Space Trinity

31 января 2016

   In 1885, just twenty-four years after the emancipation of the serfs, Russia and England were engaged in establishing their spheres of influence in Afghanistan, while the French sought to reclaim Vietnam from the Chinese. In Germany, Daimler and Maybach were unveiling the world's first motorcycle. Meanwhile, about 100km SW of Moscow, Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky, a schoolteacher, was already envisioning a "rigid airship" and "rocket trains."

 Illustration 1. Photo of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky alongside a model of his "rigid airship."

Tsiolkovsky's pioneering work on jet propulsion theory, airplane design, and formulas for determining the maximum flight speeds and accelerations of variable mass rockets laid the theoretical groundwork for space exploration. A pivotal meeting with Sergei Korolev in 1931 set the stage for the creation of the first Soviet ballistic missile.

In this narrative, it's essential to acknowledge the remarkable contributions of the Russian scientist Ivan Meshchersky, who founded the theory of variable mass mechanics. His work paved the way for modern rocket dynamics. Other notable figures include Valentin Glushko, the innovator behind the Soviet liquid-propellant rocket engines (who corresponded with Tsiolkovsky between 1923-1930). Additionally, rocketry pioneers such as Hermann Oberth and Wernher von Braun (Germany), Robert Esnault-Pelterie (France), and Robert Goddard (USA) were on parallel journeys of discovery.

On October 4, 1957, radio enthusiasts worldwide tuned in to a groundbreaking signal from the first artificial Earth satellite. Listen to the recording captured in Washington:


Equipped with a Geiger counter and a meteoric particle sensor, this satellite unveiled the mysteries of the radiation belts.

Illustration 2. Photo of the first artificial Earth satellite — the Soviet "PS-1."

On April 12, 1961, in an astounding display of courage and innovation, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth aboard the Vostok-1 spacecraft, becoming the first human to venture into outer space. It's awe-inspiring to contemplate such a monumental leap achieved using analog technology from the 1950s.

Illustration 3. Photo showcasing the launch of the rocket "Vostok" with the pioneering spaceship "Vostok-1."

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