January 12 is the 115th anniversary of the birth of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, the founder of practical astronautics. For almost 56 years, Samara University (then Kuibyshev Aviation Institute, KuAI) has proudly borne his name.
Twice Hero of Socialist Labor, chief designer, academic Sergei Korolev allowed humanity to take the first steps in space exploration, which have become gigantic: the first launch vehicle, the first satellite, the first cosmonaut, the first spacewalk, the first flight of a woman into space space.
Korolev’s scientific and technical ideas have been widely applied in rocket and space technology. Under his leadership, the first space complex, many ballistic and geophysical rockets were created, the world’s first intercontinental ballistic missile, the Vostok rocket, an artificial Earth satellite, flights of the Vostok and Voskhod spacecraft, which for the first time in human spaceflight . The first spacecraft in the Luna and Venera series, a probe, artificial Earth satellites in the Elektron and Molniya series were created, and the design of the Soyuz spacecraft was developed. Korolev, as chief designer, provided general technical guidance for the first space programs. And he became the initiator of the development of a number of applied scientific fields that ensure further progress in the creation of spacecraft. Korolev raised many cadres of scientists and engineers. Sergei Pavlovich Korolev went down in history forever, opening a new era of earthly civilization.
On January 2, 1958, the Government of the Soviet Union adopted a decree organizing the serial production of intercontinental ballistic missiles at the No. 1 aircraft facility in Kuibyshev (now the Progress Rocket and Space Center in Samara).
“There was already a powerful aviation complex in Kuibyshev: a factory that produced aircraft, an engine-building facility, a metallurgical one. And there was an aviation institute – a smithy of engineering staff. In addition, the city is located at the intersection of roads leading south, to Baikonur. “All this plus the high technical level of Kuibyshev production and played a role. Sergei Pavlovich Korolev came to Kuibyshev, made sure that the Kuibyshev people could cope with the development of rocket technology”– notes KuAI degree in 1961, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Gennady Anshakov. He was among the first to get a job at OKB-1 and was personally acquainted with Korolev.
In February 1958, chief designer Sergei Korolev sent Dmitry Kozlov, the chief designer of the R-7 rocket, to this factory to organize design support for series production.
The first R-7 rocket, manufactured in Kuibyshev, made a successful flight on February 17, 1959. The development of more advanced R-7A and R-9A missiles began. Kuibyshev became the forge of our homeland’s first missile shield. This rocket became the carrier for the world’s first artificial earth satellite, and later for the first manned spacecraft. And it is still one of the few reliable means for the world’s manned cosmonautics.
Since 1959, the Kuibyshev Aviation Institute began training personnel in a new specialty related to the design and production of missiles. The first students were students from the Faculty of Aeronautical Engineering, who took another semester and went on to an internship at OKB-1 and at the Progress facility.
The first rocket technology in Kuibyshev under the leadership of Dmitry Kozlov was created by the engineers from the Progress facility and graduates from KuAI from different years: Konstantin Tarkhov, Alexander Soldatenkov, Boris Penzin, Valentin Ryasny, Mikhail Shum and others.
In Kuibyshev, a man, without whom there would be no Yuri Gagarin’s flight, flew into space, as if to work. And Nadezhda Bogdanova, director of the Museum of Aviation and Cosmonautics named after Korolev at Samara University, told where the designer lived in Kuibyshev, if he went to the local theater and embankment, and also revealed the secret behind his legendary hat.
On February 22, 1966, by decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union “To perpetuate the memory of academics SP Korolev”, the scientist’s name was assigned to the Kuibyshev Aviation Institute. The university retained it even after its transformation into Samara State Aerospace University and in 2016 into Samara National Research University.