Although Korolev trained as an aircraft designer, his greatest strengths proved to be in design integration, organization and strategic planning. Arrested for alleged mismanagement of funds (he spent the money on unsuccessful experiments with rocket devices), he was imprisoned in 1938 for almost six years, including some months in a Kolyma labour camp. Following his release he became a recognized rocket designer and a key figure in the development of the Soviet Intercontinental ballistic missile program. He was then appointed[by whom?] to lead the Soviet space program and made a Member of Soviet Academy of Sciences, overseeing the early successes of the Sputnik and Vostok projects that included launching Yuri Alexeevich Gagarin, into space making him the first human to enter orbit on 12 April 1961. By the time he died unexpectedly in 1966, Korolev's plans to compete with the United States to become the first nation to land a man on the Moon had begun to be implemented.

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