NASA completes publication of Boris Chertok's rockets and people memoir series

February 16, 2012

NASA's History Program Office has released the fourth volume of the English translation of Russian space pioneer Boris Chertok's highly acclaimed memoirs, Rockets and People: The Moon Race.

Much has been written in the West on the history of the Soviet but few have read direct first-hand accounts of the men and women who were behind the many Russian accomplishments in exploring space. The memoirs of academician Chertok, who worked under the legendary Sergey Korolev, fill that gap.

Covering the dramatic years of the Soviet human space program from 1968-1974, this fourth volume addresses the development of the mammoth N-1 booster – the Soviet competitor to the U.S. Saturn V moon . Chertok also discusses the origins of the Soviet space station program, from Salyut to Mir. In addition, he examines the tragic Soyuz 11 mission and provides an overview of the birth of the Energiya-Buran space shuttle program. His account provides a fascinating inside look at the political, technological, and personal conflicts at a time when the Soviet space program was at its zenith.

From 2001 until his death in December 2011 at age 99, Chertok worked with translators and series editor professor Asif Siddiqi, who is associate professor of history at Fordham University, N.Y., and a leading expert on the Soviet space program. Chertok re-organized the material, and made substantial additions and corrections, with the goal of making the NASA-published English language edition the definitive version of his memoirs. Siddiqi annotated all four volumes to make the complexities of the Soviet space program and the intricacies of Russian culture clear to an English-speaking audience.

"This book is not merely the culmination of a decade of work by the author and editorial team, it is a fascinating and highly readable insight into the Soviet space program and the all too human people who brought us the space race," said NASA Chief Historian Bill Barry.

For more biographical information about Chertok, visit:

To download the publication free of charge, visit:

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