On the Feasibility of Development
of an Artificial Earth Satellite


This document is dated 26 May 1954. It is the cover letter sent by the Chief Designer Sergey P. Korolev as an enclosure to the report by Mikhail K. Tikhonravov describibing a program of space research for the USSR. Korolev's letter was the very first official request to the Soviet government to launch an artificial satellite of the Earth. As per Korolev's letter, the launch would be carried out using a modification of the 'product 8K71,' or the R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile.

The cover letter and the enclosed report were addressed to:

Korolev's official position at the time was:

Chief Designer of the Special Design Bureau No. 1 (OKB-1) of the Scientific Research Institute No. 88 (NII-88).

At your request, I am enclosing Memorandum of Comrade Tikhonravov, M. K., "On an Artificial Earth Satellite," as well as forwarded materials on operations underway in the U. S. A. in this field. The development of a new product carried out so far allows the problem of creating an artificial yet realistic earth satellite in the nearest future.

If the payload weight is somewhat reduced, the final velocity of 8,000 m/s necessary for a satellite can be achieved. The product - satellite could be developed on the basis of the above-mentioned product that has been developed, however, with major modifications of this product.

It seems to me that it would be now timely and feasible to organize a scientific research department for conducting first exploratory investigations concerning the satellite and for organizing a more detailed development of various aspects of this problem.

I await your decision.

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Last Updated: August 1, 2007