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May 26, 1954

Letter by S. P. Korolev with Enclosed Report by Tikhonravov, 'On the Possibility of the Development of an Artificial Earth Satellite'

О возможности разработки искусственного спутника Земли.

По вашему указанию представляю докладную записку тов. Тихонравова М. К. „Об искусственном спутнике Земли“, а также переводной материал о работах в этой области, ведущихся в США. Проводящаяся в настоящее время разработка нового изделия позволяет говорить о возможности создания в ближайшие годы искусственного спутника Земли.

Путем некоторого уменьшения веса полезного груза можно будет достичь необходимой для спутника конечной скорости 8000 метров в секунду. Изделие-спутник может быть разработано на базе создающегося сейчас нового изделия, упомянутого выше, однако при серьезной переработке последнего.

Мне кажется, что в настоящее время была бы своевременной и целесообразной организация научно-исследовательского отдела для проведения первых поисковых работ по спутнику и более детальной разработки комплекса вопросов, связанных с этой проблемой.

Прошу вашего решения

“On the Possibility of the Development of an Artificial Earth Satellite”[1]


At your instruction I am submitting a memorandum of Cde. M. K. Tikhonravov “[Memorandum] On an Artificial Earth Satellite,” and also translated material about work in this field being done in the USA. At this time the development of a new article allows us to speak of the possibility of creating an artificial Earth satellite in the next few years.


The terminal velocity of 8000 m/sec which the satellite needs might be reached by some reduction of the weight of the payload. The article – a satellite – might be developed based on the new article [rocket] mentioned above being created right now, however [only] with a serious redesign of the latter.


It seems to me that at the present time the organization of a scientific-research department to conduct the first exploratory work on a satellite and the more detailed elaboration of a set of questions connected with this problem would be timely and advisable.


I request your decision.


FIRST PUBLISHED IN: M. V. Keldysh, ed., Tvorcheskoe nasledie akademika Sergeia Pavlovicha Koroleva: izbrannye trudy i dokumenty (Moscow: Nauka, 1980), 343.


[1] This was the cover letter attached to Tikhonravov’s report (see Document No. 1) sent to D. F. Ustinov, the Minister of the Defense Industry, on 26 May 1954.

Report on simple satellite proposed by Tikhonravov, addressed to Council of Ministers

Document Information


Published in Keldysh, editor (1980), 343. Selected, Edited, and Annotated for CWIHP by Asif Siddiqi. Translated for CWIHP by Gary Goldberg.


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