Grants 1,500 Production towards Space Race project construction.
Widely regarded as the founder of the Soviet space program and “father of practical astronautics," Sergei Korolev was the chief rocket engineer and spacecraft designer for the USSR during the “space race.” Born in December 1906 AD in the Ukrainian city of Zhitomir, Kororlev managed to survive the First World War, Russian Civil War, Stalin’s purges (during which he was arrested and sent to Siberia), and the Second World War – no mean feat. He was “rehabilitated” in July 1944, and sent to Germany in September 1945 to evaluate captured Nazi missiles and rockets.
In August 1946, while still in Germany, Sergei was appointed chief of a division in the new NII-1 research institute at Podlipki, responsible directly to none other than Stalin to develop Soviet missile technology based on German designs. As the Cold War grew colder, Korolev was preoccupied as early as 1953 with the use of his two-stage R-7 design to launch a satellite into orbit rather than drop nuclear bombs on the Americans. In 1957 during the International Geophysical Year, when the noisy American press proposed their country should spend millions to be the first to launch such a satellite, Russia promptly joined the “race.”
With the impatient Khrushchev harassing them, the Russian engineers built Sputnik-1 in less than a month, and Korolev oversaw the construction of a rocket (one only successfully tested once) to carry it. In October 1957, up it all went. In November, Sputnik 2 – with the poor dog Laika aboard (she didn’t return) – took a living Earthling into space for the first time. Korolev died in 1966 at the height of his career, the result of a botched routine surgical procedure.