A distinguished scientist, one of the pioneers of rocket science in the Soviet Union and Ukraine, one of the founders of Yuzhnoye design office and Yuzhmash machine-building plant. Vasiliy Budnik made a tremendous individual contribution to the making and development of Dnepropetrovsk rocket-and-space center and Ukrainian aerospace industry. Doctor of engineering (1960), professor (1962), corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (1962), full member of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (1967). Chief designer at Plant 586 (1951 –1954), First deputy Chief designer of Special Design Bureau 586 (1954–1968), Head and Chief designer of Design Office 1 at Yuzhnoye (1968 – 1971), Head of Rocket-and-Space Sector at the Institute of Mechanics under the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (1971 – 2003).
Vasiliy Budnik was born on July 24, 1913 in the family of an agronomist in the village of Semenovka, Chernigov region, Ukraine. In 1940, after graduating from Moscow Aviation Institute, Budnik worked on the development of weapon systems for IL low-flying attack aircraft at Ilyushin Aircraft Design Bureau.
In 1945, the young scientist Vasiliy Budnik was sent to Germany as a member of the team to study German ballistic missile technologies. In 1946 – 1951, Budnik worked under Sergey Korolev at Central Research Institute NII-88 as Deputy Chief Designer for Missile Design.
A government commission was established to select a factory for series production of first Soviet missiles. Budnik was a member of this commission. Budnik persisted in opinion that Dnepropetrovsk automobile plant should be selected for missile production.
In 1951, Vasiliy Budnik was appointed Chief Designer of serial missile factory #586 in Dnepropetrovsk. His main job was to organize series production of first Soviet missiles, designed by Chief Designer Sergey Korolev. In 1952, Vasiliy Budnik tasked a group of designers with a design study of in-house missile to burn storable hypergolic propellants and use an autonomous control system. The pool of young talent guided by Budnik developed a draft design of the R-12, a fundamentally new strategic missile burning hypergolic propellants and equipped with an autonomous control system, which represented a breakthrough in strategic armaments. In 1954, following these developments, the factory’s serial design bureau was transformed into Special Design Bureau #586 (later, Yuzhnoye SDO). Vasiliy Budnik was First Deputy Chief Designer and Head of SDB #586. Strategic missiles R-12, R-14, and R-16 were developed and commissioned under his supervision and with direct participation. In 1959, Yuzhnoye designed strategic missiles became the basis of a new branch of the Soviet Union Armed Forces, Strategic Rocket Forces.
Vasiliy Budnik made a tremendous individual contribution to the making and development of Yuzhnoye design office that created several world’s unrivalled missile systems.
Budnik always attached much importance to scientific support to design works, to training of engineering and scientific cadres. In 1951, he directly participated in the establishment of the Physical Engineering Department at Dnepropetrovsk State University to train rocket-and-space technology specialists.
Since 1971, Vasiliy Budnik worked at the Institute of Technical Mechanics under the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, where he supervised research into optimal design of missile systems. He trained many Masters and Doctors of Science.
Vasiliy Budnik is one of the fathers of the Dnepropetrovsk school of rocket engineering. Hero of Socialist Labor (1959), winner of Lenin Prize (1960), Honored Scientist of Ukrainian SSR (1983), decorated with Orders of Lenin (1959, 1961), Red Banner of Labor (1956, 1976), Prince Yaroslav the Wise (2004). Honorary citizen of Dnepropetrovsk.
Vasiliy Budnik rests in Zaporozhskoye cemetery in Dnepropetrovsk.