60 Years. TsAGI – To Universe: April 12, Cosmonautics Day
12 April 2021
Energia-Buran flow visualization in TsAGI wind tunnel
‘Here we go!’ said Yuri Gagarin, the world’s first cosmonaut, on April 12, 1961, and his spaceship, Vostok, took off to symbolize a new space era for the whole humanity. Space exploration, however, would have been impossible without the solid research basis formed by TsAGI.
To explore space-related topics, TsAGI established in the 1960s new departments for hypersonic speed, flight dynamics, wind tunnel design, aeroelasticity, fatigue and damage tolerance. At the same time, TsAGI was rapidly upgrading its test facilities.
TsAGI faced challenging aerodynamics and flight-dynamics tasks at creating spacecraft. Thus, significant research cycle was performed within Vostok Program. TsAGI successfully studied aerodynamic and thermal load at spacecraft reentry. To study the spacecraft’s performance at hypersonic speed, TsAGI designed and introduced into operation a unique free-flight tunnel. Two TsAGI scientists, A. Krasilschikov and L. Guryashkin, were honored with USSR State Award for this work.
The Institute significantly contributed to implementing the Soyuz Spacecraft Project. Its specialists did not only study the external aerodynamics (K. Petrov, E. Buyanov, P. Leutin, G. Stolyarov) but also solved different problems of reentry flight dynamics (A. Kuryanov, G. Kuzmak, V. Yaroshevsky, A. Shilov). The scientists tackled similar tasks at designing circumlunar spacecraft, Venus spacecraft and Mars spacecraft (K. Petrov, V. Artonkin, B. Zhirnikov). In addition, TsAGI made comprehensive research in aerodynamics, dynamics, strength and aeroelasticity of space launch vehicles.
TsAGI provided great help in creating and testing Buran shuttle orbiter systems. The main work included integrated aerodynamic and strength research, flow modes calculation, and recommendations for the spacecraft geometry. Moreover, TsAGI performed Buran rig testing, evaluated its handling, and designed a unique automatic landing system. Probably every employee who worked at TsAGI those years was involved in implementing Energia-Buran program. We would like to highlight the names of such outstanding aviation scientists and organizers as V. Neiland, G. Byushgens, G. Svischev, V. Kobzev, V. Yaroshevsky, and M. Galkin.
Today, TsAGI continues its active participation in implementing space projects. These are only a few objects being studied by TsAGI: Orel (‘the Eagle’) piloted transport ship, Angara A5 launch vehicle, descent modules for ExoMars program, and ramjet air electric-propulsion engines for long support of very-low orbit spacecraft. Integrated work in this area maintains Russia’s leadership in space exploration.