Libmonster ID: TR-796

Early in 2007 Nauka Publishers brought out a three volume edition of the book of reminiscences by Natalia Koroleva: "S.P. Korolev: My Father" timed for the birth centennial of the Chief Designer of aerospace technology. Sergei Korolev's name is intimately connected with the onset of the space age. Here are a few passages.

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Appealing to readers, RAS Corresponding Member Ya. Marov says: "This is the book of the daughter about her great father, the Chief Designer of rock-et-and-space systems Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, who opened the way to outer space for humankind. The book telling a saga of the difficult life path of the outstanding scientist and his fellow workers is more than an important event in the memoir literature. The three volumes contain a great number of documents, reminiscences of relatives, friends, and the author's personal impressions enabling the reader to take a fresh look at the record of one of the greatest achievements of mankind in the middle of the last century, feel the spiritual stamina, extraordinary motivation and fiber of the generation by whose hard work a breakthrough to Cosmos became possible.

"The author has succeeded in combining strict documentary facts with a fascinating narration filled with sincerity, real empathy and at the same time pride for her father's difficult life and what he had managed to accomplish. In the book there are also amazing pages about his mother's tenacity and persistent struggle to have the case which had been faked against her son reviewed; which, in the long run, allowed to set free the victimizated S. Korolev and save the man destined to become a legend. It is surprising indeed how he managed to overcome so much and remain faithful to the ideas of rocket-making and realize these ideas. Small wonder that one can read the book covering a huge stratum of the Soviet period at a fresh angle; it is difficult to tear oneself away from this exciting and thrilling narrative.

Natalia Koroleva accomplished a real feat having dedicated many years of her life-filled by daily work as professor and Doctor of Medicine at the I.M. Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy and cares for her children and grandchildren-to studying archival sources about her father, collecting reminiscences of his colleagues and witnesses. She made numerous trips to places related one way or another to different periods of Sergei Korolev's life, including the labor camp at Kolyma. She managed to find a great number of Korolev's pictures among his relatives and friends, episodes from the family's life and her father's everyday work, to reproduce unique documents. All this makes her reminiscences a copy-book example of artistic documentation."

It is not accidental that Natalia Koroleva called one of the first chapters of her book "Touching the Sky": Being a schoolboy in Odessa, where at that time he lived with his parents and every day could look at the sea from the windows of his apartment, my father could not help paying attention to the seaplane base in Khlebnaya gavan (harbor). Planes took off from the water surface isolated by a breakwater pier and circled round the open sea expanses. Once my father and his pals went there to have a look. However, it proved not to be so simple as the entrance to the breakwater pier was fenced off with barbed wire and guarded by a patrolman to keep it off limits. There was a submerged dredger near the breakwater pier. The boys came swimming in, piled up their clothes above the pier and dived swimming along the breakwater pier. There were so many interesting things to see. This went on for a few days. In the long run, everybody was bored. Everybody but my father who kept on going there, swimming to the breakwater pier, clutching at some constructions and watching. Once a guard shouted at him: "Why are you hanging around? Why are you sticking around here, chap?" Sergei answered ingenuously: "I find this interesting. I'd like to see how these airplanes fly." - "Well, if it's interesting to you, come on up, you will help us". And that was what he, Sergei, really wanted to do. He immediately crept under the wire and started watching around and helping. The seaplane base head, a military aviator, came out and asked: "Where is this fellow from?" - "He's been an eyesore here, and I've called him to help", the guard answered. Well, the father stayed on. A mechanical engineer began teaching him to assemble engines, pilots talked to him about aviation tricks and started taking him aboard.

In 1924, Korolev entered the Kiev Polytechnical Institute. He joined an aeronautics club, and became keen on gliding. In 1926 he got a transfer to the N.E. Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School, where the pioneer of modern hydrodynamics, "father of the Russian aviation" Nikolai Zhukovsky had worked for a long time, and where the foremost aircraft designer Andrei Tupolev lectured at the time. Being not only active in mastering theory, Korolev went on attending the glider school, took part in glider competitions, and at the same time, in 1928, was appointed Engineering Team Chief of the АН-Union Air Association and even designed a glider, Koklebel...

The official opening of the 6th АН-Union Glider Competitions was scheduled for October 6, 1929. As many as 22 gliders took part. My father, together with Sergei Liushin, came to Koktebel (Crimea) in advance. Both were uptight because they were not only glider-pilots but also designers. How would their "child" behave? Would it live up to their hopes?

A glider was assembled, and it drew general attention by its dimensions - it was larger than the others-and of dark crimson color. Some skeptics questioned its flying characteristics. Others said such a heavy machine would never take off, let alone fly. All this rubbed the young designers the wrong way. They got support from K. Artseulov. An experienced glider pilot, he carefully examined the machine and said confidently: "This glider should fly, I'll try it out!"...

K. Artseulov, as he had promised, performed the first flight which Oleg Antonov, at that time a young glider-pilot and later the designer of the well-known AN and Anteus (Hero of Socialist Labor, member of the national Academy of Sciences), took the picture of. The flight was successful. The pilot did not find any faults and congratulated the designers. S. Liushin recalled that they both-he and my father-were happy. The calculations proved correct, the flight-perfect. They could see the result of their work. What could be a better reward?...

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Both Sergeis (Korolev and Liushin) took fresh heart. The next day K. Artseulov tested the glider in hovering and confirmed it was easy to control. Another day passed, and on October 15, the father piloted the Koktebel glider. K. Artseulov gave him the final tips before the start, the ground crew stretched anti-vibration dampers, while O. Antonov struggled to keep the glider steady on the ground and not let the grapple (anchor) and the metal cable, weakly fastened in solid rock, break away. Meanwhile the tension of the anchor cable increased, and it became impossible to hold the craft, while no command "go!" came. Finally, the glider got off and flew. Now everybody saw the massive twisted grapple swaying threateningly back and forth under the tail. It stuck to the metal cable up in the air for some reason. In landing it could injure the glider and the pilot. Meanwhile, the pilot-my father-calmly soared above the slope suspecting nothing. He enjoyed the flight, felt strong and mighty, with his friends-holding their breath and casting their angry glances at O. Antonov-praying to God that all could end well. They saw the glider come down, the grapple touch the ground and the glider bump up. The landing came off somehow, and the pilot, safe and sound, left the cockpit in good mood...

An utterly unusual idea was on my father's mind. In spring 1929, he, as his mother recalled, read Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's "Exploring Outer Space by Jet Devices" (probably, published in 1926). He started reading it and couldn't tear himself away: "...I offer a jet device, which is a rocket, a grand rocket peculiarly constaicted. The idea isn't new but the calculations relating to it give so significant results that it would be a great sin to keep silent about them," Tsiolkovsky wrote.

"My work neither examines all aspects of the case nor solves it from a practical point of view-with relation to its implementation. However, in the distant future one can already see the prospects through a mist, which are so seductive and important as to boggle one's imagination."

So it is possible to fly aircraft not only within the atmosphere! These captivating ideas were supported by the discussions which were held in the design office of Moscow glider school.

My father was out to design a light two-seater baby plane with dual controls as a diploma project. When designing it, he meant to increase as much as possible its flying range at low motor power. Andrei Tupolev became a supervisor of the diploma project. This is how it happened. Once the father stood at the blackboard and drew the nuts and bolts of his plane oblivious of everything around him. Tupolev and instructors entered the room, and they told Tupolev: "Have a look at how Korolev works, what unexpected solutions he offers!" Tupolev came to take a closer look over the father's shoulder who neither turned nor paid any attention to the visitors. Then the head instructor stepped on his foot. The father got angry and saw Tupolev in front of him. Thus they met. Tupolev became interested in the original design, asked the father to tell him about it in detail and agreed to supervise the designing job. In the course of the work the father would often consulted Tupolev and each time had an ever deeper respect for him. In his turn, A. Tupolev felt that he was dealing with a remarkable student and predicted a great future for him as aircraft designer.

My father called his airplane "SK-4" (by the first letters of his first and last names, Sergei Korolev). The OsoAviaKhim public organization approved his project even before presentation of the thesis and appropriated funds for its construction. On December 28, 1929, the diploma project "Light-motor Two-Seater Airplane "SK-4" was successfully defended. At that time the airplane was already being built at plant No. 28 where the father worked then. On February 9, 1930, he received a certificate on his graduation from MVTU (Moscow Higher Technical School) and a rank of airplane mechanic engineer...

In the autumn 1931, a Moscow group for studying jet propulsion (GIRD) was set up. It was headed by F. Zander who had been engaged in the theory of rockets and rocket engines for many years, and problems connected with man's stay outside the atmosphere. At the beginning of the 1930s S. Korolev was obsessed with idea of interplanetary flights. Since organization of the GIRD, at first, he was Technical Council Chairman, and from May 1, 1932, its Chief...

In April 1933, benchmark tests of the rocket "09" or "devyatka" ("niner") as it was dubbed, began. They were held on the Nakhabino launch site situated 30 km from Moscow.

My father paid special attention to the rocket "09" from the very beginning. He believed it would certainly fly. The 2 m 40.5 cm - long rocket was cigar-shaped. Its external diameter was 18 cm, flight target altitude with a vertical takeoff-5,000 m. It weighed about 18 kg. The rocket body was made out of duralumin-alloy based on aluminum...

The maiden flight of the first Soviet rocket took place on August 17, 1933. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was eager to see the realization of a rocket flight as soon as possible. However, imagining what gigantic difficulties stood in this way, he assumed that the first space flight could be realized only at the beginning of the third millennium. Thus, in the book Outside the Earth (1918) he called a date - the year 2017. Later, after the organization of the GIRD the scientist thought better of the date. "I'm sure many of you will become witnesses of the first trip outside atmosphere". These words of Tsiolkovsky were heard by the radio on May 1, 1933...

Undoubtedly, the first rocket flight speeded up a decision on the Jet Research Institute. However, at that time the father thought not only about rockets. His longtime dream was a rocket plane. In August 1933 his article "The Way to a Rocket Plane" was published in the Moscow evening daily Vechernaya Moskva. Being a man of concrete thinking, he precisely outlined a range of possible applications of jet vehicles: "... for meteorological purposes, dispersal of hailstorm in the air, air survey, and, finally,

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transportation of small cargoes at high speed". The punch line of the article: "From experimental rockets, cargo rockets to rocket planes-this is our way"...

Thus the autumn of 1933 ushered in a new period in my father's life and work. What the GIRD collective had sought after came true: a Jet Research Institute with production works was created, and there came opportunities for carrying on the work the need of which nobody doubted now... In February 1934 Tsiolkovsky suggested a work program for the young Institute, which comprised 18 points and a list of research priorities in rocketry with a focus on try-out rockets and engines...

The Institute grew into a major research center with R&D departments, laboratories, bench testers, wind tunnels, workshops, a flying station, and a launch site for rocket testing...

At the end of March 1934 the father went on a business trip to Leningrad to participate in the work of the All-Union conference on stratospheric studies organized by the USSR Academy of Sciences...

The conference opened on March 31, 1934. More than 260 representatives of the country's different organizations took part. On April 5, my father made a report "Flight of Jet Vehicles in the Stratosphere". At the beginning of his report he emphasized the importance of studying the upper atmosphere, expressed confidence that "a great deal in the future will belong to jet flight vehicles", and said for this reason he made up his mind to cover matters which were more significant to rocketmen. Man's flight in the stratosphere was one of the main problems. The question was about one, two or even three men to make up a flight crew for one of the first jet vehicles. He said this 27 years before the Gagarin epic flight and 30 years before the flight of the spaceship Voskhod with a crew of three-Vladimir Komarov, Konstantin Feoktistov and Boris Yegorov...

In 1934 and 1935 this Institute developed and tested a number of liquid and solid-propellant winged rockets. The aim was to create a combat missile to shoot at immobile and mobile targets both from the ground and air. At that time winged rockets were most suitable since their wings allowed to control the flight with the engine off and increase the range fourfold compared with the range of a wingless rocket carrying the same payload. But a rocket plane was the main thing for Korolev then...

Against all odds, my father carried on the work on a rocket plane. In April 1938 the benchmark tests were completed in the main. My father drew up a program for extra benchmark tests of the rocket plane, or Object "218 - 1", in May 1938. The program included ground tests as well as engine-off and engine-on tests. About thirty ground firing tests were already held, most of which carried out by my father in person. My father was also going to carry out flight tests, which speaks for the importance he attached to the problem of a manned flight in a rocket vehicle. Benchmark tests of rocket plane "212" were continued, too.

But in June 1938 he was arrested in Moscow. From October 10, 1938, till June 1, 1939, he was kept in the prison of Novocherkassk (southern Russia) and afterwards dispatched to the labor camp "Serpantinka" in Kolyma (Far East)... Soviet writer Andrei Aldan-Semenov, who also served sentence there in the gold-mine Maldyak recalled that in the autumn of 1939 he had worked in the pit together with the prisoner whose last name was Korolev. They had to hack off pieces of gold-bearing ore with a pickax in a narrow hole. Only one man could squeeze in, with his mate taking a rest in the meantime. Then after a short smoke-break they took the ore up-"nagora", or "to the surface" - in a wheelbarrow. According to Aldan-Semenov, during one "smoko" Korolev said something like this: "I can understand they can blame us, engineers, for any sins because our research work is all trial and error. But what sin can they blame on you, writers? Why did they lock you up? What for?" "For being a member of a Trotskyite organization". Korolev laughed bitterly: "So, they've locked me up for that sort of thing, too. Quite a what for!" A case of grim humor, sure.

There began a long ordeal for Korolev's mother who tried to save her son. First she went to Mikhail Gromov - one of the Chkalov crew of the record-setting flight Moscow-North Pole-USA in 1937...

Trying to learn Gromov's telephone and give him a call would have been a rash act because the probability of coming across a negative answer was great. My grandmother made up her mind to push through. She dressed up because she thought she would get nothing as a "poor relative" with tears and prayers. Moreover, her son was not a criminal, and she did not appeal to pardon him but to protect his rights. Therefore, she went with her head proudly raised. Having put on a rather decent squirrel fur coat, and a dress which, she knew, suited her as well as black patent-leather shoes which she wore with high galoshes and taken, just in case, her passport, the grandmother went to Bolshaya Gruzinskaya street after work. Having entered the check-point with a rapid step, she said with confidence: "I guess Mikhail Mikhailovich is already at home, I must see him". "Yes! He's at home", a doorman said standing up. She may have such resolute look that he didn't even ask her who she was. "Please, accompany me, I'm afraid to get lost, I haven't seen him for a long time", the grandmother asked. She knew neither apartment number nor floor nor entranceway where Gromov lived. It was Gromov who opened the door and let her in. For the first time she saw Gromov so close. Two years before she had watched his triumphant return to Moscow after the flight to America. Now a high, stately, handsome forty-year old man with a resolute dark-complexioned face stood in front of her.

Gromov asked the grandmother to come in. She took off her fur coat, high galoshes and at this moment saw with horror that one of her patent-leather shoes wasn't black but white from chalk which, evidently, had stuck at her workplace under repairs then. While the host hung up her

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fur coat, she succeeded in brushing aside the chalk and followed him, according to his invitation, to a large room which was his office. He offered an arm-chair to an unexpected guest and sat down to a large writing-table examining her. She began: "My last name does not mean anything to you. I'm Balanina Maria Nikolayevna, Sergei Pavlovich Korolev's mother". And she looked at him waiting for how this would impress him. However, not a muscle moved on his face. Then she asked: "Do you know my son?" - "Yes, I do". -"Did you know that he had been arrested?" - "Yes, I've heard about it". -"He's sent us a letter in which he mentions Valentina Grizodubova and asks to send his regards to uncle Misha. For us uncle Misha is you because we don't know anyone else with such a name. Sergei has known you, and you have known Sergei. That's why I've come to you asking to help me out. "What can I do for you?", he asked. -"First of all, I'd like to know whether you are convinced that Sergei was condemned correctly, that he is, indeed, a wrecker?" - "No, I'm not. There may be a mistake here". -"Then tell me frankly: can you do something or do you refuse?" He said: "I'll help as much as I can. What can I do for you?"...

The grandmother was in seventh heaven. On her way home and at home she time and again re-read the words so important for her and her son, addressed to Chairman of the USSR Supreme Court Vassily Ulrich: "I submit for Your consideration the letter of citizen Balanina with a solicitation to review the case of her condemned son".

In the spring of 1939 my grandmother, apart from the appeal to M. Gromov, made up her mind to enlist the support of Valentina Grizodubova... "You must know Sergei Korolev". -"Yes, I know him". -"He's arrested". -"Yes, I've heard about it". The grandmother began stating the heart of the problem and her request. All of a sudden Grizodubova pondered. She must have remembered her young years and meetings in Koktebel when she was a teenager, and Sergei already twenty-years old; she must have recalled flights on gliders, exciting walks, night tea-parties... "Who are you to him?" - "I'm his mother". -"Yes, the same eyes, of course, he takes after you. You are his mother, and I'll help you. I'll try to ring up Beria". She came up to the telephone. "What a pity! Beria is out, he is at a meeting. Well. I'll call Ulrich". She dialed the number. "How annoying! Ulrich is not in either, otherwise we could have settled everything here and now. Many people appeal to me, though I can't help everyone, but I must try... I'll call up Gromov, and we'll discuss how we can help you. I think that since the Military Division of the Supreme Court has sentenced Sergei, we must write to Ulrich. I'll send him a letter asking him to review the case".

Grizodubova did much to help my grandmother, she gave a good deal of kind advice taking the warmest participation in my father's fate. Valentina Grizodubova kept her promise and on April 17,1939 sent a petition to Ulrich with the following words: "I ask you to review the case of condemned S. Korolev. Please find attached the application of Korolev's mother-citizen Balanina-addressed to the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Court."

The same day V Ulrich wrote on the letter obliquely with a dark-blue pencil, "Inquire about the case from the 1st Special Unit", and on May 9 he wrote here "O.S.* Bring to me Korolev's applications".

At the end of September 1940 V Grizodubova informed the grandmother that the father had been transferred to a special prison of NKVD (secret police) known as TsKB-29 located in Radio Street in Moscow. It was located in the building of the Design Department of the Aircraft Industry Sector (KOSOS) of the TsAGI research center. There was also a plant of TsAGI experimental constructions (ZOK) No. 156 there. Andrei Tupolev, also an inmate, was an acknowledged leader of all those in custody and an authority for the prison officers. Fellow inmates dubbed him a "patriarch"...

...There were about one hundred and fifty bright representatives of our aviation school among the inmates. They nicknamed the prison "Tupolev's sharaga ("clink"), and the name caught on. It's remarkable that more than a thousand free civilians-engineers, technicians and designers-worked together with them.

However, in July 1941, with the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War, the Tupolev men (without Tupolev) were sent to Omsk where they had to lend a hand in setting up an aircraft plant. The war called for such rates of work which seemed unbelievable by the peacetime criteria. When the plant under construction at Omsk took on shape, Tupolev selected nineteen inmates and appointed them assistants to foremen to prepare production (the chiefs were free engineers). The father got a position of assistant to the fuselage shop chief and an office located on the so-called mezzanine where one had to go up by wooden stairs. His line manager was L. Italinsky - at that time a third-year external student of the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI). He recalled that once Korolev had shown to him calculations and graphic computations of a moon-flight. Italinsky took it for a bit of fancy which helped the imprisoned engineer to tough it out. Certainly he did not even imagine that such "fantasies" would come true someday, and that twenty years later our compatriot would fly to space in a spacecraft built under the direction of the former prisoner.

On December 15, 1941, came a red-letter day - the first "TU-2" bomber was ready for flight tests. At the appointed hour work was stopped in workshops and departments. Hundreds of people poured out into the factory yard, and some of them even climbed to the roof. Finally they saw their firstling in the air. Flying over the workshops, test-pilot M. Vassyakin welcomed factory workers by swaying the wings. The flight went on for a few minutes only, and everybody was agog with excitement and joy, and tears welled in men's eyes. This was a real holiday because they managed to do a lot in five months, something that other-wise would have taken years and years. My father was

* O.S. -Special Sector. - Auth.

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happy like everybody - a sturdy combat machine materialized his bit of hard work as well. "TU-2" turned out to be the best bomber of the Second World War...

However, his thoughts and soul strove for different things-rockets and rocket planes which were his overriding interest. At Omsk, though, they couldn't care less. So, when the father heard from one of the employees that prisoner Valentin Glushko was in Kazan busy with the making of rocket engines for the aircraft "Pe-2" (designed by V. Petlyakov), he appealed to prison officers with a request for a transfer to Kazan. Meanwhile Glushko, on learning that my father was in the special prison in Omsk, requested NKVD authorities to send Korolev to the Kazan design office. In the autumn of 1942, permission was obtained. When the father told his fellow inmates about it, they did not approve of his initiative as they thought that as soon as the "TU-2" went into series production they might be set free, while nobody knew what would happen in Kazan. But for my father his favorite work meant by far more than just a probable release. He was sure of his innocence, and on November 19, 1942, he arrived in Kazan. The Tupolev men were set free in September 1943, or ten months before him, Korolev.

V Glushko's design office was working on RD-1 - a four-chamber liquid-propellant jet engine of 1,200 kg thrust. However, at the first stage a one-chamber RD-1 of 300 kg thrust as an auxiliary engine for the "Pe-2" plane proved more real. Such a plane with an auxiliary liquid-propellant engine was more practicable for combat employment, while the experience gained in one-chamber engine development could have formed a basis for a future autonomous jet engine. At the second stage it was planned to build a jet interceptor RP plane equipped with a four-chamber RD-1 jet engine. The design of this aircraft was completed swiftly...

On December 26, 1942 the father sent to NKAP* a memorandum and an action plan on the aviation rocket launcher RU-1 for the "Pe-2" plane. The team worked very hard - the father signed the first drawing as a team manager already on January 10, 1943, and from February 1 till March 15, 1943, about 900 shop drawings were ready, and all of them immediately went into production. The high pace of work showed that the chosen path was correct, and that the battlefronts would get efficient combat hardware as soon as possible...

Later on ground and flight tests of rocket launchers were carried out on planes designed by S. Lavochkin, A. Yakovlev and P. Sukhoi. The success scored in the development of the aircraft liquid jet-propellant engine moved NKVD by agreement with NKAP to prepare on April 25, 1944, a letter important for the convicted specialists (the solicitation was signed on July 16, 1944)-under number "18" S. Korolev was set free...

Meanwhile, a new surprise was in store for him. In the spring of 1945, a group of Soviet rocketmen went to Germany to inspect the captured German hardware. Soon by the decree of the State Defense Committee of July 8, 1945, it was decided to reinforce this group with new specialists, my father among them. On September 7, 1945, he in a lieutenant-colonel's uniform (this rank was given to him just on the eve of the departure) flew to Berlin...

So, the Kazan period of my father's life came to an end. It was in Kazan that he returned to his favorite work, and new ideas and projects were born in his mind. He was elated with the joy of creation again. In July 1944 he learnt about his early release. Release from imprisonment, but not exculpation. This stain blemished his biography and soul alike for many years. He received the medal "For Heroic Work in the Great Patriotic War of 1941 - 1945" only in 1959, two years after his legal rehabilitation...

In Germany other specialists of ours were there, those who had come before my father. In the summer of 1945, in Thuringia, in the city of Bleicherode a center dubbed "der Rabe" (which means a "raven" in German) was set up, where Soviet and German rocketmen worked side by side. Major Boris Chertok was appointed the chief of der Rabe.

Already in the middle of October 1945 my father became a member of the Soviet delegation at launchings of German long-range rockets "V-2" ("A-4") in Kukshafen not far from Hamburg. From September 1944 the Germans had shelled London with similar rockets, and now the British military authorities invited the Allies to the demonstration launchings of the captured rockets...

On August 9, 1946, Korolev was promoted to department chief and chief designer of No. 3 Department at the N11 - 88 Institute in charge of "Article No. 1". This institute of jet rockets was set up in Kaliningrad near Moscow (formerly, the town of Podlipki, and now-Korolev). Article No. 1 meant a long-range ballistic missile...

Korolev's department was to design long-range ballistic missiles. On February 6, 1947, he prepared "Notes on Rocket Hardware" for the government, where he clearly stated his critical attitude towards "V-2". In the manner peculiar to my father the "Notes" ended with specific proposals relating to the work plan, specific dates and makers. On April 14, 1947, a relevant decision was adopted at a government meeting. To begin with, the missile "R-l", an analogue of the German "A-4" (V-2), was to be developed for designing and manufacturing experience...

The same day, on April 14, 1947, my father was elected to the Artillery Academy as corresponding member responsible for missile weapons. This was a tribute to his contribution in the field.

At the end of September 1947 my father, together with other researchers of the N11 - 88 Institute went to a test missile range built in between the Volga and its left branch, the Akhtuba, at Kapustin Yar in the Astrakhan Region. The testing range was built in a desolate place of the barren, waterless steppe covered with wormwood and camel's-thorn. By the autumn of 1947, though the range

* NKAP - People's Commissariat (Ministry) of the USSR Aircraft Industry. - Ed.

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was not completed yet, "A-4" flight tests had to begin as soon as possible since the missile was ready for such tests.

On October 16, 1947, missile "A-4" ground tests were carried out, and on October 18, came the first launch up. The missile covered 206.7 km and burned up in the dense layers of the atmosphere. In all, eleven missiles were off, and five of them reached the target. At this stage our rocket-makers learned all about German rockets. Now they were to focus on better, home-made missiles.

The flight tests of the "R-1" missile, which were carried out in the autumn of 1949, were a success. Seventeen missiles out of 20 fulfilled their task. The missile "R-1" was taken into the Soviet Army's service by the government decree of November 25, 1950...

In April 1950 the N11 - 88 Institute was re-organized, and two design and development offices (OKB) were set up: OKB-1-to develop ballistic missiles, and OKB-2-air-defense missiles. My father was appointed head and chief designer of OKB-1. Now he had better opportunities and more leeway. In the autumn of 1950 he again went to the firing range to oversee flight tests of the missile "R-2". The work to design this missile began when our specialists were still in Germany. In the succeeding years the design was upgraded. The flight tests of the first lot of missiles "R-2" from October 21 till December 20, 1950, were a failure. After a bit of trouble-shooting the flight tests of the second lot of missiles came off in July 1951. The same year the "R-2" missile was passed into service.

Though busy with the development and tests of combat missiles, my father never gave up ideas about space flights. To speed up this work, the team of M. Tikhonravov was transferred from the NII-4 Rocket Institute at Bolshevo near Moscow to OKB-1. It persevered in this work. On May 27, 1954, my father sent a letter to the Munitions Minister Dmitry Ustinov about the possibility of placing an artificial satellite into terrestrial orbit by the intercontinental ballistic missile "R-7" on the drawing boards then. He voiced the same idea in his progress report as corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences on research work for 1954 submitted on July 25, 1955: "At present the idea of a man-made earth satellite and a ballistic-missile delivery vehicle for manned flights to high altitudes and research of interplanetary space is becoming more tangible and real." In his next report on research work for 1955 this subject was specified in greater detail: "At the end of 1955 research work was started and general proposals relating to an artificial satellite of the earth prepared"...

In August 1955, a joint memorandum signed by Deputy Premier M. Khrunichev, Chairman of the Special Government Committee on Jet Technology V. Ryabikov and S. Korolev was sent to the country's leaders Nikita Khrushchev and Nikolai Bulganin. It said: "In view of the communications in the American press about a small man-made satellite to be developed in 1957 to 1959, we report: the present state of rocket technology and its asso-

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ciated areas allows to develop an artificial satellite of the earth within the next few years... Since an artificial satellite of the earth will open up new prospects in the development of science and war materiel, we believe it advisable to start work on it in the near future"...

On September 25, 1955, a jubilee session on the 125th anniversary of the N.E. Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School (MVTU) was opened in Moscow. They asked my farther to make a report-as a school's graduate, instructor and now Chief Designer and Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. The guiding idea of his speech was about applying rockets in the exploration of the upper layers of the atmosphere. He spoke about scientific discoveries made with the help of rockets, future artificial satellites of the earth and spacecraft, and ended with the ardent patriotic words: "Our objectives are these: Soviet rockets should fly higher and earlier than elsewhere. Soviet Man should be the first to make a rocket voyage. We should create a new type of ultrarapid transit for passengers and cargoes, and these are rocket ships. The first artificial satellite of the earth should be Soviet, made by Soviet people. Soviet rockets and rocket ships should be the first to fly to the boundless expanses of the universe."

In April 1956 an АН-Union conference on the rocket exploration of the upper atmosphere was held at the USSR Academy of Sciences. At the conference my father made report: "Exploration of the Upper Atmosphere by Long-Range Rockets." He named man's rocket journey among the priorities in this field, specifically: "... the modern development of technology is such that in the near future we shall be in for an artificial satellite of the earth... A rocket journey to the moon and back is a real objective... These are real and not so much remote prospects"...

April 1956 was remarkable both for my father, and the whole collective of the N11 - 88 Institute. In ten years from 1947 to 1956 several types of single-stage ballistic missiles of the 300 to 1,200 km range were created, and tests of missiles with nuclear warheads carried out. This brought the Soviet Union to the forward positions in world rocket making.

In the summer of 1956 another important event occurred in the life of the collective that my father was heading. The OKB-1 design office and the associated plant were taken out of the N11 - 88 Institute and reorganized into an independent enterprise on orders of the Minister of the Defense Industry signed on August 14, 1956. This move gave more opportunities to its head and chief designer-that is my father-but also made him responsible for many additional production and social matters. Every minute counted, and only the tight, well-organized schedule of his working day routine allowed him to cope in time with a tall order like that. Certainly, at the expense of sleep and rest.

The immediate task at hand was to carry out flight tests of the first intercontinental ballistic missile "R-7" and launch the first artificial satellite of the earth based on this booster rocket. We had to hurry - the Americans wanted to be the first at it. There was a competition-who would be the first? Therefore, a decision was made to work on holi-

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days and weekends. The father's colleagues recalled that at crucial moments he would visit workshops to explain to workers the importance of the task they were doing. And they showed their paces despite fatigue. They saw the Chief was together with them...

In those days my father sent a note to the government in which he said that a carrier rocket for an artificial satellite of the earth was being developed on the basis of the intercontinental missile and that its first launch could be realized in 1957. Later on, thinking back to how the idea of the satellite was born, my father wrote: "1 have come to rocketry hoping for a spaceflight, a sputnik launching, but had no real opportunity for a long time. One could only dream about orbital velocity. The cherished goal came closer with the creation of powerful ballistic missiles"...

The year 1957 became a year of glory in my father's life. On May 15, 1957, there began the long-awaited flight tests of the world's first intercontinental rocket "R-7", or "semerka" ("seven") as it is still affectionately called, a rocket designed and developed under his supervision. The decree of the government about its creation was approved on May 20, 1954. Six months later its conceptual design was developed, and in two and a half years the rocket was launched. The first launches failed, but on August 21, 1957, the rocket flew along the assigned trajectory without any glitches. This grand event was commented all over the world. The intercontinental ballistic missile did not only strengthen our country's defense potential, it opened the way to outer space for the world's first artificial satellite, the sputnik.

The intellectual and organizational center of the whole space cooperation was the Council of Chief Designers who worked on the main elements of the missile: engines, controlling systems, ground equipment. It included V. Barmin, V Glushko, V. Kuznetsov, N. Piliugin, M. Ryazansky... S. Korolev headed the Council and coordinated the activities of scientists and designers, guiding their work in achieving the common goal, that is the development of a ballistic missile and then a space rocket. In those years the father did not hold the title of Designer General which came into vogue afterwards. He was the Chief among the other chiefs. His authority did not depend either on his title or position.

The first starts of the "semerka" ("seven") showed that a new launch site was needed. The launch sites at Kapustin Yar were suitable for launches of missiles to a distance of not above fifteen hundred kilometers, while the range of the missile "R-7" exceeded 8,000 km. The new site was built near the railway station Tiuratam of the Kzyl-Ordynskaya region in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Kazakhstan. The table of organization was endorsed on June 2, 1955; that day became the foundation date of what later came to be known as the Baikonur spacedrome.

My father spent a lot of time at Baikonur: in keeping with his principle, he tried to be personally in charge...

On September 17, 1957, my father made a report in Kolonny Zal (Hall of Columns) of the House of the Unions. The subject-matter was this: "On the Practical Significance of Scientific and Technical Proposals of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in the Area of Rocketry." He

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emphasized the priority achievements of the scientist, including the "formula of Tsiolkovsky"-equation of rocket motion. The report ended with the statement of K. Tsiolkovsky which, it seems to me, gives an accurate definition of the meaning of his and my father's activities: "The main motive of my life is to do something useful for people, not to live my life in vain, to push mankind forward at least a little. That's why I became interested in things which gave me neither bread nor strength. However, I hope my works may soon or in the distant future give humankind mountains of bread and heaps of strength." In Korolev's report the following phrase came as if casually: "In the nearest future trial launches of artificial satellites of the earth for scientific purposes will be realized in the USSR and USA." At that time nobody paid any particular attention to that. But my father knew better: the days were counted before the launching of the first man-made satellite. My father's report about Tsiolkovsky-'The Founder of Rocketry"-was published in a condensed version the same day in the newspaper Pravda and signed "S. Korolev, Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences". This was the only publication of the post-war time signed by his real last name and not by the pen-name "Prof. K. Sergeyev", as later...

There came a historic day. On October 4, 1957, at 22 hours 28 minutes Moscow time the "R-7" booster rocket with the world's first man-made orbital satellite was launched at Baikonur. The satellite was ball-shaped with a diameter of 58 cm and weight of 83.6 kg. Its radio signals "beep-beep" were immediately heard all over the world.

This was an epic achievement; however, by eye-witness accounts, even the participants in the launch did not suspect about the huge world-wide repercussions. Already the day after the sputnik was a headline story in the world press. The October issue of the French magazine Paris Match said: "The Russians have just achieved what the Americans have so often described before their time: The first artificial satellite of the earth has been launched. This is a miracle...The dogma about the technical superiority of the United States has collapsed"... The first American satellite was launched four months later and weighed only 8.3 kg. It could be put on a palm of one's hand, and the American press spoke of it as "orange". The Americans were both disappointed and irritated.

On May 15, 1958, the third Soviet man-made satellite was orbited. It weighed 1,327 kg and was the world's first automatic research laboratory in space. A vast program for exploration of circumterrestrial space was carried out with the help of onboard instruments and equipment. The flight of the third sputnik lasted for almost two years till April 6, 1960.

On June 20, 1958, a general meeting of the USSR Academy of Sciences elected my father full member of the Academy (Academician) at the Technology (Mechanics) Department. Two years later, on June 10, 1960, he was elected to the Academy's Presiding Board (Presidium). I must say that all these years, from 1948 on, my father was cooperating closely with the Academy of Sciences, and he had not only business but also friendly contacts with Academician Mstislav Keldysh-"the chief theoretician of

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cosmonautics"* (from 1961 on-President of the USSR Academy of Sciences). Together they went to the launching site, worked out research programs, put forward initiatives in the government and held business conferences. The years of joint work brought them together in friendship. They respected each other not only as colleagues in the common cause, but also as men of high intellectual and spiritual culture...

During those months my father's thoughts were fixed on the idea of lunar and manned orbital flights. For years and years he had been gaining, bit by bit, in knowledge and experience. Now he felt his goal in sight. He drew up a program of lunar studies providing for "the first studies of the Moon and interplanetary space at a distance of 200 - 500 thousand km, which will also create essential prerequisites for entry into interplanetary space, the moon and terrestrial planets".

In September of the same year, 1958, my father sent a letter to the Academy of Sciences in which he proved that a manned space flight was a real thing. "The works carried out at OKB-1 and associated enterprises," he wrote, "have shown that the present technical level allows to begin a concrete job of developing a satellite with man on board. For this purpose one can use a three-stage carrier rocket that can place a satellite of the earth into orbit, a vehicle weighing 4,500 - 5,000 kg. This means that such a satellite can accommodate both technical and research equipment during ascent into orbit, orbital flight and descent, and provide for adequate survival conditions". This proposal was supported at the meeting of chief designers in November 1958. By that time a three-stage rocket designed on the basis of the "R-7" booster rocket was at the gestation stage...

"In 1959, my father got another thrilling responsibility, that of selecting prospective cosmonauts from among jet fighter fliers. All pilots wishing to "master novel hardware" underwent strict medical and, certainly, not only medical, examination. By the autumn of the same year the first detachment of candidate cosmonauts was formed. Its chief was an aeromedicine expert, Ye. Karpov. As he recalled, my father paid special attention to the makings of a cosmonaut: perfect health and high psychic stamina, staying power, good professional skills, willpower, industry, inquisitiveness, and an active motivation for flights on essentially new machines-rocket vehicles. In March 1960 the detachment got down to a special training program. In the summer of 1960 ground was broken for a unique training base-Cosmonauts' Training Center - at what is now Zvezdny gorodok ("Stellar Town") northeast of Moscow. Close contacts were struck at first sight between the Chief Designer and the would-be cosmonauts. My father would often visit the cosmonauts, and at examinations he personally checked on their readiness for quite unusual work in store for them. He showed much care for proper amenities for his "eaglets".

On November 10, 1960, my father's article "Creative Work Inspired by October**" was published in the daily Pravda underthe name of "Prof. K. Sergeyev". He focused, in particular, on future piloted space flights. In this article he recalled the successful space flight of two dogs, " Belka" and "Strelka", in August 1960, for twenty-four hours, brought down, for the first time ever, safely back to earth. "However, one of the main objectives," the author emphasized, "is realization of a manned space flight for research purposes".

There came that significant year. Intense preparations for the first piloted space flight continued. To prove the possibility of such a flight, vertical launches of rockets with animals to 110 - 450 km were carried out 31 times. In 1960 and 1961, a series of biological experiments with animals on board were made. The final experiments took place on March 9 and 25, 1961, just days before Yuri Gagarin's flight. Thus, on March 9 a Vostok space vehicle with the dog "Chernushka" and a dummy of man, jokingly dubbed "Ivan Ivanovich", went aloft. The flight program was successfully completed: the dog landed in a descent module and the dummy was ejected. The other space flight (March 25, 1961), of the dog "Zvezdochka" togetherwith a dummy, was likewise a success. Thus scientific data were obtained to firm up my father and other experts in the opinion that a space flight within a rocket vehicle should not involve any harmful effects on living organisms. After the final launch which completed the preparatory program for Vostok, the State Commission passed a decision on the technical preparedness of a manned space flight. It was realized by Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. Before the flight the cosmonaut was fast asleep, while my father spent almost a sleepless night. The Chief Designer supervised the launch up in person.

In 108 minutes the spacecraft Vostok, weighing 4,725 kg covered more than 40 thousand km around the globe at the velocity of 28 thousand km/hour and altitude of 240 - 327 km, and landed in the Saratov Region, not far from the Volga.

One can only imagine what my father felt during those 108 minutes! For the first time in human history he sent a man, who entrusted his very life to him, into outer space. A failure could entail an unfavorable reaction of the public towards space flights in general and stall the job. That was impermissible. When Gagarin landed safe and sound, a feeling of happiness overwhelmed everyone. My father's lifedream came true. He saw the result of his longtime labors. Life was worth living, be it for the sake of this event only!...

Yuri Gagarin's flight ushered in exploration of outer space directly by man. On August 6, 1961, Vostok-2 with the pilot-cosmonaut Herman Titov on board was placed into orbit. In 25 hours 18 minutes it covered a route twice the distance between the earth and the moon. In a first venture like this earth was filmed through a spacecraft

* He was called so-without his last name - in the Soviet press at that time. - Auth.

** October Socialist Revolution of 1917. - Ed.

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viewport. On August 11 and 12, 1962, Vostok-3 and Vostok-4 were launched into orbit with the cosmonauts Andrian Nikolayev and Pavel Popovich. Both spacecrafts made filmings of the terrestrial surface. On June 14, 1963, Vostok-5 with the pilot-cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky went into orbit, and two days later- Vostok-6 with the first woman cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova. On October 12, 1964, the spacecraft Voskhod with a crew of three, Vladimir Komarov, Konstantin Feoktistov and Boris Yegorov was launched into orbit. The crewmen did not wear spacesuits while on board.

On March 18, 1965, pilot-cosmonauts Pavel Belyayev and Alexei Leonov went on a space mission aboard Voskhod-2. During this flight Leonov took the first walk in raw space. Speaking to newsmen in March 1965 in connection with the flight of Voskhod-2, my father said: "... Flying in outer space one should be able to walk in raw space like, for example, out in the ocean a good swimmer should not be afraid of going by the board. The first space walk of man, as well as the first space flight is a major event in space studies"...

As Voskhod-2 was in a descent trajectory, all of a sudden an automatic landing system went out of commission. P. Belyayev asked for a permission to land the spacecraft manually. Academician B. Rauschenbach recalled that my father had said he would give an answer within a minute. He had to make a decision anyway-either have another try at switching on the automatic system, or rely on the crew commander's skills. Should the automatic system be out of whack again, the spacecraft would not be able to land within our country's territory- even manually. It is hard to imagine how one could make such a responsible decision in one minute. Certainly, there were assistants ready to give the right tip to the Chief Designer, but a decision was his, and he made it. For the first time the spacecraft was landed manually.

This was the last, eighth flight of manned spacecraft in my father's lifetime. All flights were different; each had something new to it-done for the first time. My father appreciated the professional and personal qualities of the eleven cosmonauts who had made these flights. "One can say a lot of good words about what has happened before our very eyes," he said. "What I want to emphasize is that no matter how well a flight is prepared, we all understand and know what great courage, great willpower and a great sense of responsibility are needed here. One should love his people very much, should serve them devotedly to go on this responsible mission with an open heart, steady nerves, sense of duty in fulfilling everything up until the last record in the logbook, answer all questions, switch on all the necessary levers and buttons, then go down to Earth and remain an ongoing young fellow as our hero-cosmonauts have been"...

My father was brimming with new ideas and projects. Some of them were reflected in his articles published at different times in the newspaper Pravda under the name of "Prof. K. Sergeyev", and in the Discussions with the Chief Designer on the pages of other newspapers and magazines. All these publications are permeated with his confidence in the need and importance of space studies, and their practical applications in science and the economy. My father visualized a whole system of orbital structures in the form of satellites, stations and other complexes as a base for further exploration of outer space, namely, flights to the moon, Mars, Venus and other planets of the solar system. "And then, in future," he wrote for the daily Pravda in the article "The Problem of Conquering Outer Space" on October 14, 1961, "comes possibility of getting into the depths of the Universe, which will allow to obtain new scientific data and evidence on solar planets, the sun, stars and nebulae of the boundless outer space".

My father's last article published in the daily Pravda on January 1, 1966, and called "Stepping Into the Future" ended with these words: "What seemed unrealizable throughout centuries, what was only a bold dream but yesterday, today becomes a real target and an accomplishment tomorrow. There are no barriers to human thought!" My father is in these words-with his abiding faith in human intelligence and infinite abilities.

...But there came a tragic day: when hospital doctors certified S. Korolev's death: his heart stopped beating on January 14, 1966, at 16 h 30 min.


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