the 1930s Russian engineer and aviator Sergei P. Korolëv headed
GIRD, a Moscow-based group of rocket enthusiasts that built and
tested the first liquid-propellant rockets in the U.S.S.R.
World War II, Korolëv was appointed head of one of the U.S.S.R.'s
missile-development design bureaus. By 1957 his bureau built and
launched the R-7, the first operational intercontinental ballistic
missile, which was used to propel Sputniks into Earth orbit and
Luna spacecraft to the Moon.
work defined the Soviet school of rocket and spacecraft design,
including the Vostok and Soyuz manned spacecraft, various ballistic
missiles and scientific rockets, the Zenit reconnaissance satellite,
Molniya communications satellites, and manned lunar spacecraft.
Korolëv's design bureau has evolved into a Russian business organization
known today as the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, or RSC
of RSC Energia