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Budnik, Vasili Sergeyevich
Russian engineer. First Deputy Designer of KB Yuzhnoye 1954-1972.

Born: 1913-06-24. Died: 2007-03-08.

Entered Minsk Architect-Construction Technical School in 1932,graduated from Moscow Aviation Institute in 1940 with honors. Worked at Ilyushin's design bureau from 1940-1943, then assigned to the new NII-1 to work on rocket technology. Worked in Germany recovering Nazi rocket technology in 1945-1946. Worked with Korolev on the R-1, R-1A, and R-2 derivatives of the German V-2 missile. From 1947-1951, a Deputy Chief Designer under Korolev. In 1952 assigned to the new R-1 factory at Dnepropetrovsk as Chief Constructor of the Factory. From 1972, following retirement from industry, worked as an instructor at the Dnepropetrovsk branch of the Ukrainian Institute of Mechanics.



On June 24, 2013 there will be the centenary of birth of one of the founders of the Ukrainian rocket and space engineering - Vasiliy Budnik, Chief Designer of the Factory ? 586 between 1951-1954. (since 1966 – Yuzhny machine-building plant (Yuzhmash)), First Deputy Chief Designer of Yuzhnoye SDO between 1954-1970, Deputy Head of Dnepropetrovsk Division of Institute of Mechanics under the USSR Academy of Sciences between 1972-1980, Deputy Director of the Institute of Engineering Mechanics under the Academy of Sciences of the USSR between 1980-1988, Doctor of Engineering Science, professor, member of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, Hero of Socialist Labour, Lenin Prize winner, bearer of many orders and medals of the USSR and Ukraine.


V.S. Budnik was born on June 24 (June 11 in the old style) 1913 in Semenovka village of Chernigov province (nowadays regional center Semenovka of Chernigov region). He was the third son in the family of Budniks: the village agronomist Sergey Vasilievich and housewife Emiliya Iosifovna (there were five children altogether in their family – four sons and a daughter).

In 1926 the family moved to Minsk where in 1928 Vasiliy finished seven-year school and entered the Minsk civil engineering and architecture training school.

His work activity started in February 1932 in the construction organization «Military construction site ? 53» in Minsk, where Vasiliy Budnik as a graduate of the training school (in the specialty of Concrete structures) was employed as a building technician. In September 1933 he was transferred in the same position to the Moscow trust-company Myasokhladstroy (Building of refrigerating installations to store meat), and in December was appointed the foreman at the construction of the big cold-store facility in Moscow.

The next year Vasiliy Budnik by choice broke off his up-and-coming architecture and building career – he took a great interest in aviation. In September 1934 having successfully passed the admission exams, he became the student of the Moscow Aviation Institute. From his first year like many other students he managed to combine learning with parachuting and flying activities in the MAI aeroclub. In December 1934 Vasiliy Budnik, having finished the school of glider flying, was certified as an instructor of a glider pilot. Later on he also finished the flying school in the Central aeroclub in Tushino, became instructor pilot and trained three groups of students. He had flown thousands of hours on gliders and aircrafts, several times participated in air shows in Tushino.

In 1940 Vasiliy Budnik graduated with distinction from Moscow Aviation Institute as a mechanic engineer majoring in Aircraft armament. As a holder of honors degree he enjoyed the right to choose the place of employment and in April the same year joined the Design Bureau of Menzhinskiy Aviation plant, headed by already noted Sergey Ilyushin. There Vasiliy Budnik worked till July 1943, engaged in the arming with projectiles of the strike fighter IL-2 that became famous during the war.

In 1943 as he personally requested he was transferred to Reactive Scientific-Research Institute (in February 1944 renamed into NII-1) under the factory ?55 of the People's Commissariat of the Aircraft Industry, where Yuriy Pobedonostsev, one of the pioneers of the rocket industry, was heading the activities to develop the projectiles. Here, in the Design Bureau of the renowned aircraft designer M.R. Bisnovat, the team of designers, headed by Budnik, suggested the number of original units to fire projectiles from the attack aircraft, developing the strike fighter powered by the rocket engine.

In May 1945, when supported by Y. Pobedonostsev, he joined the Special Soviet Commission to study the captured German rockets in Germany. There he and future prominent rocket builders: S. Korolev, V. Glushko, A. Isayev, N. Pilyugin, G. Tyulin, B. Chertok, V. Mishin and others, became familiar with German rocketry that was a trophy of war captured by the Soviet troops. Budnik was one of the principal compilers of the reference book and organizers of the display of German rocketry in Berlin. After the formation of the special Institute Nordhausen, headed by General L.M. Gaydukov and S. Korolev as Chief Engineer, Budnik became head of one of its subdivisions – Sommerda facility, where assembly & testing technologies of V-2 rockets and their units were re-established.

Budnik returned from Germany only in December in 1946 to join the new place of employment. In September he was transferred from NII-1 to the NII-88 newly-formed in the Kaliningrad (Moscow area) leading institute on scientific research, development and testing of the burgeoning rocket & space industry in the USSR. As a lead engineer and deputy head of Department 3, headed by S.P. Korolev, he was involved in development and testing of the first Soviet long-range ballistic missiles – R-1, R-2, R-5. In April 1950 on the basis of the Department ?3 of the NII-88, the Development Design Bureau ?1 (OKB-1) was founded with S.P. Korolev as Chief Designer and V. Budnik as a Head of Engineering Department.

When SS -1 rocket was adopted, the idea of its serial production came up. Budnik was enrolled in the Commission headed by Minister of Armaments D.F. Ustinov to select the factory to start serial production of rockets. Having inspected a number of sites, Budnik suggested the Dnepropetrovsk automobile plant (DAZ), which was under construction at that time. Following the governmental regulation to change the line of business for DAZ into State Union Factory ?586 to manufacture rocketry, in July 1951 Budnik was appointed Chief Designer of the Factory ?586 and head of newly created serial DB (Department 101). In August same year Vasiliy Sergeevich brought “Moscow special mission” to Dnepropetrovsk - rocket engineers from OKB-1 and propulsion experts from Glushko's OKB-456 – 25 people altogether, whom he picked for transfer to the Factory ? 586. These specialists together with former automobile designers made up the core of the new SKB.

Despite the incredibly hard, intense conditions, young team of DB, headed by Budnik had achieved first success in serial production of rocket R-1 and later R-2. In the end of 1952 without putting aside the main task, small team of SKB designers, under the direction and with immediate participation of Vasiliy Budnik, set to develop the preliminary design of the essentially new missile R-12, powered by the high-boiling propellants (storable) and driven by the autonomous control system. Results of the scientific & research activities to develop R-12 rocket, conducted earlier in NII-88 under the supervision of M.K. Yahgel, were passed on to Factory ?586 as ordered by the Minister of Armaments D.F. Ustinov.

In this way V.S. Budnik, who took charge of the R-12 preliminary design in Dnepropetrovsk and M.K.Yangel, who dealt with development testing of R-12 and development of tactical missile R-11 in Moscow-area Kaliningrad, initiated the implementation of the new area of the national rocket engineering.

The contribution that Budnik had made in establishment and elaboration of the educational institutions, preparing specialists for rocket & space industry cannot be overestimated. Back in early 1950s jointly with L.V. Smirnov, director of Factory ?586, he initiated the applied-physics faculty in Dnepropetrovsk State University, participated in establishment of Mechanical technical school, training specialists for the factory, DB and the whole rocket & space industry of the country. For a number of years he delivered lectures on special courses to the students of applied physics faculty, raising many prominent scientists and specialists of the rocket engineering.

After ten years of teaching in 1962 upon the application of Board of Studies of the DSU and by the decision of State Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles under the USSR Ministry of Higher and Secondary Education V. Budnik was conferred the academic degree of professor at the department of New technologies course of the DSU Applied Physics faculty.

Governmental regulation issued in February 1953 «legalized» the design works on R-12 missile started on Budnik's initiative in the SKB of the Factory ? 586. Moreover, in April 1954 independent Special Design Bureau ? 586 was founded on the basis of the factory's SKB to develop new generation strategic missiles, the fact that ended S.P.Korolev's monopoly in missile production. In July same year M.K. Yangel was appointed Chief Designer and Head of OKB -586, V.S Budnik became his First Deputy. For more years to come the factory and design bureau became mutually dependent entities, and this productive tandem turned into the country's leading Design Office to develop ballistic missile complexes that established the country's nuclear shield. The first jointly built missile R-12 gave the foundation to the Soviet Army's new branch of armed forces -strategic rocket forces.

For 17 years Vasiliy Budnik together with Mikhail Yangel have developed and consolidated OKB-586 (Yuzhnoye SDO since 1966). Yangel charged his First Deputy with supervision over the design departments. Under the leadership and with immediate participation of Budnik, strategic medium-class rockets of essentially new design R-12 and R-14, world's first intercontinental heavy liquid-propellant ballistic missile R-16 were designed and developed.

These missiles with modifications R-12U, R-14U and R-16U, designed to be silo-launched, were the first generation of missiles developed in OKB-586 (Yuzhnoye SDO).

In mid 1960s M.K. Yangel appointed Budnik supervisor over the development of mobile rocket complex RT-20P with 8K99 rocket. It was designed to operate from self-propelled launcher (tank) inside the transport-launch canister and to be launched from the random point across the vast territory of the USSR, unknown to the potential enemy. The development flight tests under the technical supervision of Budnik was about to draw to the successful end, but military authorities turned out to be unprepared to operate such one-of-a-kind rocket (Stage 1– used solid propellant, Stage 2 was powered by the liquid one). Further on a lot of technical know-hows of 8 ? 99 rocket were implemented in new designs of Yuzhnoye SDO. This missile for the first time employed the cold-launch technique with the missile being ejected from the transport-launch canister through the help of a solid-propellant gas generator prior to main engine ignition that has become the trademark of the subsequent developments of Yuzhnoye SDO.

Budnik's name is also linked to the development of second generation heavy missile R-36 (8K67), which was competing with strong rival – UR-200 rocket, developed in V.N. Chelomei's OKB-52. Country's leaders picked Yangel's R-36. One of the main arguments in its favor was the first successful launch at the maximal range of 14000 km, unattainable for R-200. It was audacious decision – 13th (!) launch under the flight qualification test program with 6:6 ratio of successful and failed launches – was suggested by Budnik and supported by Yangel.

Rocket R-36 had 3 modifications. Its orbital version (missile reference number 8K69) was designed to serve as a perfect surprise for the potential enemy, when re-entry vehicle engaged the target from the trajectory of the Earth's satellite from any direction. Its another modification (missile reference number 8 ? 67 ?) was the country's first strategic rocket with separable MIRV, carrying several warheads.

Later third-generation missile R-36M (15A14) – the world's most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile - was developed on the basis of R-36. R-36M features cold-launch technique, being ejected from the transport-launch canister and carries Multiple Independently targetable Re-entry Vehicles.

V.S. Budnik was also directly involved in Yuzhnoye's space launchers development. On the basis of rocket R-12 Kosmos launcher (11K63) was developed, the one that orbited DS-2 – the first spacecraft ever developed in OKB-586 and a series of Kosmos satellites. More powerful launcher 11K65 (Interkosmos) to orbit spacecraft under the international Intercosmos program was developed on the basis of rocket R-14.

In the late 1960s under the leadership of V.Budnik the preliminary design documents for Cyclone family of launch vehicles were developed derived from the second generation missiles – 11 ? 67 (Cyclone-2 ?), 11 ? 69 (Cyclone-2) and 11 ? 68 (Cyclone-3).

High level and large volume of scientific and engineering activities held in OKB-586 (Yuzhnoye SDO), developing the state-of-the-art rocket and space technology under the leadership of V.S. Budnik, were acknowledged by his well-earned academic regalia. In 1960 he was conferred a degree of Doctor of Engineering sciences, in 1964 he was elected a corresponding member, in 1967 – academician of Academy of sciences of Ukrainian Socialist Republic (in the specialty of Mechanics, Mechanical Engineering).

In late 1967 - early 1968 Yuzhnoye SDO faced big structural adjustments: the existing complexes were restructured (or united) into the special DB. V.F. Utkin became the First Deputy General Designer and General Director. Budnik, retaining the position of the First Deputy General Designer of Yuzhnoye SDO, was also appointed Chief Designer and Head of newly formed DB-1 – design bureau to develop missiles, launch vehicles and warheads.

In October 1970, following the appointment of V.F. Utkin Yuzhnoye SDO General Designer and General Director due to illness of M.K.Yangel new structural adjustments ensued. DB-1 was disbanded (independent design complexes renewed), and Budnik was appointed Deputy Designer of Yuzhnoye SDO.

In March 1972 following the order of the Ministry of General Machinery of the USSR Budnik was transferred to the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, to the Dnepropetrovsk Division of Institute of Mechanics, headed by V.A. Lazaryan. He was put in charge of the aircraft integrated tests department in the position of Deputy Division Head. In 1980 Institute of Engineering Mechanics (IEM) under the Academy of Sciences of the USSR stemmed from the Dniepropetrovsk Division of Institute of Mechanics with V.V. Pilipenko at the head. Between 1980 and 1988 Budnik was his Deputy and headed the department of integrated research. He was vigorously helping in realization of many problems: construction of new buildings for the IEM, creation of the Special Technology Design Bureau and pilot production in the framework of the IEM, equipping of the computer facility with new hardware, consolidation and elaboration of all subdivisions of the Institute. After 1988 he submitted resignation from his managerial positions for personal reasons and became technical advisor under the directorate of the IEM, and since 1998 – chief research associate.

V.S.Budnik applied a lot of efforts to gradually turn the Division of Institute of Mechanics into the full-fledged Institute of Engineering Mechanics that would mainly deal with challenges in development of new designs of strategic missiles, launch vehicles and spacecraft. He supervised the optimization of the principal design parameters of liquid- and solid-propellant missiles, calculation of their key specifications, evaluation of application efficiency, and response of optimization to the change in various initial data. Obtained research results were used for joint with Yuzhnoye SDO computations, in particular for launch vehicle 11 ? 77 (Zenit) that was in development in 1980s, for optimal design of new missile complexes. Research area and methodological approaches in system researches of rocket & space technology, developed by Budnik, are still in high demand.

Vasiliy Budnik for many years was a professor of Dnepropetrovsk State University, successfully combining scientific activities with educational. Under the leadership of V. Budnik several doctoral and a number of candidate dissertations have been prepared. V.S. Budnik is the author of four monographs and 265 research papers, co-author of about forty inventions, most of them have been reduced to practice. His scientific studies are based on the results of methods, developed to implement optimal design for rocket complexes, on the analysis of efficiency and reliability of complicated engineering systems, on the development of new technologies for rocket and space systems. Thanks largely to productive organizational and scientific activities of the NASU academician V.S. Budnik the Institute of Engineering Mechanics, which in 1991 was granted the status of dual subordination - under the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and State Space Agency of Ukraine, became the Ukraine's leading aerospace research center (counterpart of the Russian TsNIImash).

Vasiliy Sergeevich Budnik had lived long, full of hard creative work, happy life, leaving this world on March 8, 2007, aged 94. He was buried on Zaporozhskoye cemetery in Dnepropetrovsk.

Vera Ivanovna Budnik had been his spouse and his second self for more than 65 years - brilliant, intelligent, talented woman, who had directed a lot of her energy to build safe and loving household for her noted husband. Together they have raised three wonderful sons – Alexander, Mikhail and Sergey, who followed the footsteps of his father and became specialists in the aerospace engineering.

Labour achievements of Vasiliy Sergeevich Budnik– Soviet and Ukrainian rocket engineer trailblazer – were awarded with high state prizes of the USSR and Ukraine, numerous medals and titles.



List of awards (orders, titles, medals, prizes, decorations) given to V.S. Budnik


Medal for Labour Valour (1941), Medal for Valorous Labour during the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 (1945), Medal «Commemoration of the 800th anniversary of Moscow» (1948), Red Banner of Labour order (1956), Lenin order and gold medal «Hammer and Sickle» of the Hero of Socialist Labour (1959), Lenin Prize winner (1960), Order of Lenin (1961), jubilee medal «Commemoration of 60th anniversary of S.P.Korolev» (1966), commemorative jubilee medal of Gasodynamic Laboratory – Experimental Design Office (GDL-OKB) to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the enterprise (1969), jubilee medal to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Y.O. Paton (1970), Medal for Valorous Labour. Commemoration of the 100th anniversary of V.I.Lenin (1970), jubilee medal «25 years of State Central Range» (Kapustin Yar, 1971), jubilee medal «30 years since the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945» (1975), order of Red Banner of Labour (1976), Yangel Medal from Federation of cosmonautics of the USSR (1981), jubilee medal of the Yuzhnoye SDO to commemorate the 70th anniversary of M.Yangel (1981), Yangel Prize of Academy of Sciences of Ukrainian Socialist Republic (1982), title of Honoured Science Worker of Ukrainian Socialist Republic (1983), jubilee medal «40 years since the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945» (1985), medal «Veteral of Labour» (1985), Korolev Medal from the Federation of cosmonautics of the USSR (1986), jubilee medal of the Yuzhnoye SDO to commemorate the 80th anniversary of M.K. Yangel (1991), jubilee medal «Rocket and space center. Ukraine. Dnepropetrovsk» (1994), jubilee medal «50 years since the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945» (1995), Order of Merit Third Class (1998), jubilee medal «80 years of NASU» (1998), badge of National Space Agency of Ukraine «Veteran of Ukraine's space sector» (? 1, 2001), badge of National Space Agency of Ukraine «Honorary member of space branch of Ukraine» (2003), Dnepropetrovsk commemorative medal «For the service to the city» (2003), badge of the Ukraine's Ministry of Defense «Valour and honour» (2003), Tsiolkovskiy badge from Rosaviacosmos (2003), order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise Fifth Class (2004), Yangel Medal from Yuzhnoye SDO (2004), title of Honoured veteran of Yuzhnoye State Design Office (2006), Honorary freeman of Dnepropetrovsk (2006), Yuzhmash medal to commemorate the 100th anniversary of A.M. Makarov (2006).

Country: Russia. Bibliography: 475.

1913 June 24 - .
  • Birth of Vasili Sergeyevich Budnik - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Budnik. Russian engineer. First Deputy Designer of KB Yuzhnoye 1954-1972..

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