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Russia’s lead spacecraft designer & architect of ISS modules dies due to Covid-19

Russia’s lead spacecraft designer & architect of ISS modules dies due to Covid-19
Yevgeny Mikrin, a top scientist behind Russia’s manned spaceflight program and a contributor to the International Space Station designs, succumbed to the coronavirus in a Moscow hospital, the Academy of Sciences said.

Mikrin, who was due to turn 65 this year, has passed away “in the prime of life,” President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) Alexander Sergeev told the media on Tuesday, calling him an “outstanding scholar” and “a very bright man.”

The scientist, who served as a chief designer for Russia’s famed corporation Energia – founded by the forefather of the Soviet space program, Sergey Korolev – had tested positive for Covid-19 but was able to be treated at home. As his condition deteriorated rapidly, however, he was admitted to hospital, where he then died.

Roscosmos has also confirmed the tragic news, extending its sympathies to Mikrin’s family. As the RAS president put it, Mikrin is irreplaceable, as the 64-year-old “was a key scientist in charge of connecting fundamental science with practical space [exploration].”

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The successor to Korolev’s cause, Mikrin joined Energia back in the early 1980s, building a remarkable career in engineering and rocket science. His input revolved around designing flight control systems for the legendary Buran – dubbed the Soviet Space Shuttle – as well as Russia’s modules of the International Space Station (ISS).

In the late 2010s, Mikrin led engineering efforts to digitize the avionics aboard the Soyuz manned spacecraft and Progress freighter – the workhorses of Russia’s space endeavors – just years before being appointed head of all manned spaceflight programs.

The news comes as Russia’s overall coronavirus tally topped 155,000, with the nationwide death toll approaching 1,500. Health officials warn that the country hasn’t yet reached the peak of the epidemic.

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