Alexander Bolonkin

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Alexander Alexandrovich Bolonkin
Native name Александр Александрович Болонкин
Born (1933-03-14) March 14, 1933 (age 89)
Perm, USSR
Nationality Russian
Fields cybernetician
Alma mater Perm Aviation College, Kazan Aviation Institute, Kiev State University, Moscow Aviation Institute, Leningrad Polytechnic University
Known for human rights activism with participation in dissident movement in the Soviet Union

Alexander Alexandrovich Bolonkin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Алекса́ндрович Боло́нкин, born 14 March 1933, Perm) is a Russian-American scientist and academic who worked in the Soviet aviation, space and rocket industries and lectured in Moscow universities, before being arrested in 1972 by the KGB as a dissident. He served terms of imprisonment and internal exile for 15 years until 1987, when he emigrated to the US as a political refugee.

He has since lectured at American universities and worked as a researcher at NASA and for the National Research Council. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Space Agency, Chairman of the Space Flights section, member of the Advisory Board of the Lifeboat Foundation and its Space Settlement, and the founding President of the International Association of Former Soviet Political Prisoners and Victims of the Communist Regime (IASPPV).

Life and career

Bolonkin was born in Perm. He earned a bachelor's degree in aviation engineering from Perm Aviation College in 1952, a master's degree in aircraft from Kazan Aviation Institute in 1958, a master's degree in mathematics from Kiev University in 1963, a doctorate in aerospace from the Moscow Aviation Institute in 1964, and a postdoctoral degree in cybernetics and mathematics from Leningrad Polytechnic University in 1971.

He worked at the Antonov aviation design company as a senior engineer and head of the aerodynamics group, participating in the design of aircraft from the An-8 to the An-124, and at the Glushko rocketry company, participating in the design of rocket engines, and lectured at the Moscow Aviation Institute, the Moscow Aviation Technology Institute, and the Bauman Moscow State Technical University.[1]

In 1972 he was arrested by the KGB for intent to instigate democracy in the communist regime through dissemination of an underground newsletter,[2] listening to the Voice of America and reading and disseminating works by Andrei Sakharov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Bolonkin was sentenced to 4 years in a labour camp and 2 years in exile in Buryatia.[2] Shortly before his sentence of exile ended Bolonkin was given a sentence of 2 years in a labour camp on a charge of stealing state property.[2] For 15 years he was tortured, imprisoned, and exiled in Siberia.[1] In 1981 Sakharov appealed for international support to have him freed.[3] In April 1982 he made a televised recantation[4] that Amnesty International ascribed to threats of beatings and rape.[5]

In 1987, during the early perestroika, he was released and gained entry to the USA as a political refugee. In the USA he has lectured at New Jersey Institute of Technology and worked at NASA as a senior researcher and in the scientific laboratories of the US Air Force as a senior research fellow of the National Research Council.[6] He subsequently worked in Israel as chief scientist at the Strategic Solutions Technology Group.[7]


As of 2009 Bolonkin held 17 patents. Among his innovations in space exploration are a cable space launcher, a hypersonic tube launcher, a kinetic anti-gravitation system, a multi-reflex propulsion device, space towers, an electrostatic space sail, an electric ramjet space propulsion device, and the cable aviation device.[1] In an Izvestia interview in 1998, he predicted the achievement of cybernetic immortality by 2020,[8] and in 2011 he was consulted as an expert by the 2045 Initiative.[9] He also developed the idea of domed cities as a protection against fallout,[7][10] and in physics researched the production of what he called "AB-Matter" through femtotechnology.[7]

Board memberships and foundations

Bolonkin is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Space Agency and chairman of the space flights section.[1]

He is also a member of the advisory board of the Lifeboat Foundation and its space settlement board,[11] and the founding President of the International Association of Former Soviet Political Prisoners and Victims of the Communist Regime (IASPPV) and co-founder and co-chair of ARA, an organization for the civil and human rights of Russian-Americans.[1][6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Morgulis, Mikhail (January 21, 2009). "Alexander Bolonkin". Russian-American Business. Retrieved February 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Dissident gets five years in Siberia". The Glasgow Herald. Reuters. August 16, 1978. p. 2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Foreign Briefs". Nashua Telegraph. Associated Press. May 5, 1981. p. 6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Imprisoned Soviet Activist Renounces Dissident Views". Toledo Blade. Reuters. April 8, 1982. p. 13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Soviet dissident said to recant" (pdf). The Ukrainian Weekly. March 13, 1983. p. 2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Dr. Alexander Bolonkin". Great Immigrants. Carnegie Corporation of New York. 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Lev, David (March 24, 2011). "Space-Age Domes Could Protect Cities from Missiles - and Fallout". Israel Today.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Dubrovsky, D. I. (January 21, 2013). "Cybernetic immortality. Fantasy or scientific problem?". h+.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Experts: Professor Aleksandr A. Bolonkin. E-beings: From a Sick Head to an Artificial Body". 2045 Initiative. May 13, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Neumann, Shmuel (March 17, 2011). "Technology from Israel can make Tokyo safe from fallout in 3 weeks: Making Cities Impervious to Nuclear Fallout". Israel Behind the News.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Advisory Board: Alexander Bolonkin". The Lifeboat Foundation. Retrieved February 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

External links