Topic: Soviet Union/Russian, Soviet and CIS military history

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Tupolev Tu-144

Aviation Soviet Union Russia Russia/technology and engineering in Russia Military history Military history/Military aviation Aviation/aircraft project Military history/Cold War Russia/Russian, Soviet, and CIS military history Military history/Russian, Soviet and CIS military history Russia/history of Russia Aviation/Soviet aviation Soviet Union/Russian, Soviet and CIS military history

The Tupolev Tu-144 (Russian: Tyполев Ту-144; NATO reporting name: Charger) is a retired jet airliner and commercial supersonic transport aircraft (SST). It was the world's first commercial SST (maiden flight – 31 December 1968), the second being the Anglo-French Concorde (maiden flight – 2 March 1969). The design was a product of the Tupolev design bureau, headed by Alexei Tupolev, of the Soviet Union and manufactured by the Voronezh Aircraft Production Association in Voronezh, Russia. It conducted 102 commercial flights, of which only 55 carried passengers, at an average service altitude of 16,000 metres (52,000 ft) and cruised at a speed of around 2,000 kilometres per hour (1,200 mph) (Mach 1.6).

The prototype's first flight was made on 31 December 1968, near Moscow from Zhukovsky Airport, two months before the first flight of Concorde. The Tu-144 first went supersonic on 5 June 1969 (Concorde first went supersonic on 1 October 1969), and on 26 May 1970 became the world's first commercial transport to exceed Mach 2. The aircraft used a new construction technique which resulted in large unexpected cracks, which resulted in several crashes. A Tu-144 crashed in 1973 at the Paris Air Show, delaying its further development. The aircraft was introduced into commercial service on 26 December 1975. In May 1978, another Tu-144 (an improved version, the Tu-144D) crashed on a test flight while being delivered. The aircraft remained in use as a cargo aircraft until 1983, when the Tu-144 commercial fleet was grounded. The Tu-144 was later used by the Soviet space program to train pilots of the Buran spacecraft, and by NASA for supersonic research until 1999, when the Tu-144 made its last flight (26 June 1999).

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Bruno Pontecorvo

Biography Soviet Union Military history Physics Italy Socialism Biography/science and academia Military history/Military biography Biography/military biography Physics/Biographies Military history/Russian, Soviet and CIS military history Soviet Union/Russian, Soviet and CIS military history

Bruno Pontecorvo (Italian: [ponteˈkɔrvo]; Russian: Бру́но Макси́мович Понтеко́рво, Bruno Maksimovich Pontecorvo; 22 August 1913 – 24 September 1993) was an Italian and Soviet nuclear physicist, an early assistant of Enrico Fermi and the author of numerous studies in high energy physics, especially on neutrinos. A convinced communist, he defected to the Soviet Union in 1950, where he continued his research on the decay of the muon and on neutrinos. The prestigious Pontecorvo Prize was instituted in his memory in 1995.

The fourth of eight children of a wealthy Jewish-Italian family, Pontecorvo studied physics at the University of Rome La Sapienza, under Fermi, becoming the youngest of his Via Panisperna boys. In 1934 he participated in Fermi's famous experiment showing the properties of slow neutrons that led the way to the discovery of nuclear fission. He moved to Paris in 1934, where he conducted research under Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Influenced by his cousin, Emilio Sereni, he joined the French Communist Party, as did his sisters Giuliana and Laura and brother Gillo. The Italian Fascist regime's 1938 racial laws against Jews caused his family members to leave Italy for Britain, France and the United States.

When the German Army closed in on Paris during the Second World War, Pontecorvo, his brother Gillo, cousin Emilio Sereni and Salvador Luria fled the city on bicycles. He eventually made his way to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he applied his knowledge of nuclear physics to prospecting for oil and minerals. In 1943, he joined the British Tube Alloys team at the Montreal Laboratory in Canada. This became part of the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs. At Chalk River Laboratories, he worked on the design of the nuclear reactor ZEEP, the first reactor outside of the United States that went critical in 1945, followed by the NRX reactor in 1947. He also looked into cosmic rays, the decay of muons, and what would become his obsession, neutrinos. He moved to Britain in 1949, where he worked for the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell.

After his defection to the Soviet Union in 1950, he worked at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna. He had proposed using chlorine to detect neutrinos. In a 1959 paper, he argued that the electron neutrino (
) and the muon neutrino (
) were different particles. Solar neutrinos were detected by the Homestake Experiment, but only between one third and one half of the predicted number were found. In response to this solar neutrino problem, he proposed a phenomenon known as neutrino oscillation, whereby electron neutrinos became muon neutrinos. The existence of the oscillations was finally established by the Super-Kamiokande experiment in 1998. He also predicted in 1958 that supernovae would produce intense bursts of neutrinos, which was confirmed in 1987 when Supernova SN1987A was detected by neutrino detectors.

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