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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2001 Oct;91(4):1501-11.

Historical aspects of the early Soviet/Russian manned space program.

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1
Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0623, USA. jwest@ucsd.edu

Abstract

Human spaceflight was one of the great physiological and engineering triumphs of the 20th century. Although the history of the United States manned space program is well known, the Soviet program was shrouded in secrecy until recently. Konstantin Edvardovich Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) was an extraordinary Russian visionary who made remarkable predictions about space travel in the late 19th century. Sergei Pavlovich Korolev (1907-1966) was the brilliant "Chief Designer" who was responsible for many of the Soviet firsts, including the first artificial satellite and the first human being in space. The dramatic flight of Sputnik 1 was followed within a month by the launch of the dog Laika, the first living creature in space. Remarkably, the engineering work for this payload was all done in less than 4 wk. Korolev's greatest triumph was the flight of Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (1934-1968) on April 12, 1961. Another extraordinary feat was the first extravehicular activity by Aleksei Arkhipovich Leonov (1934-) using a flexible airlock that emphasized the entrepreneurial attitude of the Soviet engineers. By the mid-1960s, the Soviet program was overtaken by the United States program and attempts to launch a manned mission to the Moon failed. However, the early Soviet manned space program has a preeminent place in the history of space physiology.

PMID:
11568130
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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