Today, Yuri Gagarin would be 75...
And two days ago Dmitry Kozlov, the designer of the carrier Vostok, that took Gagarin into space, has died in Samara.
Dmitry Ilyich Kozlov was born in 1919. In 1937 he entered the Leningrad military mechanical university. In 1941 he volunteered to join the Soviet army and fought near Leningrad. When in winter truck convoys began crossing the frozen Ladoga lake to bring food to the blockaded city, Kozlov was to guard one of the first trucks. Because of the wind he lost his cap, he jumped out of the car, and when he found it, the truck was hit by German shells and went under the ice. Kozlov survived, and in 1944 he was discharged after the explosion of a Finnish mine tore away his left hand.
in 1946 he was sent to Germany to research the remains of German V-2 missiles. Upon his return he was appointed the chief of the 3rd department of the NII-88 (scientific research institute 88), and began designing intercontinental ballistic missiles. He worked together with Sergey Korolyov, the demi-god of the Soviet space program. Korolyov developed the ballistic missile code-named R-7 and in 1958, when a new missile factory was started in Kuibyshev (Samara), Kozlov became the chief designer. "Only a beautiful rocket is a good rocket", he used to say. R-7 was the rocket that made the plans of mass strikes on the USSR, like Operation Dropshot or Plan Totality, totally useless.
The R-7 began its life as an ICBM, but it had a huge potential and most Soviet space carriers, including Vostok, Voskhod, Molniya and Soyuz (which means also the Chines Shenzhou) were heavily based on this Korolyov's project. Since 1964 the factory led by Kozlov became the leading organization of the Soviet space industry.
The same factory, now known as TsSKB-Progress (literally Central Specialized Design Bureau), designed and built a huge number of Soviet satellites, military and intelligence, and civil Fram, Resurs-F1, Resurs-F2, Bion and Yantar. Yantar was able to produce the images of extremely high quality, and for some years NASA purchased the films made by Yantar from the USSR. A commercial modification Resurs-DK was named after Dmitry Kozlov.
Actually, not a single company in the world can compete with TsSKB-Progress. 1740 successful launches. More than 870 successful re-entries and langings.
In 2005, Kozlov was awarded with the Gold Space Medal by FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale):
Mr Dmitry I. Kozlov - Designer General of the State Research and Production Space Rocket Centre TsSKB "Progress", was a close colleague of Sergei P. Korolev. In the late 1950s, he played a decisive role in establishing the Central Specialized Design Bureau, one of the leading developers of space rocket technology, which under his supervision produced eight types of space systems, including "Soyuz-FG", "Molniya-M", "Soyuz-U", "Soyuz-2", in addition to many types of unmanned spacecraft for various purposes. Mr Dmitry I. Kozlov paved the way for international cooperation in space exploration, having produced highly reliable manned and unmanned spacecraft ("Soyuz" and "Progress"), thus ensuring the operation of the International Space Station. For his great contribution to the design, production and operation of many types of unmanned and manned spacecraft, and for the organization and development of fruitful international cooperation in space exploration, Mr Dmitry I. Kozlov is a deserving recipient of the FAI Gold Space Medal for 2005.