Sergei Korolev

Shuttle

Sergei Korolev Isn't that amazing?

Due to the secret nature of the Soviet space program, Sergei Korolev's contributions were not recognized by the Soviet authorities until after his death.

Sergei Pavlovich Korolev was born in 1906 in the Ukraine, then a part of Russia. He was trained in aeronautical engineering at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute. He helped found the Gruppa Isutcheniya Reaktivnovo Dvisheniya (Group for Investigation of Reactive Motion). This Moscow rocketry organization developed and tested liquid fuel rockets. The military recognized the important work this group was doing, and took it over under orders from Joseph Stalin. Korolev eventually fell out of favor with the Stalin regime and was thrown in prison. The Russian prison system, known as the Gulag, was a very brutal place. Korolev spent months on a railway, on a sailing vessel, and working in a gold mine while a part of the prison system. Eventually Stalin realized what a valuable resource he had in Korolev. While still in prison, Korolev began once again to work on rocketry.

After the demise of Stalin, Korolev gained the support of the new leader, Nikita Khrushchev. He was released from prison and began to work on rockets that would eventually carry payloads into space. Korolev was responsible for the Sputnik program which in 1957 launched the first artificial satellite into orbit. Korolev was also in charge of the Vostok and Voskhod programs which proved manned space flight was possible. His work contributed to the success of many space programs that occurred long after his death, such as the Soyuz series. Sergei Korolev died in 1966. His immune system was weakened by his years in the prison system and as a result, he died from complications of a minor surgical procedure. Only after his death were his accomplishments acknowledged by his country. He was allowed a hero's burial within the Kremlin wall.

A Question

Sergei Korolev was responsible for which program to put the first artificial satellite into orbit arouond the Earth?

Girl reading data tape

Did you  know?
Did you know?

Answer Button
The Answer

Shuttle

Show me the Level 1 version of this page.

The StarChild site is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA/ GSFC.

StarChild Authors: The StarChild Team
StarChild Graphics & Music: Acknowledgments
StarChild Project Leader: Dr. Laura A. Whitlock
Curator: J.D. Myers
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman
If you have comments or questions about the StarChild site, please send them to us.