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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Mikhail Kuzmich Yangel

Mikhail Yangel Mikhail Yangel was an outstanding scientist and designer in the field of space rocket engineering, one of the organizers of rocket industry in the USSR and Ukraine, the founder and first Chief Designer of Yuzhnoye Design Office (1954-1971). Doctor of Engineering (1960), Academician of Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (1961), Academician of Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1966).

Mikhail Kuzmich Yangelya's biography practically proves that the destruction of social barriers in 1917 contributed to the coming to science of gifted people from the most social lower classes. Mikhail Yangel was born 25 October 1911 in the village of Zyryanova, Irkutsk region, in a poor rural family. The genealogy of Yangel was not preserved, but nobody led it - everyone in the family was illiterate. It is known that the grandfather of the future academician Lavrenti Yangel was a descendant of Zaporozhye Cossacks, he lived in the Chernigov region in the village of Ryzhiki. It is almost on the border of Ukraine with Belarus. The "Zaporizhzhya" blood of Lavren (the name of the grandfather of Yangel), rebelled - set fire to a barrack barn. The verdict was severe: eight years of hard labor in the Lena gold mines and an eternal settlement in Siberia. So the Yangeli became Siberians. Yangel 's parents settled on the bank of Ilim in the village of Zyryanov , they had 12 children. Illiterate, they did everything to make their children learn. In his native village, Mikhail graduated from primary school, continued his studies in Nizhneilimsk and Kuitun. In 1926, at the invitation of his older brother Konstantin, student of the Mining Academy, he arrived in Moscow where he graduated from a Factory Trade Apprenticeship school. Yangel got a job as a subforeman at a textile factory in Krasnoarmeysk, Moscow region (1923 – 1931). Then he studies at Moscow Aviation Institute, from which he graduated with honors (1937), his major being Aircraft Construction.

He was a Designer, lead engineer, assistant Chief designer, deputy director of Menzhinsky Aviation Plant at Polikarpov Design Office (1935 – 1944). Deputy Chief Engineer at Mikoyan Design Office (1944). Lead engineer at Myasischev Design Office (1945).

When Yangel worked in the Polikarpov Design Bureau, he was denounced. He was accused of being the son of a kulak, who was hiding in the taiga. In fact, his father had not been alive for three years. His father was born in the village of Ryzhiki, Chernihiv region. He was a rebel, for which he was exiled to hard labor and an eternal settlement in Siberia.

Yangel participated in the I-153 aircraft development and in the work of Amtorg joint stock company in the United States. He organized final development of the I-180 and I-185 fighters and modification of the Po-2 aircraft. At the Ministry of Aviation Industry, Yangel coordinated the development of aircraft construction (1946 – 1948). He graduated cum laude from the Academy of Aviation Industry of the USSR (1950) and was assigned to rocket industry. Head of department, deputy Chief Designer Sergey Korolev; Director, Chief Engineer of Research Institute NII-88 in Kaliningrad, Moscow region (1950 – 1954). In 1954, Yangel was appointed Chief Designer of Special Design Bureau #586 (later, Yuzhnoye design office).

Mikhail Yangel was the founder of a new school of rocket engineering, based on the use of high-boiling propellants and autonomous control systems, which substantially increased operational readiness of strategic missiles. Yangel participated in the development of the first Soviet missiles, R-5 and R-7; supervised the development of the R-11 and R-12 missiles; organized research in aerodynamics, ballistics, material science, and other branches of rocket science (1950 – 1954).

In April 1952 , the Chief Designer appointed Yangel to be responsible for the production of technical documentation for the R-1 and R-2 missiles for mass production, he had already started new duties as a new turn of events occurred. In May 1952 - just a month after his first appointment - Yangel was appointed director of the Central Research Institute for Missile Technology , which included a number of research departments, two branches, an experimental plant, experimental workshops and more than 10 KB . There was a delicate situation: Yangel and Korolev switched places - the subordinate became the boss, the former boss - the subordinate. In October 1953 the year Yangel took an extraordinary decision - filed an application to the Minister with a request to release him from his post of Director of NII-88 . Seeing statement Ustinov was furious: "Frightened of responsibility I wanted to aviation Will work where will order the party Come on, work?!." However, in early November 1953 , Ustinov still signed an order for the transfer of Yangelto another job. To the general surprise, the minister thanked him and rewarded him for his good work, but he did not let him out of missile technology. Yangel was left at the institute, appointing as NII-88 chief engineer. Feeling in his element, Yangel and externally changed: freshened, sullenness disappeared, the mood lifted. There was an opportunity to thoroughly engage in promising works and, most importantly, the development of a new direction in rocket science and technology. The creative team of Yuzhnoye design office led by Mikhail Yangel, in cooperation with partner companies developed several generations of highly efficient missile complexes and space systems, making a lot of innovative decisions. The team made a great contribution to consolidation of the power and defense capability of the Soviet Union. The Strategic Rocket Forces were established based on high-performance and efficient R-12, R-14, R-16, R-36 missiles, and became the basis of the Soviet Union’s nuclear-missile shield. Kosmos and Kosmos-2 launch vehicles, various military, scientific, and civil application spacecraft were developed. The first satellites of Kosmos and Interkosmos series were launched into orbit to lay the foundation for international cooperation in space exploration.

As Chief Designer, Mikhail Yangel made bold and effective design and engineering decisions that significantly increased the effectiveness of missile systems, such as multiple and orbital reentry vehicles, decoys for penetration of anti-ballistic missile defense, mortar-style launch of heavy missiles, etc. Yangel formed a multi-functional structure of Yuzhnoye design office and built up a robust cooperation of space technology developers.

Mikhail Yangel took an active part in management of the state affairs: he was a city council member in Kaliningrad, Moscow region (1952 – 1954), deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (1966 – 1971), candidate member of the Central Committee of the USSR Communist Party (1966 – 1971).

Yangel was held in great respect and had authority with customers, scientific community, and industrial organizations. He left a deep trace in science and engineering as a historical figure that in many respects changed the course of world events.

Twice Hero of Socialist Labor (1959, 1961), winner of Lenin Prize (1960) and the USSR State Prize (1967). Decorated with the Orders of Lenin (1956, 1959, 1961, 1969), Order of the October Revolution (1971); winner of Sergey Korolev Prize and Gold Medal (1970).

His short life was measured with fatal accuracy: he came to aviation after twenty years, the next twenty yeras were engaged in combat aircraft, the last twenty - with missiles. He died on the day of his 60th birthday. In the last year of his life he was very seriously ill. After the fourth heart attack, he barely pulled out of the Sanatorium. And then he went straight to a meeting for Pylyugin. It lasted about 5-6 hours, there they smoked. That night, he had a fifth heavy infarction. He died a happy person, because it was at the peak of emotions. He realized that he needed it, that he had not been forgotten, that he had not been thrown overboard. Mikhail Yangel was buried in Novodevichye churchyard, Moscow.

From an obituary published in October 1971 , the world learned the name of the Chief Designer of Strategic Weapons: Yangel. Yuzhnoye State Design Office bears Mikhail Yangel’s name in its full title (since 1991). The Astronautical Federations of the USSR and Ukraine instituted a medal of his name. The scholarships of his name were awarded at Moscow Aviation Institute and Dnepropetrovsk State University. An asteroid and a crater on the Moon, a village in Irkutsk region, a peak in the Pamirs, an ocean dry cargo ship (“Academician Yangel”) were given the name of Yangel. There are Yangel streets in Moscow, Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, and Baikonur. Memorial busts were installed in the cities of Zheleznogorsk-Ilimsk in Irkutsk region, in Dnepropetrovsk, and at the Baikonur and Plesetsk Cosmodromes. There are memorial plaques on the buildings of the textile factory in Krasnoarmeysk; Moscow Aviation Institute; TsNIIMash in Korolev, Moscow region; Yuzhnoye State Design Office in Dnepropetrovsk.

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