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Barmin, Vladimir Pavlovich
Russian chief designer. Chief Designer 1941-1993 of GSKB SpetsMash; pre-eminent Soviet designer of rocket launch complexes.

Born: 1909-03-17. Died: 1993-07-17.

Barmin completed his engineering degree at the Bauman MVTU (Moscow Higher Technical University) in 1935 and began work in the Kompresor Factory. By 1941 he was head of the design bureau that designed the Katyusha barrage rocket system that was used by Soviet forces to great effect in World War II. After the war he was assigned to develop the launch equipment for the Russian copies of German missiles. He went on to become the pre-eminent Soviet designer of rocket mobile launchers, fixed launch complexes, and missile silos. This culminated in the design and construction of the immense facilities for launch of the N1 and Energia super-boosters at Baikonur. Barmin also supervised design of the planned Soviet lunar base until that project was terminated in 1974. He received innumerable awards and decorations for his service to the Soviet Union in the missile and space race, and was named an Academician of the Academy of Sciences in 1966.


Barmin bureau Russian manufacturer of missile launchers, space launch facilities, and the proposed Soviet lunar base.

Country: Russia. Spacecraft: Vostok. Projects: Lunar L1. Agency: Barmin bureau. Bibliography: 445, 5140.
Photo Gallery


Summer 1958 - . Launch Vehicle: R-16.
  • Khrushchev conceives of use of silos for Soviet long range missiles - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Khrushchev, Korolev, Yangel.

    Khrushchev independently conceived of the idea of storing and launching ballistic missiles from subterranean silos. He called Korolev to his dacha in the Crimea. Korolev told him his idea was not feasible. He then called Barmin and Yangel. Barmin said he would study the idea. Yangel remained silent. Some time later Khrushchev’s son saw a drawing of the same concept in a US aerospace magazine. He informed his father, who ordered immediate crash development of the first generation of Soviet missile silos.

1961 January 5 - . Launch Vehicle: R-16.
  • State Commission Meeting - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Bushuyev, Glushko, Keldysh, Korolev, Rudnev, Semenov. Program: Vostok, Venera. Spacecraft: Vostok.

    Rudnev chaired the meeting, which first heard the failure analysis for the failed Mars launches on 10 and 14 October and the R-16 catastrophe on 24 October. All of these had been accelerated to coincide with Khrushchev's visit to the United Nations in New York, in Kamanin's view a criminal rush that led to the death of 74 officers and men in the R-16 explosion. Future plans were then reviewed. Launches of probes toward Venus were planned for 20-23 January, 28-30 January, and 8-10 February. Four Vostok manned spacecraft were completed, with first launch scheduled for 5 February and the second for 15-20 February.

1961 March 22 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok 8K72K.
  • Flight preparations - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Gagarin, Keldysh, Korolev, Nelyubov, Titov. Program: Vostok. Flight: Vostok 1.

    Between 10:00 and 12:00 Chief Designer of Launch Facilities Barmin meets with the cosmonauts. He reviews the launch mechanism. The rocket is suspended at the 'shoulders' of the strap-ons, on four swivelled supports. After the rocket has lifted 49 mm, it is free from these, and counterweights weighing dozens of tonnes will swing them back and away from the rising booster. At 12:00 Kamanin meets with Keldysh and Korolev. They agree with his position that the flight be announced as soon as the cosmonaut is safely in orbit.

1962 August 11 - . 08:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Vostok 8K72K.
  • Vostok 3 - . Call Sign: Sokol (Falcon ). Crew: Nikolayev. Backup Crew: Bykovsky, Volynov. Payload: Vostok 3KA s/n 5. Mass: 4,722 kg (10,410 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Bykovsky, Gagarin, Khrushchev, Kirillov, Kozlov, Frol, Nikolayev, Popovich, Smirnov, Ustinov, Volynov. Agency: RVSN. Program: Vostok. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Flight: Vostok 3. Spacecraft: Vostok. Duration: 3.93 days. Decay Date: 1962-08-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 363 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Mu-1. Apogee: 218 km (135 mi). Perigee: 166 km (103 mi). Inclination: 65.0000 deg. Period: 88.30 min.

    Joint flight with Vostok 4. The first such flight, where Vostok capsules were launched one day apart, coming within a few kilometers of each other at the orbital insertion of the second spacecraft. The flight was supposed to occur in March, but following various delays, one of the two Vostok pads was damaged in the explosion of the booster of the third Zenit-2 reconnsat in May. Repairs were not completed until August. Vostok 3 studied man's ability to function under conditions of weightlessness; conducted scientific observations; furthered improvement of space ship systems, communications, guidance and landing. Immediately at orbital insertion of Vostok 4, the spacecraft were less than 5 km apart. Popovich made radio contact with Cosmonaut Nikolayev. Nikolayev reported shortly thereafter that he had sighted Vostok 4. Since the Vostok had no maneuvering capability, they could not rendezvous or dock, and quickly drifted apart. The launches did allow Korolev to offer something new and different, and gave the launch and ground control crews practice in launching and handling more than one manned spacecraft at a time. The cosmonaut took colour motion pictures of the earth and the cabin interior. Additional Details: here....

1966 December 24 - . LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K.
  • First session of State Commission for the L1 - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Chelomei, Mishin, Tyulin. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1, Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 2, Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 3. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1, Soyuz 7K-OK.

    Tyulin chairs the meeting. Mishin, Chelomei and Barmin brief the status of the spacecraft, booster, and launch site. There is much to be done in order to fly cosmonauts around the moon by 7 November 1967 - the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. The first manned flight around the moon is planned for 26 June 1967. To achieve this, four flights of the L1 without a crew have to be completed first. The UR-500K booster should be capable of launching the L1 on a direct flight around the Moon and back to the earth. But since the UR-500K has not yet flown, and its 19-tonne low earth payload has not bee verified, Mishin plans to follow the podsadka scenario. The UR-500K will place in low earth orbit an L1 without a crew, and then a Soyuz booster will place a manned Soyuz 7K-OK Soyuz in orbit. The Soyuz crew will rendezvous and dock with the L1, and the crew for the circumlunar mission will spacewalk through open space from the 7K-OK into the L1. The spacecraft will then separate. The 7K-OK returns to earth, while the L1 is boosted on a circumlunar trajectory. After 4 to 6 launches of the UR-500K to verify its reliability and payload margins, it should be possible to make the direct flight to the moon on subsequent versions. For the time being it is necessary to develop both versions in parallel.

1966 December 31 - .
  • Second session of the L1 State Commission - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Chelomei, Mishin, Ryazanskiy, Spitsa, Zakharov. Program: Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 1, Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 2, Soyuz 7K-L1 mission 3. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1.

    Mishin, Chelomei and Barmin report that the spacecraft, booster, and launch facilities are ready. The first unmanned launch of the L1 is set for the end of January, with the arrival of the members of state commission at Tyuratam on 10-12 January.

    The commission then considers reports on improvements needed for command, control, and recovery of manned lunar spacecraft. General Spitsa and Chief Designer Ryazanskiy list needed improvements to tracking and communications stations. These will cost more than 100 million roubles, including 50 million to equipment tracking ships. Tracking stations at Yevpatoria and Ussuriysk will require extensive new equipment for control of lunar spacecraft. Officers from TsNII-30 report on enhancements required for search and recovery forces. Due to the worldwide requirement, this can no longer be handled by the VVS alone - naval, long-range aviation, and communications forces need to be involved. Returning lunar ships will be targeted for landing on Soviet territory, but there is a great probability in the event of guidance problems of a splashdown in the Indian Ocean or a landing in Iran, Pakistan, or India. The VVS only has very limited capability for sea search and rescue. On 21 December Marshal Zakharov split manned spacecraft recovery responsibility between the VVS and VMF. To enable search and recovery of spacecraft at sea or on land outside of Soviet territory will require 12,000 to 15,000 personnel and dozens of ships, aircraft, and helicopters. A new net of ground-based radio stations and direction finders will also be needed. This will cost hundreds of millions of roubles to implement. The cost must be borne - it is clearly unacceptable that a Soviet crew fly to the moon and back, only to perish on return to earth due to inadequate recovery forces. A special subcommittee under Marshal Rudenko is named to handle the matter. Kamanin reports on training plans for lunar spacecraft. Crew training will have to begin in January 1967 for crews to complete the five-month syllabus in time for the planned flight dates. L1 commanders must be pilots with prior spaceflight experience. The second cosmonaut need not have flown before. Training of L1 and 7K-LOK crews must be carried out in parallel and separately in order to meet schedules. Mishin, the Ministry of Public Health, and Kamanin should name the crews for thee flights within five days in order to make schedule.

1967 September 27 - . 22:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC81/23. LV Family: Proton. Launch Vehicle: Proton-K/D. FAILURE: First stage -1 RD-253 failed, resulting at T+67 sec in deviation from flight path.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 4L - . Payload: Soyuz 7K-L1 s/n 4L. Mass: 5,390 kg (11,880 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Mishin. Agency: RVSN. Program: Lunar L1. Class: Manned. Type: Manned spacecraft. Spacecraft Bus: Soyuz. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-L1. Decay Date: 1967-09-28 .

    First attempted circumlunar flight. The UR-500K failed, crashing 50 to 60 km from the launch pad. The L1 radio beacon was detected 65 km north of the Baikonur aerodrome by an Il-14 search aircraft. An Mi-6 helicopter recovered the capsule and had it back to the cosmodrome by 13:30. Mishin's record: of seven launches of the Soyuz and L1, only one has been successful. Film of the launch shows that one engine of the first stage failed. Mishin still wants to launch the next L1 by 28 October. The other chief designers oppose the move. Barmin says at least five months are needed to diagnose the cause of the failures and makes fixes to ensure they don't happen again. Nevertheless the leadership sides with Mishin, and Barmin is ordered to prepare the left Proton pad for a launch within 30 to 40 days.

1968 February 27 - .
  • Soviet on plan through 1975 for automated probes to the moon and planets. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Keldysh, Tereshkova. Spacecraft: DLB Lunar Base, Luna Ye-8, Luna Ye-8-5.

    Keldysh heads a Soviet on plans through 1975 for automated probes and space research of the moon and planets. Barmin attends, his interest being the relation of this work to his lunar base. Kamanin finds the plan not well thought out... Tereshkova sees Kamanin and tells him she cannot handle the stress of both political demands on her time and cosmonaut training. She wants Kamanin's assistance to get her out of political tasks.

1968 October 22 - .
  • Soyuz 2/3 State Commission. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Glushko, Keldysh, Kirillov. Program: Soyuz. Flight: Soyuz 3. Soyuz 2/3 State Commission. All the 'grey eminences' are there - Keldysh, Barmin, Glushko, Kirillov, etc. There are a huge number of physicians - 22 from the VVS, 100 from Minzdrav - all to check the single cosmonaut..

1969 January 27 - . Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Soviet of Chief Designers considers N1 cancellation - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei, Barmin, Chelomei, Keldysh, Mishin, Serbin, Tyulin. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Aelita satellite, LK, Mars 5NM, Soyuz 7K-LOK.

    Afanasyev and Keldysh chaired the unusual and extraordinary Soviet of the chief designers. Mishin opened with an emotional plea not to cancel the N1. He justified the delays and failures by saying that he had not been given sufficient budget to conduct necessary experimental and qualification tests of systems before flight. Additional Details: here....

1969 February 9 - . Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Final meeting held to review the N1 before the launch. - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Krylov, Kurushin, Mishin. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LK, Soyuz 7K-LOK.

    Marshal Krylov, Commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces, headed the meeting. The conference room was mobbed - many unfamiliar faces were in attendance - everyone wanted to witness the historic event. General Kurushin, Commander of Baikonur, stated that he was against proceeding with the launch, due to the many unresolved technical issues, unless he could somehow be persuaded otherwise. He pointed out that Mishin had made a large number of changes to the N1 to increase its payload. However these at the same time negatively impacted the booster's reliability. Additional Details: here....

1969 May 29 - .
  • N1 State Commission - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Afanasyev, Sergei, Barmin, Bushuyev, Chelomei, Keldysh, Mishin, Nadiradze, Okhapkin, Pashkov, Smirnov, Tyulin, Yangel. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: Aelita satellite, LK, Soyuz 7K-L1A, Soyuz 7K-LOK.

    Over two days a State Commission reviewed all of the conclusions of the N1 3L failure investigation and the readiness of N1 5L for flight. All of the fixes identified to remedy the 3L failure had been incorporated into 5L. It was felt that the behaviour of the systems in fire conditions were understood and appropriate measures had been taken. The wiring had been rerouted and insulated. Barmin wanted the system not to shut down any engines under any conditions during the first 15-20 seconds of flight, so that the booster would clear the pad and there would be no risk of the pad's destruction. But there was no time to develop such measures before the 5L launch; it could only be added in vehicle 6L. Additional Details: here....

1974 August 14 - . Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Glushko meets with TsKBEM staff - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Glushko, Korolev. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LK, Soyuz 7K-LOK.

    He solicited their support in the reorganization and new projects for the bureau. Glushko was sartorially perfect, and had an aristocratic air, never using the familiar forms of address in Russian. He only loosened up a little in the last years of his life. He was a nitpicker, correcting Russian syntax in documents. He was capable of clear logic but did not have the intuitive genius of Korolev (according to Barmin, while Korolev did not look after his appearance, he possessed a pure 'Russian' intelligence).

1975 January 1 - .
  • Vulkan Lunar Base - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Bushuyev, Glushko, Mishin. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LEK, Lunokhod LEK, LZhM, LZM.

    Mishin and Barmin, using budget provided by the Ministry of Defence, had designed a lunar base for launch by the N1 in 1969-1974. After the cancellation of the N1, Glushko pleaded with the Military-Industrial Commission for the work to be taken from Barmin and be given to NPO Energia. Glushko's alternative, Vulkan-launched base was elaborated within his bureau. Bushuyev developed spacecraft for the base. Prudnikova developed a modular lunar city, with living modules, factory modules, a nuclear reactor power module, and a lunar crawler with a 200 km radius of action. The project work was only finally cancelled after the Apollo-Soyuz flights.

1993 July 17 - .
  • Death of Vladimir Pavlovich Barmin - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin. Russian chief designer. Chief Designer 1941-1993 of GSKB SpetsMash; pre-eminent Soviet designer of rocket launch complexes..

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