Now you have learned more about arctic explorers, and you have come a step closer to the north pole.
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Ivan Papanin (1894–1986)
Rear Admiral and Two-Time Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Papanin was a polar explorer with a DSc (Geography). Papanin headed polar stations in Tikhaya Harbor on Franz Josef Land and on Cape Chelyuskin. In 1937, Papanin led an expedition to the North Pole. The four crew members of the North Pole 1 station drifted on an ice floe for 247 days and observed the Earth’s magnetic field, atmospheric processes and processes in the Arctic Ocean’s hydrosphere.
Papanin was named a Hero of the Soviet Union for his successful research projects and for effectively managing the polar station, and received the Order of Lenin. He also received the Golden Star Medal after this badge of distinction was instituted. This medal was later conferred on all Heroes of the Soviet Union.
From 1939–1946, Papanin headed the Main Directorate of the Northern Sea Route. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945, he made a substantial contribution to organizing uninterrupted navigation along the Northern Sea Route.
Valery Chkalov (1904–1938)
Hero of the Soviet Union Brigadier General Valery Chkalov was a Soviet test pilot.
In 1937, he commanded the crew of a Tupolev ANT-25 aircraft that flew non-stop from Moscow to Vancouver, WA, for the first time. Their plane took off on June 18 and landed safely on June 20 after covering 8,504 kilometers.
The crew received Orders of the Red Banner for this landmark achievement.
Otto Schmidt (1891–1956)
Hero of the Soviet Union Professor Otto Schmidt was a geographer, geochemist, astronomer, a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and an associate member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. He also studied the Pamir Range and sub-Arctic regions.
In 1932, Schmidt headed an Arctic expedition aboard the icebreaker Sibiryakov that sailed from Arkhangelsk to Vladivostok via the Northern Sea Route in a single navigation season for the first time.
In 1933, he headed an expedition aboard the icebreaker Chelyuskin in order to sail the Northern Sea Route during a single navigation season and without stopping for the winter. On February 13, 1934, the ship was crushed by sea ice. Most of the crew, except one, survived, and set up camp on an ice floe. In April 1934, they were evacuated by aircraft to mainland Russia. In 1937, Schmidt oversaw an operation to set up the North Pole 1 drifting station, which opened a new page in the history of Arctic exploration.
Alexei Tryoshnikov (1914–1991)
Professor Alexei Tryoshnikov, a member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, was an oceanographer and a geographer who explored the Arctic and the Antarctic.
Tryoshnikov was involved in 22 Arctic and Antarctic expeditions.
From 1948–1949, he was involved in the North 2 and North 4 high-latitude aerial expeditions aiming to conduct comprehensive observations of Arctic nature and climate. During the expedition, aircraft landed on Arctic islands where no explorers had set foot before, and also on drifting sea ice. Tryoshnikov’s team also discovered the underwater Lomonosov Ridge.
Starting in 1964, he served as Vice President of the Soviet Geographical Society, and as its President from 1977–1991.
The scientific research vessel Akademik Tryoshnikov, launched in March 2011 in St. Petersburg, is named after him.
Vladimir Rusanov (1875–1913)
Vladimir Rusanov was an Arctic explorer. In 1907–1908, he was involved in an expedition to Novaya Zemlya. In 1908, Rusanov crossed the archipelago on foot for the first time from Neznayemy Bay to Krestovaya Harbor on the island’s western coast.
In 1912, he headed an expedition to Spitsbergen aboard the seal-hunting vessel Hercules. Expedition members discovered rich coal deposits, collected paleontological, zoological and botanical samples and also conducted oceanographic research.
After completing the official program, Sedov and some of his crewmates left for Novaya Zemlya. The last telegram from him was received in August 1912. Several expeditions organized to locate him and his men in 1914–1915, were unsuccessful. Later, traces of his expedition and personal effects of some crew members were discovered on local islands. But the fate of the Hercules and its crew remains unknown to this day.
Georgy Brusilov (1884–1914 or later)
In 1912, Brusilov organized and headed a polar expedition aboard the schooner St. Anna. In the autumn of 1912, the vessel was trapped by ice floes in the Kara Sea and started drifting to the north. The St. Anna remained icebound throughout 1914.
In April 1914, several crew members headed by navigator Valerian Albanov abandoned the vessel planning to reach Franz Josef Land on foot. Most of them perished en route, and only Albanov and a sailor named Alexander Konrad survived, to be rescued by the schooner St. Phocas from Sedov’s expedition. In 1914, the Main Hydrographic Department organized several expeditions to search for the missing explorers, including the ill-fated expedition of Brusilov. But no traces of St. Anna have been found to date.
Despite its tragic end, Brusilov’s expedition also contributed to Arctic studies. For example, materials delivered by Albanov made it possible to systematize data on regional currents, to demarcate continental sandbanks and to locate the St. Anna underwater trench on the boundary between the Kara Sea and the Barents Sea.
Georgy Sedov (1877–1914)
First Lieutenant Georgy Sedov was a Russian hydrographer and polar explorer.
In 1902, Sedov served as deputy head of an expedition to study the area of Vaigach Island, Novaya Zemlya and the mouth of the Kara River.
In 1912, Sedov organized an expedition to the North Pole aboard the vessel St. Phocas, later renamed to Mikhail Suvorin. During the 1914 expedition, Sedov and several of his crewmates decided to travel to the North Pole in dog sleds. But they never got there. Sedov died en route and was buried on Rudolph Island. The surviving crew members returned to mainland Russia in the autumn of 1914.
During the expedition, Sedov and his crewmates conducted cartographic, meteorological, geological and glaciological research and also studied terrestrial magnetism. Sedov compiled two maps of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago that considerably differed from old perceptions of its shoreline. Sedov also discovered and named Cape Drizhenko near the northern tip of Novaya Zemlya in the Barents Sea.
Boris Vilkitsky (1885–1961)
Boris Vilkitsky was a naval officer, hydrographer, geodesist and Arctic explorer.
From 1913–1915, he headed an expedition to the Arctic Ocean aboard the icebreakers Taimyr and Vaigach. Expedition members discovered Emperor Nicholas II Land (Severnaya Zemlya), the Island of Tsesarevich (Crown Prince) Alexis (Maly Taimyr Island), Starokadomsky Island and Novopashenny Island, now Zhokhov Island.
From 1914–1915, members of his expedition sailed from Arkhangelsk to Vladivostok via the Northern Sea Route for the first time.
Georgy Ushakov (1901–1963)
Georgy Ushakov, DSc (Geography), was an Arctic explorer, with 50 scientific discoveries to his credit.
In 1926, Ushakov headed the first-ever expedition to Wrangel Island, with subsequent expeditions continuing to map, describe and develop the area.
From 1930–1932, Ushakov and three other researchers visited the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago. It took them about two years to travel about 5,000 kilometers in dog sleds and to study its territory. This allowed them to compile the first map of the archipelago.
In 1935, Ushakov headed the first high-latitude expedition aboard the icebreaker Sadko, with its experts determining the boundaries of the continental shelf. Expedition members also set a world record for ships sailing under their own power above the Arctic Circle at 82 degrees and four minutes northern latitude.