[Friday, January 12th 2007 was] the 100th anniversary of the birth of a giant of space exploration -- Sergey Korolyov (sometimes also transliterated as Sergei Korolev).Link to geekcounterpoint blog post and podcast. See also this BBC News article: Link, and Agence-France Presse item here: Link. Image: Sergei Korolyov at the Kapustin Yar firing range in 1953.
For much of the 20th century, Korolyov was the prime driving factor behind the Soviet space program. He led the efforts to launch Sputnik, put Yuri Gagarin into orbit, and hold up the USSR's end of the race to the moon. Yet during Korolyov's life, even his existence was a Soviet state secret -- he was only ever publicly referred to as the "Chief Designer." After his death, he finally received some recognition for his accomplishments, yet many parts of Korolyov's life and work were more rumor than fact until after the collapse of the USSR.
See also a piece by BB pal Gareth Branwyn about Sergei Korolev for Discovery's (long dead) "Dead Inventors" column: Link