flight to the Moon and back from the Moon...These prospects are quite practicable and in the not too distant future".

The reality completely proved the Korolev's bold prediction. Already on October 4, 1957, at 22:28 Moscow time the R-7 (rocket-carrier Sputnik) with the first artificial earth satellite in the world was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome. The satellite had a ball shape of 58 cm in diameter and 83.6 kg in mass. And the satellite-transmitted signals "beep-beep" were heard by many inhabitants of our planet. That was a stunning success. The triumph of domestic scientists and designers demonstrated the scientific and engineering power of our country to the peoples of the world.

But very likely the greatest moment in life for Sergei Pavlovich, and not only for him, came on April 12, 1961, when the spacecraft Vostok created by OKB-1,


* See: Yu. Markov, "Baikonur: 50 Years of Serving Mankind", Science in Russia, No. 3. 2005. - Ed.

** See: V. Orayevsky, V. Kuznetsov, "The Sun, the Earth, and the Stars...", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2002. - Ed.

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aboard of which there was the first cosmonaut, our countryman Yu.A. Gagarin*. The accomplishment of those far-reaching projects marked the beginning of a cosmic era, the realization of the age-old dream of mankind-spacewalk, overcoming of earth gravitation.

Later on, at a growing rate, there were followed the launches of automatic space vehicles Zenit and Zenit-2 (1962 and 1964) intended for the detail photography of surface of our planet, the launches of three-man spacecraft Voskhod (one of the crew member A. Leonov walked in open space)** and of communication satellites Molniya-1 (1965) and the flight of automatic station which has made a soft landing on the Moon surface (1966). Besides, many articles demonstrated the real possibility of technical facilities application for direct transmission of great information flow over the cosmic radio channels to the ranges of some tens of thousands of kilometers.

New projects were invented as a result of joint labor of hundreds of organizations and enterprises developing in the country of rocket and space industry. Korolev gave a constant concern of the natural extension of lines and volumes of work. He followed the line of "gemmation" of units from the head organization, formation of its branches based on specialized enterprises, conveying technologies, long-term projects and leading specialists to them. Thus, in its time, branch No. 3 of OKB-1 in Kuibyshev (now Samara) was formed under the direction of chief designer deputy, later on Corresponding Member of Academy of Sciences D. Kozlov. The branch specialized in developing the Zenit-series satellites, rocket carriers of medium class, type Soyuz, and the automatic observation vehicles.

Similar organization, OKB-10 was formed near Krasnoyarsk (future Academician M. Reshetov took charge of it). The OKB-10 received from OKB-1 the technical documentation and specialists involved in creating the communication space vehicle Molniya-1. Now this organization works on satellite systems in communication and navigation.

There were created successfully functioning enterprises in some other regions of this country: for example, on the Urals, plant No. 385 (city Zlatoust), to where Korolev conveyed the technology on creation of combat long-range missiles used for submarines (it was headed by future Academician V. Makeev); near Moscow (town Khimki), the Lavochkin experimental design bureau (it was headed by Corresponding Member of Academy of Science of the USSR G. Babakin)*** materialized the OKB-1 projects on creation of automatic Moon cosmic vehicles; in the mid-1960s, the Leningrad design bureau of the "Arsenal" plant conducted the work on modification of solid-propellant combat long-range rockets created by the Korolev's design bureau, including the intermediate-range carriers.

As a result of efforts made by both the head organizations and the subsidiary ones, still during the Korolev's life and under his command, the flight program of spacecrafts Vostok, Voskhod was realized and the work on creation of Soyuz spacecrafts has been developed. At the same time we started the Moon strategy basically providing for circling of the natural satellite of the Earth by the 7K-R1 carrier (Soyuz spacecraft modification). The spacecrafts were


* See: A. Orlov, "He Opened Window Into Space", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2004. -Ed.

** See: Yu. Markov. "Step Out Into Open Space", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2005. - Ed.

*** See: Yu. Markov, "Chief Designer of Interplanetary Stations", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2004. - Ed.

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launched to the near-earth orbit by the UR-500 Proton rocket developed by the OKB-52 directed by prominent scientist in mechanics, Academician V Chelomei. At a later time this subject was continued by Academicians V. Mishin, V. Glushko, and Yu. Semenov. In time our researchers gained experience in circling the Moon by unmanned vehicles Zond (7K. -L1) with their recovery to the Earth at an escape velocity.

The knowledge accumulator contained the labor of many specialists of OKB-1 on creation of special heavy carriers and new acceleration pods*. Cryogenic components of rocket propellant (liquid hydrogen and oxygen)** were started to be widely used and the flight control technique on the routes "Earth-Moon" and "Moon-Earth" was perfected. The advanced infrastructure of ground test aids, preparation for launching vehicles and control of their flights were developed.

There had been proposed the projects for the moon manned expeditionary complex and a number of unified rockets (H1, H11, H111) capable of injecting the 5-, 20-, and 90-ton objects to the near-earth orbit. Unfortunately Sergei Pavlovich did not live until realization of these plans. On January 14, 1966 he passed away. But the colleagues and the pupils of the great designer continued to carry out all the drawn-up plans.

In 1974, on the basis of Central Design Bureau of experimental mechanical engineering there was established the Scientific and Production Association Energiya (since 1994-Energiya Aerospace Corporation named after S. Korolev). This structure undertook the responsibility for realization of programs of manned lasting orbital stations Salyut-Salyut-4 (1971 - 1977), second generation satellites Salyut-6 (1976 - 1981), Salyut-7 (1982 - 1986), automatic cargo spacecraft Progress (1987), and modernized manned spacecrafts Soyuz T, Soyuz TM, cargo vehicles Progress M/MI provided with onboard digital control system, and as well as recoverable space system Energiya-Buran which concentrated the activities of about 1,200 enterprises and organizations of the country. This development incorporated the latest achievements of domestic science and engineering, including materials science, automatic control and cybernetics, aerothermogas dynamics, cryogenics, electrical power supply and so on, and enabled one to accumulate the experience in construction of superhigh space systems and in creation of high technologies for manufacturing different products both space ones and some other type.

Considerable work was made for years of the Energiya Aerospace Corporation functioning. The extensive programs "Mir-Shuttle" and "Mir-NASA" (1994 - 1997) were fulfilled. The "Morskoy Start" (1999) project was carried out. The new generation satellites Yamal-100 (1999) and Yamal-200 (2003) were launched. Jointly with the American and European partners the corporation specialists initiated the work on the creation of International Space Station (ISS), took part in its deployment together with modules Zarya (1998), Zvezda (2000), Pirs (2001) and in its operation with crews on board (since 2000).

Now the Energiya Aerospace Corporation is involved in its activities by following the main three directions. Firstly, improvement of the manned space systems. With this object in view, it continues constaiction of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, production of spacecrafts, types Soyuz and Progress, and arrangement of spacecraft flights (delivery of cargoes and expeditions to the station). The docking systems, refueling systems, and control complexes are being developed for the European transport spacecraft ATV. Secondly, it creates the modern domestic automatic space systems, including communication observation systems, type Smotr and some others. Thirdly, it develops the facilities of payload injection to the Earth orbit. Traditionally, to solve this problem, it is essential to manufacture the space booster pods (similar to DM, DM-SL). Besides, the corporation takes part in respective launches when using complexes Proton, Morskoy Start and in the project "Nazemny start" - the sea version on the ground.

In the long-term plans the Energiya Aerospace Corporation conceptualizes a domestic program of manned flights for 2006 - 2030, including the implementation of the following phases:

- creation of economically efficient reusable manned transport space system Clipper,

- industrial production mastering of the near-earth space with regard to employment of the Russian segment of the International Space Station;

- realization of a lunar program, including a cosmonaut landing on the natural satellite of Earth and construction of an industrial base there***;

- implementation of a manned research expedition to Mars****.

As a result of implementation of this program, as Sergei Korolev assumed, mankind will get access to new knowledge, inexhaustible resources of the Universe to use them in the interests of preservation and development of civilization.

At the author's request the honorarium for this article has been transferred to the boarding school for blind and weak-sighted children at Korolev, Moscow Region.

Illustrations supplied by the ENERGIYA Aerospace Corporation named after S. Korolev


* See: Yu. Markov, "'Frigate' Sets Sail", Science in Russia, No. 3, 2001; "Integral in Orbit", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2003. - Ed.

** See: K. Frolov et al., "Oxygen-Hydrogen Engines for Space Probes", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2003. - Ed.

*** See: L. Bobylyov et al. "In Prospect: Sublunar Settlements", Science in Russia. No. 1, 2003; I. Mitrofanov, "Mastering the Moon"; E. Galimov, "'Luna-Helium-3' Project" Science in Russia, No. 6, 2006. - Ed.

**** See: 1. Mitrofanov, "Unlocking Martian Enigmas", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2002; Yu. Markov, "Destination-Red Planet", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2003; I. Rezanov, "Searching for Life Within Mars", Science in Russia, No. 1, 2004; M. Litvak, N. Mitrofanov, "Martian Seasons", Science in Russia, No. 4, 2004. - Ed.


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