Sergei Pavlovich KOROLEV
Sergei Pavlovich Korolev (pronounced Korolyov) was born on 12 January 1907, and died on 14 January 1966.
Studied aeronautical engineering in Moscow, where he joined GIRD, the Moscow rocketry organisation. Became the Chief Designer of GIRD, and launched their first liquid fuelled rockets in 1933.
Arrested in 1938 during one of Stalin's purges and sentenced to 10 years hard labour. Sent on the Trans-Siberian railway to the gold mines at Kolyma (East Siberia) via a prison ship at Magadan.
During World War II, he was recalled to Moscow, still under house arrest, to work on rocketry for the war effort. At the end of the war, he was put in charge of the Soviet missile program.
When Khrushchev came to power in 1955, denouncing Stalinism, the prospects of space flight became possible.
Korolev's identity became a state secret, simply going by the name "The Chief Designer".
On 4 October 1957, Korolev successfully placed the world's first artificial satellite into orbit: Sputnik. On Khrushchev's insistence, the Nobel Prize which followed was accepted on behalf of the Soviet People, keeping Korolev out of the limelight where he was to remain.
More firsts followed for Korolev: first living creature to go into space (Laika), first man into space (Yuri Gagarin), first woman into space (Valentina Tereshkova), first space walk (Alexei Leonov), to name but a few.
Korolev's Soyuz rocket soon became the world's most-used rocket.
Korolev died in 1966 after what should have been a routine operation. His body, weakened and damaged by his experiences in the Gulag, was unable to successfully respond to the surgery.
Only after his death was he publicly acknowledged, and was buried as a Soviet hero within the Kremlin wall.
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