Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Quiz with Chamara Sumanapala. Part 09: Sergei Korolev

Sergei Korolev was the Chief Designer of the Soviet Space Program when it was at the height of the USA-USSR space race. Born on January 12, 1907, he went through ups and downs in his life until being appointed as the Chief Engineer of the Space Program in the 1950s. Until his unexpected death on January 14, 1966, the Soviet Union led the space race against the United States.

01. Korolev was born in the city of Zhytomyr in the Russian Empire. This city today has a population of just over 270,000 but was much smaller a century ago. To which country does Zhytomir belong today?

02. The 1930s were hard times in Soviet Russia. Stalin, the Soviet leader, was arresting and even executing tens of thousands of people he thought to be his enemies and the enemies of the state. Many were arrested on trumped up (fabricated) charges. In 1938, the Soviet Interior Ministry (People’s Commissariat for the Internal Affairs) arrested Korolev and some other scientists, on charges of deliberately working slowly to undermine the state. He was eventually released in 1944. By which four initials was the Interior Ministry known at the time?

03. After the end of the Second World War in Europe, Korolev was sent to Germany to study the rockets used by that country during the war. What the Soviet (and American) scientists learned from the German rocket scientists was helpful in initiating the space programs of both countries. Germany was the first country to develop a long range ballistic missile, which was studied by Korolev. What was this first ever long range ballistic missle, which is also said to be the first manmade object which was sent to space?

04. The Soviet scientists led by Korolev sent the first artificial satellite, first animal and first man to space. Also, as it was discussed in Quiz 07, Soviet Union sent the first probe to the Moon. The fist artificial satellite was Sputnik 1 (Satellite 1) which went to orbit on October 4, 1957. The first animal in who orbited Earth, a female dog, was sent in Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957. It was actually sent to mark the 40th anniversary of the October Revolution of 1917. What was the name of the first animal in space?

05. After the Sputnik Program, Soviet scientists initiated the Vostok Program to send humans to space. Accordingly, six Vostok missions were undertaken, which saw the first man in space (Yuri Gagarin-Vostok 1) in April 1961 and the first woman in space (Valentina Tereshkova-Vostok 6) in 1963. What is the English meaning of the Russian word Vostok?

Answers to Quiz 08

01. Panglong Agreement
02. U Nu
03. National League for Democracy
04. Thein Sein
05. Bagan (Capital of the ancient Empire of Pagan)

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