From the History of the Council of Chief Designers: A Documented Investigation

Using historical documents and participants’ memoirs, the article questions some conventional assumptions regarding the organization and activities of the Council of Chief Designers, a committee that coordinated the development of missile technology and space launches in the Soviet Union. The work of the Council responded to key challenges of postwar reconstruction and development and spearheaded the establishment of a new branch of the economy: rocketry and space exploration. The author disputes the frequently held view that the origin of the Committee of Chief Designers goes back to post-1945 occupied Germany, where Soviet engineers studied the remains of the wartime German missile program. The meetings of leading designers with the goal of discussing and coordinating various aspects of the new technological system started at a somewhat later date, 1947, during the first launches at Kapustin Yar, the missile testing range in the lower Volga area. The article also discusses the origin of the Council’s name, and the division of responsibility and authority among the designers, and between their Council and the official ministries of the state.


Recommended bibliographic description

, From the History of the Council of Chief Designers: A Documented Investigation, Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki [Studies in History of Science and Technology], , p.  250–277

    © Studies in the History of Science and Technology: Quarterly scientific journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2015)
    ISSN 0205-9606. Индекс 70143