WHO IS ...?
Here are listed a few notable names in development of space flight. This list is far from comprehensive. Names will be added as they come to mind and as time permits. If you would like to suggest an addition to this page, feel free to do so.
Chelomei, Vladimir N.
(1914-1984) Soviet aerospace engineer. Head of the OKB-52 Design Bureau. Best know for his work on Soviet cruise missiles. Chelomei's P-5 cruise missile was used aboard Soviet submarines. Besides cruise missiles, Chelomei also worked on the Proton launch vehicle, the Almaz military space stations, surveillance spacecraft, and anti-satellite systems.
(1895-1980) German military commander of rocket research at Peenemünde. Recruited Wernher von Braun for rocket research. Emigrated to the United States in 1947. Worked for Bell Aircraft Corporation and was also involved in the DynaSoar project.
Ehrike, Krafft A.
(1917-1984) German space scientitist, key member of the Peenemünde Rocket Development team, specializing on the V-2 propulsion system. Emigrated to the United States in 1947. While working for General Dynamics, he participated in the development of the Atlas ICBM.
Forman, Edward S.
(1912-1973) Machinist. One of the founders of Aerojet Engineering Corporation in 1942 which commercialized rocket technology. Worked with Jack Parsons to develop solid rocket motors in a project which evolved into Jet Propulsion Laboratories in 1943.
(1908-1989) Soviet rocket engineer. He developed the first Soviet liquid propellant rocket engine while at the Gas Dynamics Lab in Leningrad (1930). Glushko was a chief designer for his bureau in the Soviet Union. He was author of Rockets, Their Construction and Utilization (1935).
Goddard, Robert H.
(1882-1945) American rocket engineer, considered the father of modern rocketry. He was the first to build and fly liquid fuel rocket engines. His work very much paralleled the German rocket scientists in the 1930's and 40's, although he was largely ignored in the United States.
(1880-1945) German member of the Society for Space Travel, author of The Attainability of Celestial Bodies (1925). This publication was so advanced it was referenced by NASA many years later.
(1908-1982) Soviet chief of the cosmonaut corps until he was replaced following the Soyuz-11 disaster.
(1917-2003) Soviet general, an Azerbaijani who served as the Soviet Union's secret Chairman of the Aeronautics Commission for 25 years. He oversaw all manned launchings in the Soviet Union until his retirement in the mid-1980's. His name and photographs of him were not released until 1987. In later years, he served as a consultant on Mir-shuttle operations.
(1571-1630) German (Holy Roman Empire) astronomer. Kepler was the first to correctly explain planetary motion (Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion) and is the founder of celestial mechanics. Kepler coined the word "satellite".
Korolev, Sergei Pavlovich
(1906-1966) Soviet space scientist and chief designer of Soviet space vehicles as head of the OKB-1 Design Bureau. He was responsible for many of the Soviet Union's accomplishments in space, including Sputnik 1, the Vostok and Voskhod manned missions, and a series of deep space probes. He was working on the Soyuz craft at the time of his death during surgery. Because of his deep involvement with critical technology, most of his life and achievements remained a secret until after his death. He had fallen into disfavor with Stalin in the 1930's and spent time in the Soviet concentration camps. Although technically still a prisoner, he was part of the group which dissected the German V-2's and improving on German rocket technology following the end of WWII.
Malina, Frank J.
(1912-1981) American pioneer in field of liquid rocket fuel. One of the founders of Aerojet Engineering Corporation in 1942. Also team member of the project which evolved into the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1943.
(1917(?)-2001) Successor to Korolev in 1966. A series of rocket explosions and cosmonaut deaths led to his ouster in 1974. Mishin was not to blame for the collapse of the Soviet moon program. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when the challenges of the technology overtook the Soviet program.
(1902-1960) Soviet Field Marshall, Head of Soviet strategic rocket forces. He and 55 others were killed when the second stage of an R-16 rocket ignited on the pad and caused the first stage to explode during launch preparations. Nedelin was a big supporter of the Soviet moon efforts and his death was a major political loss.
Newton, Sir Isaac
(1642-1727) English physicist and mathematician. His studies resulted in the Laws of Motion and the Universal Law of Gravitation. Newton provided mathematical validation of Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion. He is credited with building the first practical reflecting telescope.
(1894-1989) German writer and teacher. He wrote The Rocket into Planetary Space (1923) in which he recognized problems and proposed solutions to problems such as fuel consumption, fuel handling, solid fuels, and the effects of space travel on the human body. His theories and writings were an inspiration to the German rocket scientists in the 1930's and 40's. He remained active in writing and consulting until his death.
Parsons, John Marvel Whiteside (Jack)
(1914-1952) Inventor of stable solid rocket propellant and storable liquid rocket fuel. Co-founder of Aerojet Engineering Corporation in 1942. Team member of the project which evolved into the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1943. Died as a result of an explosion in his home laboratory.
Qian Xeusen (Tsein Hsue-shen)
(1911-2009) Father of the Chinese space program. Qian was a co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA (United States). He was instrumental in the recruitment of Wernher von Braun by the United States after World War II. Qian applied for US citizenship in 1950, but shortly thereafter accused of being a Communist. In 1955, Qian was deported from the United States and returned to his native China. In China, he became head of the missile program, retiring in 1991. While in the United States, Qian proposed a spaceplane. His ideas inspired Dynasoar, an ancestor to the American Space Shuttle.
Rutan, Elbert L. (Burt)
(1943-) American aeronautical engineer, founder of Scaled Composites, Inc. and designer of several prototype aircraft. In 1986, his Voyager aircraft made the first unrefueled non-stop flight around the world. In 2003, his SpaceShipOne became the first privately developed aircraft to break the sound barrier, and in 2004 made the first privately financed flight into space (100km, as defined by the FAI).
(1905-1964) German rocket scientist. He felt that the best way into space was through a combination of aircraft and rocket technology. His work appeared in The Technology of Rocket Flight and served as a basis for the development of the X-15 and later Space Shuttle. After WWII, Sänger worked as a consultant in France, then returned to Germany in 1954. Sänger is associated with the German Antipodal Bomber.
Tsander, Fridrikh Arturovitch
(1887-1933) Russian. Wrote papers as early as 1908 considering life support and other issues concerning space travel. He published Problems of Flight by Means of Reactive Devices (1932).
Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin E.
(1857-1935) Russian teacher, writer, space exploration theorist. He published science fiction and theoretical articles on rockets, satellites, space travel, weightlessness, and colonies in space. He was largely ignored outside of the Soviet Union until the 1920's.
(1893-1930) German member of the Society for Space Travel. He was an early advocate for space flight. He also pushed for the use of rockets in ground vehicles. He was killed in the crash of his rocket propelled car.
von Braun, Wernher
(1912-1977) German engineer, director of the German Rocket Research Center in Peenemünde. von Braun was in charge of the development of the V-2 long range liquid fuel rocket. Following WWII, he came to the United States (1945) as a technical advisor at White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico. He eventually became director of the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He headed the Redstone missile program and was responsible for the development of the Saturn V moon rocket. von Braun became a United States citizen in 1955.
von Hoefft, Franz
(1882-1954) Austrian, founder of Vienna's Society for Altitude Research.
von Kármán, Theodore
(1881-1963) Hungarian born American aerodynamicist, co-founder of the Aerojet Engineering Corporation. Team member of the project which evolved into Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
(1897-1947) German scientist. Along with Hugo A. Huckel, the pair launched the first European liquid-fueled rocket in 1931.
(1911-1971) Soviet engineer responsible for ICBM development and a series of spacecraft, head of the OKB-586 Design Bureau. He escaped death with Marshall Nedelin in 1960 when he stepped into a bunker for a cigarette.
Yeager, Charles E.
(1923- ) American aviator, WWII ace. He went on to become a USAF test pilot. Yeager became the first aviator to exceed the speed of sound on 14 October 1947 in an X-1 rocket plane dropped from the belly of a B-29 bomber. Yeager retired from the Air Force in 1975 with the rank of brigadier general. He had been in command of the Fourth Tactical Fighter Wing. Even though Yeager lacked the educational credentials to qualify for the early astronaut selections, he is often associated with the space program.