Nikolai Kibalchich in the history of world rocket-space technics: discussion questions of domestic and world historiography

1Savchuk, VS, 2Kushlakova, NM, 3Vavilova, IB
1Oles Honchar National University of Dnipropetrovsk, Dnipro, Ukraine
2Zakhidnodonbaskyy Institute of the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, Pavlograd, Ukraine
3Main Astronomical Observatory of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine
Space Sci. & Technol. 2019, 25 ;(6):70-83
Publication Language: English
The article deals with the history of rocket and space technology and controversial issues regarding the role of Nikolai I. Kibalchich in the formation of the rocket-dynamic principle of motion. In 1881, Nikolai I. Kibalchich, while in prison for participating in the assassination attempt on the Russian Tsar Alexander II, developed the project of an “aeronautic device” (“flying machine”). As the basis of this device, he put a rocket dynamics principle. His project has been considering one of the first, if not the first, project of rocket technology, which opened up the opportunity of flying in airless space. However, as our study indicates, this point of view is not shared by everyone who is involved in the history of space exploration and rocket technology research.
       We discuss opinions given in various bibliography sources on the N. I. Kibalchich’ role for uprising of the engineer thought in rocket technology. The appreciations of this role are given by researchers from Ukraine, Russia, and the former Soviet Union as well as from the European countries and USA. A critical analysis of various points of view has revealed several factors that have had and have up to now a negative sign on the evaluation of his “flying machine” project: revolutionary activity, participation in the killing of the Tsar, interpretation of its technical design as inapplicable to rocket and space technology, etc. Our study is aimed to minimize such judgments and to testify that “flying machine” proposed by N.I. Kibalchich using the rocket-dynamic principle of motion conceptually outstripped the engineering idea of the time when the inventor lived.
Keywords: history of rocket techniques, outstanding personalities: Nikolai Kibalchich, rocket and space technology
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