Workers' Day rocket and space industry of Ukraine.
World Day of Aviation and Astronautics
April 12. On this day in 1961 hosted the first human spaceflight (Yuri Gagarin, Soviet Union).
Two more vsezagalno recognized dates in the history of the space age - October 4, 1957 (starting in the Soviet Union's first artificial satellite of the Earth) and 21 July 1969 (first landing of humans on the month, Neil Armstrong, and E. Aldrin, USA).
Autographs of the top-secret test site
Many of our compatriots still remember TASS that in November 1957 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the spacecraft took off in near-Earth space dog Laika. The people, of course, proud of the achievements of Soviet science and technology, and the name was called Laika cigarettes, candy and even snowmobiles. But few people then knew that long before Laika, in July 1951, launched the rocket into space puppies Dezik and Gypsies. And even returned home alive. However, their flight has not been reported that all work at the Kapustin Yar launch site were top secret. Of course, he - too. But as you know, this is the ground marks the beginning of the space age. On the eve of the Cosmonautics I met from Kiev, testers, and later head of the laboratory's chief of staff Kapustin Yar, Major-General retired Valentin Popkov.
The first start - at Kapustin Yar
- History of Soviet space research, missile tests began in May 1946. Then the CPSU (b) passed a resolution establishing a committee to jet technology, rocketry and related industrial base - says Valentin. - And in Astrakhan steppes, where previously only ripened watermelons and grazing sheep near the village of Kapustin Yar, there were missile launchers, small town grew up with 3 - and 5-storey houses, postal address, which initially was - "Moscow-400". For several later the town received the name of the nearest village. At the end of 1946, were held and the first missile launches. Led them Sergei Korolev, who a few years later, already in the desert, began construction of Baikonur.
And around the Kapustin Yar as the eye can see, plain. In the summer heat and winter - frost. And the constant dust storms. In these difficult natural conditions, the Kapustin Yar launch site was turned into, and he became a major testing ground for new air defense forces of the country. The date of its foundation believe in June 1951. In the same month and took the first launch of an anti-aircraft guided missile. A month later, the dog flew in space.
But the graduate of the Lenin Academy grad connection Valentin Popkov began service there a bit later - until 1961-th, and gave to the steppes and, therefore, the landfill 27 years of his life.
Gorbachev, Brezhnev and Khrushchev.
1988-th Valentin lifted shoulder straps and settled in Kiev, while his health made it possible to continue the service. But it so happened that within two hours, he became a man civil. Who needed such a hurry? Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Then he, the secretary general of the CPSU Central Committee, was preparing for a meeting with U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Was discussed and the question of military deterrence. And in the Soviet Union was at 300 Generals more than in America. Therefore, three hundred and losers, who had seniority, fired.
- Valentin, with which even Soviet officials related pages in your life?
- We repeatedly came Nikita Khrushchev. He considered himself a father to create a modern air-defense, so keep on monitoring the construction of facilities on land, mining, mobile-based missiles. By the way, once Khrushchev held a meeting on the development of automatic control systems. According to him, we're at it behind the Americans (as it was in reality). We must catch up and overtake, as we know. And work for it, he said, though day and night. On what barriers did not go.
Stayed with us and Leonid Brezhnev - even then general secretary of the Central Committee. At the point of Alexandrov Gai, he held a meeting with the U.S. delegation. During lunch, we in the landfill, told him that for the construction of modern, highly desired roads at the spaceport needs money. He laughed: "Did you ask him - and pointed to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers Alexei Kosygin, who was also present at this meeting. - He will tell you that the funds from the budget you have chosen. " It turns out that even when the space program to spend a fortune, they are not always enough. Secretary General wiped his lips with a napkin and, together with the guests went hunting. Saiga. It seemed successful.
But the most memorable meeting with designers, astronauts, actors, famous athletes. Once, I even had to give a gift of Honored Master of Sports hockey player Anatoly Firsov.
"Buran" made efforts already 8 times
Indeed, the different units of space shuttle "Buran" were tested at Kapustin Yar, 8 times. After each launch were taken for their refinement and improvement. It was only after he made his successful launch from Baikonur. That is in fact the ship flew 9 times. And Soviet anti-aircraft missile complexes "grew" here.
In general, in the Astrakhan sky programs "Cosmos" and "Intercosmos" (Program "Space" - are artificial satellites to study near-Earth space, improvement of systems, equipment, and the "Intercosmos" - a joint development of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance in the study of the cosmos) soared Hundreds of satellites, missiles for air defense of the country. There have been a failure? Were. Yet how much. And the rockets were falling on startup, and instead self-destruct flew off somewhere. But do oboydeshsya in such a case without failures? But in general, Kapustin Yar has worked and still works reliably.
And this is not hard to see. Least because there tests known Soviet anti-aircraft missile systems. Here, "stood on the wing, for example, S-25 system. Soon to celebrate over 50 years of this event, and the system and now guards the skies of Moscow.
Its say, and said C-75. He stood on guard for the large industrial cities, and on May 1, 1960, near Sverdlovsk, the missile, launched from him, was hit by a U.S. spy plane U-2 Pilot Powers. Well established and anti-aircraft missile systems S-200 and C-300. Unfortunately, the missile system S-200, located on the Ukrainian air defense weaponry, was blamed for the death of passenger aircraft Tu-154 over the Black Sea.
Well, summer is progressing. Case remain. And veterans of Kapustin Yar, and with them, and veterans of Baikonur and Plesetsk, get together and remember the glorious pages of history of astronautics and rocketry, which they not only were involved, but left at large particle cosmodromes their hearts - the invisible signatures of the space age.