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Racing to the Moon

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SERGEI KOROLËV (1907-1966)

In 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.

After 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.

Korolëv's 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 Energia.

Courtesy of RSC Energia

Korolëv official portrait
31 k jpeg


Sergei Korolëv used this German-made slide rule to make quick calculations. To his colleagues, Korolëv's slide rule was a "magician's wand." Today's engineers and scientists use pocket calculators and computers for this purpose.

Korolev's slide rule
32 k jpeg
SI#: 97-16257-10

Manufacturer: Albert Nestler A.G., Germany

Lent by The Perot Foundation

Pointer Two Soyuz spacecraft, a legacy from Korolëv's career, are displayed in this gallery.

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