Military Review

Yuri Kondratyuk. An enthusiast who paved the way to the moon

In 1957, the first artificial satellite went to Earth orbit. From various studies and theoretically works, science has moved to practice. The first launch of the spacecraft and all subsequent programs were based on a variety of ideas and solutions, including those proposed several decades earlier. The theory of space flight has been studied by many specialists for a long time, and one of the participants in such work was the Russian and Soviet scientist Alexander Ignatievich Shargey, better known as Yury Kondratyuk.

Path to space

Alexander Shargey was born in 1897 in Poltava. For several reasons, the future scientist spent his early years at his grandmother’s house. In 1903, my father moved to St. Petersburg and took Alexander with him. In 1907, A. Shargay entered the gymnasium, where he studied for only a few years. In 1910, his father died, and he had to return to Poltava. After graduating from the Poltava gymnasium with a silver medal, the future theorist of space flight entered the mechanical department of the Petrograd Polytechnic Institute. However, studies did not last too long - just a couple of months, A. Shargey was drafted into the army.

Shortly after the call, a former student went to the school of ensigns. Having received the necessary education and new epaulets, A. Shargey went to the Turkish front, where he served until the spring of 1918. Not wanting to participate in the civil war, the ensign did not join the White movement and tried to return home. However, he subsequently made an unsuccessful attempt to leave the country.

Yuri Kondratyuk. An enthusiast who paved the way to the moon
Yu.V. Kondratyuk. Presumably, 30-s. Photo of Wikimedia Commons

Seeing the complex situation and knowing about some specific features of the time, A. Shargey preferred not to reveal his past - especially the military rank. In order to avoid possible problems, he, with the help of his stepmother, designed new documents. The future scientist became Yury Vasilyevich Kondratyuk 1900, born in Lutsk. It is under the new name that the researcher received a well-deserved fame.

From the beginning of the twenties, Y. Kondratyuk worked in various cities in the south of the country and performed a variety of duties - primarily related to equipment, its construction and maintenance. In the late twenties, he moved to Siberia, where he mastered the new profession of a specialist in working with grain and building the appropriate infrastructure.

Space pioneer

While serving in the army and in civilian enterprises related to solving purely practical issues of one kind or another, Y. Kondratyuk also studied the theory of space flight. At that time, rocket technology was taking its first steps and was not yet ready to enter interplanetary space. However, this output was impossible without theoretical calculations and justifications. Having become interested in rocket and space subjects, a mechanic without formal education began his studies.

The situation at the end of the last ten years of the last century, at a minimum, did not contribute to the active work of self-taught scientists. So, Y. Kondratyuk did not have access to the existing work on space issues, which led to special consequences. For example, not knowing about the calculations of K.E. Tsiolkovsky, Y. Kondratyuk independently derived the formula of jet propulsion, and also supplemented these calculations in a certain way. In the future, based on similar works, he was able to propose new ideas and a theoretical apparatus suitable for use in future projects.

In 1919, Y. Kondratyuk prepared his first full-time job. The manuscript entitled “Those Who Will Read to Build” included 144 pages describing the theoretical aspects of rocket technology, numerous formulas, as well as new proposals of various kinds. In his work, the scientist developed already known ideas and calculations, and also spoke with completely new proposals. As events of the subsequent decades have shown, without some ideas of Y. Kondratyuk, the development of astronautics could face serious problems.

Magnum opus of the scientist - the book "The Conquest of Interplanetary Spaces"

In 1925, a new work, On Interplanetary Travel, appeared, in which not only the theory of rocket movement was considered, but also the ways of its practical application for the benefit of science. At the beginning of next year, the Scientific and Technical Department of the Higher Council of National Economy instructed Professor Vladimir Petrovich Vetchinkin to study the work of Kondratyuk and present a conclusion. The professor came to the conclusion that the study of the enthusiastic scientist is of great interest, and it should be involved in the work being done. In addition, the famous scientist demanded to transfer the young specialist from the province to the capital.

Y. Kondratyuk continued the theoretical study of various issues, and according to the results of new research, he made adjustments to existing works. On the basis of previous manuscripts and new research in 1929, the book Conquest of Interplanetary Spaces was written. Already known ideas developed in it, and new ones were proposed. So, by the end of the twenties, the scientist was able to substantiate and work out a number of issues related to the design of spacecraft.

It should be noted that the work "Those who will read to build" for two decades remained a manuscript. It was first published only at the end of the thirties - after the more voluminous and important work “The Conquest of Interplanetary Spaces”. Nevertheless, in this case, this book was of great interest to scientists and engineers.

In the mid-sixties, the first manuscript of Yu.V. Kondratyuk was published in the collection Pioneers of Rocket Technology, edited by T.M. Melkumov. Soon the American agency NASA released a translation of this book. For obvious reasons, foreign specialists had not had information about all the work of their colleagues from Russia and the USSR before that time. From a new compilation, they learned, not without surprise, that some breakthrough ideas used by them at that time actually appeared several decades earlier.

Breakthrough in science

In his works of the tenth and twenties, Y. Kondratyuk proposed a number of new ideas. Some of them were in fact the development of already known solutions, while others were not previously encountered in scientific works. Knowing further history rocket technology and astronautics, it is not at all difficult to understand which of the ideas of the scientist were developed, and which turned out to be unsuitable for use in practice. Indeed, some decisions of Y. Kondratyuk turned out to be too complicated or not the most convenient, which, however, did not affect the correctness of others.

"Kondratyuk route" on the example of the flight scheme of the American Apollo 8 apparatus. NASA drawing

Back in the manuscript “To Those Who Will Read to Build,” the self-taught scientist derived his own method of jet propulsion, previously formulated by K.E. Tsiolkovsky. He also worked on a version of the construction of a multi-stage rocket with a liquid engine on a hydrogen-oxygen fuel pair. An engine combustion chamber has been proposed with an optimal fuel supply system and a highly efficient nozzle that allows for increased thrust.

The first major work also cited ideas that affected the way in which space flights were carried out. So, Y. Kondratyuk first proposed a so-called. perturbation or gravitational maneuver - the use of the gravitational field of a celestial body for additional acceleration or deceleration of a spacecraft. It was proposed to slow down the apparatus when descending to the Earth due to air resistance - this made it possible to dispense with engines and reduce fuel consumption.

Of particular interest is the proposal of Y. Kondratyuk regarding the optimal methodology for traveling to other celestial bodies. According to this idea, a device consisting of two parts should be sent to the planet or satellite. After entering the orbit of a celestial body, one of its aggregates must land, and the second must remain on its trajectory. For flight back, the landing module must be raised into orbit and docked with the second component of the complex. This technique solved the tasks in the simplest way and with minimal fuel consumption.

On the basis of some theoretical positions, the enthusiast has developed an optimal way of flight from the Earth to the Moon. In combination with a shared device, it allowed even to land and then return home. Subsequently, this trajectory was called "Kondratyuk highway". Moreover, it was used in several programs that included sending various spacecraft to the Moon.

The book "The Conquest of Interplanetary Spaces" received several prefaces at once - a pair of copyrights written at different times, as well as an editorial one. The author of the latter was Professor V.P. Vetchinkin. Literally on a couple of pages, a leading expert in his field not only spoke best of his colleague’s work, but also provided a list of completely new ideas and solutions proposed by him for the first time. In general, the book was designated as "the most comprehensive study of interplanetary travel of all those written in Russian and foreign literature until recently." Also, V. Vetchinkin noted the solution of a number of issues of paramount importance that have not yet been considered by other authors.

So, Y. Kondratyuk first proposed to increase the heat of combustion of various fuels through the use of ozone instead of "traditional" oxygen. For the same purpose, it was proposed to use solid fuel based on lithium, boron, aluminum, magnesium or silicon. These materials could be used to build combustible tanks, which, after the production of the fuel, would become fuel themselves. V. Vetchinkin noted that F.A. Zander, but Yu. Kondratyuk was ahead of him.

Progress cargo spacecraft is a modern alternative to the Y. Kondratyuk rocket and artillery complex. NASA Photos

Y. Kondratyuk first proposed the concept of a so-called. proportional liabilities and derived a formula that takes into account the effect of the mass of tanks on the total weight of the rocket. In addition, he proved that without a discharge or burning of empty tanks, a rocket could not leave the gravitational field of the Earth.

An enthusiastic scientist, noticeably ahead of his domestic colleagues, first proposed the idea of ​​a rocket plane - a rocket with wings capable of flying in the atmosphere. At the same time, he not only made a proposal, but also calculated the optimal design parameters and flight modes of such a device. Not only “rocket” and aerodynamic issues were worked out, but also the problem of thermal loads on the structure.

Finally, V.P. Vetchinkin noted the thoroughness of Yu.V. Kondratyuk when working on the issue of creating a so-called. The intermediate base is actually a space station. In particular, for stable behavior and exclusion of inhibition by the upper layers of the atmosphere, it was proposed to place it in the Moon's orbit, and not near the Earth. In addition, an original method of cargo delivery to such a base was proposed. For these tasks, a special rocket and artillery complex was proposed, as well as an optical tracking and control system.

Ideas for the future

Knowing the development of rocket and space technology in the 20th century, it is easy to understand which ideas of Y. Kondratyuk were implemented in their original form, which underwent serious modifications, and which did not find application and did not disappear from the pages of books. In fact, all the major players in the global space industry still enjoy the know-how of Y. Kondratyuk. At the same time, in some cases, there is a curious dependence: the further the development of technologies goes, the more the newest offers are not used.

The concept of a multi-stage rocket, which is now the basis of astronautics, was proposed before Y. Kondratyuk, but he also took part in its development. Oxygen-hydrogen engines also found application in various fields. The designs of the combustion chamber and nozzles proposed in the 1919 manuscript of the year were tested at the level of theory and in practice, and then refined and used in new projects.

Layout of the Mastodon granary in the Memorial Museum Center Yu.V. Kondratyuk, Novosibirsk. Photos of

Of particular importance for astronautics are the gravitational maneuver and the divided spacecraft for flights to other celestial bodies, first proposed by Y. Kondratyuk. Mankind has already sent dozens of automatic interplanetary stations into space, and it was the perturbation maneuver using the gravity of the Earth or other celestial bodies that was used to bring them to the required flight trajectories to the target. Also in the AMC sphere, a shared system with an orbital and a landing module is most actively used. A similar architecture was used in the lunar programs of several countries: the most famous example of this kind is the Apollo series of vehicles.

However, not all the ideas of Yu.V. Kondratyuk found use. First of all, the reason for this was the further development of science and technology. Certain proposals expressed in the writings of the enthusiast, were based on the level of technology of the tenth and twenties, which imposed the most serious limitations. The emergence and development of new technologies in the future made it possible to simplify the solution of a number of tasks in the space field.

In the book Conquest of Interplanetary Spaces, Y. Kondratyuk expressed fears that even a very rarefied atmosphere is able to quench the speed of the orbital station and lead to its fall, as a result of which such a complex should be placed in the Moon's orbit. However, in reality, the stations quietly work on the Earth's orbit. From time to time they are forced to carry out orbit correction, but this procedure has long been transferred to the category of simple routine procedures.

It was proposed to equip the "intermediate base" with the help of a sophisticated rocket and artillery complex based on a special weapon capable of launching rocket projectiles. In practice, such problems are solved using specialized transport spacecraft that are delivered into orbit using launch vehicles. This method is much simpler and more economical than the use of specialized complex tools.

It was suggested to monitor the station in orbit, including for the timely launch of a projectile with a load, with a telescope. The station was supposed to carry a giant metal mirror, and the cargo projectile was planned to be equipped with pyrotechnic torches. Fortunately, already in the thirties and forties, radar appeared, allowing you to track spacecraft without monstrous mirrors and telescopes.

Not only space

In the twenties, Yu.V. Kondratyuk changed several jobs and managed to master a number of specialties related to the design and operation of various mechanisms. At the end of the decade, he developed and built a special granary in Kamen-on-Ob. The wooden construction at 13, thousand tons of grain, was distinguished by comparative simplicity of construction, but at the same time it met all the requirements.

Monument at the alleged place of death of Y. Kondratyuk. Photo of Wikimedia Commons

However, in 1930, the responsible persons found violations during the construction of the elevator, as a result of which the designers and builders were accused of sabotage. After the trial, Y. Kondratyuk was sent to the closed design office of the coal industry, which worked in Novosibirsk. There the designer has developed several new methods for the construction of mines, promising samples of tooling and mechanization of enterprises. Some of these proposals were implemented in the form of projects or specific structures.

Even while working in a "sharashka", an enthusiastic scientist became interested in the topic of wind power plants. At the end of 1932, he and his colleagues developed their own version of such a complex, and with it won the competition of the People's Commissariat for Heavy Industry. At the request of the latter, the engineers were released early and transferred to Kharkov. In 1937, the construction of the first power station of Y. Kondratyuk started in Crimea, but it was not completed. The management of the industry decided to stop work on the subject of high-capacity wind power stations. However, the inventor continued the development of compact and relatively low-power systems of this kind.

It is known that in the mid-thirties Yu.V. Kondratyuk was called to the Jet Research Institute, but he refused such an offer. The reason for this was the need to continue work in the energy sector. According to others, the scientist feared that participation in missile projects for military purposes would cause an increased interest on the part of the security agencies, and the story of document substitution would be revealed.

In 1941, Y. Kondratyuk lived and worked in Moscow. Soon after the start of World War II, he voluntarily entered the people's militia. A middle-aged volunteer enlisted telephonist. Subsequently, he served in various communications units from various compounds. According to different sources, Yu.V. Kondratyuk died at the end of February 1942 during the fighting in the Bolkhovsky district of the Oryol region. At the alleged place of death of an outstanding scientist and designer monument is installed.


At the beginning of the 20th century, the entire rocket and space theme was kept only by enthusiasts who wanted to discover new horizons of science and technology. One of them was Alexander Ignatievich Shargay, better known as Yury Vasilievich Kondratyuk. Showing a great interest in promising topics, he spent a lot of necessary calculations and based on them offered a lot of important ideas. Moreover, not having access to other people's work in the same field, he independently derived all the necessary provisions and formulas.

At a certain period, Y. Kondratyuk stopped active work on the rocket and space subject, concentrating his efforts in other areas. However, his achievements interested his colleagues and were developed. A few decades after the publication of the main works of the enthusiastic scientist, all this led to the launch of the first artificial satellite of the Earth, habitable vehicles, etc. Without being directly involved in assembling and launching missiles, Y. Kondratyuk was able to make the most serious contribution to the general theoretical basis of the most important industry.

Based on:
Kondratyuk Yu.V. Conquest of interplanetary spaces. Novosibirsk, the publication of the author. 1929.
Pioneers of rocket technology: Kibalchich, Tsiolkovsky, Zander, Kondratyuk; selected works. M .: Science, 1964.

Subscribe to our Telegram channel, regularly additional information about the special operation in Ukraine, a large amount of information, videos, something that does not fall on the site:

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. Operator
    Operator 7 October 2018 10: 57
    A bust of Yuri Shargey / Kondratyuk is installed in the Gallery of International Space Glory in Alamogordo, USA.

    The Shargey / Kondratyuk moon landing organization plan was used by NASA in the Apollo program.
  2. Hole puncher
    Hole puncher 7 October 2018 11: 04
    Recently there was news that Voyager2 had reached heliopause and would soon leave the solar system, all thanks to the use of gravitational maneuver.
    1. Reptiloid
      Reptiloid 8 October 2018 09: 02
      Quote: Puncher
      Recently there was news that Voyager2 had reached heliopause and would soon leave the solar system, all thanks to the use of gravitational maneuver.

      I read on the Web that the observed trajectories of the "Pioneers" and "Voyagers" "are very different from the calculated ones, in particular, they move more slowly from the Sun. Something is stopping them from flying out of the Solar System! It is believed that dark matter. Indeed, without it, according to the calculations of experts, galaxies and their clusters could not exist !!!
  3. Cannonball
    Cannonball 7 October 2018 11: 26
    A few words about the "transformation" of Shargei into Kondratyuk.
    Before demobilization in March 1918, he fought on the Turkish front. After the October Revolution, as an officer of the tsarist army, he was mobilized into the White Army, but deserted from it. He lived in Kiev, but what he was doing during this period is not exactly known. Probably just "survived" in the "crucible of the Civil War", like millions of other people.
    At the end of 1919, Alexander again “fell” under mobilization. In order not to fight in the White Army, on the way from Kiev to Odessa, he fled from the military echelon, having lost all his documents. For some time he was hiding in a semi-legal position with close people in the town of Small Whiskey, near Kiev.
    When the Bolsheviks firmly established themselves in power, Alexander Shargei understood what threatened him with the past of the tsarist officer. At the insistence of his stepmother, the second wife of his father, Elena Petrovna Giberman, who was very fond of and respected by her stepson, Alexander Shargey accepted documents in the name of George (in Orthodox pronunciation - Yuri) Vasilyevich Kondratyuk, who was three years younger than Alexander.
    A few words about the man who gave his name to Alexander Shargey. The real Kondratyuk was born on August 13 (August 26 according to a new style) in 1900 in the city of Lutsk, Volyn province (Ukraine). He studied at Kiev University, and on March 1, 1921, died of pulmonary tuberculosis.
    His brother Vladimir Vasilyevich Kondratyuk taught at one of the Kiev schools, in which Alexander's half-sister, Nina Ignatievna Shargei, studied. Elena Petrovna persuaded Kondratyuk to transfer the documents of his deceased brother to Alexander. Only a few people knew this secret and kept it for many years.

  4. A. Privalov
    A. Privalov 7 October 2018 14: 42
    For several reasons, the future scientist spent his early years at his grandmother’s house.

    The parents of Shargey were persecuted by the tsarist secret police for participating in the student protest movement, and the mother was even arrested and subjected to gendarmerie by biased interrogations during pregnancy. As a result, she developed a mental illness and she was placed in a mental hospital for the mentally ill near the village of Malye Budishchi, where she spent the rest of her life. The future scientist was brought up in the house of his grandfather and grandmother — Bendikt Srulevich Shargey and Friedrich Aizikovna Rosenfeld.
    After his arrest in 1930, and until his death, he was never rehabilitated. Only 26 in March 1970, the judicial division in criminal cases of the Supreme Court of the RSFSR, by its definition No. OS-70-8, rehabilitated Yu. V. Kondratyuk for lack of corpus delicti. hi
  5. Antares
    Antares 8 October 2018 21: 41
    Out of respect for the most famous Poltava I will not argue with the definition
    Russian and Soviet scientist Alexander Ignatievich Shargey, better known under the name Yuri Vasilyevich Kondratyuk.

    Soviet scientist. (otherwise it’s all good Russian, bad Ukrainian again)
    Took the same surname as mine (forced of course)
    Judging by the description of everyone, the famous science fans in the USSR weren’t very happy. Korolev was nearly beaten, Glushko was sent, and Kondratyuk, too ... sadly, how much more they could have done if it had not been for persecution. The same Korolev would have lived longer and would have spent less nerves.
    Brilliant works. In his homeland there is also a monument, and stamps, anniversary coins, even on June 21, 2012 the Google logo was put up in his honor.
    His former colleague and fellow soldier devoted a lot of effort to restoring his good name, and later Boris Ivanovich Romanenko, engineer-designer of the Lavochkin Design Bureau, who after retiring, devoted himself to “space” journalism, thanks him too.
  6. d1975
    d1975 17 October 2018 22: 02
    The data where he lived and worked could be more accurately and completely written. Vokzalnaya Street in our village is named after him. School number 6 bears his name. It has a museum in his name. Previously, there was a museum at the Krylovsky elevator, when it was brought to shit by the shitmen. It works, but the format seems to have changed. Yes, and a lot of it connected with our village. Cosmonauts were invited to the holiday, it was patriotic and for life. The museum was created by director of school №6 Kosenko Maria Afanasevna. That's what you need to tell children about, and not shove phones the size of a volume of Pushkin. And do not forget to slap a minus to me. There is no longer a site, but God knows that if you write the truth minus 100%. The site is getting smaller. (