Born: 1922-03-10. Died: 2004-05-23.
Official Biography: Honorary Citizen of Voronezh General Designer of the Khimavtomatika Design Bureau, Hero of Socialist Labor, State and Lenin Prize winner, Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Technical Sciences Alexander Dmitrievich Konopatov was born on March 10, 1922 in the Krasnodar Territory, into an oil-working family. He spent his childhood in Siberia - near Minusinsk, where Konopatovy brought his father's nomadic work.
In 1939 Konopatov entered the Novosibirsk Institute of Civil Engineering, and in the fall of 1941 he transferred to the Moscow Aviation Technology Institute, evacuated from the capital to Novosibirsk. After graduation, a young specialist was sent to the experimental design bureau No. 296, which was stationed in the Siberian town of Berdsk and which was headed by Semyon Arievich Kosberg, who later went down in history as one of the pioneers of space rocket engineering.
When the Kozberg design bureau was transferred to Voronezh in 1947 (it was later renamed Khimavtomatika design bureau, in short, KBHA), the chief designer took Konopatov among his best assistants. From this moment on, fate connected Alexander Dmitrievich with our city forever.
In those years, Kosberg Design Bureau (OKB-154) was engaged in the development of units for aircraft engines. And Konopatov led the work on the creation of LRE for jet aircraft. Having proved himself in that field, in 1958, Alexander Dmitrievich became the head of the design department, which was destined to solve design problems for rocket engines, which was to bring the Soviet satellite to the lunar orbit. And a year later, a rocket with that satellite successfully launched into space ...
Then there was a flight for photographing the far side of the Moon, a historic “Gagarin breakthrough” and launches of other manned spacecraft into orbit, the taking of lunar soil, the “expeditions” of spacecraft to Mars and Venus, the launch of a powerful universal launch vehicle Energy "... All these historical programs were implemented with the direct participation of Alexander Dmitrievich Konopatov, who was responsible for work on the creation of engines for rocket and space technology, first as Head of Department, and after Kosberg death in a car crash in 1965 - as the chief designer of the Voronezh KBKhA.
Under his leadership, engines were created for the Soyuz, Proton, Energia and Engines space launch vehicles for Stilet, Satan, and RSM-54 combat missile systems. Whatever the name, there is a separate chapter in space exploration and the development of the national defense industry!
Under Konopatov, work was carried out on the creation of launch vehicles, which were used to perform such outstanding tasks as launching the returned automated probe Zond to fly around the moon, delivering lunar rovers to our natural satellite, launching interplanetary spacecraft that took samples landing on Mars and Venus.
The successes of KBXA were given at the cost of tremendous effort. Work had to be in hard time trouble. Meanwhile, Voronezh specialists solved a lot of questions for the first time, because each project was innovative. For example, only at the beginning of work on the engine for Energia more than 100 problem tasks were defined, although by that time 13 years had passed since the flight of Gagarin.
However, it became even more difficult after the collapse of the USSR, when many space programs were curtailed in the country. But even in that situation of uncertainty, rocket builders did not give up. As early as the 1960s, many technological advances of KBXA began to be introduced into the production of consumer goods and medical equipment. On the initiative of Konopatov, a special department was even created, on whose account there is now already a whole series of inventions for the needs of health care. This experience was very useful for the enterprise in the "dashing" 90s of the last century.
Alexander Dmitrievich retired in 1993, but he didn’t get a “well-deserved rest,” who was used to hard work. Up to his death in 2004, Konopatov continued to work as an advisor to the general designer of KBCH, one of the main and leading enterprises for the creation of oxygen-hydrogen liquid-jet engines, the famous Voronezh design bureau, which was founded by Alexander Dmitrievich and the very first , exceptionally durable foundation stones.
The booster failure on the previous launch was found to be due to premature fuel injection during engine start, causing initial chamber temperatures to rise 200 degrees above normal. Glushko and Konopatov both guarantee their engines for the next launch. The next L1 flight will use the 'Kruga' landing predictor. This will predict the landing point to within a 150 x 150 km area two to three hours before re-entry. Landing points on the three previous flights would have been 2000 km from Madagascar and India, Novosibirsk, and the North Pole... Mishin plans the next dual Soyuz flight for 5-10 April. Kamanin protests that the parachute and sea trials of the redesigned capsule are not yet complete. Mishin, as usual, dismisses his concerns.
At Area 81 a State Commission is held on failures of the UR-500K booster. A D Konopatov describes the analysis of the stage 2 and 3 failures on the 20 January launch attempt. The number 4 engine of stage 2 shut down 25 seconds into its burn due to high temperatures detected in the turbopump. The same thing occurred on the third stage. The couldn't pin down the source of the problem. Engines of this type had worked correctly 700 times on earlier flights. Despite the cause of the failure not being identified, approval is given at 14:30 for the launch of the Ye-8 to proceed. Babakin confirms the spacecraft is ready.