MOSCOW. (Alexander Peslyak, RIA Novosti) - A memorial plaque dedicated to the 100th birth anniversary of Vladimir Barmin (1909-1993), a founding father of this country's space rocket industry, was recently unveiled on the wall of an apartment house on Moscow's Romanov Pereulok.
Another memorial plaque will be unveiled on the wall of the main building of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University, near those of Sergei Korolyov (1906-1966) and Nikolai Pilyugin (1908-1982) and other co-founders of the Soviet space rocket industry.
Barmin oversaw the design of the legendary Katyusha multiple rocket launcher during World War II and later helped develop unique missiles and space rockets, including Energiya-Buran, Proton and Soyuz launch vehicles.
Korolyov and others developed rockets and missiles, while Barmin built sprawling cities in Asian deserts and the Siberian taiga, umbilical towers and industrial plants (since successful rocket-and-missile launches required intricate equipment networks, specialized buildings and other structures operating as a single whole). All of this constituted the ground infrastructure for space rocket launches.
Unlike Korolyov and his team, Barmin received only one Hero of Socialist Labor Star medal for successfully launching a nuclear-capable missile.
When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Barmin was working as chief designer for the Compressor Plant in Moscow. At that time, the Soviet government ordered him to mass-produce the unique Katyusha multiple rocket launchers.
Although Barmin sometimes had conflicts with his superiors, the first Katyusha launchers were eventually assembled and rushed to the front. By December 1941, over 400 launchers were ready to take part in the Soviet counter-offensive near Moscow.
When the war was still in full swing, Barmin received the Order of Kutuzov, 1st Class, a prestigious award usually given to the Red Army's front commanders and their deputies for effectively supervising large-scale military operations.
Katyusha launchers paved the way for new-generation rockets and missiles. In the mid-1950s, the U.S.S.R. tested and adopted R-5, R-7 and R-9 ballistic missiles. At that time, Barmin was the first to suggest deploying silo-based missiles and pioneered in the use of the requisite technology, principles and methods. This made it possible to shield them against a hypothetical pre-emptive strike, to enhance their reliability and independent operation.
On August 21, 1957, a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile lifted off from a pad at the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan. Sputnik One, the first man-made space satellite, was launched on October 4, 1957, thereby proving that the U.S.S.R. could deliver missile warheads to any part of the world. Yury Gagarin (1934-1968), the first man in space, lifted off from the same facility on April 12, 1961.
At present, launch facilities developed at the design Bureau of General Machine-Building are used to orbit telecommunications and scientific satellites, automatic interplanetary stations, as well as orbital stations and manned spacecraft. The Baikonur space center has launched over 1,300 Soyuz and Proton rockets to date.
The launch infrastructure comprises umbilical towers and girders, refueling systems, numerous storage facilities, transporters and erectors. Upgraded launch facilities have been operating for at least 40 to 50 years in conditions of strong winds, scorching heat, biting frost, high humidity and powerful acoustic and thermal shocks.
Barmin's colleagues continue to build launch pads at the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana, from where the first Soyuz rockets will soon lift off, as well as the Angara launch facility at the Plesetsk space center, and the Baiterek ground complex at the Baikonur space center.
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