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Mikhail Kuzmich Yangel
2011 Stamp of Ukraine depicting the image of Mikhail Yangel and rocket
Born(1911-11-07)7 November 1911
Died25 October 1971(1971-10-25) (aged 59)
Resting placeNovodevichy Cemetery, Moscow
Engineering career
Practice nameMissile designer
AwardsLenin Prize (1960), USSR State Prize (1967), 4 Orders of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, medals

Mikhail Kuzmich Yangel (Russian: Михаил Кузьмич Янгель; 7 November 1911 – 25 October 1971), was a Soviet engineer and the leading missile designer in the Soviet Union.


Yangel was the son of a Russian political prisoner who had been deported to Siberia.[1][2]

Yangel's career started as an aviation engineer, after graduating from Moscow Aviation Institute in 1937. He worked with famous aircraft designers Nikolai Polikarpov and later, Artem Mikoyan. Then he moved to the field of ballistic missiles, where he first was in charge of guidance systems. As Sergei Korolev’s associate, he set up a rocket propulsion centre in Dnepropetrovsk in UkSSR which later formed the basis of his own OKB-586 design bureau in 1954. At first, Yangel’s facility served to mass-produce and further develop intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in which area Yangel was a pioneer of storeable hypergolic fuels. His bureau designed the R-12, R-16 and R-36, whose launch vehicle adaptations are known as Cosmos, Tsyklon and Dnepr respectively, which are still in use today. Yangel narrowly avoided death during the development of the R-16 in the 1960 Nedelin catastrophe.

Yangel's bureau was part of the Ministry of General Machine Building headed by Sergey Afanasyev.

For his outstanding work, Mikhail Yangel was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1960 and USSR State Prize in 1967. He was also awarded four Orders of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, and numerous medals. He died in Moscow in 1971.

Several notable places were named after Yangel:

A minor planet 3039 Yangel discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Zhuravlyova in 1978 is named after him.[3]



  1. ^ James J. Harford (1997). Korolev: how one man masterminded the Soviet drive to beat America to the moon. p. 392.
  2. ^ Soviet Literature. Foreign Languages Publishing House. 1984.
  3. ^ Lutz D. Schmadel (1978). P. Treiber (ed.). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Springer. p. 250. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-06615-7. ISBN 978-3-662-06617-1.