Sergei P. Korolev
Born: Zhitomir, Russian Empire [now Zhytomyr, Ukraine]
Sergei Pavlovich Korolev (Серге́й Па́влович Королёв, also transliterated as Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov, Сергій Павлович Корольов / Serhiy Pavlovych Korolyov; 12 January 1907 (OS 30 December 1906) – 14 January 1966, was a lead Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer during the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s. He is regarded by many as the father of practical astronautics. He was involved in the development of the R-7 Rocket, Sputnik 1, and launching Laika and the first human being, Yuri Gagarin, into space.Although Korolev trained as an aircraft designer, his greatest strengths proved to be in design integration, organization and strategic planning. Arrested on a false official charge as a member of an anti-Soviet counter-revolutionary organization (which would later be reduced to saboteur of military technology), he was imprisoned in 1938 for almost six years, including some months in a Kolyma labour camp. Following his release he became a recognized rocket designer and a key figure in the development of the Soviet Intercontinental ballistic missile program. He later directed the Soviet space program and was made a Member of Soviet Academy of Sciences, overseeing the early successes of the Sputnik and Vostok projects including the first human Earth orbit mission by Yuri Alexeyvich Gagarin on 12 April 1961. Korolevs unexpected death in 1966 interrupted implementation of his plans for a Soviet manned Moon landing before the United States 1969 mission.Before his death he was officially identified only as Glavny Konstruktor (Главный Конструктор), or the Chief Designer, to protect him from possible cold war assassination attempts by the United States. Even some of the cosmonauts who worked with him were unaware of his last name; he only went by Chief Designer. Only following his death in 1966 was his identity revealed and he received the appropriate public recognition as the driving force behind Soviet accomplishments in space exploration during and following the International Geophysical Year.
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