The original members of the Group for the Investigation of Reactive Engines and Reactive Flight (GIRD, the Russian acronym)team are shown here in 1932. Top center is Yuriy Pobedonostsev, while bottom center is Sergey Korolev. On the extreme right is Fridrikh Tsander, the space visionary who founded the group. A growing interest in rocketry and space exploration arose in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1931 a group of amateurs interested in space travel gathered in Moscow to form GIRD. The Soviet government did not officially support GIRD financially so the members themselves financed projects. By 1933, after receiving additional funding from the Soviet Directorate of Military Inventions, GIRD launched the first Soviet liquid-propellant rocket. On August 17, 1933, the rocket reached an altitude of 400 meters during the 13-second flight. In the fall of 1933 GIRD and the Gas Dynamics Laboratory (GDL), an independent organization focused on the development of liquid-propellant rocket engines, were combined by the Soviet government to form the Reactive Scientific-Research Institute (RNII). Many of those amateurs later became important players in the Soviet space program and the race to the Moon. Publication information: Image from the files of Asif Siddiqi. Image and caption from Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the Space Race, 1945- 1974(NASA SP-2000-4408)by Asif A. Siddiqi. Please note that the image number assigned to this image is not an official NASA number. It is for GRIN database purposes only.