Chief Designer (2021-2022)

Chief Designer (2021-2022) explores Space Race era archives including National Security Agency (NSA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents and secret Soviet photographs of their Chief Designer. This exhibition and artist’s book traces the unlikely rise of Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov, a scientist and former prisoner of Kolyma Labour Camp who became head of the Soviet space programme. As Chief Designer of the soviet space program, he oversaw the design, construction, and deployment of Soviet rockets, including the R-7 Semyorka, the world’s first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Designed to deliver a payload of up to 5 metric ton, the weight of a Soviet thermonuclear warhead. The R-7 was used to inaugurate the space race with the launch of Sputnik-1. Korolyov was a dedicated researcher and astronautic engineer who is considered a pioneer of space travel. His research and life’s work was corrupted by leaders of the Soviet Union to create weapons of mass destruction. His true passion was space flight, which was only funded due to its success as propaganda. His complicated legacy as the Chief Designer of both long range ballistic missiles with thermonuclear capabilities and the birth of space flight will forever loom over humanity.

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