Mikhail Yangel bigraphy, stories - Soviet missile designer

Mikhail Yangel : biography

October 25, 1911 - October 25, 1971

Mikhail Kuzmich Yangel (Михаил Кузьмич Янгель in Russian) (October 25 (O.S.: November 7), 1911 - October 25, 1971), was a leading missile designer in the Soviet Union.

His career started as an aviation engineer, after graduating from Moscow Aviation Institute in 1937. He worked with famous aircraft designers Nikolai Polikarpov and later, Artem Mikoyan. Then he moved to the field of ballistic missiles, where he first was in charge of guidance systems. As Sergei Korolev’s associate, he set up a rocket propulsion center in Dnipropetrovsk in the Ukraine which later formed the basis of his own OKB-586 design bureau in 1954. At first, Yangel’s facility served to mass-produce and further develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in which area Yangel was a pioneer of storeable hypergolic fuels. His bureau designed the R-12, R-16 and R-36, whose launch vehicle adaptations are known as Cosmos,Tsyklon, Dnepr respectively are still in use today. Yangel narrowly avoided death during the development of the R-16 in the 1960 Nedelin catastrophe.

Yangel's bureau was part of the General Machine-Building Ministry headed by Sergey Afanasyev.

For his outstanding work, Mikhail Yangel was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1960 and USSR State Prize in 1967. He was also awarded four Orders of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, and numerous medals. He died in Moscow.

Several notable places were named after Yangel:

  • A street in the Chertanovo neighborhood in Moscow
  • A Metro station Ulitsa Akademika Yangelya on the Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Line (near the above street)
  • A street in Kiev
  • One of the two major streets in Baikonur (the other is in honor of his main rival Sergei Korolev)
  • The crater Yangel on the Moon.

A minor planet 3039 Yangel discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Zhuravlyova in 1978 is named after him.

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