Sergei Korolev in 1934

Sergei Korolev in 1934

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Credit: SPUTNIK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sergei Korolev (1907-1966), pioneering Soviet rocket scientist. Korolev studied aviation in Moscow, and in his late teens designed and built gliders as a hobby. After developing an interest in rocketry, Korolev formed the Moscow Group for the Study of Reactive Motion who, in 1933, launched the USSR's first liquid-fuelled rocket. He was arrested during Stalin's purges but, his importance being recognised, was allowed to continue his research. After the Second World War he was released and set to work developing rockets, both for space exploration and military use. His most famous projects were Sputnik 1 (1957), the first artificial satellite and Vostock 1 (1961), which carried the first man into space. Photographed in 1934.

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