As a rising star in aeronautical engineering, Korolëv joined the Moscow GIRD, a rocket club, in 1931. By 1933, he was deputy chief of a new government rocket institute, where he oversaw the Soviet Union’s early liquid-propellant experiments. Arrested in 1938 during Stalin’s purges, he barely survived a Siberian concentration camp, then was held in various prisons until 1944. Korolëv went on to manage the U.S.S.R.’s ballistic missile program and directed its space program from Sputnik’s launch in 1957 until his death in 1966.
Image Number: 84-10319
Credit: National Air and Space Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution
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