Sergei Pavlovich Korolev was the head Soviet rocket engineer and designer during the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s. A victim of Stalin's 1938 Great Purge, Korolev was imprisoned for almost six years, including some months in a Kolyma gulag. Following his release, he became a rocket designer and a key figure in the development of the Soviet’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) program.
Photo: Korolev and one of the space dog. This is an example of forged Korolev's signature.
In 1957, during the International Geophysical Year, Sputnik 1 was launched into space on October 4 and became the world’s first satellite placed in orbit. The actual development of Sputnik was performed in less than a month and Korolev personally managed the assembly. Then, the Soviets struck again with the launch of Sputnik II on November 3 carrying Laika, the first dog in space.