Boris Y. Vasilenko | History of Computing in Ukraine

Boris Y. Vasilenko

Boris Y. Vasylenko was involved in the industrial production of all the onboard computers for the missiles and the missile weapon systems created in Ukraine. He is one of the key figures in the Ukrainian missile industry. As a head engineer of the production association “Kyiv Radio Plant”, he became a “father” of the onboard computers produced at the association from 1976-1995.

Boris Vasilenko was born on 21st November, 1935, in a town of a colliery named after Artem, in the Dzerdzhynki district of the Donetsk region. In 1958 he graduated with merit from the Taganrog Radio Engineering Institute. In the same year he became an engineer at the “Kyiv Radio Plant”. In 1967 he was appointed as a head of the laboratory. After six years he was promoted and became the first deputy director of the Design Engineering Bureau. From 1976 to 1995 Boris Yemelyanovich was a head engineer and first deputy director of the “Kyiv Radio Plant”.

From the early days he worked with digital computation engineering. He initiated the creation of the first computers with ferrite-transistor elements at the plant. Then he developed the onboard computers up to the series production, designed at Kharkiv SPA "Khartron" and at other organizations.

Vasilenko and his colleages initiated the application of these computers on-board and on the ground equipment of the land-mobile, sea-mobile and rail-mobile mode combat missile systems of strategic role.

As a head engineer of the plant, he was actively involved in the creation of the engineering and production infrastructure for the development and manufacture of the navigation and control systems of various types and purposes for rocket and space technology. Digital systems were introduced for the missiles 8K67, 15A14, 15A18, 15A18M, 3M65, 3M37, RT-23 UTTH, as well as for the space defense systems 11K65 ("Cosmos"), 1K11K25 ("Tsyclone-3M"), 1K11K25 ("Energia-Buran").

He was also actively involved in the industrial development of integration equipment ("Igla" and "Kurs"), control systems for manned and unmanned spacecraft "Soyuz" and "Progress", of the stations "Almaz", "Salute," "MIR" and ISS (International Space Station). Boris Vasilenko is also the creator of a binary-fivefold code (automatic detection of errors) for the on-board and ground equipment of the "Tsyclone-3M" launcher.

Boris Vasilenko wrote a book of essays about the people and the events at the "Kyiv Radio Plant", describing the time when they were developing rocket-and-space technology in the 1960-90s. The name of the book is "Entering rocketry. Notes of a Head engineer". It was published by Kyiv Publishing House "Novi Druk", in 2004.

B.Y.Vasilenko is a recipient of the USSR State Prize (1981), Honored Mechanical Engineer of Ukraine (1995), Honored Electronics Operator of the USSR (1979) and Honored Worker of the Space Industry of Ukraine (2000). He was also awarded Order of the October Revolution (1984), Order of the Red Banner of Labor (1970), the medals, and the Presidential Certificate of Merit (2002).

Since December 1995, B.Y. Vasilenko has worked at the National Space Agency of Ukraine.