Barys Kit

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Barys Kit
Барыс Кіт 105.jpg
Born (1910-04-06) April 6, 1910 (age 107)
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
Residence Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany
Nationality American,
Fields Mathematics, Astronautics, Chemistry, Physics etc.
Alma mater Vilnius University
University of Regensberg
Known for "Rocket Propellant Handbook",
space research

Barys Kit (Belarusian: Бары́с Кіт, Russian: Бори́с Кит; born April 6, 1910)[1] is a Belarusian-American rocket scientist.


Kit was born on April 6, 1910 in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire to the family of an employee at the Post and Telegraph Department, a Belarusian in origin. In 1918 Kit’s family moved to their native village of Aharodniki in Poland (now merged with the town of Karelichy, Hrodna Voblast).

After graduation from Navahrudak Belarusian Lyceum in 1928 Kit entered the physics and mathematics faculty of Vilnius University (Poland). After graduation in 1933 he worked as a teacher at the Belarusian Gymnasium of Vilnia in Vilnius. In 1939 he was appointed its Principal. After the Vilnius Region had been annexed to Lithuania in 1939, Kit returned to his native region. He was the Principal of Navahrudak Belarusian High School there and later a superintendent of a large school system district. Hundreds of elementary schools and several dozen high schools were opened in the region within a year due to Kit's direct participation.[2]

Kit worked as a teacher in the village of Lebedzeva near Maladzyechna and later as a director of the Pastavy Teachers College during the Nazi occupation of Belarus. He was suspected of having partisan connections and was arrested by the German SD punitive bodies. He spent a month in prison and was saved from execution by his former pupils.

In 1944 Kit and his family with the retreating German army moved to Germany, first to Offenbach-Lindau in Bavaria, then to Munich.[3] In 1948 Kit emigrated to the United States. In 1950 he settled in Los Angeles and worked there as a chemist in various companies.

In the mid-1950s Kit began his scientific activities in the field of astronautics. For 25 years he worked in the American space research program. As a mathematician and systems analyst, he took part in projects aimed at the development of intercontinental missile systems. Kit took part in all the American space research projects, including mathematical support of the mission to the Moon.[4] In 1972 Kit moved to Frankfurt-am-Main in Germany. He lives in a Jewish nursing home and celebrated his 107th birthday in 2017.

Scientific achievements[edit]

Kit is the author of the first manual on rocket propellant "Rocket Propellant Handbook", published by McMillan in 1960.[5] The book received many positive reviews and is referenced in rocket science publications even today.

In 1982 Kit earned a Ph.D. in mathematics and science history from the University of Regensburg.

Kit is a long-standing member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, an honorary member of the Hermann Oberth German Astronautics Society Board of Directors, a member of the International Astronautics Academy in Paris, Vice-President of the Eurasian International Astronautics Academy, Professor Emeritus of Maryland University, Honorary Doctorate of Science of Hrodna State University, and Navahrudak's honorable resident.

A "time capsule" with Kit's name was immured in the wall of Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Kit has always remained a conscious Belarusian: “Everything I did in my life —- I did for my homeland and its fame”.[6]


  • Boris Kit, Douglas S. Evered. Rocket Propellant Handbook. The Macmillan Company, 1960.


  1. ^ old calendar March 24
  2. ^ Barys Kit Biography Archives of Belarus
  3. ^ Boris Kit: Ein Jahrhundertleben
  4. ^ "A great and interesting life", e-tech, April 2013, International Electrotechnical Commission
  5. ^ Kit, Boris and Evered, Douglas S., Rocket Propellant Handbook, 1st ed., The Macmillan Company, New York, 1960.
  6. ^ Barys Kit Biography Virtual Guide to Belarus

External links[edit]