Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Grandfather of the modern rocket artillery was born not far from Poltava.

Alexander Zasyadko (1779 - 1837), was a Russian-Ukrainian gunner and specialist in rocketry, Lieutenant General (1829). He was born in a small village of Lyutenka about 70 km. north from Poltava. In 1797, Zasyadko graduated from the Artillery and Engineering School in Saint Petersburg (currently Mozhaysky Military Engineering-Space University). In 1799, he participated in the Italian campaign of the Russian army under the command of Aleksandr Suvorov, Russo-Turkish War of 1806-1812 and Russian-French of 1812. In 1815, Zasyadko began his work on creating military gunpowder rockets (see photo).
He constructed rocket-launching platforms, which allowed to fire in salvos (6 rockets at a time), and gun-laying devices. Zasyadko elaborated a tactics for military use of rocket weaponry. In 1820, Zasyadko was appointed head of the Petersburg Armory, Okhtensky Powder Factory, pyrotechnic laboratory and the first Higher Artillery School in Russia. In 1827, Zasyadko was in charge of Artillery Headquarters of the Russian army and took part in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829. His rockets were broadly used during the laying in siege and taking the fortress of Brailov (close to the present day Vinnytsya, Ukraine) in 1828 (see photo).

He organized rocket production in a special rocket workshop and created the first rocket sub-unit in the Russian army. In 1834, Zasyadko retired due to his illness. He died on May 27, 1837 in Kharkiv. The crater Zasyadko on the far side of the Moon is named after him. In Poltava Museum of the Aviation and Space there is a special exposition dedicated to this gifted engineer and gunner.