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Raushenbakh, Boris Viktorovich
Russian engineer. Department Chief 1960-1973 of Korolev design bureau. Specialized in guidance systems.

Born: 1915-01-18. Died: 2001-03-27.

Wikipedia Biography: Boris Viktorovich Rauschenbach was a preeminent Soviet physicist and rocket engineer, who developed the theory and instruments for interplanetary flight control and navigation in 1955-1960s. He is also notable for his studies in Christian theology and theory of Art. Boris-Ivar Rauschenbach was born to a protestant family of ethnic Germans, tracing their history to Karl-Friedrich Rauschenbach who settled in Russia in 1766. His father, originally a Volga German, was a manager at a leather factory in Saint Petersburg, and the family lived at the factory site until 1925. The family was bilingual; Rauschenbach said that "I feel myself a German and a Russian at the same time, a peculiar feeling... reflecting reality. We grew up in Russia, immersed in Russian traditions". Boris attended a former Reformist Protestant school, one of two German-language schools left in the 1920s. The school, plagued by ever-changing novel teaching systems, provided poor education (apart from good language practice).

Boris, like many young men of his time, was fascinated by flight and aviation. The only aviation-related college in Leningrad was a newly established Institute of Civil Air Fleet, later converted into a military academy. After a brief work at an aircraft plant, Rauschenbach completed his studies at this Institute (1932-1937); later he complained about its poor training quality and lack of tradition. More important was his glider hobby of this time, especially the practical studies of stability in flying wing gliders. Glider enthusiasts' rallies in Crimea exposed Rauschenberg to aviation professionals; in 1937, he received an offer from Sergey Korolyov to join his RNII (Rocket Institute), based in Khovrino near Moscow.

Sergey Korolyov assigned Rauschenbach to flight control automation for his winged rocket (cruise missile) project. Despite Korolyov's public statements on "All attention to engines!", he realized a wide range of unsolved rocketry problems, notably flight stability and automated controls. Autopilots on conventional planes could be "trained" and tuned by human pilots in flight; rocket designers had to find an alternative "training" technology. Rauschenbach's first assignments on Model 212C jet cruise missile were done in TsAGI wind tunnel. This was followed by manned rocket plane program, cut short when NKVD arrested Korolyov and Valentin Glushko in summer of 1938. Until 1941, Rauschenbach worked on jet combustion stability, a program that resulted in effective and stable Rocket artillery projectiles. After the German Invasion of 1941, recently married Rauschenbach relocated with his institution east, to Yekaterinburg.

In March 1942, Rauschenbach, then working on auto-targeting anti-aircraft projectiles, was held in a labor camp without trial, like other ethnic Germans. Half of his detachment of around a thousand inmates perished in the first winter. They were working at a brick plant near Nizhny Tagil in Urals. Two weeks after he arrived in the camp, Rauschenbach wrote a technical letter to his former design bureau, commenting on his incompleted work. The letter was promptly received by General Viktor Bolkhovitinov, working on a parallel rocket project, who managed to transfer Rauschenbach from hard labor to a desk job. Until 1946, inmate Rauschenbach performed calculations for Bolkhovitinov's bureau, learning advanced mathematics in the process.

In January 1946, Rauschenbach was dispatched from the camp to an exile in Nizhny Tagil, working there for Mstislav Keldysh calculation bureau. In 1948, Keldysh extricated Rauschenbach from exile, in what the latter called "a long and completely fantastical affair". Rauschenbach worked with Keldysh on jet engine dynamics until 1954, later saying that "In my life, I worked for two bosses only, Korolyov and Keldysh, both men of high integrity, and that's important". His twin daughters were born in 1950 in Moscow; wife, Vera Rauschenbach, worked in State Historical Museum in Moscow.

In 1954, Keldysh allowed Rauschenbach to concentrate on space flight theory, notably orientation of a spacecraft in flight, although it had little common with Keldysh's own jobs. Next year, Rauschenbach joined the Korolyov firm. "It was not a breakup with Keldysh. Rather, my work outgrew his institute, and Keldysh himself negotiated transfer of my team to Korolyov"

Rauschenbach's first major success was the lunar flyby of Luna 3 in October 1959, that returned the first photographs of Moon's far side. This was followed by flight control systems for interplanetary probes to Venus, Mars and manned orbital space flight. He was the last man to have eye-to-eye contact with Yuri Gagarin before the first spaceman blasted off, he was on the mission control during the flight and recorded Gagarin's first technical reports after it. 1961 Soviet newspapers described his identity as Professor V. Ivanchenko. Rauschenbach also designed instruments for the Vostok 3-Vostok 6 joint flight and the first Soyuz spacecraft docking systems.

Since 1948, Rauschenbach lectured in Physics and Technical Department of Moscow State University, which was converted to an independent Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MFTI) in 1951. Rauschenbach chaired Theoretical Mechanics department in MFTI since 1978. His course of lectures in the recent years was 'Dynamics of spaceflight'.

Rauschenbach trained the first cosmonauts in flight dynamics and spacecraft control systems, but after the death of Korolyov in 1965, he gradually stepped aside from active space program and concentrated on academic activities and his studies of art.

Rauschenbach later linked his interest to visual art with the problems of docking spacecraft. During docking operation, pilot could see the other spacecraft only on a TV screen. Does it render real objects good enough, wondered Rauschenbach, to bet the lives of two crews on a flat electronic image? This led him to study perspective and human perception of flat images. This applied problem transformed into general interest in humanities: "Art and art studies, faith and religion live forever, and the man is always anxious to step further into the deep of it".

Rauschenbach's first published work outside rocketry, "Spatial composition in old Russian art" (1975) and later "Spatial composition in painting" (1980, including world art) were dedicated to mathematical foundations of perspective in art. His mathematics prove the impossibility of rendering correct spatial perspective on a flat sheet. His studies of the difference between the material artwork and human perception of it indicated that perception differs with the subject of an image. Great artists deliberately distorted perspective, and the degree of distortion depends on the subject.

His theological essays, published in the 1990s, concentrate on the proof of Holy Trinity. This work, as well as studies of icons, earned him credits of Russian Orthodox Church.

Country: Russia. Bibliography: 474, 5919.

1915 January 18 - .
1963 June 1 - .
During 1965 - . Launch Vehicle: N1.
2001 March 27 - .

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