QUOTE (Bob Shaw @ May 16 2006, 05:22 AM)
Excellent information, thanks!
The Soviet program is fascinating, but not easy to study. But it is a fun detective story,the perfect passtime for a retired scientist. Here's my Kosmos 101 guide:
1. Read Russian. That's a must, or you will just be reading a rehash of a couple original sources, copied over and over again -- someone who read an article by someone who read Chertok's books!
2. Pretty much everything you see comes from a few Russian sources, so start with those: Boris Chertok's books, the Korolev biographies by Keldysh and Raushenbakh, Pravda for the very early stuff (1957-1965 or so) but after that the scientific literature (Cosmic Research, Artificial Earth Satellites), Glushko's Encyclopedia, the big RKK Energiya books. NASA has translated versions of some of this. Cosmic Research is in English, but is not aimed at the layman. Novosti Kosmonavtiki has printed a lot of interesting historical articles, and they've also been able to answer a few obscure questions, as have people on their Russian-language space forum.
3. Soviet technical books on rocketry and spacecrafts can be very valuable. They had their own way of doing things and their own jargon. They love acronyms, so get use to reading about RNs and KAs and SAs and IPs. They have as many words for rocket as an Innuit has for snow! Raushenbakhs technical books are good, Gleb Maximov's thesis on spacecraft design, Popov's book on reentry vehicles, the various mission-specific books (Luna atlas, Venus atlas, Surface of Venus, Surface of Mars, Vega, Phobos, etc), some of which are available in English but most not.
After that, things get interesting. I've been lucky to earn the trust of most of the remaining Russian scientists. At this point they know I'm not researching yet another tell-all about how crappy the Soviet space program was, and they know I've studied their publications and work. If you want to know what was in the 2MV Venus landing capsule, there is only one
source of information, the men who built it. Nothing is in print. I've also gotten to know exactly what is where in the museums and institutes in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and that's allowed me to hire TASS and private photographers to explore and photograph things.
One fellow managed to get into NPO Pilyugin and photographed a lot of stuff. On the signs and posters were tables of obscure stuff, jargon and acronyms for how guidance systems worked at different times, along with the devices on shelves. It was perfect timing, because I had just read an old rocketry book that had all this stuff in it, so it was like "Ah, that's an eletrochemicial integrator, that's an RC-chain integrator, there is the R-7 gyro horizon!". Fun stuff.