facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Sputnik designer dies at age 99

Dec. 14, 2011 at 9:09 PM   |   Comments

| License Photo
MOSCOW, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Boris Chertok, a rocket designer and a key figure in the Soviet-era space program who helped build Sputnik, died of pneumonia, officials said. He was 99.

Chertok died Wednesday, three months shy of his 100th birthday, The Moscow Times reported.

He was one of a group of engineers led by Sergei Korolyov, a former gulag prisoner who became the father of the Soviet space program. He was one of the designers of Sputnik, the world's first satellite, launched into orbit Oct. 4, 1957.

The achievement, which shocked the United States and much of the world, was at first underestimated in his own country, Chertok said.

"Neither we, nor our media first grasped the historical significance of our feat," Chertok said in a 2007 interview with The Moscow Times.

Korolyov's team of engineers also built the rocket that launched Yuri Gagarin as the first man into space in April 1961.

The identities of Korolyov, Chertok and other engineers were kept a Russian state secret for many years, unknown in the West.

Topics: Yuri Gagarin
© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
trending
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
1
Spiders prefer the city life
2
Rock-eating bacteria discovered in buried Antarctic lake
3
Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg: I'll take the ice bucket challenge, and improve it
4
Latvia boasts world's first net for migrating bats
5
Seals, sea lions likely spread tuberculosis to humans
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback