MOSCOW, August 13 (RIA Novosti) – Alexander Soldatenkov, legendary designer of Russian carrier rockets, including the Soyuz-2, has died at the age of 86, the TsSKB-Progress State Research and Production Space Center said.
Soldatenkov, who led the preparation of Yury Gagarin’s first human space flight, became chief designer of R-7 carrier rockets at TsSKB-Progress in 1979.
In 1996-2006, he worked at the center as chief designer of R-7A and Soyuz-2 rockets.
Soldatenkov has received a number of top state awards through his prolific career. He was awarded the title of the Hero of Social Labor in 1987.
He was also an honorary citizen of the Volga city of Samara, where the TsSKB-Progress center is located, and the city of Baikonur, the home of former Soviet and now Kazakhstan’s space center.
Governor of the Samara region, Nikolay Merkushkin wrote in a letter of condolences that Sloldatenkov had left “a bright mark” on the history of Russia’s space exploration.
Soyuz-2 is a three-stage carrier rocket for placing payloads into low Earth orbit. The Soyuz-2 launches are carried out from the Baikonur space center and the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia.